In addition, shrink sleeves can be used as a cost-effective option for cover-up labeling applications or discolored recycled content containers.
According to Avery Dennison, a substrates and adhesives supplier based in Mentor, OH, USA, shrink sleeves are one of the fastest growing formats in the label industry. “With a global growth rate of 5 percent, shrink sleeves are increasingly considered by brands,” explains Cindy Collins, business development manager at Avery Dennison. “Ultimately, shrink sleeves offer an opportunity to execute eye-catching packaging for product launches and brand revitalization, and offer a unique way for brands to engage with customers about their product.”
Avery Dennison offers a broad shrink sleeve portfolio, with products that have been engineered to boost a wide range of applications. Shrink sleeves have become popular in the beverage and ready-to-drink markets, but they are also commonly utilized for personal care and household chemical products.
Collins notes that the added benefit of increased real estate on the label helps branding and consumer engagement. Plus, premium beverage and dairy products benefit greatly from light-blocking shrink films. There are sustainable and economic benefits to these applications.
“Shrink can reduce total package cost by replacing HDPE bottles or multi-layered primary containers, extend product shelf life and protect product integrity from UV lighting,” she says. “Products with high curvature, like household chemicals, wine and spirits, and personal care products, benefit from shrink sleeve’s ability to accommodate these container shapes.”
Shrink sleeves assist in sustainable endeavors, as well. They can be easily removed from recyclable containers, allowing for a sustainable end of life solution. By simplifying the removal process, the container can more easily be recycled.
“Many consumers are not aware that they need to remove the shrink sleeve from the container and without doing so, the container cannot be recycled,” says Collins. “It is important for brands to continue to educate consumers so that they notice the perforation and know that they must remove the shrink sleeve to recycle the container. It is also important that there is continued work on the infrastructure that will support the recycling of containers with shrink labels so consumers might not have to remove the labels themselves. There is also always a focus on making the shrink sleeve solution itself more sustainable, by offering down gauged materials that allow for the use of less material and resources overall.”
To assist with this market, Avery Dennison has developed a dedicated shrink portfolio. The Avery Dennison Rapid-Roll Shrink Film portfolio consists of a variety of shrink films such as PET, PETG, and PVC. Material thickness includes ranges from 45-60 micron, and Avery Dennison’s portfolio includes white, clear and light-blocking options.
Rapid-Roll offers nine films available in Exact, stock and custom service programs. All standard products are printable via UV flexo and UV offset with an ITC coated option available, as well.
These products have been optimized to endure the challenges associated with shrink sleeve production. To effectively produce shrink sleeves, converters must perfect the printing and seaming processes.
“When printing shrink, converters must figure out the proper graphic distortion percentage based on the amount of shrink and container type,” states Collins. “They must use inks designed for shrink and manage the web and process temperature while printing. In the seaming process, a priority should be to ensure that the seams are strong enough to survive the shrink process. Using the right seaming solution and possibly wicking equipment, control of proper dosage and quantity, and evaporating residual solvent to prevent blocking are also very important.”
Avery Dennison’s portfolios provide economic and premium substrates, which include digitally printable films and films in a range of thicknesses. “We have opaque films that can be used in applications that benefit from extended shelf life and thicker films that can support added perforation or features for tamper evidence and security,” adds Collins. “We also have down gauged PET and PETG films.”