6 Common Shrink Wrapping Problems (And How to Solve Them)

March 12, 2021 Written by Chris Amato

Shrink film wrapping machine for bottle of water

Shrink wrap is critical for securing your items and ensuring a safe arrival, but poor shrink wrap detracts from the impression of quality of your products and in some cases may pose a hazard to your product. If you are having shrink wrapping abnormalities, we are here to help diagnose and solve the issue. Here are 6 common shrink wrapping problems and how to solve them.

Problem 1: Dog Ears

Improper shrink wrapping can cause triangular ‘ears’ of excess wrap on the corners of packages. Similar in shape to the dog ear in a book, this issue is caused by improper heating of the wrapping.

The Fix: Check the heat of your shrink tunnel or shrink gun and modify as needed. Next, verify that the width of the shrink roll is not oversized.

Problem 2: Fish Eyes

These round patterns appear on the shrink film after the shrink process. Though not a safety concern, fish eyes are unsightly and leave an unprofessional impression.

The Fix: Check the heating element of the machine for improper settings. Contact the shrink tunnel manufacturer if maintenance is needed.

Problem 3: Crow’s Feet

These are fine lines that run across the package. Often found with dog ears because both are caused by the same issue.

The Fix: Check the heat of your shrink tunnel or shrink gun and modify as needed. Reapply heat to remove crow’s feet. Perform regular maintenance on the equipment to minimize excess time and material waste.

Problem 4: Angel Hair

These are thin strands of plastic stretching from the product to the sealed part of the plastic film. This issue is also caused by improper heating and can appear unsightly on the final product.

The Fix: Check the sealing wire or bar for malfunction or temperature issues as uneven clamp bar pressure can cause choppy or improper cuts.

Problem 5: Ballooning

Ballooning is when shrink wrap expansion after seal, causing a balloon shape. Ballooning is unattractive and can impact operations.

The Fix: Switch to a perforated shrink wrap to allow air to escape and avoid exposure to excess air after sealing

Problem 6: Seal Splits

Seals that burst, come apart or cannot hold the product are all under the seal splitting issue. As this is often costly issue due to product loss and material waste, repair is required immediately. 

The Fix: Always use high quality film. Cheap or improper type of wrap is prone to problems and can end up costing more money in the long run. Check the sealing bar for parallel processing pressure and also for temperature irregularities in the machine. Verify or adjust the clamp pressure, as uneven pressure can cause seal splitting.

If persistent issues are slowing down production and packaging of your products, it may be time to assess the need for a replacement or upgrade. Slowed or stalled packaging can delay shipments and issues with shrink tunnels result in packages that look unsightly and unprofessional.

Choosing the right shrink wrap equipment depends on your products and expectations. PackEdge goes beyond shipping products and we will work closely with you to identify opportunities to lower costs and reduce product damage. Check out our selection of shrink wrap machines to find the one best for your operation.

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PackEdge Corporation is a wholesale distributor of packaging systems and consumable products. We offer a variety of packaging equipment and products including stretch wrap, void fill, shrink film and more.


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