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What are Shrink Wrappers?

Shrink Wrap Machines

The world of shrink wrap is vast and there are a wide variety of industries that utilize shrink wrap on their products. Due to the varying demands of shrink wrapping, there are a range of different shrink wrap machines and technologies available.

What is Shrink Wrap?

Shrink wrap is a polymer plastic film that is used to cover products. Shrink wrap is applied to tightly fit a product using a heat source that shrinks the wrap to the particular dimensions of the product it’s covering. The source of heat is either generated from a hand held heat gun or through a shrink tunnel. Some of the more common uses of shrink wrap include:
  • Securing boxes
  • Unitizing canned goods and beverages
  • Providing additional product protection
  • Tamper evident sealing
  • Securing large pallet loads
  • Combination packaging
  • Promotional packaging and sampling

Types of Shrink Wrap Machines

For applications that are larger in scale, a handheld heat gun won’t cut it for shrink wrapping products. Instead, automated shrink wrap machines are required to shrink wrap products in a quick and efficient manner. Some of the various types include:

Heat Sealers

Regardless of size or scale, most shrink wrap operations use a heat sealer to seal the open ends of the shrink wrap material. Shrink wrap sealers can come in a variety of sizes and forms depending on production needs. The two most common heat sealers for smaller operations are I-Bar sealers and L-Bar sealers.
I-Bar Sealer
An I-Bar Sealer is a shrink wrapper with a single sealing bar that seals the wrap to enclose the product. I-Bar machines are usually found in operations that feature a lower output, as they don’t excel at high speeds.
L-Bar Sealer
L-Bar Sealers are shrink wrap machines that are more efficient than I-Bar Sealers, as they function at a higher speed. The L-Bar sealer has two sealing bars in the shape of a backwards L, which is where its name derives from.

Shrink Tunnels

Shrink tunnels are designed for shrink wrap applications that have large operations and are industrial in scale. Shrink tunnels are commonly paired with L-bar sealers to boost efficiency. The heating system of a shrink tunnel far outperforms the heating power of a heat gun, which allows it to handle industrial-level loads. Shrink tunnels are manufactured to operate at semi automatic and fully-automatic speeds.

Stand Alone Fully Integrated Systems

At Douglas Machine, our shrink wrap systems provide a highly efficient and innovative shrink wrap solution for customers with large production needs. As stand-alone or fully integrated systems, our shrink wrappers offer innovative features that maximize speed and easily accommodate large size ranges and pack patterns.
Contour™ Shrink Packer
The Contour shrink packer is a complete integrated machine for loose product collating, tray packing and shrink wrapping. Additional package options make the SPS-Series our most flexible shrink wrap system. With intelligent, adaptable and economical solutions offering advanced heat tunnel technology, superior efficiency and ultimate reliability, our shrink wrap systems meet all facets of today’s accelerated production challenges while ensuring your brand is consistently presented with industry-leading package appearance and durability. Our Contour shrink packers can reach speeds up to 150 cycles per minute. Shrink Packer System
Contour™ Shrink Wrappers
Our Contour shrink wrappers are built to serve applications with upstream product collating and tray packing. Our wrappers feature advanced heat tunnel technology which enables them to maximize shrink wrapping production. Our Contour wrappers can reach speeds up to 100 cycles per minute. Shrink Wrapper
VS Series Shrink Wrappers
These shrink wrap machines provide a high level of control and precision. Reaching speeds of up to 40 cycles per minute, our VS Series shrink wrappers deliver exceptional product quality. VS-Series Shrink Wrapper

Benefits of Shrink Contour™ Machines

If your brand requires an integrated system to solve your shrink wrap application, our line of shrink wrap machines at Douglas Machine can be custom built to fit each of your applications unique challenges. Some of the benefits that our machines provide our clients include:
  • Minimal Graphic Distortion: Our industry-leading package quality eliminates the common pain point of graphic distortion. The proprietary heat tunnel technology that we deliver ensures a tighter, more appealing wrap.
  • Flexible Collating and Metering: Our metering technologies can handle cans, jars, bottles, cartons, hi-cone packs and more.
  • Multi-Stream Capability: Capability for multi-stream production, allowing you to run two or three lanes at a time.
  • Quick Changeover: Our SmartSelect™ Automatic Changeover for Multi-Lane Conveyors & Infeed Rails allows for fast, repeatable changeovers offering multiple enhancements.
Automatic Changeover

Learn More About Our Line of Shrink Wrap Systems

Learn more about the shrink wrap systems we manufacture at Douglas Machine, including details on specifications and technology. Please contact us today if you have any questions about our machines or about the service we provide to our customers

Four Types of Case & Tray Packers

Horizontal load, top load, bottom load and tray packing are four types of case and tray packers built at Douglas. Within these four types are multiple styles of case and tray packers designed to provide packaging solutions for a variety of applications. Each style of case and tray packer offers different advantages that can solve unique packaging automation opportunities. At Douglas Machine, we create custom-built case and tray packers for a wide range of market segments. Although no two packers are exactly the same, the machines we produce belong to broad groupings. Whether you are in need of a packer to increase production, or your old packer is in desperate need of replacement, we can design the perfect packer for your application. This post will provide you with an overview of the types of case and tray packers that we build here at Douglas.

