Heat shrink tubing is a poly tube that shrinks when heated to form a protective layer around wiring, cables, connectors, and joints. Heat shrink tubing is commonly used in the electrical, mechanical, and communication industries to protect the wiring from shorts, failures, and fire hazards.
In this article, we take a closer look at the production and use of heat shrink tubing to fully understand how it works.
Choose the Material Depending on the Specific Application
Polyolefin is the most commonly used material for heat shrink tubing due to its versatility, chemical-resistance, and heat-resistance. It can have a single-wall or a double-wall formation.
The next most popular type of material used is polyvinyl chloride, known as PVC. While this type offers economy, it is not as user-friendly and may burn if overheated.
Whatever material you choose, make sure it has the required electrical authority approvals such as UL or CSA.
Heat the Extruded Material to Expand the Diameter
Heat shrink tubing is made using extrusion. This involves heating the base material to form a cylinder shape using a mold, known as a die or orifice. Heat forces the expansion of the extruded tube to an enlarged diameter.
Unlike other extruded products like window frames, weatherstripping, etc. heat shrink tubing is passed by an electron beam as part of the manufacturing process. This modifies the properties of the tube, giving it added strength and heat resistance.
Set Aside to Cool Down the Expanded Tubing at Room Temperature
Once the desired size of tubing is reached, the cylinder is removed from the die component to cool into the set shape and size of tubing.
The final result is obtained by allowing the material to cool at room temperature.
Place the Heat Shrink Tubing Around the Components
The end product of the extrusion process is a shrinkable tube. Generally, the sizing of the shrink tubing is classified by the shrink ratio.
The shrink ratio of a chosen heat shrinkable tube is determined by the known expanded diameter of the tubing, before heated, and the recovered diameter, which is the desired size for a snug fit.
Placing the heat shrink tubing around the wiring and cabling should result in a secure fit. To properly select the correct size, choose the largest diameter that will fit snugly after fully recovered by the heat source.
Apply Heat to Shrink and Soften the Tube
Once the heat shrink tubing is in place, heat is applied with a heat gun, or other heat source. Use only the specific range of temperature recommended by the tubing manufacturer. An electric heating tool or a micro butane torch are both available at Shrinkshop.com and work well.
With custom printed heat shrink tubing, heat will not affect the readability of the text or image printed on the inside or outside of the tube.
Begin heating the tubing from one end to the other, rotating the covered product to apply an even heat. Slowly glide the heat gun over the tubing at a moderate distance to ensure a uniformed application. Once completed, allow the tubing to cool before handling.
In the case of adhesive lined, dual wall, heat shrink tubing, continue to heat until some adhesive is observed flowing from the two ends of the tubing.
Cover the Wiring or Components as a Protective Layer
Regular and custom-cut heat shrink tubing can be placed on wire conductors, joints, connections, and terminals. These products can be at risk for damage and destruction by various environmental factors without a protective covering.
Heat shrink is a flexible shield that acts as an insulator, protector, and organizer of the wiring and cables. Heat shrink tubing is waterproof, long-lasting, durable, and resistant to chemicals and ultraviolet light.
Find Right Heat Shrink Tubing from ShrinkShop
For all of your regular and custom heat shrink label printing, contact ShrinkShop. As the online supplier of Thermafix® Heat Shrinkable Tubing and adhesive lined Thermafix® Plus Heat Shrinkable Tubing, we have the inventory to fill your specific order.
We use state-of-the-art technology to provide custom cuts and customized printing on your single-wall and double-wall heat shrink tubing. Choose from our wide selection of sizes and colors to complement your tubing needs.
At ShrinkShop, we only use cross-linked polyolefin material to produce high-quality excellence. Our family-owned business has been offering top customer service to businesses across North America for more than 30 years. Contact us today!