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Stretch Film Vs Shrink Film -What is the difference?

Stretch wrap and shrink wrap are the top two packaging solutions that most businesses rely on when it comes to keeping palletized goods secure while in transit, retail, and storage. Both terms, shrink wrap and stretch wrap, are used interchangeably causing it to be tough to differentiate as both stretch film and shrink film appear alike. Let’s discover the differences between the two, and which is best suited for your business.


Stretch Film/Wrap

This type of film is used to secure packaged goods on a skid. As you wrap this around a pallet, tension is applied, allowing the film itself to stretch/extend over 200%. The constructive force (tension) is what holds the shipment in place. This film is generally made from polyethylene.

Discover the different kinds of stretch film we offer.

  1. Hand stretch film 

Hand stretch film is used to secure loads by a manual procedure. The film rolls are usually shorter and lighter in weight than any other stretch film. These hand rolls are usually between 1,000 and 2,000 feet long, with the most

common roll length being 1,500 feet. This film typically ranges between a 30-130-gauge thickness, most popular being the standard 80Ga. The 80-gauge film usually has a 75%-150% stretch rate depending on the manufacturer. Hand stretch film is popular among low-volume packaging operations.






  1. Machine Stretch Film

This film is designed to be utilized with a stretch wrap machine. Machine stretch film is typically used in environments that have high-volume packaging operations. Next, we will learn about the different types of machine stretch film:


Pre-stretched film 


This film has been pre-stretched during the manufacturing process. Meaning, it has been stretched closely to its breaking point, approximately 90%, and then rolled onto cores. Because of this process, these films have thinner gauges than your usual stretch film. Pre-stretched film is known for good shrinkage, self-adhesion, thick texture, high transparency, and a high puncture resistance.  Some advantages of using this type of stretch film are that there is less waste disposal, less transportation energy consumption, and less exhaust emissions.


Cast stretch film  


This film is created through a cast extrusion process. This is when heated resins are fed through multiple cooled rollers which then solidify the stretch film. This process is cost-effective and is less expensive than the blown film process. This film is known as a general-purpose wrap and can be used various environments for a wide range of tasks.






Blown stretch film 


Like the cast film, this type of film uses its own process called the blown extrusion process. Heated resins are blown into a bubble which is then converted into a sheet. The sheet is then rolled and put on a core.  This film is a bit more expensive than the cast film, but is much stronger, has a greater puncture resistance, and has more stretch. Therefore, you can get more with less which means there is not a significant difference in cost savings either way.


Read on to discover about shrink film.

Shrink Film/Wrap

Shrink film is generally used to wrap the product itself rather than the cased goods on a pallet. This film is used on products like fresh produce, electronics, frozen food, and other goods. When heat is applied to this film, the plastic shrinks tightly around the product within to fit appropriately. The heat is applied with either an electric or gas heat gun or, a conveyer heat tunnel.


Continue to discover the types of shrink film.


  1. Polyolefin Shrink Film

With 80% shrinking properties and better transparency, polyolefin shrink film remains odourless when heated or cooled. This film is best used to wrap food products like cauliflower, cabbage, meat, bakery items and frozen pizza. It can also be used for non-food products such as beverage bottles, candles, cosmetics and much more. Polyolefin film is also printable.


  1. Polyethylene Shrink Film

Polyethylene offers less transparency and lower clarity than other films but carries thicker characteristics, making it more durable. This film tightens itself around a product using cool air during the last stage of the packaging process. Polyethylene film can reach a thickness of up to 1200 gauges. This type of film is generally used for applications like wrapping boats, multi-pack beverages, and other heavy items.

If you are still unsure of what film is best for wrapping your products, reach out to our sales team and we’ll have one of our wrapping gurus stop by!

Sustainable Void Fill – Reduce Plastic Usage!

The main priority when packaging products is to ensure they are protected. Void fill is a protective packaging material which is used to cushion or pad your product so that it does not shift in transit. This is also known as a “filler”, and is purposed to fill the empty spaces in your packaging boxes.

The 2022 Buying Green report found that consumers are 57% less likely to buy products in packaging they consider harmful to the environment, proving sustainable packaging is of high importance to many consumers. Read on and explore your options for eco-friendly void fill, so you can make the switch from foam or plastic, to sustainable alternatives!