1. Horizontal Load

For mid to high speed case and tray packing applications, horizontal load solutions provide a high level of efficiency and speed. Douglas horizontal load case and tray packers include:

Intermittent Motion Packers

Intermittent motion packers are great for applications that call for variant speeds and multi-step packaging. Some of the advantages of Douglas intermittent motion packers include:
  • Improved utilization through precise and repeatable changeovers.
  • Case forming and sealing systems engineered to produce quality packaging.
  • Engineered for outstanding product handling, collation and loading.
  • Built for industry leading speed, control, efficiency and technology.
Douglas intermittent motion case and tray packer offerings include the Axiom® IM and the Invex® IM.

Continuous Motion Packers

For applications that require increased speed and production, continuous motion packers are a more efficient solution. Some of the advantages of Douglas continuous motion packers include:
  • Great flexibility for high-speed food and beverage applications.
  • Customizable for automatic partition insertions for bottle applications.
  • High-speed product handling.
  • Continuous case forming, compression and sealing.
Douglas continuous motion case and tray packer offerings include the Axiom® ARC and the Axiom® DL.

2. Top Load

Our top loading and product collation technologies provide manufacturers with optimum interaction between product, packaging materials and machinery to create the most effective solutions for your application.

TriVex® RL & RLi

Advantages of Douglas’ TriVex RL & RLi top loaders include:
  • Ideal collating systems for bags, pouches, cartons, trays, cups, cans, bottles and more.
  • Features cartesian and vision guided Delta robot configurations for optimal loading.
  • Flat and vertical pack casing for high impact retail ready displays.
  • Case erecting, loading, sealing and lidding in one compact machine.

TriVex® SL & SLi

Advantages of Douglas’ TriVex SL & SLi top loaders include:
  • Vertical pack configurations produce retail ready display cases with one or two product facings. With a quick and simple changeover, it packs pouches and flat bottom bags laying flat in the case with two or three products per layer.
  • Suitable for doy, pillow, flat bottom bags and pouches.
  • Compact footprint leads to less hardware and offers manufacturers unparalleled machine accessibility.

TriVex® CLi

Advantages of Douglas’ TriVex CLi top loaders include:
  • Ideal for Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) products such as non-free flowing frozen potatoes and vegetables, as well as pillow and gusseted bag product applications requiring flat and vertical bag orientations.
  • The integrated case erector, upright and flat pack flexibility and large size range meet market demand for case packing both retail and food service bags.
  • The convertible cassette pivots to easily reposition to horizontal or vertical mode which reduces parts and changeover time.

3. Bottom Load

Douglas’ primary bottom loader, the Ascend™, allows for an automation alternative when top loading is not a suitable solution.


Advantages of Douglas’ Ascend bottom loader include:
  • Provides an ideal solution for heavy products that are a challenge to pick and place during loading. Capable of loading hard to pack items such as tubs, jugs, bottles and cartons.
  • Features a gentle handling process, which is great for products that are fragile and require delicate handling.
  • Servo motions with active case flap folding.

4. Tray Packing

Douglas’ Contour™ tray packers provide product collating and tray packing solutions. Ideal for applications without shrink wrapping or where stand-alone machines are preferred.


Advantages of Douglas’ Contour Tray Packers include:
  • Speeds from 30 cycles up to 150 cycles per minute.
  • Versatility and exceptional performance.
  • Available as stand alone continuous motion tray packers or can be integrated with a Contour shrink wrapper.

Working with Douglas Machine Inc.

Through technology, innovation and dedication, Douglas strives to enrich lives by providing differentiated packaging automation and services. Part of this service is to be the industry leader in the service and support that our employee owners provide to our customers. Throughout every facet of our company, we approach our work through the foundation of our core principles of unwavering integrity, continuous innovation and improvement, ownership spirit and servant’s heart. By doing so, our customers receive the peace-of-mind that no matter who they are working with in our organization, they are receiving dedicated and inspired service and support. By choosing Douglas Machine to build your case and tray packer, you’re getting much more than a top-of-the-line product. You’re also receiving a complete customer-driven experience to guide you throughout the process! Contact us today to discuss your application needs and to learn how our case and tray packers can provide the right solution.

Rich in History … There’s More to the Story of Douglas Machine Inc.

We’re excited to announce the launch of our blog, and to welcome all who are reading it! Our goal is to share information with you about the secondary packaging industry that aims to inform, educate and excite! We hope you join us as we share topics and trends relevant to the packaging industry. By sharing our insight and approach to the industry, we hope to help bring you one step closer to making secondary packaging decisions that are right for your business and ones that will deliver success.

