Are you thinking about making the switch from hand wrapping to machine wrapping your loads? That’s a choice you won’t ever regret—machine wrapping has countless benefits over hand wrapping. It lowers labor, material, operating, and maintenance costs, reduces workplace injuries, and decreases product damage.
Fortunately, the process of purchasing, setting up, using, and maintaining stretch wrapping machines isn’t as complicated as it might seem. This five-step guide to buying a semi-auto stretch wrapper is here to help you conquer the first step in automating the stretch wrapping process—picking out the best machines.
Determine What You Need
The first step in choosing the right stretch wrapping technology is to determine your warehouse’s needs. Machines are smart, but there are some things they’re just not able to do. They’re built one way, and they do things that way. If they aren’t compatible with your favorite kind of stretch wrap, for example, you’re out of luck—they can’t magically reprogram themselves to work with it.
You want to choose a machine that’s compatible with your preferred kind of stretch wrap and applies the right amount of containment force. Knowing what kind of products you wrap and what it takes to protect them against damage will help you choose the right kind of machine for your warehouse.
Need help identifying your warehouse’s needs in terms of stretch wrapping? Here are some questions you should ask before beginning your search for the ideal machine:
- What are you wrapping?
- How do you currently wrap your products?
- How many loads do you wrap per day (on average)?
- What size pallet do you use?
- What’s the usual height and weight of your pallets?
- How much do your lightest pallets weigh? What about the heaviest ones?
- How do you plan to load your pallets onto the stretch wrapper?
- Are you experiencing frequent product damage? If so, what’s causing it?
- Is it necessary to weigh your loads?
- Do your pallets have overhanging products, partial layers, or any other out-of-the-ordinary qualities that require special consideration?
Find The Right Manufacturer
You’re probably not an expert when it comes to stretch wrappers, and that’s fine. Even if you are a fount of knowledge when it comes to stretch wrapping technology, you’re unlikely to know the ins and outs of particular machines as well as the manufacturer or supplier does. That’s also fine. As long as you purchase from the right manufacturer or supplier, you’ll have all the resources you need at your fingertips.
But how do you go about choosing the right manufacturer or supplier? Here are some tips for finding credible companies to purchase from.
They Have Safe and Efficient Machines
You might not get the chance to examine and test the machines before you purchase them, but there are many other ways to gauge the safety and efficiency of a manufacturer or supplier’s machines.
Does the company have an incredible reputation or a terrible one? You can gauge how customers feel about them by skimming through customer reviews. If customers are consistently raving about the quality of their machines, that’s a good sign. If customers talk nonstop about downtime, damage, and general inefficiency, steer clear.
You can also get a good idea about the quality of the machines by skimming through their user manuals. These are usually available online or upon request. The manual contains a trove of valuable information, including information pertaining to important features, such as safety measures that the machine employs.
They Are Easy to Install and Operate
Your new stretch wrapper should be simple to install and operate. For best results, contact your dealer or manufacturer to schedule your installation with a certified technician. This ensures that you machine is operating properly for best performance. Your semi-automatic stretch wrapper will come with detailed instructions on how to operate.
They Provide Ample Support
Let’s say you purchase a brand-new machine, and a couple of weeks in, you encounter a problem. This hiccup isn’t necessarily a sign that the manufacturer or supplier is bad. Sometimes, even the most advanced technology can fail abruptly.
However, what is a sign of the company’s competency is how they respond to problems of this sort. Do they provide extended warranties on their machines? Can they ship out replacement parts in a timely manner? Do they provide live tech service? If a company doesn’t seem like it will provide you with the support you need when things go awry, it’s in your best interest to purchase your machines from someone else.
Choosing Your Stretch Wrapper
You know that you want semi-automatic stretch wrappers—otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading the guide to buying a semi-auto stretch wrapper. But did you know that there’s more than one type of semi-auto stretch wrapper? Here are some of the most common and popular types of semi-automatic stretch wrappers and the applications they work best for.
Do you wish that your stretch wrapper would come to your loads instead of having to haul load after load across the warehouse? Portable stretch wrappers make that possible and open up valuable floor space. These wrappers are easy to move around and can handle loads of almost any width, length, and weight.
As the name suggests, turntable stretch wrappers feature a table that rotates as a film delivery system dispenses and wraps the film around the load. These wrappers are the most popular type of semi-auto stretch wrappers—and for a good reason. They’re extremely versatile and easy to configure to suit a wide range of applications. You can quickly determine the turntable stretch wrapper you need based on weight, height, and other key factors of your pallet loads.
Do you have loads that are extremely lightweight or extremely heavy? A rotary arm stretch wrapper can handle the loads that other kinds of wrappers can’t.
Horizontal stretch wrappers are ideal for wrapping products that are too tall or wide for other wrappers, such as lumber, doors, windows, carpets, textiles, and piping.
Know Your Budget
It’s important to choose a stretch wrapping machine that works for you and your business. But many businesses need to consider budget alongside quality. Some kinds of stretch wrappers are more expensive than others. As one of the most common and popular types, turntable stretch wrappers tend to be on the more cost-effective side. More specialized kinds of wrappers, such as rotary arm or portable wrappers, can be double or triple the price of more common types.
But don’t let money influence your decision too much. These machines are one part of your warehouse that you should definitely splurge on. If you purchase a run-down and less-efficient machine just to save money, you’ll have to deal with slow, inaccurate wrapping and more frequent downtime. A new and highly efficient machine will cost you more upfront, but due to the increased productivity, accuracy, and safety it provides, you’ll make back the money you spent in no time flat.
Whether you need stretch wrapping machines, packers, palletizers, or laser-guided vehicles for your warehouse, Robopac USA has it all. Our high-tech machines come with innovative R-Connect and CUBE Technology and are designed to be durable and productive. Shop our full line of semi-automatic stretch wrappers and other secondary packaging equipment today!