Printed heat shrink tubing has been an essential tool in world-class industries such as electronics, transportation, telecommunications, marine, electrical, aerospace, and defense. But what exactly is it? Our blog explains.
What Is Heat Shrink Tubing?
Heat shrink tubing is a thermoplastic cylinder of material that slides onto a wire or cable as an added layer of protection from impact, moisture, abrasion, and other environmental elements. The pre-cut tubing surrounds the wire or cable as it is heated with a hot air gun to shrink radially over the product. This durable and long-lasting cover offers supreme insulation, organization, and identification of the wires and cables.
The shrink ratio of heat shrink tubing refers to the size the tubing will shrink to in relation to its original size. The most common sizes used are 2:1 and 3:1 ratios, meaning the tubing shrinks to one-half of its size and one-third of its size, respectfully.
Heat shrink tubing is available in single or dual wall. Both offer protection, insulation, and identifying factors with dual wall having an inner adhesive for a waterproof barrier. Dual wall heat shrink is normally used for applications wherein more protection and insulation are needed, such as for weather exposure.
Benefits of Heat Shrink Tubing
With the superior quality and reliability of heat shrink tubing, the applications are endless across the electrical, automotive, and telecommunications systems.
- Protection: This safety feature reduces cutting damage, abrasion, corrosion, and destruction from impact, ultraviolet light, fluids, humidity, and extreme temperatures.
- Insulation: With the form-fitting application of heat shrink tubing, wires and cables have additional insulation protection. Both indoor and outdoor products can be safeguarded with use of the tubing.
- Identification: Having colored and/or custom-printed heat shrink tubing allows for quick, easy, and safe access to the underlying product for repairs or replacement.
- Strain Relief: Using heat shrink tubing can help shield the wires and cables from bending, stretching, and even cracking under pressure.
- Bundling: Heat shrink tubing can also be used to organize and group specific wires and cables together for aesthetics, cable and wire management, and prevention of tripping hazards.
Heat Shrink Tubing Materials
The most commonly used material in heat shrink tubing manufacturing is polyolefin. This thermoplastic provides long-lasting durability in heating temperatures up to 125 °C to 135 °C. Some tubing users prefer the less expensive material of PVC, which can withstand heating temperatures up to 105°C.
Types and Varieties of Heat Shrink
When choosing heat shrink tubing, the type and variety will depend on the specific function and purpose of the tubing.
Double wall is heavy duty and self-sealing, ideal for projects that demand superior protection and insulation. This type of tubing has an adhesive-lining that, when heated, forms an extra protection layer from moisture invasion.
Printed heat shrink tubing can be used as an identifier for wires and cables as well as a brand promoter for a business. Quality heat shrink tubing will not cause the text, image, or logo to distort once heat is applied.
Furthermore, heat shrink tubing is available in various colors to enhance the identification features. While black is a commonly used color, orange is used as a safety measure in instances where high voltage lines are used.
ShrinkShop’s Heat Shrink Tubing
For reliable single wall, dual wall heat shrink tubing, and custom heat shrink label printing, see the experts at ShrinkShop.
Using state-of-the-art equipment and our years of experience, we offer North American customers the highest standard of product and service. Contact us to discuss how our heat shrink tubing products and accessories can elevate your business.