Why do you need perforations on shrink sleeve labels? Let's discuss

Searching for innovative, cost-effective labeling and packaging solutions is an ongoing process. One of the most noticeable changes in product labeling today is using shrink sleeves.

Manufacturers prefer using shrink-sleeve labeling solutions for consumer packaged goods. An interesting thing for business owners to consider when using shrink-sleeve labels is whether or not to make holes in the design.

Understanding Shrink Sleeve Labels

A shrink sleeve label is a printed label, an alternative to ordinary labels, that is applied with an adhesive. It allows a 360-degree branding of the container to which it is applied and provides full-body coverage. 

The finished label encloses the container without any visible gaps. These are made of special heat-activated film that shrinks and wraps to the shape of the product's container and offers many creative ways to take advantage of their flexibility. 

Heat is used during the label application process, which allows the label to conform to fit nearly any size or shape of the container. The labels themselves are made from a variety of plastic film materials such as OPS (Oriented polystyrene), PETG (Polyethylene terephthalate glycol), or PVC (Polyvinyl chloride). The sleeve is placed on the product either by machine or hand, and heat is applied to shrink the sleeve onto the item. 

Perforations in packaging

Perforations are rows of holes or tiny holes punched into a material that allow a portion of it to be easily pulled off without the need for scissors or other tools. 

Although many individuals ignore perforations daily, they are useful as they make things easy. This makes them essential for neck bands and other tamper-resistant labels. These are often found in plastics, paper, and packaging materials. Using perforation makes the material easier to rip or bend. Shrink sleeves can be difficult to tear without perforations or using another tool. 

Importance of adding perforation

There are several reasons why perforations are popular. There are three main types of perforations: full vertical, horizontal or partial vertical, and venting.

Let us discuss each type in detail.

  • Vertical Perforations
  • Most tamper-evident bands include full vertical perforations. The perforation goes the full length of the band or shrink sleeve or the jar, bottle, or tub, letting the consumer tear off the entire sleeve for the product's opening to cause the perforation to break. 

    Tamper bands are a shrink-sleeve label that wraps around the neck of a container, giving the product an extra layer of protection. Many products with tamper bands have the added feature of perforations that can be easily removed once the consumer purchases the product. Full vertical perforations can also ease the removal of full-body shrink-sleeve labels from the container. Perforators can be supplied as an add-on to a shrink-label applicator.

  • Horizontal and Partial Vertical Perforations
  • A horizontal and partial vertical perforation is the best option to keep the full-body shrink sleeve label in place. A horizontal perforation is made just below the cap or the closure of the container.

     When the consumer pulls on the portion above the horizontal perforation, it only removes that piece, leaving the full-body shrink sleeve label in place. This feature allows for perforations on middle, full-body, and full-body and cap applications, making it versatile.

    Horizontal and sometimes partial vertical perforations are used for tamper-evidence purposes to show clear signs if it has been tampered with or opened. In this case, a complete shrink sleeve covers the entire body of a product's packaging.

    When the consumer has to open the container, they must remove the top portion above the horizontal perforation. This exposes the closure, leaving the shrink sleeve on the container's body.

  • Venting

  • Another option to utilize perforations is by making venting holes. This type of perforation isn't used for tamper-resistant purposes but instead used for utility. Venting holes on an extremely concave container release air under the sleeve during the shrinking process. So, the shrink sleeve can tightly conform to indented product surface areas.

    This perforation usually looks as if one or two holes are spaced apart on each side of the label. 

    Advantages of Shrink Sleeve Perforations

    Shrink sleeve perforations are well-known and useful as they have several advantages. 

    Let's look at a few benefits of shrink-sleeve perforations.

    1. Easy opening

    Perforations allow consumers to open the product packaging effortlessly. This feature is particularly advantageous for food products, beverages, or personal care items; the packaging applications in which the products are packaged need to be seen, handled, and smelled by the consumer. In this type of product, perforated shrink film is a good choice. Perforated films are commonly used with L sealers.

    1. Efficient Recycling

    The design facilitates efficient recycling as full body perforations create convenient access points, separating the sleeve from the product packaging. 

    The design helps maintain consistent contact between the sleeve and the product, minimizing the risk of unsightly bubbles and helping to avoid air bubbles under the shrink sleeve.

    1. Provide experience before buying.

    Perforation holes in shrink film allow the consumer to get a smell of the item, which helps market the products that sell themselves based on the scent, look and feel.

    Challenges faced with Shrink Sleeve Perforations

    If the shrink tunnel is not adjusted properly, perforations can lead to more wastage during application. 

    Film can get wrinkled or saggy if too many perforations are added as the structural integrity is compromised. Over-perforation weakens the film, reducing its ability to maintain a smooth and taut surface.

    Whether done inline as the sleeve is being applied to the product or during the production of the sleeve, perforations are often well worth the extra cost. Also, it is even necessary for some of the items. Shrink sleeves are becoming popular for product packaging, so paying attention to this valuable add-on for your products is advisable.

    Finding the Right Perforation

    It is important to test out the perforations on the film before using it. A particular blade might create too large perforations for a product, so it's always a good practice to test and verify that the perforation is a good fit. 

    On neckbands, it is important to ensure that the perforation is long enough on the tamper band or neck portion of the shrink sleeve while maintaining the security aspect of the tamper band. The vertical perforation must be strong enough to stay intact during transportation and handling but still show when tampering has occurred. If the perforation is too weak, it could break prematurely. Once the container with the perforated shrink sleeve goes through a shrink sleeve tunnel, you can see how it looks and functions.

    The difference between nonperforated and shrink bands that are perforated is that nonperforated Shrink Bands melt when heated, leading the shrink bands to form a tight seal wrapping the object. Their unique composition causes this melting. The perforated edge allows easy removal while offering a tight and closed seal.

    Factors to consider before adding perforations

    When selecting the type of perforation, you must consider certain factors that can affect the performance and efficiency.

  • Nature of product
  • The type and nature of the product and its packaging requirements play an important role. Adding perforations is more suitable for products requiring easy access or tamper resistance.

  • Package design and Branding
  • Considering how perforations fit into overall packaging design and branding strategy is essential. The visual appearance of the packaging is important, and perforations should complement the brand's visual identity.

  • Packaging Machinery
  • Ensuring that the packaging machinery can handle perforated shrink sleeves is important. In case of any necessary adjustments, it is better to consult with the packaging supplier.

  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Keeping updated with industry-specific perforation-related regulations is essential, mainly in sectors like food and pharmaceuticals. Compliance with safety and hygiene standards is essential.


    The decision to add perforations to shrink-sleeve labels ultimately relies on the specific needs of the product, your target audience, and your branding strategy. Perforations can enhance user experience, provide tamper evidence, and offer practical solutions for certain products. However, carefully considering design aesthetics, production capabilities, and regulatory requirements is paramount.

    In the dynamic landscape of packaging design, choosing to perforate or not is a strategic choice. By considering the advantages and their product goals, manufacturers can make an informed decision and enhance the overall packaging experience for consumers. Beast Branding provides various packaging solutions suitable for a wide variety of products and custom labels, as per your requirements. Check out all our collections today!

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