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How To Measure Shrink Wrap Film For Your Product


Using a generous amount of shrink-wrapping film might seem harmless or even the right thing to do. Better to overestimate, than underestimate when it comes to sizing, right? Wrong! Over time, you may experience shrinking profits as your materials costs increase. In fact, it’s better to simply get it right the first time.

Nailing down your shrink film measurements is easier than you might think. Finding the proper film width and length will depend on what type of film you are using. You will need to know a few facts and measurements before calculating your shrink film dimensions. In this article, all measurements are in inches.

  • Orientation/flow through shrink tunnel (This will inform which side is your product length vs your width)
  • Type of machine (this will dictate what type of film you need)
  • Production/Conveyor Speed
  • Product dimensions (always round up to the nearest inch)
    • Width: parallel to the cut-off or cross seal
    • Length: parallel to the fold of the film, in cases of centerfold film
    • Height: In cases of products with uneven surfaces, the height should be considered from the bottom to the highest point of the package
Diagram with formula for calculating centerfold shrink film dimensions

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The most common forms of shrink wrap film are tubing, centerfold film, and shrink wrap bags. Conveniently, there is a formula to calculate the proper measurements for each kind.

Centerfold: Combine the height and the width of the item, then add 2-3 inches of wiggle room. (3 for larger items only). The formula for this is H+W+2.

Diagram with formula for calculating shrink film tube dimensions

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Tubing: Tubular shrink film is typically only used for oblong objects. To determine the width of your shrink film tube, multiply the circumference of your object by 1.15, then divide your total by 2. In other words, (CIR×1.15)÷2. As for the length of your shrink wrap tube, simply add 2-3 inches to the length of the object.­

Diagram with formula for calculating shrink wrap bags dimensions

Right click to open image in new tab and save.

Shrink Bag: For most applications, bags are the most beginner-friendly solution to shrink wrapping. They are already sealed on 3 of the 4 sides, which makes packaging your item simpler.  To find the right width for your shrink bag, follow this formula: (CIR×1.13)÷2. As with our previous examples, the length of your shrink bag should be the length of your object, plus 2-3 inches.

Every application is different and finding the right size film can be even more difficult when your item is an irregular shape. When in doubt, ask an expert. Every service technician at Best Packaging is trained in shrink wrapping procedure. During your next visit, ask a technician to take a look at your shrink wrapping line and your product to get a shrink film recommendation.

What’s your take? We welcome guest bloggers! E-mail socialmedia@bestpackaging.com if you’d ever like to collaborate.

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