Heat Shrink Tubing: product solutions and application tips
How to find the right heat shrink tubing to use
A comprehensive range of heat shrink tubing products
From coloured heat shrink tubing to adhesive-lined heat shrink tubing and heat shrink moulded shapes, HellermannTyton offers a comprehensive range of products in different heat shrink tubing sizes that meet the highest international standards.
We offer heat shrink tubing in different colours, sizes, wall thicknesses and materials (Fluoropolymers, Polyolefin, PTFE and many more).. We supply heat shrink tubing pre-cut and on reels. The portfolio also includes heat shrinkable end caps and heat shrink moulded shapes.
What is heat shrink tubing?
Heat shrinking means: The process of applying heat, for example using an electric or gas heat gun, to shrink expanded plastic tubing or shapes down to its original size. A distinction is made in this respect between recovered dimension (original size) and supplied dimension (expanded size). Heat shrinking is used in various industries and electrical applications – for instance to insulate and protect cables against heat, abrasion, chemicals or water. Watch this video with our heat shrink experts Barry and Mark to see how easy heat shrink tubing is to handle.
Heat shrink tubing for your application
Not sure if our heat shrink product fits your specific application? Enter the known dimensions in the HellermannTyton online heat shrink calculator. It will check the size. We recommend that the heat shrink tubing should shrink by at least 20 % and not more than 80 % of the supplied dimension.
Coloured heat shrink tubing
Different colours for visual identification
Besides black heat shrink tubing HellermannTyton offers a wide range of coloured tubes. These are perfect for colour coding different conductors or cables.
Demand for the colour orange is also growing. This is a result of the increase in high-voltage power systems installed in vehicles. Sometimes, seeing through the heat shrink tubing is important. Transparent tubing is ideal for oversleeving labels applied to cable jackets.
Why clear/transparent heat shrink tubing?
Many cables are colour coded or have identification marks printed on them – for example in public buildings like airports and hospitals but also in tunnels and means of transport like rail vehicles, ships and planes. Transparent tubing is often used to insulate wire jackets whilst keeping identifying marks visible. This is known in the trade as oversleeving.
Learn more about clear/transparent heat shrink tubing in this video with our experts Barry and Mark.
Printable heat shrink tubing
Printable, single wall TF21 tubing is used for clear identification of conductors, for example to mark live, neutral and earth. TF21 has a low shrink temperature and is available in many colours and sizes. It is also flame retardant and UL224 VW1 listed. Thanks to these characteristics, TF21 meets and exceeds lots of industry standards.
Another example of a thin-walled, flexible polyolefin hose is the flame-retardant TR27.
Handy dispenser boxes
The HIS-Service Station is also available: offering space for a total of 5 HIS boxes.
Also convenient: The HellermannTyton ShrinKit 321 with a wide range of sizes, colours and lengths.
Adhesive-lined heat shrink tubing
For excellent environmental sealing and durability
Adhesive-lined heatshrink tubing has an inner layer of flexible glue to seal the outer tubing and wire jacket against any water ingress. It also gives the electrical application extra mechanical strength.
Medium wall, glue-lined shrinkable tubing is perfect for use underground or around wires that are buried. HellermannTyton offers a wide range of adhesive-lined tubings with different shrink ratios and properties.
What is adhesive-lined tubing?
Adhesive-lined tubing is also known as dual-wall tubing. Because here you have a combination of a crosslinked outer jacket (Polyolefin) and an inner layer of adhesive. When heated, the inner adhesive wall melts and flows. This process creates an adhesion layer that ensures a tight fit to the wire, wire or connector. Glue-lined heat shrink tubing is ideal for producing strong, weather tight seals with extra mechanical strength and excellent protection against corrosion.
Watch this video to see dual-wall heat shrink tubing demonstrated by our experts Barry and Mark.
MA47 heat shrink tubing
The medium wall, adhesive-lined heat shrink tubing MA47 with a 4:1 shrink ratio, it provides reliable insulation and moisture protection for low voltage cable joints and terminations.
The polyolefin based MA47 protects against humidity and other environmental impacts: for electrical applications above and below the ground.
