For the person hand-wrapping a pallet, the dream of an “automatic” process simply means some kind of machine.
For the CSD (carbonated soft drink) bottler, 50 pallets/minute 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/day:
Speed is different than 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 hit a start-button; the machine takes it from there.
And operations with WMS (warehouse management system) integrations may require integrated/inline check weighing, automated labeling and load tracking functionality that require the inherent process controls of a linear automated line – even if they’re only wrapping a relatively small number of loads/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.
Narrowing down the options
To get you pointed in the right direction here are some quick guidelines.
Less Than 20 Loads/Day
Our popular Q Series turntable, and S Series straddle wrappers are good places to start. All will handle the demand. Selecting between them requires considering details of future growth and load specifics.
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 operated independently) the Q Series turntable automatics and S Series straddle automatics provide higher throughput capacity AND autonomous operation to enable maximum material handling efficiency.
Many CPG operations require much higher output speeds – and avoiding unplanned downtime is critical because of the cascading impact on manufacturing processes of end-of-line disruption. So use caution when relying on data sheet speed – MANY factors impact net output.
According to our research, one of the most common causes of downtime is film breaks. While they sometimes result from film defects, often the intricacies of high-speed wrapping contribute to more frequent breaks. Lantech’s Lean Wrap™ options address many of those factors including the most problematic – applying film efficiently on both flat sides AND corners.
Load Guardian™ packages incorporate load formulas and presets which optimize the wrapping process and containment force, and also capture data for periodic review of efficiency and audits to uncover causes of downtime and disruption.