bisco industries Blog

What is Heat Shrink Tubing?

Heat Shrink Tubing Description

Heat shrink tubing (heatshrink) is plastic tubing used to protect cables and wires from harsh environments. When heat is applied to the tubing, it shrinks in diameter and length causing the tubing to tightly wrap around the inserted wire(s).

Heat Shrink Tubing Animation

Heat Shrink Uses

While the primary function of heat shrink tubing is to protect wires from harmful elements like oil and dust there are several other functions and benefits. Heat shrink tubing is also utilizied to insulate wires, bundle wires together, color-code wires for organization, relieve strain and stress on cables and neatly terminate the ends of braided sleeving.

Heat Shrink Sizing

Heat shrink tubing is available in many sizing options. Depending on the manufacturer, the shrink rate may be stated as a ratio or percentage. For example heat shrink tubing with a shrink ratio of 3 to 1 will shrink to one third of the original diameter. The expanded (original) diameter of the heat shrink should be 20-30% larger than thickest portion of of the application.

Heat Shrink Tubing Manufacturers

Heat shrink tubing was first invented in the late 1950’s by Raychem Corporation founder, Paul Cook. Today there are countless options available from many different manufacturers. Leading manufacturers include:

  • 3M
  • HellermannTyton
  • Alpha Wire
  • Panduit
  • Dunbar
  • Essentra (formerly Richco)
  • Thomas & Betts
  • Molex
  • TE Connectivity (Raychem)
  • Qualtek

Learn More About Heat Shrink

Selecting heat shrink tubing can be an overwhelming process but there are many resources available help guide users to the right solution. These resourses include Alpha Wire’s heat shrink tubing brochure and Panduit’s heat shrink selection guide . bisco industries’ team of product specialist are also standing by to assist you with any quesitons you may have. Email us here or call 1-800-323-1232.

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