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Clearing up the Confusion between Stretch Wrap and Shrink Wrap

Many people often confuse stretch wrap, also called stretch film, with shrink wrap; thinking that they are the same, when in fact they are completely different products / processes.

Stretch Wrap is usually a clear plastic film that is wrapped tightly around a group of items numerous times to stabilize and unitize it.  As the film is wrapped, it is stretched and clings to itself, much like kitchen saran wrap, to form a tight package.  It can be applied either by hand, semi-automatic or automatic stretch wrapping equipment.  See below video demonstration.


Shrink wrap on the other hand, while also a clear plastic film, is usually used to package a single item. The item is placed in between two layers of film; the film is then cut and heat sealed around the product.  With shrink wrapping, the film actually shrinks around the product to form a tight package protecting it from the environment.

In short, stretch wrap uses tension and cling to unitize, where as shrink wrap uses heat.

I hope this helps clear up the confusion between the two processes, so you can choose the right solution for your needs.


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