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What is a Shrink Bundler?

One of the most common uses for a shrink bundler is packaging water bottles. Once bundled, the bottles have distinctive open ends called “bulls-eyes” on two ends of the package. Bundlers are not limited to cases of bottled water. They can be used for single products, heavy boxes, and cases of bulk packed products.

Below we will detail common features to shrink bundlers share and how they differ from L Bar and I Bar shrink wrap machines. The last section highlights general costs and lead times if purchasing a shrink bundler.

Shrink Bundled Water Bottles

Shrink Bundler Features

A shrink bundler has a single sealing bar that closes to seal and cut the film. The single bar is air operated to open and close as products pass through the sealer. The single seal leaves open ends on each side of the package creating the “bulls-eyes” mentioned above.

One of the most important details to consider when using a shrink bundler is the type of shrink film that can be used. Bundlers are designed to run Polyethylene or Polypropylene single wound shrink film. Single wound means the film comes off the roll flat. This differs from centerfold shrink film which is explained in further detail below.

Most shrink bundlers use two rolls of single wound shrink film simultaneously during production. The two roll ends are brought together to form the first seal. The first seal attaches both roll ends together. The product is pushed into the film and the sealing bar closes behind it to seal and cut the film. See the video below for further clarifications.

A conveyor belt is also necessary with shrink bundlers. The conveyor belt is used to transport products through the sealer and into the shrink tunnel. When wrapping heavy products, it is essential for moving products through the machine.

Shrink bundlers are more common in automatic versions. Automatic bundlers have photo eyes to see products as they move through the machine. The photo eyes can signal conveyors to stop running and the sealing bar to close once products have passed. Automatic bundlers can have many different features that are not standard on all machines. We recommend asking the different features available with the bundler you are interested in.

Shrink Bundlers vs Shrink Wrap Machines

Standard retail packaging L bar sealers and I bar sealers are made different than shrink bundlers. A shrink bundler is made to package heavy products with thick shrink film. Due to the weight of the products and thickness of the shrink film, bundlers need to be stronger and more durable than retail shrink wrap machines.

The starter I bar shrink wrap machines are manually operated and like a shrink bundler they only have one sealing bar. This is where the similarities between the two stops. The I bar sealer uses a heated wire to seal and cut the film. The wire sealing element is made for sealing thin materials and will eventually need to be replaced after enough seals. In contrast, a shrink bundler has a hot knife that almost never burns out and is made to cut and seal thicker shrink film.

Even higher production L bar shrink machines differ from shrink bundlers. An L bar sealer has two sealing sides instead of one that a bundler uses. The two sealing sides of an L bar sealer are to be used with a centerfold shrink film instead of a lay flat film. This makes using a single wound shrink bundling film difficult to use and not efficient at all.

All of the other components in standard retail shrink wrap machines differ from a shrink bundler. All of the conveyors need to have stronger drive motors, the blowers, and heaters in the shrink tunnel need to be stronger for more heat. Of the elements, retail shrink machines and bundlers share, the parts made for a shrink bundler are stronger and more durable to handle heavier products wrapped with thicker film.

Automatic shrink bundler

Shrink Bundler Cost and Lead Time

The cost of a shrink bundler can vary dramatically based on the features and production levels each machine is designed to handle. We offer a semi-auto bundler that costs over $20k for the sealer only. The bundling tunnels can easily cost $10K-$20K based on the size. High-speed shrink bundlers with large conveyor lines and long shrink tunnels can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Lead times can vary depending on the type of bundler needed. Very rarely do companies stock shrink bundling machines due to the size and costs. Most machines are custom built to suit the needs of the customer. Depending on the size and features, production can take 3 – 6 months for completion.

For more information about shrink bundlers, give us a call at 1-800-441-5090. A sales representative will happily to assist.


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