Employee Owned, Customer Driven.

Welcome to Douglas

What makes someone want to start a packaging company? How about $5 and a dream. It takes a lot of courage and a big dose of motivation to start a company with only a $5.00 sale. Bud Thoen did just that and founded Douglas Machine in 1964. Today Douglas has grown to over 600 employee owners. Working at Douglas is more than a job. It’s a career. We hope you stop by our blog regularly to learn about our rich history, learn about our industry and learn ways in which Douglas can do more for you.

Rich in History

Douglas was founded with a vision to invent and build exceptional automated packaging machinery. In 1966, Vern Anderson joined Bud. Later that year, the company sold its first machine to Curtis Candy Company for $6,476. From the very beginning, a deep appreciation for our customers’ ongoing trust has been the fuel that drives Douglas to be a great supplier. In the year 2000, Douglas became 100% employee owned, providing our employees with a vested interest in the company. Our growth and success are the result of our employees’ hard work and dedication to Bud’s vision of building innovative packaging machinery.

Mission and Values Add More to Our Story

Our employees are what makes our company strong. Douglas employees know they are valued and that they are vital in the success of the company. We have a strong mission and values that guide our company and employee owners.   Our mission is to enrich lives by providing differentiated packaging automation and services. We are able to do just that through our values. The core of our values is an abiding respect for biblically-based business principles. To us this means conducting business in a manner that is legal, ethical, moral and healthy to the faith-based spiritual life of every employee owner, customer, supplier and competitor. Our values are a testament to how we live our lives each work day.
  • Unwavering Integrity: We refuse to compromise our ethics and high professional standards in order to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Servant’s Heart: We possess a never-ending desire to serve and support others.
  • Ownership Spirit: Our passion for employee ownership is demonstrated in everything we do.
  • Continuous Innovation and Improvement: We challenge the status quo and strive for excellence in all our work.
We are dedicated to enriching the lives of our employee owners. Our outstanding team of employees care about each other, our customers and the community. At Douglas it’s not just what we do — it’s who we are.

Serving the Packaging Industry

For over 50 years, Douglas has built high-quality automated secondary packaging solutions for our customers. We are a global leader in providing solutions for corrugated, shrink film and paperboard materials. We specialize in the design and manufacture of case & tray packers, shrink wrap systems, cartoners, sleevers, multipackers and palletizers. Based in Alexandria, Minnesota, Douglas has installed more than 9,000 machines in over 30 countries. As a 100% employee-owned company, we are empowered to make decisions, take educated and calculated risks, and do what we feel is right to best serve our customers. Every day, we partner with our customers to be productive and save money through our continuous improvement solutions. We are driven each and every day to provide more solutions for our customers and for the industry. Douglas Technical Support provides unparalleled in-house, field technical support. Available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, our experienced technicians provide you with superior knowledge and quick, clear responsiveness.

Serving the Community

Douglas employee-owners are proud of our community and genuinely care about those who live within it. In looking for a way to give back and improve the quality of life in this community, Douglas created The Douglas Machine Foundation. This foundation utilizes the philanthropic resources of Douglas Machine for community needs. The Foundation’s mission is to provide financial support to non-profit organizations that focus on community improvement through United Way, social services, education and various faith-based initiatives. Douglas Machine’s Community Stewardship encompasses all aspects of its philanthropy including Foundation contributions, volunteerism and in-kind gifts

Caring for our Employees

Our employees matter … and so does their health. To provide quality care for our employees and their families, we established Douglas Health, our very own company clinic. Douglas Health is a clinic exclusive to Douglas Machine employees, spouses and dependent family members participating in their employee health plan or for employees that have elected clinic coverage through Douglas. The clinic enriches lives through health and wellness by offering a personal level of quality care, affordable services and convenience … all just for our employees! The greatest benefit to our employees and their families is that the trusted and professional healthcare experts at Douglas Health not only provide quality healthcare, they can offer their onsite services without the high price tag most people are experiencing today. A sampling of the services provided onsite, at no cost, are wellness and health maintenance, chronic care, simple acute care, lab testing, and prescription medication.

Employee Owners Caring for You

Pride of ownership is our way of ensuring that nobody works harder to give you more. Working with Douglas, you’ll experience an entire organization that’s committed to exceeding your expectations. In every aspect of your relationship with us, you will experience 100% commitment to a partnership that ensures your brand is represented with quality, integrity and pride. You’ll experience more friendly and responsive attitudes, more dedication to quality and craftsmanship, and more uncompromising customer support .You’ll quickly discover that nobody does it like Douglas. We invite you to check back in with us and read our blog on a regular basis. We want to partner with you, serve you and learn with you. Contact us today for all of your secondary packaging needs. At Douglas, we are Employee Owned. Customer Driven.