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Palletizing & Load Stabilization

Increasing Stretch Wrapper Operational Efficiency

Apr 6, 2021
3 min read

1. Learn how the machine is supposed to operate.  

Take time to watch the machine operate when every thing is working properly. Pay attention to how the operators operate the machine on a daily basis. If you don't know how the machine is supposed to work, then ask. After all, how can you notice a problem if you don’t know how it’s supposed to operate in the first place?

2. Inspect equipment on a regular basis.

Always identify issues right away so they can be fixed ASAP. Even on a daily basis as you pass by a machine, look it over for anything that does not look exactly right. Don't be afraid to ask a question, and know your limitations. If you are unsure about something, find out the facts before you act. The last thing you want to do is cause more damage.

3. Make preventive maintenance a priority.

Set up a regular maintenance schedule with internal maintenance or an outside provider. Document maintenance with work logs every shift. And keep the machinery lubed. You do not want a broken chain drive when the pallets are lined up waiting to be wrapped and a truck is at the door idling for pick up.

4. Don't skimp on film thickness.

If the film is not of a good quality or adequate tensile thickness, issues with breakage can increase. This, in turn, increases downtime and requires more operator intervention. Proper operator training and operating reevaluations should be conducted to ensure that all operators are following the same SOPs and have not begun to deviate from them.

5. Avoid overwrapping.

Monitor the tension of the film and material usage to find the optimal wrapping amounts for the pallets. These variables must be controlled to achieve proper material usage, because costs can rise quickly if not controlled. Put a skid counter on the wrapper to ensure you’re getting the proper amount of stretch to get full value from each roll.

6. Check the settings frequently.

Whenever there is a problem with the machine, someone adds a few wraps or lowers the stretch percent. Record the

preferred settings on a sign inside the control door, and add checking these settings to regular performance monitoring. Verify the settings are correct at the end of shifts, and retrain operators who use incorrect settings.

7. Monitor material use week-to-week and month-to-month.

If you notice an increase in material usage, find the problem and fix it. By doing so, you can reduce the amount of film you buy and increase the reliability of the equipment. You can use a formula developed by your vendor, if available, or a spreadsheet of your own design.

8. Consider outside verification.

Aside from calibrating on a periodic basis to get the right amount of stretch and conserve material, third party inspectors and technicians are available to confirm your settings. This service can pay for itself multiple times over as you well get maximum value for your stretch wrapper.