Home · Shrink Sleeve Labels 101 · Shrink Sleeve Labels FAQs


Which products are suitable for shrink sleeves?

Shrink sleeves are applicable in almost every product industry.

  • Cosmetics and Beauty Products...
  • Food and Beverages...
  • Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals...
  • Detergent, Soaps and Cleaning Products...
  • Stationery and Writing Instruments...
  • Automotive Lubricant and Car Care Products...
  • Pesticides and Agricultural Products...
  • Apparel and Clothing...
  • Stores and Boutiques...
  • Consumer Goods...

What types of sleeving materials are available & how do I know what my container needs?

Gilbreth prints Shrink Sleeve Labels on PVC, PET/PETG/PETG LV/PETG HY, OPS and EarthFirst® PLA films. These materials have different shrink characteristics and are chosen on a project to project basis.

PVC Shrink Labels

  • easiest to control.
  • generally the most cost effective
  • pasteurisable
  • offers good scuff resistance

PETG Shrink Labels

  • best scuff resistance
  • highest percentage of shrink
  • pasteurisable
  • easily recycled

OPS Shrink Labels

  • more cost effective than PET
  • lowest vertical shrink
  • most consistent finish, often used for more "squeezable" containers

How many colors can print?

Up to 10 colors for Gravure or 7 colors for Flexo.

What is your DPI printing capability?

Typical DPI is 175-220, with capability up to 250.

What is your minimum order size?

We will run any quantity but lot charges will apply. Please call or e-mail us for details.

What is your label turnaround time (lead time)?

We can typically deliver initial shrink sleeves within 4-6 weeks of art approval. Shorter lead times are possible depending on the job factors. Repeat orders for seamed shrink sleeves are normally filled within 3-4 weeks. Orders for seamless tubing range from 6-12 weeks. To minimize the impact of long lead-times we encourage discussion about customized stocking programs.

What print processes are offered at Gilbreth for Shrink Sleeves?


Gravure printing offers a high quality printing using solvent based inks. This process uses metal etched cylinders for each color. Gravure
benefits include:

  • High quality photographic reproduction
  • Large web width printing
  • Consistency of reproduction over a long time period

Flexo is a water based printing process, based on a raised area of a flexographic plate. Ink is transferred onto the plate and then to the film, and each color unit prints in sequence. Flexo benefits include:

  • Low cost, high quality reproduction
  • Quick turn around time

How can we further enhance the shelf appeal of our products using shrink sleeve labels?

Gilbreth offers a wide range of specialty inks and unique film surface printing.

  • Sensory packaging
    • Eye catching spectral effects
      • Prismatic
      • Holographic
      • Color shifting
      • Photo luminescence
      • Mica based pigments
      • Bright Metallic
    • Olfactory effects
    • Tactile offerings
      • Soft, rubber, rough, antique, grip surfaces
  • Security applications / Anti-counterfeit inks and additives
  • Barrier properties
    • Visible light
    • UV light
    • Vapor transmission (CO2, O2, NO)
    • Moisture transmission
    • Scent scalping
    • Flavor scalping

Gilbreth's Sales Team or Inside Sales Coordinators will gladly take the time to talk to you about our various innovative finishes.

What type of Shrink Method is recommended? Hot air or Steam?

NOTE: Hot air tunnels are mostly used with empty containers; while steam is becoming the industry standard method of shrinking sleeves onto filled containers. However, both application methods may be used to optimize the effectiveness of the shrinking process.

Which application machine do you recommend for shrink sleeves?

Gilbreth can assist with all shrink sleeve machine manufacturers and has in-depth knowledge of every manufacturer's product range. Our sales team, supported by a highly experienced technical team, will be happy to recommend machines suitable for your needs.

Can shrink sleeve labels be used for pesticides or hazardous materials?

Yes. We have films that are chemically resistant and can be shrunk on a filled container without hazard.

How do I submit a request for quotation to Gilbreth?

You can use our online quote request form, or call us at 800.630.2413, email us at info@gilbrethusa.com. We will quickly respond to your inquiry. Please include the following information on any correspondence:

  • Project name
  • Film type desired (if known)
  • Bottle specifications
  • # of colors (including clear)
  • Annual forecast quantity (number of sleeves)
  • Initial order quantity (number of sleeves)
  • Date required

What kind of charges can I expect?

Design work, computer file preparation, proofs and film are quoted and billed separately, depending on customer requirements. Cylinder engraving costs may vary slightly depending on the size of the cylinder. Please give us a call to discuss.

How much are shipping and import costs?

All import and shipping costs are quoted based on job needs. Please give us a call to discuss.

How long does a cylinder last?

Gilbreth shrink sleeve cylinders are guaranteed for life.

How should I provide artwork?

Please contact us at graphicshelp@gilbrethusa.com for a login name and password for uploading artwork to our FTP site. Artwork should be provided in Adobe Illustrator and/or Photoshop, with source files included. A graphics recommendation sheet is available for download, find it under Products/Services on our web site.

Does Gilbreth provide warehousing services?

Yes. Temporary warehousing services are part of Gilbreth's overall service. Extended warehousing is also available should a customer require the service. Please give us a call to discuss.