Are you using your pallet wrapping machine effectively? If not, you’re losing money and wasting resources. We’ve rounded up the best tips to get the most out of your stretch wrap film.
Tip 1: Choose the right stretch film
It’s going right back to basics, but you’d be surprised by how many businesses haven’t investigated thoroughly if they are using stretch film that is the right type for their requirements. Because there are different types of stretch films for various applications, it’s worthwhile checking if the one you’re using is the most efficient and effective for your needs. Let’s look at the options:
Cast Stretch Film – clear, glossy, with high tear resistance. They unwind without much noise and offer consistent cling and film thickness.
Blown Stretch Film – not entirely transparent, but has superior puncture resistance. While it is a noisy material to apply, it has a higher retention force on the load.
Hand Stretch Film – ideal when volumes of packaging are not high.
Machine Stretch Film – high cling and good stretchability. A good solution for wrapping pallets when you need superior load retention. Tough and with high puncture resistance, it’s suitable for faster application. High stretch capability means higher volumes of pallets that can be wrapped.
Perforated Films – ideal for transporting loads where fast cooling or freezing is required or to protect items from condensation and humidity because it allows for airflow.
Tip 2: Check the quality of your stretch wrap film
Opting to use a cheaper product doesn’t always pay off. The issue is that while you save on costs upfront, you will have to contend with stretch wrap film that is prone to tearing, is not strong enough, and will require more product to finish the job. You’re losing out right there. Plus, there will likely be more residue on your machine wrappers. Choose a better quality product, and you’ll get more efficient results and save on losses caused by inadequate product protection.
Tip 3: Aim for better overlap
Are you managing the amount of overlap the machine is applying? You want to aim for a 25-50% overlap – any less, and the wrap will tend to be unstable and weak. However, if you go over 50%, you’re going to waste wrap. The takeout? Keep an eye on those measurements to maximise the efficiency of your stretch film and limit wastage.
Tip 4: Ensure that the tension levels are calibrated
You want to check the tension levels to make sure that you apply the wrap at the most efficient rate. If the tension is too loose, the wrap will also be applied too loosely. This will cause the load to be unstable. Too much and the stretch will be weak and may break or shift the load on the pallet.
Tip 5: Remember maintenance
Regular maintenance is the message here. To keep the equipment in good working condition, you’ll need to check things like if the stretch wrap is correctly threaded. Or are the rollers clean? Residue and dirt accumulating on a roller will slow down the wrap passing through it, for example. Keep in close touch with those operating the machinery or handing the wrap. Put systems in place so that they know when to alert you when they encounter problems or need to schedule maintenance.
Tip 6: Use a top sheet
To enclose a pallet, one can use a top sheet. These are placed over the top of pallets wrapped and protected from dust or water during transit or storage. They come in clear or black. They are also perforated for easy tear-off application. A bonus is that along with protection, they make wrapping the pallet easier.
Safety considerations should also be a priority. The way your team layer the shrink wrap on your pallet loads is crucial in ensuring they are kept safe and not damaged. Of course, using automatic pallet wrappers makes this easier to control, but it’s wise to make sure that everyone understands how to make the wrapping process more efficient. This includes:
Pre-stretching the shrink wrap (whether it’s done manually or automatically) is important because it allows the material to hold the items securely. Otherwise, it will stretch out of shape during transit.
Begin wrapping the pallet from the bottom and, as described above, overlap layers by 50 percent as you move up. This will stop the individual items from tipping as you wrap.
Test how strong the layers are. Don’t assume that the pallet is secure – the team should test for excessive movement. If they pick this up, then they should start another layer at the top of the pallet and move down. They also need to make sure that the wrap is secure when they start and finish the wrap.