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Five Step Guide to Choosing a Stretch Wrapping Machine

automatic stretch wrapperEach production line is different. Every warehouse has its own idiosyncrasies. Organizations face unique challenges relevant to their business line, product, staffing levels or floor space.

When considering adding a stretch wrapping machine to the mix or upgrading a current one, it’s a big decision and investment. At Phoenix Wrappers we take pride and care in truly understanding how a client’s business operates and working with them to find out what they need out of a stretch wrapper. We specialize in customizing our machines to suit a variety of business needs. We believe that’s the best way to get the most of a stretch wrapping investment.

Where does one start when it comes to choosing a stretch wrapping machine? Believe it or not, you’ve probably already started the process. Let’s jump right in.

  1. Define Stretch Wrapping Goals

If you’re thinking about purchasing a stretch wrapper, then you probably already have a baseline idea of what you need this machine to do. Now, it’s time to consider it further and think through the details of your production line.

If your organization is switching from hand wrapping, an automatic stretch wrapper or semi-automatic stretch wrapper can make a huge difference in terms of safety, production, consistency, as well as have an attractive return on investment.

pallet wrapper 2
One of the most important decisions to make is deciding between a semi-automatic (bottom photo) and an automatic pallet stretch wrapper (top photo). pic_hires_plp-2150

There are a few key questions to ask yourself and your organization to begin to shape your stretch wrapping goals:

  • What type of production (i.e. how many loads per day do you have to wrap) does your organization have now? Seasonally? In five years? In ten years?

This will help determine if you have enough production to warrant a fully-automatic stretch wrapping machine and/or the speed required. In many applications, a semi-automatic stretch wrapper does just fine and is a great introduction to automation in the production line. It will also help you determine not only the right machine for now, but the right machine for future growth as well.

  • What are the must-have features? Are there any special features you need that may require customization?

There are likely some features that you can’t live without. This might be a low-profile turntable so pallets can be loaded by pallet jacks or a top sheet dispenser to protect a pallet load from the elements. Consideration of the must-have needs will help narrow your focus as you begin to consider stretch wrapping models in step two.

  • Is this stretch wrapper part of a greater automation initiative or a stand-alone automation element?

Integrating a stretch wrapper into the production line takes careful thought about the overall packaging process. If there are other automation elements, a new piece has to be able to keep pace with production.

Other considerations include:

  • How are pallet loads created?
  • How are they moved around the warehouse?
  • How much space do you have for a stretch wrapper?

Once you have a strong sense of your organization’s needs and goals, it’s time to seek out the most suitable stretch wrapping solution.

  1. Research Different Stretch Wrapper Options

Once you start looking, options for pallet wrapping machines can seem endless. That’s why this step is so important. It’s essential to understand the advantages of each different model and manufacturer. Match up each potential stretch wrapper against your defined goals identified in step one.

After an initial survey of available options, find out more about each stretch wrapper that matches your company’s criteria. Contact the manufacturers to feel out if their product and service suits your needs. Their expertise in stretch wrapping can help you further define your needs and guide you to the best option.

  1. Compare Apples to Apples

Not all stretch wrappers are created equal. Some stretch wrappers may look similar, but it’s about the details. Look at service packages, warranties and delve into the specs. Phoenix stretch wrappers include many options in our standard models that other manufacturers consider “extras” or “upgrades.”

It may help to build a spreadsheet comparing the features of several machines to see which one comes out on top. It’s important to consider the overall package, price and anticipated return on investment. The essential question is: What are you getting for the money?  Comparing the stretch wrappers on the same set of qualities will narrow down the options even further.

  1. Make It Work For Your Budget

 As with all business decisions, consideration has to be given to the budget. A stretch wrapping solution has to align as closely as possible to needs while being within a company’s budget availability.

Something to take into consideration is the cost savings possible with a stretch wrapper. For example, if you’re upgrading your production line from hand wrapping, you will see significant savings in stretch film. With a stretch wrapping machine, the film is pre-stretched drastically lowering the amount of film necessary to sufficiently wrap a pallet load!

If you are considering our high-speed rotary ring stretch wrapper, pet2savings could be even greater. This pallet wrapping machine allows for one-way wrapping, which saves about 30 feet of stretch film with every pallet load while still providing the necessary load retention wraps.

The less tangible benefits of a stretch wrapping machine should be considered as well. Things like increased safety and fewer injuries, improved production and flow, and consistent and professional packaging are impacts that should be taken into account.

At this phase in the process, you should have a good idea of the best stretch wrapping solution that fits your needs, goals and budget. There’s just one more step.

  1. Customize Your Packaging Solution

One of the ways Phoenix Wrappers differs from our competitors is that we are eager to work with our customers on custom stretch wrapping solutions. To truly optimize your production line, you have to have an end-of-line packaging solution that fits with your processes, labor demands, space constraints and outputs. Check out some of our custom stretch wrapping solutions and watch some of our stretch wrapping videos to see what’s possible. We’d love to work with you to find the right solution for you.

Final Thoughts

We said there would be five steps, but there is a sixth step – the best step of all! It’s time to implement your stretch wrapping solution and begin to see the benefits in production, safety and budget savings.

We hope you consider a Phoenix stretch wrapper; we pride ourselves on helping our clients find the right packaging solution. We love customizing our pallet wrapping machines to suit the challenges of our customers. Contact us today and let’s start a conversation!

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