Load damage, SKU proliferation, labor scarcity and material waste are all good reasons to reconsider how pallet loads leave your dock. Stretch wrapping is a good place to start. If concerns about justifying the cost of a capital equipment investment have delayed such an analysis, here are considerations to keep in mind when looking at this equipment.

The Right Fit

It’s important to consider what type of stretch wrapper is best suited for your specific application. Think about the size, weight and variability of the loads you will be wrapping. Highly variable loads would benefit from certain types of machinery, such as orbital, horizontal wrappers that unitize the load most securely to the pallet. Stable, light-weight loads of consumer goods would do well with a turntable style wrapper, while unstable or heavy loads would do better with a rotary arm machine. Rotary ring machines can handle heavy and variable loads, such as construction supplies, pet food and beverages while still handling the highest volume lines.

Need for Speed

One should consider the production speeds required. If moving from a hand wrap application to simple automation, a semi-automatic stretch wrapper may be all that is required. Although these machines still require a person to manually attach the film to the load at the beginning of the wrap cycle and cut the film at the end of the cycle, they can achieve rates as high as 35 loads per hour. The labor reduction or improved productivity may justify the relatively low cost of these machines.

If you’ve outgrown your existing stretch wrapper or are adding production, a fully automatic stretch wrapper may meet your needs best. While these machines typically cost more, the savings in labor, improved productivity, and increased versatility may help justify this type of machine. Whether you choose a highly automated ring wrapper that can achieve speeds as high as 150 loads per hour or you prefer the redundancy of two lower volume machines in parallel can depend on available space, labor costs and maintenance expenses.