When you spend your company’s money, spend it wisely. When it comes to buying a stretch wrapper, you’ve got to do some research in order to make the right decision.Here are five simple rules that will point you in the right direction:
1. Buy a machine that’s made by a well-established manufacturer.
Would you rather buy equipment made by a manufacturer that only has a handful of machines in the field? Or, would you rather buy equipment made by a large, well-established manufacturer that has thousands of machines in the field?
We bet you’d prefer the latter. Manufacturers that have designed, engineered and tested stretch wrappers for decades usually create the highest quality machines.
2. Look for a machine that’s sold by a reliable distributor who can provide service, training and support.
When you’re ready to buy a new wrapper, turn to your local packaging distributor rep for help. But make sure they’re affiliated with a well-established manufacturer. That will make it easy to get replacement parts if needed. Also, once your new machine arrives, your distributor can arrange startup, training and continued assistance for as long as you have the machine.
3. Understand what you’re buying. All machines are not created equal.
Don’t let too-good-to-be-true deals tempt you into buying the wrong thing. Cheap machines are just that … cheap! In order to get a durable machine that will hold up to wear and tear for many years (and be safe to operate) you may have to pay a little more for it.
Keep in mind the capital cost of a machine is fixed at the time you buy it and your new wrapper will eventually convert into an operating expense.
Also, if you spread the cost of a semi-automatic wrapper over thousands of loads and its economic life it yields a low machine cost per load wrapped. For example, if you wrap 50 loads a day over 10 years on a $15,000 stretch wrapper, you’ll only spend 12 cents per load.
So it makes sense to invest in a quality machine.
4. The lowest cost of ownership for semi-automatic stretch wrappers is what really matters.
Keep in mind how a stretch wrapper can influence the five major stretch wrapping cost drivers:
- Damage: With a stretch wrapper, you’re able to wrap loads effectively, reducing the risk of expensive shipping damage.
- Labor: Productivity-enhancing features reduce labor costs associated with hand wrapping or using an inefficient machine.
- Materials: A film delivery system with powered pre-stretch can reduce film costs by at least 50 percent.
- Maintenance: Good machines require little-to-no preventive maintenance to keep the machine up and running.
- Machine cost: The amount you spend on a piece of equipment is spread over its economic life (IRS guideline is seven years).
Damage, labor and material are the highest cost drivers when it comes to owning and operating a stretch wrapper. Look for one that will help you drive down those costs. Adding certain productivity features, like an automatic cut and clamp unit, could save machine owners around $50,000 just in five years. And powered pre-stretch not only stretches the film, but also your dollars, cutting material costs by over half.
5. Safety is paramount.
People are the most important asset of a company. Buy a machine that’s designed with safety features to prevent problems. A few things to look for are:
- All wires and motors are completely enclosed.
- The film delivery system and control panel are on the same side.
- The rollers of the film delivery system are guarded.
- The load’s footprint can fit entirely within the turntable’s circumference without overhang.
These features were designed to protect operators and reduce the risk of workplace injuries.
When you follow a good buying strategy and pay attention to the right details, you’ll end up with the best wrapper for your company. For more advice on picking the right machine check out our Buying Guides for both Semi-Automatic and Automatic stretch wrappers.
This post was published on March 9, 2016 and updated on October 10, 2019.
March 9, 2016