Did you know heat shrink tubing is used for many everyday products both at home and throughout various industries? If you are in the electronics or equipment manufacturing industries, you know the importance of using high-quality heat shrink tubing for your projects, as a better alternative to electrical tape
As a versatile product, heat shrink tubing has many benefits, but it may not work in every situation. It’s important to select the correct size, length, and material of the tubing for the most beneficial result. Depending on your specific needs, you can also opt for custom-printed heat shrink tubing with your company name or logo to help boost your business.
What Is Heat Shrink Tubing?
For clarification, heat shrink tubing is a thermoplastic tubing that is designed to shrink down to a tight fit around a product when heated. As a critical component of any electrical setup, this type of tubing can be used to insulate and protect wires, conductors, and terminals from moisture, wear and tear, and abrasion. Heat shrink also protects the wiring from shorts and failures and can eliminate fire hazards.
What Are the Different Types of Heat Shrink Tubing You Can Use?
The type of heat shrink tubing you need for your project depends on the item that needs to be protected or insulated. There are two key types of heat shrink tubing to select depending on weather moisture protection is required or not.
- Single Wall Tubing
Single wall tubing is very flexible and suitable for many applications. Made of polyolefin, it is commonly used for protection of enclosed wires and cables. This thin tubing works primarily as an electrical insulator and also for wire identification.
There are two standard shrink ratios: 2:1 and 3:1. The shrink ratio determines how much the diameter of the tubing shrinks when heated to ensure a proper fit. Single wall tubing is available in several colors on various size spools, or in 4-foot-long pieces. It also has excellent flexibility and high flame-resistance, as well as a low shrink temperature of 90ºC (194ºF).
- Dual Wall Tubing
Dual wall tubing has an additional inner wall lining of dry adhesive which melts and flows when heated. Combined with the outer wall of thermoplastic it is a better option for projects that require protection from corrosion and dampness. It provides an extra corrosive and moisture barrier for mechanical and electrical uses.
Dual wall tubing is two standard shrink ratios, 3 :1 and 4:1.
What Are the Different Heat Shrink Tubing Materials You Can Use?
Heat shrink tubing is widely available in various thermoplastic materials. Depending on the project, tubing can be manufactured from adhesive-lined polyolefin, neoprene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP), elastomeric, and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDE).
The most popular and user-friendly tube material, however, is polyolefin due to its durable and flexible properties. Polyolefin heat shrink tubing is made from a nontoxic, break-resistant material that is also odorless. It’s popular in the manufacturing and repair of many electrical components and in the transportation industries (e.g. trains, planes and automobiles)
Polyolefin can tolerate temperatures up to 135°C or 275°F. The high resistance to chemicals, abrasion, and moisture provides superior protection.
Why Use Heat Shrinkable Tubing?
Application of heat shrink tubing for product protection and insulation is only one of the constructive uses of the manufactured good. Whether it is standard shrink tubing or custom heat shrink in the U.S. and Canada, there are many other functions of the tubing.
- Increases Strength
Heat shrink tubing helps to improve the strength of the wiring and cables, regardless of the positioning. The tubing acts as another layer of the wire and cable to prevent breakage or damage from outside sources.
- Improves Heat Resistance
Polyolefin heat shrink tubing is designed to be flame retardant and resist very cold and elevated temperatures. This particular feature is an additional benefit for wires and connectors left exposed to the elements.
- Easy to Install
Heat shrink tubing is as easy as 1-2-3 to install. Once the diameter of the targeted product is known, choose an appropriate shrink tubing size. Be sure the length of the tubing is a bit longer as the heat shrink can shrink in length up to 10% when heated.
Slide the tubing over the product and use a heat gun to apply heat along the length of the tube. Rotate the wiring and maintain the back-and-forth motion to properly displace the heat.
- Protects the Wires and Cables
As a protector of wires and cables, heat shrink tubing helps to prevent abrasion, cutting, and low-forced blunt hits to the wiring. By covering the connectors and terminals, tubing prevents moisture from rainfall, spills, oils, and chemicals from damage.
- Long Lasting
As an insulator, shrink tubing is bonded tightly, surrounding the wires like a coat. The same function applies to the connectors. Unlike many wire insulators, heat shrink tubing does not fall off or deteriorate fast.
- Bundles Cables Together
Heat shrink tubing is an easy way to bundles loose cables together. Whether encased within the walls or behind a cabinet, hanging wires are a nuisance and a hazard. Various sizing of shrink tubing is beneficial in these type of cases, as is custom printed tubing to help identify wires.
Where Can You Get Quality Heat Shrink Tubing?
For top-quality heat shrink tubing, see the leading experts at ShrinkShop. As the online provider of Thermafix® Heat Shrinkable Tubing and the adhesive lined Thermafix Plus Heat Shrinkable Tubing, we are the heat shrink tubing experts in North America.
Using state-of-the-art equipment and advanced technology, we can provide custom heat shrink tubing to accommodate all of your business needs. Contact us today to buy heat shrinkable tubing.