Millennium Packaging Inc offers our customers a wide variety of quality stretch film and shrink film options. Choosing the right stretch wrap whether it be hand stretch film or machine stretch wrap to meet your packaging needs can be difficult. Here we seek to answer all your commonly asked questions to help you get the most out of your stretch film.
WHEN SHOULD I MAKE THE TRANSITION FROM HAND-WRAPPING TO MACHINE PALLET WRAP?
The answer to this question lies in the number of pallets you are wrapping per day. Many smaller operators can get away with hand-wrapping pallets when they are first starting out, but as the company grows there are many reasons to transition from hand stretch film to machine stretch wrap.
Automatic or semi-automatic machine pallet wrappers provides companies with cost savings as well as time savings. A semi-automatic stretch film wrapper, like our Lantech Stretch Wrappers, can help you get more pallets out the door in less time. Our semi-automatic and automatic models can stretch wrap anywhere from 10 to 45 loads per hour, which is significantly more pallets out the door than any human laborer alone can wrap using hand stretch film.
Machine stretch wrappers can also save on the amount of pallet wrap used per load while providing the proper load containment. One of the greatest features of stretch film is the ability to stretch, so that less stretch film is used per load. A human laborer can only stretch wrap a film about 60-70% if they pull the film as tightly as they can. Don’t forget the elastic recovery of the stretch wrap once the pallet has been stretch wrapped as well. Keep in mind, a machine can stretch that same stretch film about 250%, using less film per load. When you are getting 250% more stretch film per roll; the machine wrapper will pay for itself at a pace of 10 pallets per day while providing more consistent load containment for your pallets.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF MACHINE STRETCH FILM?
There are 3 major reasons machine wrappers are worth the investment. The first, and most important, reason is something called load containment. Load containment is how secure a load is wrapped, making sure that load gets to its destination safely and in one piece. The great thing about using an automatic or semi-automatic stretch wrapper is that they can be programmed to consistently wrap each load securely, the same way each time while accounting for the elastic recovery and proper load containment of the stretch wrap. Decreasing the variability that comes with human labor, more pallets reach their destination in the condition they left your warehouse each time. A more consistent machined applied stretch wrap provides high clarity of the film on the pallet which is another benefit of machine stretch wrap.
Another reason, as discussed above, is the speed of the machine itself vs. hand-wrapping each pallet. Depending on the model you choose to go with, a machine can wrap up to 10-45 loads per hour, increasing productivity. In addition, machine wrappers are able to stretch your shrink film up to 250% so you are getting the most out of each roll.
Wrapping a lot of pallets per day by hand can lead to increased employee injuries, resulting in increased cost of lost labor as well as increased worker’s compensation claims. Wrapping a pallet by hand can result in dizziness that leads to falls. Employees can injure themselves on jagged edges of pallets or irregularly shaped loads. The normal wear and tear from constantly putting force on the stretch wrap to try to maximize the amount of stretch wrap being used is a common injury as well. With a machine wrapping your loads, these injuries dramatically decrease providing additional cost savings.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT SIZE (WIDTH) AND THICKNESS (GAUGE) OF STRETCH WRAP TO USE?
The size of pallet wrap can depend on the stretch wrap machine you have. While 20-inch film is our most common film and fits most standard automatic wrappers, some machines require a 30-inch stretch film to operate properly.
The next factor that determines what size and gauge (thickness) pallet wrap you should use is the type of load you are working with. Loads that are more symmetrical and even could use a thinner stretch wrap, while more jagged or uneven loads would require a thicker stretch film for them to be secured safely.
The speed of the wrapper machine you are working with is also an important factor to think about when determining how thick your stretch film should be. Faster machines require a thicker stretch film to decrease tears and get the most out of your stretch film. Slower machines can handle thinner films. If your machine is set to a speed somewhere in the middle, our service technicians can help you choose the right film for you.
Load tension is important to think about when determining the size and thickness of your stretch wrap. Adding tension when wrapping a load helps to keep all the items in place so that they can withstand the shipping process and arrive at their destination in one piece. Increased tension can mean increased security and safety for that load, but that’s not always the case. When you are working with delicate materials, it is important that you do not use a thicker stretch film because the force on the load could damage the products. That is why you should choose a stretch film that can hold the amount of tension needed and keep your products safe from damage.
Our certified technicians are available to take the guesswork out of choosing the right stretch wrap especially when working with a new stretch wrap machine. Our techs look at the size, shape and speed of the loads you are working with to make customized recommendations for your warehouse. We even help you set the machine at the correct settings to get the most out of every load.
WHERE CAN I FIND 30 INCH STRETCH FILM?
Here at Millennium Packaging we carry 20-inch and 30-inch pallet wrap in both cast stretch film and blown stretch film types.
WHAT MAKES HIGHER PERFORMANCE STRETCH FILM WORTH IT?
Although what our customers like most from our high performance stretch wrap is the speed and pre-stretch it allows. A higher performance stretch film can keep up with a high-speed machine. Allowing for up to 60 revolutions per minute, our high performance stretch films can increase your productivity while maintaining the perfect wrap for all of your loads. Although the vast majority of high performance stretch wrap on the market is cast stretch film there are a handful of high performance blown stretch film options in the marketplace.
The polypropylene content in our high performance stretch wraps have a capability to stretch up to 250%. When you are able to wrap more pallets with the same roll of pallet wrap, this roll easily pays for itself, especially at higher speeds.