Cable Repair Sleeve RMS
RMS is a wrap around sleeving used for cable repair and splicing. The adhesive-lined wrap-around sleeve is a fast, labour-saving, tight-fitting and permanent cable repair and water sealing system.
It is ideal for repairing buried cables where it is difficult or impossible to install conventional heatshrink products.
Just wrap the pre-slit RMS repair sleeve around the damaged cable insulation and fix it in place using the supplied rail and channel closure. Apply heat with a gas torch to shrink it and melt the adhesive lining, which completes the environmental seal.
As a simple visual aid, the thermo-chromatic paint spots on the outside of the sleeve disappear when sufficient heat has been applied. Here you can find all adhesive-lined products from HellermannTyton at a glance.
Heat shrink tubing sizes
How do you choose the right heat shrink size?
Shrink tubing has different shrink rates. These describe the maximum size change during the shrink process. If, for example, the size of the shrink tubing is reduced to 50%, the shrink ratio is 2:1. Special applications, such as connector assembly, require a larger diameter of the shrink tubing with a high shrink rate.
The wall thickness also plays an important role in finding the right product. In general, it can be said that the thicker the cable and the higher the mechanical load, the greater the wall thickness of the shrink tubing should be.
To find the right shrink tube for your application, the size calculator and the wall thickness calculator can help you.
Not sure if our heat shrink product fits your specific application? Enter the known dimensions in the HellermannTyton heat shrink calculator. It will check the size for you. We recommend that the sleeving should shrink by at least 20 % and not more than 80 % of the supplied dimension.
Wall thickness calculator
ShrinKit 321 assortment boxes
HellermannTyton offers pre-cut, thin single wall heat shrink tubing in handy assembly kits. ShrinKit 321 is a family of five heat shrink tubing assortments.
With their 3:1 shrink ratio, they make ideal replacements for many differently sized tubing requirements.
Choosing the required tubing is easy as the content is clearly identified by size and length on the lid of the assortment box.
Heat shrink moulded shapes
Shapes with high dielectric strength, mechanical toughness and superior resistance
Straight heat shrink boot with rib
The Helashrink 150 series is designed for connections with circular grooved adapters. The use of an additional inner lip guarantees increased strain relief.
In addition, the Helashrink 150 Series offers outstanding protection against environmental influences. This bottle shaped solution is used particularly in the aerospace industry.
See all HellermannTyton products here from the product group Bottle Shapes.
Right-Angle boot with rib
The Right-Angle Helashrink 1100 Series is used in conjunction with a circular grooved adaptor. It provides strain relief and an environmental seal.
In addition to the Right-Angle Shapes, HellermannTyton also offers many other shaped parts for various applications: e.g. 45° angle boots, Y-outlets, VG style shapes, T-shapes and many more.
See all HellermannTyton products here from the product group Right-Angle Shapes.
The Helashrink 1600 Series is used to seal cable ends during storage and transportation. The adhesive lining provides an excellent environmental seal. Optionally, the HEK End Caps can be fitted with air valves for pressure cable applications.
The Helashrink 313C Series provides strain relief and is used for circular grooved adapters. Thanks to the adhesive lining it provides excellent environmental sealing.
The convoluted design offers flexibility for different cable outlet angles. The Helashrink 313C Series is primarily used in military and general performance equipment.
See here all HellermannTyton products from the product group Low Profile Convolute Boots.
Did you know? HellermannTyton also offers a high performance two-component adhesive. It has enormous adhesive strength and a very good resistance to most chemicals and fuels.
The adhesive is particularly popular for use with moulded shapes and is available both as a single cartridge (V9500) and as a complete set. For this purpose a special applicator gun is additionally available.
Further information, a selection guide to find the correct moulded shape for your application and our complete product range can be found in our Shrinkable Moulded Shapes Product Guide (PDF).
These hot air guns does HellermannTyton offer
Cordless heat gun – gas powered
For optimum shrink tubing processing HellermannTyton offers the gas powered Hot Heat Gun CHG900. The cordless heat gun allows autonomous operation without electrical power supply. Therefore it can be used anywhere, e.g. outdoors or in remote locations.
