Technology has changed a great deal in the past few decades. Consequently, so has the ways in which companies package and ship their products. Before such technology became commonplace, most processes were slowly and laboriously done by hand. Nowadays, these processes are handled by specialized equipment that makes them easier, faster, and more precise than ever before. The piece of revolutionary packaging equipment you’ve likely heard about is the stretch wrapping machine. There are many benefits to using stretch wrapping machines at your packaging facility, from boosted production levels to increased protection for your products. But what do you use stretch wrapping machines for, exactly? What are they, and how do they work? In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about stretch wrappers and their use.
What Are Stretch Wrappers?
A stretch wrap machine is a piece of equipment that automatically wraps pallets with stretch wrap. This keeps the products housed inside of the pallet contained and safe from damage. The main purposes of stretch wrapping are to make products easier to transport in bulk and protect individual products from damage during shipping, so they arrive at their destination point unharmed. Although pallet loads can be wrapped by hand, using machines is the faster, more reliable, and more accurate method due to a couple of reasons that we’ll delve into later.
Though all stretch wrappers are designed with the same end goal in mind—to wrap something with stretch wrap—their visual appearance and the way they function varies depending on their design and whether they’re semi-automatic or fully automatic.
The Types of Stretch Wrappers
When it comes to stretch wrapping machines, there are a lot of different options in terms of design and functionality. The most popular types include turntable, rotary arm, and horizontal configurations.
A turntable stretch wrapping machine will feature a turntable, which is a round, revolving platform that turns in a circle while the stretch film is dispensed and applied to the pallet load. This kind of stretch wrapper is ideal for use with most applications, making it extremely versatile.
A mechanical arm that rotates around and wraps the pallet is the key feature of rotary arm stretch wrappers. This kind of stretch wrapper is ideal for use with loads that are on either end of the weight spectrum. Whether the load is super light or super heavy, a rotary arm will work with it perfectly.
A horizontal wrapper dispenses the stretch film from around a ring that surrounds a horizontally laid product. This kind of stretch wrapper is ideal for wrapping lengthy items that would otherwise be hard to wrap, such as windows, doors, lumber, textiles, copper piping, and corrugated tubes.
How Stretch Wrappers Work
The way that stretch wrapping machines work depends on whether the machine in question is semi-automatic or automatic.
As the name suggests, an automatic stretch wrapping machine does everything automatically. It carries a pallet to the wrap zone via roller conveyors. Once the machine is done wrapping the pallet, it sends it to the end of the packaging line down the exit conveyor. The next pallet is transferred to the wrap zone, and the process repeats.
A semi-automatic stretch wrapper works similarly to an automatic one. The main difference between the two is that the semi-automatic stretch wrappers require an operator to be present to load and unload the pallet and if needed manually adjust the machinery throughout the process.
Why Should I Use Stretch Wrappers?
You know what stretch wrappers are, the different types of stretch wrapping machines, and how each of their configurations work. But what do you use stretch wrapping machines for? What can these automatic machines do to improve your business’s efficiency and bottom line? Well, it turns out they can do quite a lot.
Many business owners wrongly assume that hand-wrapping will save them money. You won’t have to spend on machinery if you stick to hand wrapping, they think, and that’s true—however, wrapping something by hand is a terribly inefficient and unreliable method that’ll cost you more in the long run than purchasing and operating stretch wrapping machinery would. A small business might be able to get by just fine with hand wrapping, but if you’re wrapping more than ten loads in a day, you’d be much better off automating the process. There are a couple of reasons for this, which we’ll discuss below.
Machines Are More Reliable Than Humans
Your employees might be reliable, but it’s hard to beat the consistency of machines. Mistakes are only human, and your workers are bound to make the occasional blunder. They might struggle to wrap with the right amount of containment force or end up using more stretch wrap than necessary. Machines, on the other hand, will use the right amount of containment force, as well as stretch wrap, each and every time. In applying the correct amount of containment force, machines ensure that your products remain safe during transit and arrive at their destination safely. They’ll also stretch the film more than can be done manually, getting the most out of your stretch film investment. How, might you ask? Let’s find out.
Hand Film Doesn’t Equal Stretch Film
Hand wrapping will give you anywhere from 10 to 20 percent stretch of the film. Machine wrapping, on the other hand, can give you anywhere from 200 to 300 percent. Stretch wrappers are now being introduced that get up to 500 percent pre-stretch. By automating the stretch wrapping process, you’ll save money on film. This is because the right stretch wrapping technology will pre-stretch the film, allowing you to get more done with less and stretch the use of a single roll of film further.
To sum things up, stretch wrapping machines are used because they’re a much better alternative to hand wrapping loads. They’re faster, more reliable, and more cost-effective, amongst numerous other benefits.
If you’re planning on making the switch from hand wrapping to machine wrapping, Robopac USA has semi-automatic pallet wrappers and other state-of-the-art secondary packaging equipment that can benefit your business. We create our machinery with the latest, most efficient technology and are dedicated to providing our customers with the information and support they need to get the most out of their machines. Come and shop with us today!