Biodegradable Peanuts

One of the most well-known void fill option is packaging peanuts. Little peanut-shaped foam pellets are used as a filler, in bulk, to prevent movement in packages. However, as eco-friendly alternatives increase in popularity, there are now biodegradable peanuts available. These are not only cost-competitve, but also protect and cushion with the same quality as regular polystyrene peanuts. You are saving money, and the planet, all while protecting your product!





Bio-Film and Paper Pillows

AirWave® bio-film and PaperWave paper pillows are excellent alternatives for your void fill needs. Paper pillows are made from 80% recycled paper, making them biodegradable and fully waste paper compliant. These simply disolve with paper waste and/or biowaste. This product also carries the RESY symbol (DIN 6120) which allows for easy-sorting as paper waste in waste paper systems. In addition, bio-film pillows are made from potato starch and maize starch, making them composed of renewable raw resources which are fully compostable and 100% biodegradable. When discarded of, bio-film takes three months to break down; used bio-film can also be composted in your home!

Both paper, and bio-film pillows, require AirWave® machines. Please visit for more info

Green Line Paper

This void fill option is made from 100% recycled paper and is compatible with Fillpak and Trident fanfold converters. Green Line paper is a fantastic shock absorber, and protects fragile items from the adverse conditions which can arise in the shipping process. This voidfill paper is FSC®-certified, curbside recyclable, renewable, and biodegradable. Going Green Line is an economical and easy-to-use void fill solution, which scores cost-savings!

If you are unable to determine the best choice of void-fill material for your needs, contact us and we’ll send a packaging expert your way to assist you better!

Thermal Transfer vs Direct Thermal Labels

Thermal Transfer Vs Direct Thermal Labels

Proper and effective labelling is a mandatory requirement in most supply chain processes.  There are many different types of labels used for different applications, and determining which type suits your needs best, can be challenging. Read on to learn about the difference between thermal transfer labels and direct thermal labels, so you can ensure you’re choosing the most suitable type for your application.

Thermal Transfer (TT) Labels

How do they work?

Thermal Transfer labels require heat to produce an image. A thermal ribbon is placed onto the label at the printhead,  which then acts as a buffer between the printhead section, and the material of the label.  The printhead area then heats up and begins transferring the ink that’s on the ribbon, onto the label.

What are they used for?

Printing using the thermal transfer method produces high-quality images and dark text for clarity. This process is best known for its quick speed, user-friendliness, and overall effectiveness.  TT labels are best for long-life applications. They are scratch resistant, rub resistant, and can last up to two years. TT labels are more durable than direct thermal labels, and can adapt to exposure from sunlight, heat, and chemicals, much better than other labels.

TT labels are your go-to if you are looking to print healthcare industry labels, such as laboratory labels, or inventory identification labels. TT labels are also used for industrial, chemical, and warehouse labelling.


Direct Thermal (DT) Labels

How do they work?

Direct Thermal labels are made from heat-sensitive paper that has ink embedded within the material. These do not require a ribbon, ink, or toner. DT labels produce desired text or image by a process where the synthetic base of the paper meets the hot temperature of the printhead, and then changes its colour before cooling down.

What are they used for?

DT labels are most suited for short to medium life applications. These work well in a low-heat and high-moisture environments, which means they’re great for packages in the frozen/chilled food sectors. DT labels are simple to use, cost effective, and have a high productivity rate as there are no ribbon changes. DT labels are suitable for most common requirements.

DT labels are great for shipping, warehouse, and dispatch labels. They are also a perfect solution for inserts, tags, cards, and retail price labelling.

Fun fact: To check if it’s a thermal transfer or direct thermal label, take the label and scratch it quickly and hardly with your fingernail. If a dark mark appears, it is a direct thermal label, and if no dark mark appears, that means it’s a thermal transfer label!

Keypak offers labels, ribbons, along with data servers and printers, for all your essential packaging label requirements.

Check out our options here!

Not sure what you’re looking for? Have one of our reps stop by to assist you better!


