Proper stretch wrapping is very important, and should not be ignored when shipping products. Stretch wrapping can help keep products safe, secure, and organized throughout the shipping process.
There are various types of stretch wrap. These include the hand stretch wrap and automatic stretch wrapper, semi-automatic stretch wrapper machine that partly needs an operator to run among others. Each type has different characteristics that make it more suitable for specific applications. For example, hand stretch wrap is generally used for small, light loads that require a secure hold for short-term storage or transportation. Automatic and semi-automatic stretch wrappers are typically used for larger pallet loads that need to be secured for long-term storage or transportation.
Factors to Consider While Selecting a Proper Stretch Wrapper
When looking for the proper stretch wrap, there are important things to consider such as load size, load weight, and load stability. After you have determined which type of stretch wrap will work best for your application, you can then focus on the details such as thickness, color, and length.
Load size – The load size is one of several things to consider when choosing a proper stretch wrapping method. Load size is important because it determines the maximum height that can be reached by the film without causing damage to the goods or their packaging.
For example, if a product is loaded in layers of say 20 pcs per layer, with each layer wrapped separately, you need to make sure that the maximum height reached by film does not exceed two times its length. If you were to use 10 feet long film rolls, for instance, you would only go as high as 40 inches. It would not be possible therefore to wrap products such as mattresses which come in sizes like queen or king for example.
Stretch wrapping machines capable of reaching 80 inches high however would be suitable for these kinds of applications. If a product is loaded in layers but all its layers are wrapped together in one operation (without cutting the film between each layer), then the maximum height that can be reached depends on the total weight of the pallet and its contents.
Load stability – Load stability is a very important aspect when choosing proper stretch wrapping. The most cost-effective solution for stabilizing different loads is the use of stretch film. If a load reaches a certain height, it can be stabilized with the use of side-force units. This equipment can apply a force on the side of the load which keeps it stable during transportation. In some cases, there are also top-force solutions available that can be used for stabilizing loads from above.
Load weight – When choosing a proper stretch wrapping approach for your products, you have to consider several factors. The first is the weight of the load. The heavier the load, the more tension needs to be kept on the film during its application.
This is especially true for the turntable models. So, what is so bad about using a machine rated for light loads on a heavy load? As the load gets heavier and heavier you can actually start to have problems with the turntable motor. The load then becomes too heavy for the motor to turn, and this can cause damage to the electrical components of your turntable stretch wrapper. If you are considering a turntable, make sure that it’s rated at least 1.5 times higher than your heaviest load.
In order to keep loads safe, secure, and stable during transport, stretch wrapping can be considered as its own science. It is important to understand the various techniques and types of stretch wrap in order to properly apply it to any load. There are four basic parts to the application process:
- The pre-stretch film carriage, which holds and controls the film
- The mast that allows the operator to raise and lower the carriage
- A turntable/roller conveyor on which loads are placed
- The stretching mechanism itself. It enables the machine to make use of pre-stretched film.
Types of Stretch Wrapping
The type of stretch wrapping film you use will depend on the type of machine that you are using to wrap your pallets. These films are available in an array of sizes, gauges, and colors.
There are two main types of stretch wrapping: manual and automatic.
Manual stretch wrapping – With manual stretch wrapping, the pallet is wrapped by hand. Manual stretch wrappers are ideal for small jobs when the number of pallets to be wrapped is low. The process is slow and often times labor-intensive but this method is still economical.
Automatic machines – Automatic machines can be integrated into your warehouse system or can be used as stand-alone machines. These machines use a motor to rotate the pallet around itself while the film is applied with a carriage, which moves up and down on either side of the pallet as it rotates. These machines come in various sizes, speeds, and features depending on the type of product being wrapped. allows you to wrap a pallet at high speeds. Note that this method reduces labor costs and increases productivity as it provides a better-quality stretch than manual film dispensing.
Simply put, manual systems tend to use more stretch wrap than an automatic machine because it is difficult to control how much tension is applied to the load manually.
Here are more benefits of automatic stretch wrapping;
Greater yield with less waste
The best way to reduce film costs is by using less film. Every time you put a layer of wrap on a pallet, the cost is incurred. Using more layers than necessary should be avoided whenever possible. Most automatic machines have a pre-stretch system that allows the operator to adjust how much tension is applied when wrapping your load. This feature allows for more precise control over how much wrap is used on every pallet; resulting in greater yield with less waste.
Reduce the strain on workers
One of the most popular reasons for implementing an automatic stretch wrapper is to reduce the strain on workers. The process can be physically taxing and dangerous, especially when it comes to loading and unloading orders. Stretch wrapping machines eliminate this risk by allowing workers to stand out of the way while the equipment does all the work.
Applying stretch wrap with a machine is a much faster process than doing so by hand. This allows for increased throughput, which can have a major impact on productivity and profitability.
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