Shrink Sleeve Solutions Ensuring the perfect fit

Chadwicks of Bury, part of the Clondalkin Group, has supplied flexible packaging solutions to the food, dairy, beverage, personal care and household industries for over 70 years, specialising in the manufacture of pre-cut lid and shrink sleeve packaging products. Alastair Bearman, sales and marketing director at Clondalkin Flexible Packaging Bury discusses the importance of quality and consistency when producing shrink sleeves.


onsistent quality is central to success in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) sector. As

consumers, when we open a product at home we expect consistency. We never comment on how amazing the canned tomato soup was this week. That’s because it is always the same, and if it isn’t, we as consumers are dissatisfied. We rely on consistent quality in

everything throughout our daily lives and fortunately, measures are in place that mean, for the most part, our expectations are met. These measures come in the form of certifications and processes that are measurable and traceable so that improvement is continuous. Consistency is what makes brands successful and fosters lifelong brand affinities. Consistency is also something that is

expected of packaging. Containers, closures, labels and shrink sleeves are all integral parts of a brand’s consumer facing product. More and more consumer brands are

looking to shrink sleeves and the advantages that they can offer in the realm of packaging. Packaging suppliers are also guided by quality procedures within the manufacturing process that mean brand owners can rely on consistency of quality and functionality with regard to shrink sleeves. Shrink sleeves are applied to containers

and shrink to its contours when heat is applied. This allows for a sleeve to mould itself to the exact shape of a container providing a complete encapsulating surface. It offers total potential coverage that can be used for printing in the form of product details, marketing information and branding. Unlike with many labels, the print on a

shrink sleeve is protected from moisture and spills due to reverse printing on the material,

which also provides a scuff resistant cover for the print. With added efficiencies to be gained through streamlining logistics, features such as this can make a big difference to brand owners. Furthermore, a shrink sleeve can be a tamper evidence solution that creates a seal around the cap of a product and unlike with a label this is handled in the same single application process ensuring no additional cost. This can be seen at play in the supermarkets, particularly down the soft drink aisles where sleeves are prominent on a growing number of products. The versatility and consistent quality

offered by shrink sleeves means they are continuing to grow in popularity. Print technology has progressed to such a level that brands can rely on the required quality from most suppliers. If packaging manufacturers cannot print then they will not be in business for long. What differentiates shrink sleeve producers these days is an ability to innovate with functionality and new print techniques as they emerge but do so with consistent quality from day one. At Chadwicks of Bury, we continue to

experiment with new ideas for shrink sleeves to keep up with consumer and industry demands. We employ a team of people whose responsibility it is to take lab- based innovations and roll them out into full production as quickly as possible. Shrink sleeves can be supplied in all base

materials including PVC, OPS and PET and our sleeves can be used on all makes and models of sleeving machine. Metalised sleeves, hologram sleeves, easy opening perforations and sleeves for cups are just some of the variations that we offer to customers. Within our sector, sleeve manufacturers

use Gravure, UV Offset Litho and UV Flexo for printing with some suppliers offering combination printing. Our facility uses the latest generation UV HD Flexo print capability. As technology has developed, this now offers 'gravure quality' print with considerably reduced origination and production costs, providing competitive advantage, particularly on short run jobs. In recent months we have introduced a UV light blocking shrink sleeve, which allows

customers to downgauge the bottle thickness and titanium oxide (TiOx) percentage. The UV block technology is ideally suited to food, beverage and dairy products as it offers extended shelf-life, vitamin and colour protection, as well as off- taste reduction. Recyclability and use of recycled materials is a daily discussion within the industry and there continues to be increased pressure to respond to governmental and consumer demands for improvements in this area. As an industry, we embrace this challenge and continue to push boundaries and strive for ongoing improvements. Material developments are very important to this and we are increasing utilisation of post consumer content in raw materials or none plastic alternatives, to reduce the carbon footprint of sleeve products. We are now able to supply an RPET

material with 30 per cent post consumer content waste and a PLA shrink sleeve which is 100 per cent biodegradeable in industrial composting. It isn’t certain yet exactly the routes that will be adopted in limiting our plastic consumption and Chadwicks are exploring multiple options to tackle the challenge. Progression in the packaging sector continues and shrink sleeves are one of the leading solutions for brands. Consumer demand continues to drive us forward and develop solutions that help brands to deliver consistency time and again. October 2018 19

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