Stretch wrap: the seven critical factors
12 or 23 micrometres? Pre-stretched or normal? Transparent or coloured? Anybody looking for just the right stretch film quickly discovers that it is not quite so simple. A good reason to give you some important information and tips so that you can find the right stretch film solution for every packaging problem in our product range.
THE BASICS OF Stretch wrap.
... THE REQUIRED PURPOSE ...
Protection: Stretch film protects your goods against moisture, dust, other dirt and against theft. However, these are actually just handy side-effects as the main purpose is …
Securing shipments: Loaded pallets are mostly wrapped in stretch film to stabilise and secure the goods for transport. The stretch film creates a strong connection between the pallet base and the load and the tension of the film. However, only if everything is performed correctly …
... THE CHALLENGE ...
Imagine the following situation: Your employee is exhausted and puts the stretch film to one side in frustration. And the load? The pallet has not been wrapped properly. The stretch film lies loosely around the goods. And during loading, the products wobble like a house of cards. All the effort has been wasted. You can see that when it comes to stretch film, one aspect is extremely important …
... THE RIGHT SELECTION ...
… The correct stretch film and wrapping technique not only saves you time and energy, but also costs. Less effort. Less material consumption, fewer costs, greater efficiency! Let's take a look at the video below to see how it's done properly. And then we can tell you what you need to take into account to select the right stretch film.
THE SEVEN CRITICAL FACTORS.
+ NO. 1: THE RIGHT WRAPPING TECHNIQUE.
Our video showed you how important the right wrapping technique is. You should also make sure that the stretch film is sufficiently tensioned. It is also important to slightly overlap the individual strips to ensure stability. An overlap of approx. 10cm/ 4in is recommended.
Other important aspects are wrapping the base and the top. Stretching starts with wrapping the base at the bottom of the load. The goods are connected to the pallet. Wrapping twice to four times, if the height and weight of the load requires it. If in doubt, then wrap it one time too many rather than one too few. Wrapping the top at the other end gives the load unit additional stability if required. Wrapping up to two times around is sufficient in most cases.
+ NO. 2: THE OPTIMUM LENGTH, WIDTH AND THICKNESS.
One of the most important selection criteria with regards to stretch film is the thickness. This is specified in micrometres – µ – and can range from 8 µ to 23 µ and more. A rule of thumb is that the thicker the stretch film, the higher the elastic force, i.e. the force with which the film returns to its normal position after having been stretched. Therefore it can be said that the heavier or more unevenly shaped your load is, the thicker the stretch film should be to ensure maximum stability and tension. A comparatively thinner film is sufficient for light loads with smooth edges.
The width of the stretch film is also an important factor. Wider films would appear to involve less work as fewer strips need to be wrapped around the load. At the same time, just as with thicker films, they are heavier, which makes handling them less practical and more tiring for your employees. The same applies for the length: The longer the stretch film roll, the heavier it is. You therefore need to find the correct balance – and that always depends on the type of load.
While we are talking about the right size: we also have special mini-stretch films in our product range for small parts, stacking goods, ring and long goods. Thanks to their small dimensions, they are especially easy to handle.
+ NO. 3: PRE-STRETCHED OR NORMAL FILM.
Another important selection criterion in addition to the thickness is the elasticity of the stretch film. A rough differentiation is made here between pre-stretched and normal film. However, there is no definite division between the two types. Ultimately it all comes down to your taste and the load you need to wrap.
- Normal stretch film is highly elastic and can be stretched by up to 300% and more. When stretching, you need to attain a high level of tension to ensure a high level of retention force and stability. This is best done by walking backwards around the pallet and pulling tightly. A little exercise to keep you fit during the day. The major advantage of this method is the low use of materials.
- Pre-stretched film on the other hand only offers a limited amount of additional elasticity. Therefore you need to apply much less force when stretching it as the film only requires a little tensioning. This has the practical advantage that you can walk conveniently straight ahead around the goods.
+ NO. 4: SUITABLE ACCESSORIES.
The correct wrapping technique and the correct accessories are just as important. In the video, a pallet cover sheet is placed on the top layer of cardboard to additionally protect the goods from above. Alternatively, you can also use the non-perforated flat film for this. Edge protection brackets can be used to perfect load securing. And before we forget, never underestimate the value of the perfect film cutter.
+ NO. 5: TRANSPARENT OR COLOURED FILM.
Coloured stretch film protects your goods reliably against prying eyes – particularly with valuable packages, this can be an important theft-protection measure. In addition, different colour stretch films are a very convenient way of keeping your stores in order. When you have to distinguish between and sort 50 loads or more, you will come to appreciate the benefits or colour films.
+ NO. 6: MANUAL OR MACHINE STRETCHING.
If you need to secure a large number of pallets of the same shape every day, purchasing an automatic stretch winder can make sense in some circumstances. This saves you time and also guarantees a uniform wrapping quality. We have special machine stretch wrap films in our product range for such devices. Usually they are wider and longer – a machine doesn't care how heavy the stretch film is …
+ NO. 7: STRETCH OR SHRINK.
Even though you are now well-informed about stretch films – sometimes it is still hard to find the right one. For example, if you are not certain how high the pressure resistance of your pallet goods is. It must be remembered that the load is held together by a tensional force that should not be underestimated. In particular when packing materials with sharp edges tears can form if the stretch film is not sufficiently thick. Stretch films are often tested to their limits in the case of goods spread unevenly on the pallet. In such cases shrink-wrapping can be a better alternative. Again, we have a suitable solution in our product range – simply get in touch and ask us!
WE ARE HAPPY TO ADVISE YOU.
Although we have been able to give you some basic information and practical tips here, in reality the film you require always depends on the individual case at hand.
Our suggestion is simple. Pick up the phone and give us a call or get in touch via e-mail or our contact form. We will be happy to advise you on all questions relating to stretch films and will be happy to hear from you.