Grip Systems

Grip Systems

Grip Film- Unique Self-Gripping Stretch Film

 Grip Film is a high-yield, lightweight, sustainable solution that is used globally to reduce clients’ carbon footprints, with a reduced consumption of up to 50% material. Which means there is less plastic needed per wrap, which results in huge cost and waste savings

Why choose Grip Wrap?

  • 40% Reduction in Time, Waste and Cost
  • High Strength and Puncture Resistance
  • Guaranteed Load Stability
  • Climate Resistance
  • Easier, lighter, and faster to unwind, control and apply

Grip Film is also available in other colours such as: Black, Blue, Yellow, Red and Green.

Why Coloured Film?

  • Conceals valuable goods to deter light
  • Protects shipments from harmful UV light
  • Visually identify shipments
  • Quiet unwind cast film

Grip Stretch Film Dispenser- Innovative Pallet Wrap Technology

This system offers a variety of benefits to maximize safety and improve load stability. Weighing less than 1kg, the easy-to-use Grip Applicator is ergonomically designed to reduce health and safety risks related to single hand wrapping and improve efficiency by 40%.

Key Features of the Applicator

  • Twist lock film tensioning- user can set desired film tension with the lightweight tension mechanism
  • Magnetized dispenser- the applicator can stick to any metal surface in the warehouse which eliminates tripping hazards from loose rolls of film, on the floor
  • Super lightweight and easy to use- less than 1 kg -eliminates any strain on the operator and improves wrapping time and quality
  • Rapid roll change systems- core of the Grip Film is designed to line effortlessly with the Grip dispenser-provides maximum control and rapid roll change


 How it works

  • Drop the roll of film into the dispenser
  • Set the perfect tension
  • Securely wrap your load
  • Remove and replace roll

Grip Systems Video

Below you will find a short demonstration video of the grip film and dispenser.





For information on Grip Systems, please email our sales team at
For any marketing inquiries, please email us at

Your feedback is always welcome.

KeyGifts Program

Who doesn’t love freebies?

Our KeyGift program allows our customers to add one gift of their choice to their order based on the dollar value spent.


Tier 1 – $350                                                         Tier 6- $2,500

Tier 2- $550                                                          Tier 7- $4,000

Tier 3 – $850                                                         Tier 8- $6,500

Tier 4- $1,100                                                        Tier 9- $8,750

Tier 5- $1,400                                                        Tier 10- $10,000

If you spend over $350, you can choose a gift from the $350 tier. If you spend over $550, you can choose a gift from either the 350 or 550 tier and so on.

Keypak offers a selection of gifts from brands including YETI®, NHL, Oakley®, Callaway, and Keypak.

Please visit to view our KeyGifts

Qualifying KeyGifts must be requested at the time of checkout and cannot be granted after the order has been processed.

For further information on our KeyGift program, please email our marketing team at

Closing the Gap!

Closing cartons in your packaging department? Having any tape issues? Chances are you are in the 1 in 10 category of tape users that run into packaging challenges when closing their cardboard cartons. If you are using polypropylene carton sealing tape (which the majority of users are), any issues with carton closing are focused on the tape. The reality is, 90% of so-called tape issues are proven to be caused by other factors, such as:

  1. Operator training and correct usage
  2. Environmental conditions (dust, dirt, dampness)
  3. Material content of the cartons

Recently a fourth has started showing itself – “the Gap”.

In the race to find cost-saving efficiencies, cardboard manufacturers have been shrinking the flaps on an RSC carton which to the casual observer, doesn’t mean anything. However, when these flaps are closed and the box about to be sealed, a gap that should be tight, or with a very small gap, is now up to ½” in width. If the operator is sealing the flaps with 2” width tape, this leaves only ¾” of tape on either side of the gap. On a large carton, the need to keep the tape straight on this narrow area is a challenge, and can mean that often there is even less than ¾” width on each side.

So what is the solution?

More tape?

No, wider tape!

Moving from a 2” (48mm) width tape to 3” (72mm) width will ensure that there is both extra tape to corrugated coverage, but also some “wiggle room” for the operator when applying the tape. And with 1 pass of the 3” tape, time & money are saved versus putting on several strips of 2” tape.

