At Lantech we’re committed to making effective stretch wrapping easy. We do that with our machines, of course, but we've also picked up some knowledge from our years of experience and more than 70,000 successful application installations.
Based on observations of loading dock operations, and examination of many loads - both those that arrived intact and those that failed - we’ve developed criteria to define an effectively wrapped pallet load. A safe-to-ship load must be:
- Wrapped with enough containment force everywhere on the load
- Locked to the pallet with a film cable
- Have no long or dragging film tails
You’ll find a wealth of resources on our site around each of those topics, and our free on-demand webinar provides detailed guidance in a great 25 minute package.
Containment force is the key to effective stretch wrapping. It’s the primary metric and the single best indicator of whether a pallet load is safe-to-ship. Containment force is the pressure applied to the load by the stretch film. It is what holds the load together. Contianment foce is the product of the film tension and the number of film layers.
The right containment force depends on the product and type of load. For instance, paper towels in neat column stacks require very different containment force than order picked loads that are heavy and unstable.
Containment force can be optimized, measured, and managed. And it should be. That means periodic checks and adjustments as film types and gauge change. It is also important to record this data.
Locking the Load to the Pallet
Loads sliding off their pallet is a frequent cause of product damage, but there is something you can do to help prevent it.
Wrapping down to the bottom of the pallet, or simply bunching up some film for a “rope” of sorts is not enough.
We recommend rolling the film into a tight cable (so it doesn't unravel like ropes can) and placing that cable about an inch below the pallet's deck boards. The placement of the cable is importnat because it can be avoided by the forks of a pallet jack or forklift. When film is wrapped to the bottom of a pallet, it is punctured by forks when handled. This puncture can tear up the side of the load, resulting in reduced containment force and possible load failure.
Loose film tails drag behind loads. This creates safety risks, can cause loads to partially unwrap, or can result in loads “hanging up” on downstream conveyors or in automatic storage and retrieval systems.
Tails must be managed. In many cases that means properly wiped down - relying on the cling in the film to keep the tail secured. In certain applications, like semi-automatic wrappers, it means managing the length and location of the tail. And for other automatic applications, it may mean heat sealing the tail.
Speed, Tasks and Cost
Your load and environment are important considerations and we’re always happy to wrap sample loads or even look at pictures with you while talking through your requirements on the phone.
Beyond the principles of wrapping, though, is a wide range of considerations that determine how to best wrap in your facility.
Check out our section on “How to Buy a Wrapper” for more on cost considerations, machine options, speed ranges, and even solutions to free your warehouse team up to focus on the tasks they do best.