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Palletizing & Load Stabilization

Best Practices For Specifying Stretch-Wrapping Equipment

Feb 23, 2022
3 min read

Here are some tips and considerations to keep in mind when shopping for stretch-wrapping equipment:

1. Determine the optimum force needed.

Primary packaging is being drastically lightweighted to control costs and meet sustainability initiatives. This affects the ability of stretch-wrapping equipment to contain and unitize loads without crushing or damaging goods. Consider equipment that incorporates technology that ensures the use of the optimal containment on

each load.

2. Understand how the equipment will impact freight and labor costs.

In markets where competition means seeking advantage everywhere, companies need to control freight and labor costs. Some semi-automatic stretch wrappers enable operators to stay on fork trucks while wrapping their loads, saving time and labor while reducing safety risks. Cut transportation costs dramatically by simply weighing each load to ensure quality and gauge freight. Integrated scales allow operators to wrap and weigh loads simultaneously.

3. Know the speed at which you want the equipment to run.

High-speed equipment isn’t as expensive, comparatively, as you might think. Buy flexibility to accommodate future needs.

4. Consider greater integration.

Pallet wrappers tend to be stand-alone unit operations in a warehouse. Some suppliers are  integrating pallet conveyors into the wrapping process.  They stage pallets upstream of the wrapper, convey them to the wrapping area, and then move finished unit loads downstream to be picked-up by a fork lift.  

Advanced systems can eliminate fork lift operations and instead incorporate automated guided vehicles (AGV’s) to supply pallet to the wrapper and then take them away to a staging area, racks, or even an automated warehouse.

5. Ensure safe operations.

Make certain the stretch wrapping equipment is safe for people.  It must be properly secured with safety light curtains, perimeter fencing, or other physical guards.

6. Allocate budgets for beefier frames and more robust machinery.

Ensure that conveying systems associated with the stretch wrapper are as robust as possible. If someone hits a 3,000-lb machine with a fork truck, the fork truck is going to win. Don’t forget the human factor; fork-truck drivers are rarely Mario Andrettis, or the gentlest people in the factory.  Machines, like people, need to be properly guarded.  

Tip: The cost to install bollards or highway-style guard railings will be well worth the investment.

7. Weigh the imperative to automate.

Hand wrapping is the biggest culprit for using too much film. If you’re wrapping by hand, you can easily compare stretch-film costs by performing a simple cut-and-weigh test on a typical load. Take a hand-wrapped load, cut off the film, and weigh it. Then compare that number to the amount of film applied by a machine. If you’re using too much film, it’s simple to calculate the payback time period on the machine based on the film savings alone.

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