3 Keys to Effective Stretch Wrapping

Posted by Allison Myers

Stretch wrapping pallet loads has a number of benefits, but most of the benefits of stretch wrapping are ancillary to the driving reason behind most stretch wrapping efforts:

Get the load from point A to point B in ‘As Made’ condition, at lowest cost effectively shipped.

So, while it is true that stretch wrapping can deter theft or protect a brand image, the driving imperative behind most stretch wrapping efforts is ensuring loads arrive safely at their destination in a cost-effective way.

keys to effective stretch wrapping3 Keys to Stretch Wrapping Success

There are three keys to ensuring your pallet loads are effectively stretch wrapped.

  1. Enough Containment Force everywhere on the load
  2. The load is locked or secured to the pallet
  3. There are no long or dragging film tails

Each of these three keys plays an essential role in the success of a pallet load making it from point A to point B in ‘As Made’ condition. Most importantly, containment force.

Containment force is the hugging pressure that holds a load together. From the top of the load to the bottom, the containment force should be consistently meeting the containment force standard that is right for your load. The success or failure of a load is very often directly related to the containment force.

The second key is locking or securing the load to the pallet. If the load isn’t locked to the pallet, then it could slide off during shipment. A pallet bond is often incorrectly accomplished by wrapping the load all the way to the bottom of the pallet. 

Wrapping a load all the way to the bottom of the pallet also leaves the load vulnerable to film punctures as the load is moved by forklift or pallet jack. The way to address this is to lock the load to the pallet by rolling up the bottom of the film into a cable. Then the cable is positioned on the pallet so it's safely out of the way.

At the end of every wrap cycle there is the question of what to do with the end of the film, or the tail. An unsecured, or long, film tail can be caught during movement of the pallet and cause the film to be ripped or unravel. This results in a loss of containment force and decreases the chances of a load arriving in ‘As Made’ condition. There’s lots of ways to reduce film tails by adjusting machine settings or upgrading and adding automation units, film clamps, heat sealers and wipe downs.

What Happens When It Goes Wrong?

In a perfect world, addressing all three keys would mean your stretch wrapper would wrap every load perfectly 100% of the time. In the real world, however, sometimes things go wrong. Film breaks, loads fail, and troubleshooting the problem can be time consuming and challenging.

We have the benefit of 44 years of experience wrapping loads, so chances are that whatever problem you’re experiencing we’ve seen it before. And, in our upcoming webinar, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the most common stretch wrapping problems and how to solve them.

This webinar will focus on:

  • The impact of film breaks, how to fix them and a film break checklist
  • How to set the optimum film tension for your loads
  • What’s the best way to select pre-stretch percentage and film thickness 
  • How to avoid load crushing, twisting or distortion

This free 30-minute webinar is perfect for maintenance, operations, engineering, and management alike. Click here to watch!

How to Fix Common Stretch Wrapping Problems

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This post was published on December 8, 2016 and updated on October 8, 2019.

Topics: Stretch Wrapping, Buying a Stretch Wrapper

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