The Questions to Ask When Evaluating Stretch Wrapper Machine Manufacturers

Posted by Kelly Wathen

When you’ve been manufacturing, and distributing stretch wrappers as long as we have - since 1972 - it’s inevitable that a pattern will begin to emerge in the kinds of questions people ask you. There are a number of questions that most buyers, at one point or another, have about their specific stretch wrapping needs and the machine that will work best for them. However, before most buyers get to those specific questions they often have questions about the reliability and quality of the machines in general.

evaluating-stretch-wrapper-machine-manufacturers.jpegAfter all, how often will a purchasing manager or warehouse operator need to purchase a stretch wrapper during the course of their career? How many manufacturers of stretch wrappers do most managers know off the top of their head? It’s perfectly reasonable that one of the first steps in the purchasing process might be to determine a trustworthy, quality manufacturer before you begin to dig into specific machines.

To that end, there are four questions that we often hear as people work through this process:

  1. How do I know a machine is safe?
  2. How can I tell if a machine will be easy to use?
  3. How can I tell if a machine is reliable/durable?
  4. How do I know if a manufacturer supports their machine adequately?

All four of these questions are pretty high level. To really get to the heart of what each of these questions is trying to expose, we have a quick list of related questions that flesh out the issue.

For instance, figuring out whether a machine is safe or not is more complicated than a simple "yes" or "no" answer. Some safety features will be more or less important depending on the specific situation. Therefore, to really, deeply answer the heart of the safety question we need to talk about things like the specifics of the film delivery system, where it’s located, and what features you can expect to find.

So, to help you ask better questions and get all of the answers you need to help make the best decisions for your application or company, we’ve broken down each of these four commonly asked questions into a short list of better, more pointed questions.

1. Everybody says their machines are safe. How do I know for sure?

Is the machine free of trip, burn, and scrape hazards to protect the operators from severe injury?

Is the film delivery system located on the side of the mast to prevent the operators from being pinched between it and the load?

Is the film delivery system located on the side of the mast as the machine controls?

Does the film delivery system have full safety guarding of the rollers to prevent the operator’s hands from getting caught in the rollers?

Is the film delivery system counter-weighted to reduce the possibility of crushing anything caught underneath it?

Is there sufficient clearance between the edge of the turntable and the mast to prevent the operators from being pinched between it and the loads?

Will the footprint of the load fit entirely within the turntable’s circumference without over hanging?

2. How can I tell if it’s easy to use?

Is it easy to load and thread film?

Is there an automatic film cut-off option available to eliminate manual film cutting and let operators remove loads from the turntable or wrap zone without getting off the forklift?

Is there an automation module option available that attaches film to the load, lets the forklift drivers start the machine, and remove loads from the turntable without dismounting?

Are load wrapping choices easily adjustable on the control panel?

Are operators’ guides attached to the machine?

Can you figure out how to operate and adjust it without instruction?

3. How do you know it’s reliable and durable?

How big is the installed base of these machines?

Are key components life-cycle tested to ensure reliability?

What are the preventive maintenance items?

Is there evidence of metal-to-metal contact?

Have chains been replaced with belts whereever possible?

Does the turntable support system require lubrication or make excessive noise?

Does the turntable drive system require lubrication or periodic adjustment?

4. What are the key elements of good support?

Is the manufacturer available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for service?

Does your local distributor have factory-trained and certified technicians?

Is the warranty for components three years or more?

Are operating manuals, videos, and parts lists supplied with the machine?

Are step-by-step troubleshooting and operating guides supplied with the machine?

Does the manufacturer offer extended warranties?

Ready for answers now that you know the right questions to ask?

Now that you are armed with a bevy of better questions to ask, you’re ready to get the answers you need. Contact us at any time and we’d be happy to answer all of the questions above, as well as any other questions you can think up!

You may be interested in these posts on purchasing a stretch wrapper:

 Download our Checklist for Buying a New Stretch Wrapper

This post was published on June 28, 2017 and updated on July 25, 2017.

Topics: Stretch Wrapping