Modernization in the global food industry is driving growth in the shrink packaging equipment market
Packaging is a key step in keeping food products safe to eat, plus proper packaging enables easier and more successful transportation of consumable products. Various types of packaging techniques are being adopted globally as a result of the growing desire for better, more wholesome food. When it comes to securing a food product from damage and improving its shelf life, shrink packaging using an L-bar sealer and shrink tunnel is playing an increasingly important role.
Shrink films are most often made of polyolefin, which is a clear polymer-based, thermoplastic film that shrinks in one direction (unidirectional) or both directions (bidirectional) when heated. The material will conform to the shape of any object around which it is wrapped. Shrink films are generally supplied in two forms: Flat roll stock, which can be wrapped around a product, or center-folded film that is supplied on a roll with the material folded in half. Using center-folded film, the product is placed on an L-bar sealer inside an “envelope” created by the fold with the film covering the top and bottom. The remaining edges are sealed and trimmed using a heated seal bar to form a bag. The package is then passed through a heated shrink tunnel causing the bag to shrink and conform to the product.
An L-bar sealer and shrink tunnel, used in conjunction with shrink film, can form a very tight seal that is useful for safeguarding food products from pests, moisture, airborne contaminants, and dust. It can extend freshness considerably. Shrink packaging is used commonly for food packaging in the industrialized nations. Now its use is growing in developing countries where access to packaged food is expanding beyond the local marketplace. A rise in industrial development in these countries greatly affects the growth potential of the global packaging industry.
Concepts such as automated ‘Smart Factories’ demand the use of modern packaging systems for contaminant-free packaging of finished products, thereby boosting the market growth for shrink packaging materials and equipment. Increasing food quality awareness among consumers plus a rise in environment concerns are making food manufacturers more conscious about following modern packaging practices, thereby fueling growth of the shrink packaging market.
Sustainability of the market for shrink packaging depends on the price and supply of polyolefin, which in turn depends on the price of raw materials, such as crude oil. The fluctuations in crude oil prices (and shrink film prices) could thus threaten the value chain of shrink packaging. Presence of big and small packaging firms has created a highly competitive environment in the overall packaging market, but the adoption of shrink packaging in growing economies is certain to continue.
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