Blog : 5 pitfalls to avoid when selecting your pallet stretch wrapper.

Stretch Wrapping Pitfalls

Beginning with a need assessment to building a business case for return on investment, pallet stretch wrapping technology procurement can be stressful and arduous.

With many options available in the market, choosing the best technology can be difficult. Your product cannot leave the premises without stretch wrapping the pallet, so it's an important part of the packaging process.

To make the process of technology selection, procurement and installation easier, we've created this quick checklist to ensure you avoid these common pitfalls we’ve seen in the past.

Pitfall #1: Guessing the details

 It is really important that you know the details of the application before you go out to market. Some of the basic details needed to specify the application and get the right solution include:

  • length, width, height, and type of pallet
  • product stability and packaging type, such as shape of cartons, cans or bottles
  • maximum throughput required per hour
  • conveyors, space available, loading options
  • do you need options like a waterproof or dustproof top sheet or corner posts to eliminate carton crushing?
  • would you prefer fully automatic film reel changes
  • what is your preferred electrical control platform, if you have one
  • electrical information like voltage, phase, and frequency

Pitfall #2: Ignoring the steps preceding pallet wrapping

Here are some important steps that need attention to ensure pallet wrapping success.

Step 1: Improve the integrity of primary and secondary packaging

The quality of primary and secondary packaging, along with other packaging materials like tier sheets and corner posts all impact the condition in which your product reaches the retail stores. Logistical demands need to be balanced with business requirements such as shelf-ready packaging, branding, cost of packaging, sustainability and environmental concerns. Good quality primary and secondary packaging facilitates pallet wrapping success.

Step 2: Load stability and stacking patterns

Before stretch wrapping a pallet, it is important to make sure the stacking is optimised. A column stacked pattern gives good compressive strength while an interlocked pattern gives better lateral strength and stability. The stacking pattern is dependent on case type and pallet utilisation. A well-stacked pallet is a more stable pallet. Choosing the right palletizing solution is important. 

Pitfall #3: Over specifying or under specifying the application

There is a propensity to overstate the requirements. So long as the requirements are clearly based on future growth plans, there are no issues.

If the requirements are overstated since the details are unknown and a buffer is built-in, the solution may end up being over budget. The reverse is also true. If the requirement is understated to save money, the machine may not meet the requirements in which case the investment is a waste. 

Pitfall #4: Not enough testing

Testing is essential for different film types, different load types and machine settings for optimal results.

Some of the most common causes of film breakages are load type, film quality, wrapper machine settings, and sometimes operator error. Film test cycles are important to determine how much the film can be stretched without breaking to ensure that it does not break during wrapping.

Also, how do you ensure the pallet load is as stable as possible with the minimum amount of stretch film for film cost savings? The magic lies in getting the containment force right. This is the pressure holding the load together and is created by the number of revolutions of the stretch film multiplied by the tightness of the wrap called the wrap force. The minimum threshold level of containment force on a load determines its success. If the containment force is too low, the risk of an unsecured pallet is high.

There is a trade-off between the wrap force, layers of stretch wrap and throughput. Testing is usually required to get the optimal solution to ensure an effective and efficient wrap pattern. 

Pitfall #5: Not spending time on integration.

While specifying the application, it is important to look at line integration options as well as infeed and outfeed.

An investment in a pallet wrapper can be an opportunity to automate a possible bottleneck to improve efficiency, productivity and use the data for real-time reports. Integration can also remove potential occupational health and safety issues.  An automated solution can be networked to an integrated line control and/or warehouse management solution.

We hope the above points will give you some insight and ideas into areas that need to be thought about, defined better or optimized when investigating pallet wrapping technology.

You might like to download our Pallet Wrapping Selection Guide eBook for more detail.

Talk to Foodmach today for a no-obligation discussion regarding pallet stretch wrapping technology options.

Just ask us

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