Popular areas of application are among many others maintenance and repair work in the fields of:
- electrical installation
- rail industry
- offshore wind parks
The most important benefits at a glance:
- Instant heat: no heating up time
- 90 minutes operation time: 3-4 times longer compared to rechargeable battery powered tools
- Environmental friendly: stainless steel gas cartridges once completely emptied are recyclable
- 360° working: and hands-free operation due to integrated standing pod
- Outdoor qualified: even for the harshest conditions down to -8°C
- Lightweight: tool weighs only 440g tool and 555g with gas cartridge
- Easy maintenance: tool-free and independently to reduce downtime
As an alternative to the gas-powered Cordless Heat Gun, you can also choose an electrically-powered tool.
Hot air gun – electric powered
The electric powered Hot Air Tool H6100 is designed for applying thin to medium wall heat shrink tubing, end caps and moulded shapes. For the best possible result of the shrinking process, the tool is equipped with 3 different push-on nozzles.
- Powerful 1600W motor
- Ceramic heating element enables temperatures up to +700°C
- Safe use on the workbench thanks to non-slip rubber ring
- Integrated air filter, easy to clean
Frequently Asked Questions
What are your top tips for using heat shrink tubing?
Tip 1: When shrinking heat shrink tubing it is advisable to start the shrinking process in the middle section of the tubing and then gradually proceed to one end and then from the middle again to the opposite end. This helps you avoid trapping air under the tubing.
Tip 2: Tubes also shrinks longitudinally i.e. along its length. You should factor in this shrinkage when cutting the tubing into lengths.
Tip 3: It is possible to minimise the longitudinal shrink by shrinking the ends first and then the middle section. However, if you do this, air can get trapped, which will prevent the middle section from shrinking. Alternatively, you can shrink the tubing by starting at the most critical end and then shrinking down slowly towards the other end.
Tip 4: If the object to be covered is metal or heat conductive, care must be taken to ensure the object is pre-heated to avoid “cold spots” or “chill marks”. This ensures a tight and smooth fit of the tubing.
Tip 5: When cutting heat shrink tubing and wrap-around sleeves to the desired length, take special care to ensure that the ends are cut smoothly. Poorly cut and irregular edges can cause heat shrink tubing and sleeves to split during shrinkage.
Tip 6: When choosing the tubing size it is important to consider the 80:20 rule. This means the tubing size should be chosen to allow minimum shrinkage of 20 % and a maximum of 80 %. Detailed examples of how to select the right heat shrink tube are available in the insulation product section of our catalogue.
Tip 7: During shrinking you should always make sure that the workplace is well ventilated and that you wear personal protective equipment like gloves and safety glasses.
Which are the most important parameters for correct heat shrink tubing?
The material thickness should be indicated in mm after complete shrinking. "Nominal" defines dimensions without any tolerances. Generally, you can distinguish between thin wall, medium wall and thick wall. Heat shrinkable tubing is also available with an adhesive liner. This is also called dual wall tubing.
For thin wall tubing with a shrink ratio of 2:1 (standard tubing) the diameter is usually in inch sizes; 25.4 mm equals 1 inch.
Depending on the material compound used and wall thickness, heatshrink tubing can be extruded to a different degree. The shrink ratio indicates the rate that the product shrinks to (i.e. the supplied diameter in relation to the recovered diameter). It varies from 2:1 to 6:1. The higher the ratio, the greater the object diameter the tubing can cover. Thus, fewer sizes of tubes are needed, which helps to reduce stock levels.
Heat shrink tubing does not only shrink in diameter, but also in length. This longitudinal change after shrinking is indicated in a percentage.
Minimum shrinkage temperature:
Not all tubes shrink at the same temperature. It strongly depends on the type of compound they are made from and also the wall thickness.
The operating temperature varies per tubing type. This is dependent on the compound used for the tubing type. When selecting the correct size, it is recommended to follow the 80:20 rule outlined above.
Heat shrink tubing is used in cable harness assembly in general. This includes insulation, identification, and mechanical protection against abrasion as well aesthetical design.
What hot air guns does HellermannTyton offer?
Hot air guns are suitable for processing a wide variety of heat shrink tubing and heat shrink wire markers as well as molded shapes or heat shrink boots, transition shapes, end caps and cable repair sleeves.
At HellermannTyton you have the choice between the following heat guns:
Find more details about these tools here on this website.