5 Tips on How to Use a Stretch Wrap Machine More Effectively

By Michael Kralstein | Stretch Wrap

Dec 21
Stretch Wrap Machine

The majority of today's equipment will include an intuitive user manual detailing how to use a stretch wrapping machine. The manual may also offer helpful tips on operating the machine and even troubleshooting it for common problems. What most equipment manuals will fail to mention is how to use the stretch wrapping machine safely, efficiently, and in a way that creates a safe-to-ship load.

Fortunately, the experts at AAA Polymer offer decades of experience helping business owners, warehouses, and distribution centers safely wrap and ship pallets. We've compiled a few helpful tips designed to guide you on how to use a stretch wrapping machine more efficiently and effectively. Continue reading for tips on how to wrap your pallets with a stretch wrap machine.

How to Use a Stretch Wrapping Machine — Containment Force

The most important factor in successfully wrapping and shipping a pallet or a load is the containment force. The containment force is defined as the holding force of the film around the load. Mathematically, the containment force can be determined by the wrap force multiplied by the number of film layers around the load. Each load will require a specific amount of containment force based on the product and the shape of the load.

How to Use a Stretch Wrapping Machine without a Containment Force Tool?

The easiest way to test the containment force is to simply pull on the film at the top of the pallet.  Based on the pull of the wrap, you may be able to determine if it "feels" strong enough to secure the load. If you don't have a readily available containment force measuring tool, simply wrap it as tight as you can without breaking the film, crushing or twisting the load.

Measuring Containment Force with a Containment Force Measuring Tool

The most accurate and scientific way to measure containment force is with a containment force measuring tool. This handy tool will quantify the amount of force in pounds. There are a wide number of different methods and tools available, which means the measurements from one tool may not directly compare with the measurements from other tools.

Even if you're using the same tool, there can be a significant amount of variation from person to person. If you're experiencing this variation, it's best to round up. It's always better to have more containment force than you need, rather than not enough.  

How to Choose the Right Machine Stretch Wrap?

The actual type of machine stretch film you use for the job is as important as the machine. Because of this, properly wrapping a pallet is a more significant and tedious task than it can originally seem. In general, there are two different types of stretch wrapping machines:

  1. Power pre-stretch machines need to use the standard unstretched film.

  2. Core brake machine will need to use pre-stretched film.

You'll also need to choose the right gauge of stretch film. If you don't know where to start, speak to one of the experienced film specialists at AAA Polymer. After asking you a few simple questions, we can suggest the best film for your pallet and application goals.  

Choose a Quality Film

When it comes to finding the best machine stretch film, it's imperative to choose a film of value. Simply put, "bargain" films can cost you much more in the long run. Besides, a damaged product is an exponentially more important cost drive than the actual cost of the film.

A better quality film will run better, wrap better, and protect your product better. It's vital to keep in mind that the goal of using the stretch wrapping machine isn't to minimize the cost of film. Instead, the goal is to get the right containment force at the most efficient film cost.

Check the Film Threading

Every stretch film machine should have a diagram demonstrating how the film should be properly threaded through the rollers. Prior to using the machine, make sure the film is threaded as it is shown in the design. While this seems relatively simple and obvious, you'd be amazed as the number of people who decide to thread the machine in ways not diagrammed.

Step-by-Step Tips for How to Use a Stretch Wrapping Machine

Once you have chosen the right type of machine film and understand containment force, use the following quick tips to get the most secure wrap:

  1. Anytime you're adjusting the machine wrapper for a new load, make sure to start with the wrap arm speed or turntable. Then work up to a suitable speed your pallet can handle. Failure to do so may result in you restacking loads that have fallen.

  2. Next set the bottom and top wrap counts and the film overwrap at the top of the load. Start with "2" for the bottom and "2" for the top counts.

  3. Then adjust the film delivery system down and up speed. Unless the owner's manual suggests, you can start with approximately 6 inches overlap of film bands.

  4. Lastly, you can adjust the wrap force. The goal is to apply as much force as possible without twisting the load, crushing the load, or breaking the film.

Once wrapped, you can measure the containment force at the bottom, middle, and top of the load with your measurement tool. You should adjust the settings and repeat the previous steps until you get the desired containment force.

Contact AAA Polymer for Machine Stretch Wrap

Whether you're looking for machine stretch wrap, hand stretch film, or pre-stretch film, AAA Polymer will go above and beyond to help you find the best film for your needs. Contact AAA Polymer today for machine stretch wrap film.

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About the Author

Michael Kralstein started working in sales full time for AAA Polymer in February 2000. In 2006, he became the Sales Manager of our can liner division. He currently manages all aspects related to can liners.

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