A heat tunnel or shrink tunnel is simply a heated tunnel mounted over a conveyor system. Shrink film is loosely applied to the packages, and when the package goes through the tunnel, heat is applied. The heat shrinks the film snugly around the wrapped object.
Heat tunnels have many uses like making shrink labels, combing small items into units for sale or display (like bottled water), making products tamper resistant or tamper evident, etc. It can also be used for securing large items for transport. For many food products, like meats, cheese, and fish, this is the primary protective barrier.
There are various types of shrink tunnels that are mainly different because of the heating element used. Some heat shrink tunnels use infrared heat, and other common heating elements used are steam and gas. Most heat tunnels are built directly into a conveyor system or are utilized with a conveyor, but they are also available without.
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