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    Shrink Sleeve Labels

    Packaging labels are important for shelf appeal, brand recognition, and consumer loyalty.  Shrink sleeve labels, also known as shrink labels, provide brand owners several advantages over other label formats, allowing much more coverage area to place their unique branding and marketing from top-to-bottom on all 360° of a container, such as a bottle, can, or canister.  

    While beverage containers predominate the use of shrink sleeve labels, innovation within the packaging space has led to the adoption of shrink sleeve labels for many different containers of contents, such as cleaning products, cosmetics, and powdered supplements.  

Shrink Sleeve Label Processing

Typically, shrink sleeve labels are made of polyester, polyethylene, or PVC plastic films. These films have been pre-printed with designs and information that are sized to wrap and display appropriately around a specific container. When applying the printed label to the container, heat is used to shrink and seal the plastic label around the bottle, can, or other types of package. Due to the heat-sensitive nature of some of the plastic films used in shrink labels, excessively high heat must be avoided during shrink label manufacturing.

Shrink Sleeve Label Adhesion

An adhesive is often applied beforehand to the shrink sleeve film, allowing it to stay firmly in place and not rotate around the container during handling. This adhesive is a heat-sealable coating, or heat seal coating, which is a thermoplastic coating that may be used to seal a flexible substrate to a rigid substrate. In the case of shrink sleeves, the heat seal coating adheres the shrink sleeve film to the container.

When applied to shrink sleeve films, heat seal coatings are not tacky until they are heat activated above a specific temperature, known as the "activation temperature.” Once activated, the heat seal coating can form bonds and adhere substrates together. This property is leveraged effectively with shrink sleeve labels since heat is required to shrink the film to fit the intended container.

Due to the heat sensitivity of the films mentioned in the previous section, the heat seal coating cannot have an activation temperature higher than what the shrink sleeve film can tolerate. Therefore, a heat seal coating that is specifically designed for shrink sleeves must be used.

Heat Seal Coating Adhesives for Shrink Sleeve Labels

Grade Family "Apply to Substrate" "Seal to Substrate" Supplied Solids Activation Temperature Coating Weight (lbs/ream)
ADCOTE™ 37R972 Water-Based Heat Seal Coating PET, Foil, Paper PET, PVC 45% 170°F 1.5
ADCOTE™ HS 33-193 Solvent-Based Heat Seal Coating PET, Foil, PE, PP, PVC PET, Foil, PE, PP, PVC 25% 190°F 3.0 - 5.0


Brand owners in many industries, such as food and beverage, personal care, and household cleaning supplies, benefit from the use of shrink sleeve labels to market their goods. Bottles, cans, spray canisters, and other containers are packaging examples that allow for full wrap-around coverage to present information and unique branding. Shrink sleeve labels often require adhesives to adhere the label better onto the container, and the right adhesive must be used to avoid damage to the label material. Dow's heat seal coatings are engineered to activate and bond at the right temperature and to a wide variety of plastic films used in shrink sleeves.

Contact us below to request a sample or a quote for a heat seal coating to use in your shrink sleeve label packaging project. ​

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