Keypak offers a wide selection of 3″ tape; from acrylic, hot melt, printed, and paper tape, you’re sure to find the perfect match for your application.

Not sure which tape is the best solution for you? Contact us to have one of our reps stop by!

1.866.566.2457  |

A safe alternative to steel strapping!

Steel strapping has long been used where strength is required to hold down or constrain heavy objects or shipments. This is due to the perception that “steel is strong” and the assumption that it is the only thing strong enough for those heavy loads.

If you are using steel strapping to secure your outgoing shipments or internal product transport and storage, it’s time to look at another option. Whether your loads are heavy, light, bulky and irregular or uniform there is a solution that will make using steel strap seem like an ancient method from the distant past. That solution is polyester strapping. Polyester strapping has been around since the 60’s but never really made it into the limelight until more recently. It is available in different styles to suit what you are using it for and out-performs steel at almost every turn. How does it out-perform?

    There are no sharp edges when Polyester strapping is cut, and it does not spring back like steel banding. This quality offers a safer user environment to employees, customers and machinery.
    Polyester strapping is as strong as steel with comparable break strengths. Due to the elongation properties and it’s ability to absorb shock, Polyester strapping requires more energy to break. It is also five times lighter allowing for ease and flexibility of use.
    The soft and flexible texture of the strapping protects the most sensitive products reducing the need for additional protective materials. It is safe on virtually all surfaces which minimizes waste and eliminates costly re-work. Polyester strapping does not corrode, rust, or stain your products.
    Polyester strapping is a cost effective alternative to steel strapping and eliminates the “hidden costs” such as; damaged products,  worker injury and tooling repair costs. Polyester strapping tools are only a fraction of the cost to buy and maintain as well as having a longer use life. Only a single tool is needed to tension and secure Polyester strap and the wear and tear is minimal. Repair costs when required are also much lower than steel strapping tools.
    Polyester strapping is environmentally-friendly and disposal is hassle-free. Polyester strapping eliminates the need for any specialized disposal equipment and can be put with regular industrial waste or effectively recycled. It can also be re-tensioned if required and the strap and buckle can be re-used in some applications.
    Polyester strapping uses a steel wire buckle to secure the ends creating the strongest joint available. Joint efficiency is the measurement that is calculated to determine what the actual strength of a strap is and at what point the band will fail. The joint itself is the weakest point of the strap applied to your load and is affected many factors like the tool used, condition of your banding tool, the banding itself, and seals. Polyester strap when installed correctly, can attain almost a 90% joint efficiency, which is 10 – 20% higher than steel.
    Your company name and/or logo can be printed directly on the strap for security or a cost effective brand building strategy.

KEYPAK stocks Polyester strapping in various sizes and types. If you want to see how this can make your workplace safer and more efficient, call us today!

TOLL FREE 866.566.2457

Stretch wrapper maintenance?

Establishing a proper equipment maintenance program can be very important. Without a proper protocol to keep a stretch wrap machine (or any sort of machine for that matter) in perfect function, it can be very challenging to run a stable, consistent business. Certainly, having regular checkups and tests is a smart idea, however, it is far better to have an established checklist and specific protocol for which to diagnose and solve problems which can arise when a piece of machinery is being used constantly. COHS states that without regular maintenance of all machinery, the work environment is considered hazardous and dangerous.
Laying out a protocol for equipment maintenance sounds like quite the challenge, but in truth, it is fairly simple. Think of it like a checklist. A simple, yet static manner of diagnostics are perfect for a structure. Organizing everything in an “If, Then” manner, means that every possible problem that a machine can have must be checked before moving on to the next, or solving it. In this manner, you can ensure that maintenance is performed in the exact same manner each time, and fixing any common problems that may (and realistically eventually will) arise.

Of course, with a stretch wrap machine, there are only so many common problems that can arise. For this reason, each checklist based system must have a manner of freedom to it, once all the check points have been done. It’s very important to have a skilled, trained individual performing these programs, or at least doing the final check-over.