Speed and stretch are important, but the biggest advantage to working with a high performance stretch film is that they help the machine run smoothly. With less down time for machine maintenance, or issues with the load wrapping incorrectly, machine downtime is decreased. High performance stretch wrap tends to have high clarity which makes it easier to scan labels through your stretch wrap as well. Overall, our shrink films help you get more loads out the door with the piece of mind that they will arrive at their destination safely, in the same condition they left your warehouse in.
HOW DO I DETERMINE WHICH STRETCH WRAPPER TO USE?
There are a lot of factors that determine which stretch wrapper to choose from. Each operation is different, ships different materials, and has different needs. We have a great selection of stretch wrappers, but it can be difficult to choose the perfect one for your warehouse.
Our certified Lantech technicians specialize in asking you the right questions to help get you in the right stretch wrapper that meets all of your packaging needs. They will address the size, shape, and durability of each load that you package. They will also consider the number of pallets per day you are planning to ship, or will plan to ship once you upgrade to a faster machine, and make informed recommendations specific to your needs.
Once the perfect wrapper has been selected, our technicians will also help you install the machine and optimize the settings to ensure that you are getting the most out of each and every feature that new wrapper has to offer. We will also train your employees how to properly operate the machine and if there are issues, we are always available to answer your questions and help you troubleshoot.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES WAREHOUSES MAKE WHEN SETTING UP A STRETCH WRAPPER MACHINE?
According to one of our Senior Service Technicians the biggest mistake any company can make is to attempt to install their new stretch wrapper on their own. Not only can it be a structural disaster if the machine isn’t installed correctly, but these machines have thousands of settings. You should have a certified technician install the machine for you in order to maximize all the benefits.
Here is one of the most memorable calls to the service department according to another Millennium Technician; “A company decided to install their machine wrapper on their own. They forgot a few key brackets when installing their wrapper. When they ran the machine for the first time, the whole machine collapsed and fell over because those brackets were not installed correctly. Luckily nobody was hurt, but it was still a disaster.” If that wasn’t enough to convince you, installing the wrapper without the assistance of a certified technician can result in the manufacturer warranty being forfeit.
We still see some companies that prefer to do the installation themselves. Some of the most common calls that the service department receives are due to improper thread of the stretch film. This can result if the brackets or bolts are not properly installed, which causes decreased stretch of the film or even tears in the film as it is threaded through the machine.
Although this one isn’t an issue with installing the machine itself, our service department often received calls about damage to the machine from forklifts improperly loading pallets onto the machine. When employees are not adequately trained how to operate the machine, these issues can come up. That is why our technicians take the time to train your employees on installation to ensure that no preventable damage to the machine occurs.
HOW DO I MAINTAIN MY STRETCH WRAPPER IN TOP CONDITION OVER TIME?
The best thing any company can do for their stretch wrapper is to clean it regularly. Keeping your stretch wrapper clean and free from debris helps to keep your machine working properly for the long haul. It only takes one nail getting jammed in the belt to cause a great deal of damage, and the worst part is that this damage is preventable.
Our stretch wrappers can be cleaned with an air nozzle or even a clean leaf blower, just to keep the internal parts clean and free of debris. Some of our automatic stretch wrappers even have air nozzles installed right in the machines because it is that important to keep these machines clean. Dusting the machine should be done at least daily to prevent any damage. We also recommend cleaning under the machine and even removing the turn tables monthly to give the machine a good deep cleaning to keep everything running smoothly.
Our service department offers routine maintenance programs, we come to your warehouse to provide routine maintenance on your stretch wrapper. With a certified technician inspecting your machine periodically, we are likely to find smaller issues and correct them before they become a bigger, more costly issue. Our maintenance schedules can be purchased on a yearly, twice yearly, or more frequent basis. The frequency depends on how many hours per day and how many loads your machine processes on a daily basis. A wrapper that is up and running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week would need more frequent cleaning and maintenance than a machine that is operating less. Call us today for a quote!
WHY DO I HAVE A WHITE LINE IN MY PALLET WRAP ROLL?
While a small line in a shrink film roll isn’t always a big deal, some rolls have a very large, tough, straw-like band in the roll that causes issues with the way that roll is stretched and wrapped around a pallet. This line in the roll is also known as a gauge band. These bands can cause jams in the wrapping machine, tearing of the film, increased stickiness, or result in uneven wrapping and force on a pallet.
A gauge band results either from improper rolling of the stretch film at the manufacturer level or damage to the stretch wrap roll itself in the shipping process. That is why we have very high quality standards for all of our shrink films here at Millenium Packaging. We also choose to work with domestic manufacturers to cut down on the damage that overseas shipping can cause to pallet wrap overtime. Keeping your stretch wrapper up and running and properly wrapping your pallets with as little downtime as possible is always our goal.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY ISSUE IS FROM MY SHRINK FILM OR MY STRETCH WRAPPER?
It can be tricky to figure out if the issues you are having are from the machine or the stretch film you are using. As a general rule of thumb, if your stretch wrap is tearing, is sticky or bundling, you could have a bad batch of film. Trying a different roll of film might correct the issue.
On the other hand, if the issue is regular, in the same spot each time or is not corrected by changing the roll of stretch wrap, then it could be your machine. About 98% of the calls to our service department are related to machine issues. Sometimes these can be fixed with a quick change in the settings, while others require more intensive diagnostics and labor to fix.
Our service department is always available for you to call to diagnose and fix any issues that you may be having with your machine. If it’s a quick change in settings our technicians will talk you through that change over the phone, but if that is not the case then we will come out to your warehouse to correct the issue. If you ever encounter an issue with your pallet wrapper, we always recommend giving us a call to properly diagnose the problem to minimize downtime and keep your stretch wrapper working for you.