Shrink Film VS BOPP Film: Which is right for me?

Flexible & Display Packaging / 26 Oct 2022

Chances are, if you click on this article, you are either

  1. Using one of the films mentioned
  2. Scratching your head in deciding which film you should be using

You have come to the right article, and here I will be helping you to differentiate Shrink Film and Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene overwrap film (widely known as BOPP). 

Before deciding, you must understand the differences between these films and their impact on your packaging needs.

What is shrink film?

Shrink film (also called shrink wrap) is a flexible packaging film used to package food, books, and other consumer products. Its main component is either polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyolefin (POF). Shrink film is ubiquitous in countless packaging lines around the world.

How does shrink wrapping work?

Products that need to be packaged are placed in a band of shrink film and sealed. From there, a conveyor will transport the product to another machine called a heat tunnel. As the name suggests, the inside of the tunnel is heated.

As the product moves through the heat tunnel, the heat generated by the machine causes the shrink film to shrink evenly around the product. The product then passes through the rest of the packaging line and is packaged for shipment.

What is biaxially oriented polypropylene film (BOPP)? 

BOPP is another type of flexible packaging film. Unlike shrink film, BOPP is not heated and shrunk in a heat tunnel but is used as a wrapping film to package your products. A machine will apply the wrapping film over the product or another form of packaging containing the product.

Food packaging is the BOPP most adopted use. However, they are also quickly displacing cellophane in snack foods and cigarette packaging applications due to BOPP’s superior capabilities and lower cost.

BOPP films exhibit higher barrier properties to oxygen and water vapour, unlike shrink films which often has tiny holes (also known as a perforation). Compared to polypropylene shrink films, impact and flexural strength are also better with BOPP.

Which film is right for you?

Before you decide which type of flexible packaging film is right for your specific packaging needs, you need to answer some questions. By answering these questions, identifying the right film is a no-brainer.

  1. Are your products extremely heat-sensitive? – If so, BOPP film would be a better choice for you.
  2. Do you want a film that encloses your products evenly and tightly? – If so, shrink film is a better choice for your product packaging.
  3. Do you need increased barrier properties to oxygen and water vapour for your products? – If so, BOPP film is the better choice for you.
  4. Do you want to use a thin, flexible film for packaging your products? – Shrink film will be your choice, as it has very thin film options.
  5. Are you looking for a film with higher impact and flexural strength? – If so, BOPP is the better choice for your packaging needs.
  6. Do you need printed film and the printed quality to be at its best? – BOPP will be your choice, as it does not shrink with heat like the shrink film counterpart.

With the answers to the questions above, you should have most, if not all, the information you need to choose the appropriate flexible packaging film for your needs.

I’m still unsure which film to use.

If you are still unsure which film to use, or should you switch because the above suggestion contradicts your current practice, it’s time to bring in the professional. 

With Syspex’s 30 years of experience and the various industries we serve, we strive to provide our customers with the best advice and solutions, specifically to their packaging needs.

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