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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Do Shrink Sleeves Expire?

Does Heat Shrink Have an Expiration Date?

Question:  I've found some very old sleeves in my warehouse.  Can I still use them or do shrink sleeves expire after a certain amount of time.

Answer:  Heat shrinkable sleeves are designed to be installed on a pipeline or electrical application and to protect or seal that substrate for decades.  One of their greatest features is their innate stability and reliability for the long term.  This stability and reliability is in effect both before and after installation.  As a result - the short answer is 'no' - shrink sleeves do not expire.

It is important however, that the shrink sleeves be stored properly.  While they wouldn't be "expired" - a shrink sleeve that has been left in a wet or dirty or dusty place could very possibly have its adhesive side damaged.  A shrink sleeve whose adhesive side is caked in mud or spiderwebs or dust will need to be cleaned before it could be used.  Any bond is only as strong as its weakest link and mud is not a good bonding agent.

The next question to consider - what type of shrink sleeve do you even have in your warehouse that has been stored for years?  We manufacture many different material and adhesive types and it is always important that the correct product be used for the correct application.  How can you tell what type of shrink sleeve you have?

Most sleeves are printed with the material type and the manufacturing code (which tells the folks at the plant the date and time that material was manufactured).  As a starting point - find the letter/number combination on the sleeve backing.  These could be:  WPCT, WPC100M, TPS, DIRAX, HTLP60, WPC120 or any number of other products. 

Next, we'll need to determine what size shrink sleeve you have.  Tubular products (like TPS, CPSM, WCSM) are marked with their size on the backing right after the letters for the material type.  For wrap around products - you will need to measure the length and width of the shrink sleeve (do not include the closure width in the length measurement) and then give us a call.  We would be happy to tell you exactly what that product is designed for.   

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