Stretch Wrapper FAQs
At Phoenix Wrappers, we design, engineer and manufacture stretch wrappers.
That’s all we do.
We are experts in pallet stretch wrapping and take great pride in solving our customers’ stretch wrapping challenges. Finding the right pallet wrapper for your specific application is essential to the overall success of the packaging line. If you’re new to stretch wrapping, you may have a few questions. We’ve put together this list of stretch wrapper frequently asked questions to acquaint newcomers to stretch wrapping and help guide you to the right solution.
A stretch wrapper is used in various manufacturing applications to apply a stretch wrap film around a pallet or other object. Stretch wrappers are available to suit different applications, products and volumes. Generally speaking, stretch wrappers can be divided into two major categories: semi-automatic and automatic. But it’s important to realize there are many levels of performance and options available to meet business needs
A semi-automatic stretch wrapper adds elements of automation to the packaging line, but requires interaction from the operator at the beginning and end of the wrapping process.
With a semi-automatic stretch wrapper, an operator must attach the stretch film to the pallet before the start of the stretch wrapping process and then cut and secure the film to the load at its conclusion.
A semi-automatic is often a great transitional machine for warehouses that have been wrapping pallets by hand. It provides a consistent and uniform stretch wrap for every pallet. For warehouses wrapping 10 or more pallets per day, it’s a great solution.
There are three main styles of semi-automatic wrappers: High Profile, Low Profile and Rotary arm.
- High Profile: These machines pair well with forklifts as the turntable is sitting higher above the ground than the low profile. The forklift operator will have an easier time placing the load on the turntable.
- Low Profile: A low profile stretch wrapper has the turntable lower to the ground. This allows a ramp to be used with the machine in order to load it with a pallet jack and/or electric walkie.
- Rotary Arms: When loads are too heavy to be placed on a turntable, a rotary arm is required. These units have an arm that goes around the load instead of rotating the load itself.
A true automatic stretch wrapper must perform the following functions:
- Holds the leading edge of the stretch film to allow the cycle to start without an operator.
- Wraps the pallet load according to set parameters.
- Cleanly cuts the stretch film at the conclusion of the wrapping cycle.
- Secures the film tail to the load.
The advantage of an automatic stretch wrapper is it requires little interaction between the stretch wrapping machine and an operator. They are fast, versatile and efficient.
Automatic machines have two sub-categories: Floor Automatics and Conveyorized Automatics.
- Floor Automatics: These styles of machines are used mostly in warehouse applications where products are moving from storage to shipping. Also, they can be an economic alternative to a fully automatic conveyor line.
- Conveyorized Automatics: These units are used at the end of a conveyorized production line. Some of these production lines produce 40-plus pallets and do not require operators constantly at the machines. The wrapper would sit above the conveyor, or have a turntable built-in to the conveyor.
Stretch film is a versatile packaging product and works well for pallets of all shapes, sizes and weights. It is made from linear low-density polyethylene resins. Stretch film revolutionized the packaging industry in the 1970s by making it accessible and safe to unitize product loads.
Here are some of the benefits:
- PROTECTION: Stretch film protects loads from dust and damage.
- PROFESSIONAL: A stretch wrapping produces a professional looking pallet and allows for customers and shippers to quickly identify the products contained.
- ECONOMICAL: It is a cost efficient method for unitizing.
- ADAPTIVE: Stretch film can be used for a range of product types from light fragile loads to pallets of heavy bricks by changing the amount of film force and stretch.
Stretch film can be applied via hand wrapping or using a stretch wrap machine. The latter offers the ability to stretch the film to a consistent tension – called pre-stretch – which provides the proper amount of strength to a load.
With a stretch wrap machine, the stretch film passes through two rollers (primary and secondary) where the second roller is faster than the first, thus stretching the film to the appropriate strength. The pre-stretch makes the stretch film significantly stronger.
When the pre-stretched film is applied to the load, it wants to go back to its initial form. This is called film memory. The elasticity of stretch film – and its desire to go back to its original form – is what keeps pallet loads together during transport. That’s why the pre-stretch is so important.
For more on the intricacies of stretch film, see our Stretch ABC page.
There are two main types of film: hand film and machine film. There are differences in the properties of the film that allow for different stretching of the film.
Hand film is used for low volumes and can be done throughout a facility. Although the film does not stretch much, it’s a great way to start wrapping products. But once production levels begin to increase, the initial cost of a stretch wrapper becomes sensible.
Machine film is used for stretch wrappers. The film tends to be stronger and it has properties that allow the film to be stretched up to 4 times its length. These films vary in thickness and other properties that allow for different types of load containments.
All in all, the more the film stretched, the less film used and the more money saved.
An investment in a stretch wrap machine is an investment in much more than a piece of equipment. An operation packaging as few as 10 loads per day can justify the purchase of a stretch wrapper. Hand wrapping is a tedious, time-consuming and often injury-inducing process. A stretch wrap machine provides consistent output, a professional package, and increased safety on the packaging floor.
Yes, with the right technology, stretch wrap can work for loads that need to breathe (i.e. perishable foods, pharmaceutical or agricultural products). There are specialty stretch wraps available, but they are often cost-prohibitive. Phoenix Wrappers created the Breathe Easy Film Slitter specifically for perishable loads. A unique film carriage slices standard stretch film into three or more adjustable individual bands. The bands are strong enough to hold the load together while still allowing the product to have proper airflow.
At Phoenix Wrappers, we work with each client to find the stretch wrapping solution that works best for their specific situation. We’ll engineer and design a custom stretch wrapper to fit the needs of any client. Our goal is to provide the right tools to optimize each client’s packaging line. Take a look at some of our custom stretch wrapper applications.
Preventative maintenance (gearbox oil changes, lubrication, pre-stretch efficiency tests, testing, and recording line voltage and amperage readings, and re-calibration of all electrical systems) should be performed quarterly. See more about our preventative maintenance plans here.
A stretch wrapper is a key piece of equipment in the packaging line and there’s many to choose from on the market. Phoenix Wrappers provides a superior value in the design, engineering, manufacturing, maintenance, and customer service. We continually review our products and services with the customer in mind to tailor our designs and solutions and meet the customer’s requirements, in addition to our high standards.