This maintenance program must be rigid. It must be performed at a set interval, for example once a week, at the end of the week. Having an actual, physical checklist is also important, not only does it make certain that the individual performing the check knows how to do their tasks, and in what order, but it also means that it is potentially possible to keep records of maintenance. This means that should a larger problem be diagnosed within a final, free form check over, logs of previous maintenance can be read and reviewed to try and pinpoint not only what the exact problem is, but figure out where it came from, so either the person who did the maintenance can be taught to do it better, or an error in the protocol can be corrected.

Machinery with moving parts (or really any sort of machinery), particularly stretch wrap machinery, are prone to various malfunctions. Things can get caught up, small parts can break, and overall function can be impaired. It is highly imperative therefore to create a specific, “If, Then” style checklist for regular equipment maintenance. Not only is it the safe thing to do, but it is the productive, and smart thing to do for any business which may be using a stretch wrap machine.

A large percentage of machine film malfunctions are results of the machine wrappers not being “married” to the appropriate stretch film. At KEYPAK, we are dedicated to making sure you receive the appropriate stretch film to wrap the right load application that marries with the right machine film wrapper. Our trained service personnel can assist with your ongoing maintenance requirements to keep everything running at peak performance.

To find out more about KEYPAK visit our website,

Struggling to keep your boxes closed?

Water-activated paper tape is one of the best choices you can make for securely and quickly sealing cardboard cartons. While there are many different tape options, none of them are as green & secure as water-activated tape. And, not only is it secure but is completely recyclable meaning it doesn’t have to be removed from boxes to be recycled. Water-activated paper tape is also biodegradable helping to lower your company’s environmental impact.

With the heat of summer and its humidity or the chill of winter, keeping packages securely closed is always an important consideration. Dust, rain, humidity and extreme temperatures all work to unseal even the most carefully placed tape. This is where you can win with water-activated tape. The durability of water-activated paper tape makes it the perfect choice for closing those hard to seal packages and keeping them that way.

Unlike pressure sensitive adhesives like masking tape or standard packaging tape, the adhesive on water-activated tape penetrates the surface of the cardboard container and bonds with it, creating an extremely secure seal. This additional bonding not only keeps the cartons closed like they should be but keeps the package from being tampered with. Since the tape is impossible to remove intact, these tamper-evident seals will allow you to ship your product without worrying about theft or tampering. You will be able to save money and have less liability for the boxes once they leave your facility.

Water-activated paper tapes are available with standard printed messages or can also be printed with your company’s logo or message. This is a great way to further increase the security of your package while giving your marketing efforts a boost, all for a minimal cost per package

Keeping Profit in the bottom line!

In the 3PL and distribution ring, getting shipments out the door, on time, every time with no in-transit damage are key to the bottom line. Increased labor & transportation costs along with growing global competition means that cutting costs and increasing efficiencies are key to maximizing revenue.

A major contributor to the expense ledger are the consumables that are required but seldom directly recovered on the profit side. One of the single largest line items is pallet wrap which is increasing in use due to its ability to unitize loads effectively and efficiently. The cost of pallet wrap is not the sticker price on the product itself however. In order to accurately assess what this cost actually is, how it can be reduced and what the impact will be requires the answer to three questions;

  • What are the dimensions (length and width) of one load; and how many revolutions of wrap are being put on that load? Also take into account whether the loads are typically nice and square or irregular.
  • What is the true gauge, width, and length of the current film being used? Is it working appropriately with no load failures?
  • What brand of stretch film equipment is being used? All stretch film equipment manufacturers have their own designs specifically relating to how film is stretched through the carriage head and delivered to the load. It is important to know how each design affects the delivery and stretch of the film.

Answering these questions can be done without much difficulty, but analyzing how the answers impact costs saving is a bit more difficult. The good news is that KEYPAK has developed a system to make this easy as well. Utilizing specialized test equipment and recognized metrics we are able to calculate an accurate and documented cost-per-load.
In addition to the analytics, KEYPAK has a line of patented stretch films that have the ability to outperform the competition enabling additional savings potential. PowerWrap™ is an evolutionary machine film that is changing the way the industry wraps pallets. This film offers exceptional load containment and control, outstanding holding force, and unbelievable puncture resistance while reducing the cost-per-load shipped. This is a machine film that delivers impressive performance… and puts the most profit back into your bottom line!

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