Printing on Shrinkwrap & Flexible Film | InkJet, Inc.

Since first gaining popularity in the mid-20th century, shrinkwrap and flexible film have become key packaging materials across many industries. Most often made of polymer plastic, these wraps are a cost-effective method of preserving product freshness in the face of issues like open-air contaminants, heat, and physical damage. Flexible films also improve the shipping and storage processes as wrapped product packs generally weigh less than those in corrugated packaging and are often easier to move.

The benefits of flexible film packaging apply to a diverse range of products, and as such, a variety of industries utilize shrinkwrap in their operations. Food packaging groups, beverage bottling/canning companies, pharmaceutical developers, and more all commonly wrap their products in flexible film to conserve product freshness and improve shipping/storage.

Of course, to ensure that shrink-wrapped products successfully make their way across the supply chain and comply with industry standards/regulations, companies must mark the packaging with traceable codes and batch numbers. Without these markings, businesses can lose inventory, face steep fines, and even face legal consequences.

Fortunately, applying these codes isn’t difficult when you have help from the experts at InkJet, Inc. Offering decades of industry knowledge and a wide range of marking equipment, InkJet, Inc. has everything you need to start printing on shrinkwrap film.

The Importance of Properly Placed Product Codes

Whether a company is using shrinkwrap to pack together plastic water bottles or boxes of OTC medication, it’s essential to mark the packaging with traceable codes and markings. Every industry possesses its own unique coding standards in order to aid product reporting, perform quality assurance, and help in inventory management.

In certain fields (most notably pharmaceutical development and baby food production), the government also holds its own regulations that require manufacturers to include certain consumer information and traceable markings on product packaging.

If these markings are improperly placed or absent altogether, it can result in reputation-damaging recalls and expensive fines. Depending on the industry, these required codes often take the shape of:

Given the consequences of improper code placement, companies must use quality equipment when marking their products. Here’s where InkJet, Inc. can help.

Find a Machine That Fits All of Your Unique Marking Needs

Shrinkwrap/flexible film can be used for a variety of primary and secondary packaging applications. In response to how the plastic film is used, production operators will find it more advantageous to either:

  1. Directly code the film using an industrial printer; or
  2. Apply a pre-printed or blank label onto the film’s surface using a print-and-apply labeler.

For option A, companies will find the most success with either a continuous inkjet (CIJ) printer like the Duracode Touchscreen or a thermal inkjet (TIJ) printer like the Anser X1. Although these two printer types may have similar-sounding names, they differ greatly in size and operational ability.

CIJ printers are large, stationary printers that offer uninterrupted coding 24/7. For companies with non-stop production lines, CIJ printers will allow them to make the most of their uptime. When using a CIJ printer like the DuraCode Keyboard to mark substrates, companies benefit from:

  • High-speed printing, reaching up to 1000 feet per minute.
  • Uninterrupted coding 24/7 for maximum productivity.
  • Mid-operation ink and filter changes to minimize uptime disruptions.
  • An operating temperature of 41-113° F that meets the needs of many industrial worksites.
  • Curved surface compatibility, ideal for products like shrink-wrapped cans, bottles, and jugs.

Compared to CIJ printers, TIJ printers are much more compact and mobile, as they only weigh around five pounds or so. However, they are still able to handle industrial coding applications with ease. Newer TIJ models like the Anser X1 even offer speeds that rival many CIJ machines. With the Anser X1, businesses have access to:

  • CIJ-level printing speeds at 300 meters per minute (just under 1000 feet).
  • Large-image marking reaching a max 2-inch print height when using the stitch function.
  • Dual-line capabilities to control two different production lines simultaneously.
  • An IP66-graded housing that guarantees both complete dust ingress protection and a high level of water resistance.
  • A high level of humidity resistance ranging from 0-90% (non-condensing).

To place labels on shrinkwrap, companies will find great success with a machine like the Evolabel® print-and-apply labeler. Far faster and more accurate than hand-labeling, print-and-apply labelers are easy to integrate into an existing IT structure and simple to operate. With the aid of an Evolabel machine, businesses can streamline the labeling process for complete code compliance.

Use the Inks That Work Best for Your Product Line

When using either a CIJ or TIJ printer, it’s essential to use an ink formula that is compatible with the intended substrate, such as shrinkwrap or flexible film. Each material has its own unique set of properties that affect whether an ink will successfully remain on the surface or not. If one uses an incompatible formula, it can lead to unscannable codes and illegible markings—two issues that may result in supply chain confusion, fines, and possibly even legal ramifications.

Fortunately, we here at InkJet, Inc. have been developing ink for over 30 years. With our deep knowledge of ink chemistry, we can help companies find the best formulas to fit their needs. If we don’t have the ideal formula in stock, we also offer custom ink creation services that can produce formulas that meet every client’s requirements.

Need Help Printing on Shrinkwrap & Flexible Film? InkJet, Inc. Is Here to Support You

Shrinkwrap is a great way to prolong freshness, improve shipping, and simplify product storage. With the right coding equipment from InkJet, Inc., companies can ensure that their shrink-wrapped products are up-to-code and compliant with supply chain/retailer requirements. Call InkJet, Inc. today to learn which marking solution is right for you.

To learn more about printing on shrinkwrap film, contact InkJet, Inc. online or by phone at 1(800) 280-3245.