How Shrink Sleeves Are Made
THE SHRINK SLEEVE PROCESS
Printing shrink film involves many intricate tasks. The material is very thin so getting the proper web tensions without snapping the film or creating tears is critical. The slick surface of shrink film makes it more difficult to get the ink to adhere and dry to, since you cannot use heat to dry the ink or the film will shrink. Once these tasks can be completed properly though, a very high quality product is produced.
Rotogravure, flexography, and digital printing processes are used to print on the shrink film. Many times, and an excellent idea to protect your investment, the label is reverse printed so that when the custom shrink label is applied to the product, the image will be on the inside of the label, next to the container, so that it is protected from scuffs and scratches on the outside from handling and storage.
Custom printed shrink sleeve labels can be produced in either individually cut labels or in roll form. The way in which the labels are produced will be determined by the way they will be applied to the container. If the labels are going to be applied by hand, most likely for short runs and prototypes, then individual cut labels will be supplied. If, however, the labels will be applied by automatic equipment, then they will be supplied in roll form so they can quickly and continuously be applied.
When shrink sleeve labels are going to be produced on a roll, it is important to know how the applicator will deliver the label to the container. This will determine the proper unwind direction for the labels to ensure that the printed shrink labels are not applied upside down on your container. Important factors like whether the applicator will deliver the labels from the top, bottom, or one of the sides, and whether the roll is threaded with the printing on the outside or inside will be necessary to make sure your labels are applied correctly.