Steam Shrink Tunnel

steam shrink tunnel for bottles

When it comes to product packaging, three crucial factors are precision, efficiency, and appearance. Having these elements can help a product stand out on the shelf. Thanks to technology, companies are always searching for the perfect packaging solution. The steam shrink tunnel is a newer packaging technology that uses steam to create a seamless shrink wrap around various products. This innovative equipment is changing the packaging industry by helping to preserve freshness in food products and enhancing the overall look of consumer goods. Let’s delve into the steam shrink tunnel’s workings, characteristics, and benefits, exploring why it has become an essential tool for businesses looking to elevate their packaging game.

What is a steam shrink tunnel?

Steam shrink tunnel

A steam shrink tunnel is used in packaging that utilizes steam to heat shrinkable film wrapped around a product. Steam shrink tunnel offers precise and uniform heating, allowing the shrink sleeves to seamlessly conform to the product’s shape. By using steam, the steam shrink tunnel can efficiently adjust temperature and steam flow to match the specific requirements of various shrinkable films, ensuring a high-quality finish. 

How does a steam shrink tunnel work?

A steam shrink tunnel is a process that employs steam to shrink a film around a product. The steam is heated to a specific temperature and then applied evenly to the wrapped product while it passes through a tunnel. This causes the film to shrink and tightly adhere to the product’s shape, resulting in uniform shrinking. This method is frequently used in various industries due to its accuracy and efficiency.

What’s the inside temperature when a steam shrink tunnel is working?

When using a steam shrink tunnel, it’s important to keep in mind that the temperature inside can vary based on the specific shrink film material being used. This temperature range is typically between 60°C (140°F) and 100°C (212°F), but it could be even higher depending on the material. Materials like PVC, OPS, PETG, and PLA have different shrink initiation temperatures, so adjusting the steam temperature accordingly is important. By carefully controlling the temperature, you can ensure that the shrink is consistent and effective for your product and packaging needs.

The components of the steam shrink tunnel

The components of a steam shrink tunnel each have specific functions that create a system capable of heating shrinkable film around a product. Here’s a breakdown of the primary components and their roles:

1. Steam Generator/Steam Boiler: Responsible for producing steam in the shrink tunnel. Controlling the temperature and pressure can ensure the steam is consistent and appropriate for the shrink sleeves.

steam generator

But When steam is created at high pressure, a pressure-reducing valve (PRV) is used to regulate the steam pressure to a suitable level for the application. The PRV reduces the steam pressure to an average level before entering the steam shrink tunnel. This ensures that the steam pressure is consistent and within the safe and efficient operating range for the shrink tunnel, allowing for uniform shrinkage of the packaging material. The pressure-reducing valve maintains optimal performance and safety, as high-pressure steam could damage the system or create uneven shrinkage.

2. Conveyor System: Transports the products through the tunnel at a controlled speed, exposing them to steam for optimal shrinkage.

3. Steam Nozzles: Directs the steam onto the product. They can often be adjusted for precise control over where the steam hits the shrink sleeve, ensuring even shrinkage.

4. Heating Chamber: Houses the steam and maintains the temperature within the required range for shrinkage. Its design ensures even heating of the product.

steam switch

5. Insulation: Keeps the heat within the tunnel and minimizes the temperature loss, ensuring energy efficiency.

6. Heat-resistant Pipes: connect the steam generator or boiler to the shrink tunnel. They transport steam from the generator or boiler to the tunnel, which is then used to shrink the film. These pipes are typically made of stainless steel or other heat-resistant alloys, with the material and design chosen based on the system’s pressure rating, temperature range, and steam flow rate. In addition, the pipes are insulated to ensure that the heat is contained and that condensation is prevented, ensuring that the steam reaches the tunnel at the correct temperature and pressure.

Together, these components allow the steam shrink tunnel to precisely control the application of steam to shrink sleeves, accommodating a wide variety of product sizes, shapes, and materials. Careful consideration of each component’s function and settings is vital to achieving a successful shrinkage process.

Essential Considerations Before Purchasing a Steam Shrink Tunnel

When purchasing a steam shrink tunnel for your packaging needs, you must consider several crucial factors to choose the appropriate one. Here’s a guide to the crucial considerations:

1. Steam Source Compatibility: Determine whether the tunnel will connect to a steam generator or boiler and ensure compatibility. Such as electricity or gas, ensure it aligns with your facility’s capabilities. Assess the requirements for pressure reduction if steam is generated at high pressure.

2. Tunnel Dimensions: Consider the size of the products you will be processing and ensure that the tunnel aperture and conveyor system can accommodate these dimensions.

3. Temperature Requirements: Understand the shrinkage temperature requirements for the specific materials you use (e.g., PVC, OPS, PETG, PLA) and ensure the tunnel can reach and maintain those temperatures.

4. Conveyor System: Consider the types of conveyors that will best suit your product sizes and shapes, such as steel wire mesh, roller conveyors, or stainless steel chain plates.

5. Steam Distribution: Check the tunnel’s steam distribution system to ensure even steam application across the products. This may include considerations for steam nozzles, baffles, or other steam-directing components.

6. Compliance and Safety: Verify that the tunnel complies with relevant industry standards and regulations and includes safety features such as pressure relief valves.

7. Budget and Supplier Support: Lastly, assess the overall cost, including installation and ongoing maintenance, and ensure that the supplier offers adequate support and training.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you can select a steam shrink tunnel that seamlessly integrates into your production line and efficiently meets your packaging needs.


A steam shrink tunnel is an essential tool in modern packaging technology that uses steam to create a perfect shrink wrap around products. It consists of various components, including a steam generator/boiler, conveyor system, steam nozzles, and control panel, working together to provide precise heating for different materials such as PVC, OPS, PETG, and PLA. The temperature inside typically ranges from 60°C to 100°C. Considerations for purchasing one include understanding requirements like steam source compatibility, tunnel dimensions, temperature needs, conveyor system type, and budget considerations. This equipment is vital for businesses aiming for efficiency and quality in their packaging process.

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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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