Shrink Tunnels for Different Plastic Bottles

Shrink Tunnels for Different Material of Plastic Bottles

The world of plastic bottles is as varied as it is vast. They are integral to modern life, from morning juice to post-workout water. Yet, when it comes to labeling sleeve labels, a key consideration occurs: How do we choose the right shrink tunnel for the plastic bottles on the market? Let’s dive into the fascinating blend of science and commerce behind this choice.

Choosing a shrink tunnel for different plastic bottles isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair. Factors first to consider as below:

  • – Material of the plastic bottle
  • – Bottle thickness
  • – Dimensions of the bottle
  • – Position of the shrink label on the bottle
  • – Production speed requirements
  • – Is it a filled bottle or an empty bottle?

Achieving a perfect balance between all the elements is essential to finding the best shrink tunnel.

Characteristics of Different Plastic Bottle Materials

Plastic bottles are containers made from various types of plastic, such as PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, PC, PS, and PVC. Each material has a unique function.

1. PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) Bottles:

PET bottles are usually made through blow molding. Preforms, a test tube-like formed PET with a molded screw top, are heated and then blown into a mold to achieve the desired shape.

– Characteristics:

   – Clear and lightweight.

   – Good barrier against oxygen, carbon dioxide, and moisture – making it ideal for carbonated beverages.

   – Easy to recycle and the most recycled plastic globally.

   – Sensitive to UV light.

2. HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) Bottles:

HDPE bottles are typically created through extrusion blow molding. Molten plastic is extruded into a hollow tube-shaped parison. This is then enclosed within a mold, and air is blown into it, forcing the plastic out to match the mold.

– Characteristics:

   – Opaque and has a more substantial structure than LDPE.

   – Resistant to many solvents.

   – Commonly used for products like shampoo, detergent, and motor oil.

   – Easily recyclable.

3. LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) Bottles:

LDPE bottles are also produced using extrusion blow molding but differ in resin properties.

– Characteristics:

   – More translucent than HDPE.

  – Flexible with a softer feel.

   – Used for squeezable bottles and packaging films.

   – Resistant to acids, bases, and vegetable oils.

4. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Bottles:

PVC bottles are produced using blow molding. However, because PVC is more rigid, it often needs plasticizers to make it flexible for specific applications.

– Characteristics:

   – Can range from rigid to flexible.

   – Has good clarity.

   – Naturally resistant to oils and greases.

   – Less recyclable than PET or HDPE due to its chlorine content.

5. PP (Polypropylene) Bottles:

PP bottles are usually created through injection blow molding. Molten plastic is injected into a mold to form a plastic tube, which is then blown into its final shape.

– Characteristics:

   – Has a high melting point, making it suitable for products that need to be filled hot.

   – Often used for ketchup, syrup, or products that need to be microwaved.

   – Resistant to fats and most acids.

   – Can be semi-rigid to rigid.

6. PS (Polystyrene) Bottles:

PS is primarily used for rigid applications and is produced through injection molding or extrusion for sheets.

– Characteristics:

   – Can be clear (general-purpose) or opaque (high-impact).

   – Used for products like yogurt containers or disposable cutlery.

   – Brittle with limited flexibility.

   – Sensitive to UV radiation and can yellow over time.

Understanding the characteristics and manufacturing processes of each type of plastic bottle helps determine their best applications in daily life. Whether it’s storing a beverage, a viscous liquid like ketchup, or packaging for cosmetics, each plastic type offers unique advantages.

What’s the Shrink temperature of these plastic bottles?

The heat resistance of these plastics and the temperature at which they begin to shrink or deform can vary based on several factors, such as additives, processing techniques, and specific resin grades. However, here are some general numbers for the plastics you mentioned:

1. PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate):

   – Melting Point: 240°C – 260°C (464°F – 500°F)

   – Shrink temperature: PET can typically withstand temperatures up to about 70°C (158°F). The temperature at which PET starts to shrink is typically around 70°C to 80°C (158°F to 176°F), but this can vary based on specific formulation and processing.

   – Note: While PET has a high melting point, it may begin to deform under conditions significantly lower than this, especially when under load.

2. HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene):

   – Melting Point:120°C – 180°C (248°F – 356°F)

   – Shrink temperature: HDPE can typically tolerate temperatures up to 110°C to 120°C (230°F to 248°F). It begins to shrink or deform at temperatures around 85°C to 100°C (185°F to 212°F).

   – Note: HDPE is known for its ability to withstand slightly higher temperatures than other standard plastics.

3. LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene):

   – Melting Point: 105°C – 115°C (221°F – 239°F)

   – Shrink temperature: LDPE can withstand temperatures up to about 80°C to 100°C (176°F to 212°F). It starts to shrink at roughly 75°C to 85°C (167°F to 185°F).

   – Note: LDPE is less heat-resistant than HDPE.

4. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride):

   – Melting Point: 160°C – 210°C (320°F – 410°F)

   – Shrink temperature: Rigid PVC can typically handle temperatures up to about 60°C to 80°C (140°F to 176°F), while flexible PVC (with plasticizers) might withstand slightly lower temperatures. PVC starts to shrink at about 60°C to 70°C (140°F to 158°F).

   – Note: The heat resistance of PVC can be significantly altered with additives, especially plasticizers.

5. PP (Polypropylene):

   – Melting Point: 160°C – 170°C (320°F – 338°F)

   – Shrink temperature: PP has a high melting point, making it suitable for applications up to 130°C to 170°C (266°F to 338°F). It begins to shrink or deform at temperatures around 100°C to 130°C (212°F to 266°F).

   – Note: PP has good heat resistance and is often chosen for applications where items must be microwave-safe.

6. PS (Polystyrene):

   – Melting Point: Depending on the type, general-purpose PS has a melting point of about 240°C (464°F).

   – Shrink temperature: PS can typically handle temperatures up to 70°C to 90°C (158°F to 194°F). It starts to shrink at roughly 70°C to 85°C (158°F to 185°F).

   – Note: PS is relatively brittle and performs poorly under high temperatures as some of the other mentioned plastics.

It’s important to understand that these values are approximations and can vary based on the specific grade of plastic, additives used, and other factors. Furthermore, you’d want to ensure the plastic material doesn’t approach its melting point for most applications. Consider a safety margin below these temperatures, especially for human consumption or contact applications. Always refer to the manufacturer’s specifications for the precise heat resistance of a particular grade or formulation.

Shrink Tunnel Selection for the filled Plastic Bottles

Steam shrink tunnels are generally recommended for bottles labeled post-filling, especially if there’s no specific requirement for a dry environment. The benefits of steam include even heat distribution, which is crucial for materials like PVC that can deform at low temperatures.

Shrink Tunnel Selection for the Empty Plastic Bottles

Electric heat shrink tunnels are the go-to choice when labeling empty bottles unless a client prefers steam. The advantages of electric heat tunnels include precise temperature control, ensuring even shrinking without the risk of bottle deformation.


Choosing the right shrink tunnel is pivotal for labeled plastic bottles’ aesthetic and functional quality. Whether filled or empty, the material of the bottle dictates the process. Understanding the intricacies of plastic materials and the nuances of shrinking techniques will always lead to a perfect finish. In this vast sea of plastics, making an informed choice ensures that the final product is as flawless as intended.

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Procus Machinery

Procus Machinery

We, Procus Machinery, are a professional manufacturer specializing in sleeve labeling machines in China. With over 20 years of experience in production and innovation. Our machines are of high quality, backed by strong technical capabilities, and we pride ourselves on providing impeccable after-sales service.

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