Speed vs. Automation
Why does the industry conflate these two considerations?
Sure, it’s true that often to increase output speed it’s necessary to automate functions both for efficiency and safety. But nowhere is it written that slower means more manual.
For instance, our XT series of wrappers are “semi-automatic” according to industry terminology, but allow a driver to simply drop a pallet and remotely hit a start-button; the machine takes it from there. Whereas, operations with warehouse management systems (like inline check weighing, automated labeling and load tracking functionality) require the process controls of an automated line – even if they’re only wrapping a relatively small number of loads per day. And even “50 loads/day” means different things to different companies. Two loads of high value product every hour from a three-shift operation has very different production implications than the frantic presentation of 50 picked loads during 30 minutes of chaotic shipping at a distribution center.
Automatic vs. High Speed
For the person hand-wrapping a pallet, the dream of an “automatic” process simply means some kind of machine. For the carbonated soft drink bottler, 50 pallets/hour is so slow it grinds production to a halt.
“Automatic”, “Semi-Automatic” and “High Speed” are terms that suit the stretch wrapper industry but don’t help you much. In fact, in the real world of wrapping their meaning depends entirely on context.
So we break down stretch wrapper output into three general categories by loads per day:
Less than 40 loads per day – our popular Q Series semi-automatic turntable, and S Series semi-automatic straddle wrappers are good places to start. All will handle the demand. Selecting between them requires considering details of future growth and load specifics.
40 – 100 loads per day – in this range, there’s often more than one right answer. The choice often comes down to a company’s growth and automation plans, and the philosophy on workplace environment.
- Our XT models of both the S Series straddle and the Q Series turntable wrappers incorporate a number of options which boost efficiency and increase output. They’re appropriate for stand-alone wrapping such as on loading docks and in work cells. In many cases, they will adequately handle the volume assuming the flow of product is consistent over a shift or two. Although, there is often an inherent limitation in the necessity to remove a completed pallet before placing another.
- For wrapping in-line with other processes or for operations that desire a system which will allow material handlers to stage loads for wrapping while removing completed loads (all while the stretch wrapper is operated independently) the Q Series turntable automatic and S Series straddle automatic stretch wrappers provide higher throughput capacity AND autonomous operation to enable maximum material handling efficiency.
Greater than 100 loads per day – our highest speed wrappers include optimized versions of our S Series automatic and our Ring Straddle.