Shrink wrapping is an efficient process that improves businesses in multiple ways. It lowers costs of transportation, reduces the amount of secondary packaging products needed, and helps protect products during shipment processes. Shrink wrap saves businesses time while cutting down on losses due to product damage and labor costs. There are a few issues that can arise with this method of shipping preparation. Explore the most common shrink-wrapping problems and how to solve them.

Dog Ears

One of the most common and easy-to-identify shrink wrap problems, dog ears are small, triangular shaped portions of packaging, so named for resembling the triangle ears of a dog. They are a sign of shrink film that wasn’t shrunk enough. This is caused by insufficient shrinking and can make packaging more difficult to open, and the dog ears can be sharp and dangerous for consumers to handle.

As common of an issue as dog ears are in the shrink-wrapping world, it’s quite simple to solve once you know what caused the issue in the first place.

The Solution

There are a couple solutions to this exceptionally common and potentially dangerous problem.

  • Check the heat of your shrink gun, machine, or tunnel. Ensure it’s reaching the designed temperature so it can properly shrink the shrink film without creating or melting the actual product or primary packaging.
  • Reduce the film width. Sometimes dog ears are caused by machines or workers using too large of film, making the corners unable to shrink properly.

If all else fails, contact your shrink-wrapping machine’s manufacturer for more information and for shrink wrap machine troubleshooting to check for faults and other easy-to-fix issues.

Fish Eyes

Fish eyes look exactly as they sound: round patterns that show up on film after the shrinking process. It’s a clue that the shrink wrap was not properly shrunk. Fish eyes make packaging look hastily put together. It can have negative effects on your brand, making the product look thrown together and haphazardly wrapped.

The Solution

Fish eyes are often formed because the shirk wrap isn’t shrunk at high enough temperatures. Consider these solutions:

  • Check the heating element of your machine
  • Provide your machinery with regular maintenance
  • Contact your machine’s manufacturer for larger maintenance requests and more information on potential heating malfunctions.

This is a problem the companies should aim to fix immediately as it can affect brand image and sales.

Crow’s Feet

Crow’s feet on packaging are similar to the crow’s feet, or fine lines, on an aging face. These lines show up like little wrinkles on the corners of packages just as they do in the corners of eyes. It’s not uncommon to find crow’s feet in conjunction with dog ears. They are caused by similar things and the solutions are not too different from each other.

The Solution

Crow’s feet are generally caused by using too much shrink film on the corners of the product, specifically. It can also be caused by insufficient heating of the packaging. Here are the quick solutions to this cosmetic error.

  • Check that your machine’s heating element is producing the exact right amount of heat to shrink the entirety of the film across the product.
  • Apply extra heat or another round of heat to the areas where crow’s feet are present.

Angel hair

This is a common, yet particularly minor issue, that many operations deal with. Angel hairs are thin strands of plastic stretching from the actual product to the sealed part of the film. While this issue doesn’t pose a real threat to consumers or products, it can still be a nuisance. Angel hairs commonly form when the sealing wire or sealing bar aren’t reaching the recommended temperatures. This causes the wrap to stretch off of the wire before it has time for a complete cut.

The Solution

There a few solutions that can help fix a reoccurring angel hair problem in your facility.

  • Ensure the sealing wire or bar is working properly.
  • Check the temperature of the sealing wire or bar.
  • Check on the clamp pressure. Sometimes, an uneven clamp can cause some parts of the film to cut perfectly and others to have a choppy cut.

Although crow’s feet are mainly a cosmetic issue, products must look attractive and professionally packaged to gain the trust of the consumer. People will always reach for the attractively packaged item over one with crow’s feet.


Ballooning is when shrink film creates balloon type structures. This is when the shrink film expands inside the pouch after being sealed. This issue is very severe as it can compromise the protection of the product, create an unsightly appearance, and make product load unitization more difficult to achieve. Ballooning is caused by the exposure of hot air to film after it’s sealed.

The Solution

Ballooning is one of the most unattractive and difficult packaging machine problems to troubleshoot. If this is a recurring issue for a facility, try these two solutions.

  • Switch shrink wrap suppliers. Switching to a pre-perforated film helps prevent ballooning. This film has tiny holes throughout the entire roll of film, allowing air to escape rather than bubble up.
  • Avoid exposing sealed packages to excess air. This is more effective coupled with a pre-perforated film but can help alone as well.

Splitting Seals

Although all other common shrink-wrapping problems and how to solve them include an animal in the name, splitting seals doesn’t refer to the loveable sea creature. Splitting seals is when the seals of a package are spliced, come apart, or cannot properly contain the product and burst. This is the most costly and detrimental shrink-wrapping problem an operation can run into.

The Solution

There are a few different causes, and therefore a few different solutions for this issue.

  • Invest in thicker, more high-quality film. Cutting corners by purchasing cheap, flimsy film will cost you in the long run. Always invest in the best for your business.
  • Inspect your film roll. Sometimes a roll of even the most quality film can be a dud. Try changing film rolls to see if the issue resolves itself.
  • Clean the sealing wire and check its temperature. Sealing wires that are too hot or too cold can cause seals to split.
  • Check your clamp’s pressure. Uneven clamp pressure can cause a seal to not be properly applied to a product.

When seals are splitting, it’s critical that operations address the issue immediately. Ignoring this problem leads to excessive product damage, packaging waste, and more.

These are the main problems operations typically encountered when using shrink wrap to prepare packages for shipment. Investing in the right machine is the best fix to most shrink wrapping and secondary packaging problems. Contact Robopac USA to find the perfect machine for you. Our machines employ superior technology, making our stretch wrappers, case packer machines, and shrink-wrapping equipment the best choice for your business.

Common Shrink-Wrapping Problems and How To Solve Them