How to Wrap Pallets with Plastic to Reduce Shipping Damage

By Michael Kralstein | Stretch Wrap

Oct 11

Whether you’re a warehouse or distribution center, it’s critical to know how to wrap pallets with plastic stretch wrap or film to reduce shipping damages and protect the product. However, before we actually cover best practices and tips, let’s take a closer look at the two primary types of stretch wrap: cast stretch wrap and blown stretch wrap. Continue reading to learn more about the how to wrap pallets with plastic to reduce shipping damage.

Should I Use Blown Stretch Film to Wrap and Secure Pallets?

Blown stretch wrap or blown stretch film is created through a process called blown extrusion. In this process, melted plastic is extruded through a slit die to create a thinly walled tube. Then air is introduced through a hole in the middle of the die, which blows up the tube similar to a balloon. An air ring located on the top of tube circulates cool air to cool the film.

The process of blown extrusion allows blown film to be much tougher and more resilient than cast film. In addition, blown film carries higher mechanical properties, which allows for a stronger load holding power. When you use blown stretch film to wrap your pallets, you’ll enjoy:

  • Higher strength capacity and higher load capacity
  • A greater degree of memory, so once the film is stretch it will allow the loads to remain more secure
  • A higher resistance to tearing for wrapping and securing loads with sharper edges

And while blown film offers a range of benefits over cast film, it’s relatively noisy when unwound and has poor clarity due to the crystallization process, which means the film appears hazy. This may not be the best solution for wrapping pallets with UPC or RFID tags that must be scanned.

Should I Use Cast Stretch Film to Wrap and Secure Pallets?

Cast film or cast stretch wrap is created through a process called cast extrusion. In cast extrusion, a melted thermoplastic material is extruded through a flat die directly onto a chilled roll, which is where the material is quenched and turned back into a solid.

You can find cast stretch film as machine stretch film and hand stretch film. Whether you use cast machine stretch wrap or cast hand stretch wrap to wrap pallets, you’ll enjoy a unique set of benefits:

  • A very clear plastic film, which is ideal for securing loads with underlying RFID tags or bar codes you must scan. This attributes means workers in warehouses or distribution centers can quickly scan the underlying code without adjusting the wrap.
  • Cast stretch wrap unwinds quietly.

And while cast film offers several benefits, it lacks the same holding power as blown film. Cast stretch wrap may also have less tear resistance and less memory than blown.

How to Wrap Pallets with Plastic to Reduce Shipping Damages?

Now we’ve covered the two main types of plastic stretch wrap, let’s go over a few best practices and tips to help you wrap your pallets that protect the underlying product throughout shipping and storage.

Choose the Right Pallet Size

Prior to wrapping any pallet, it’s imperative you choose a pallet of the right size. While it may seem like common sense, you’ll be surprised at the number of W/DCs that start off with the wrong size or wrong type of pallet. Make sure:

  • To avoid any pallets with protruding nail heads or broken boards
  • Your pallet is large enough to prevent your shipment from hanging over the edges
  • ​Your pallet is strong enough to support the full load.

Stacking Your Pallet for Shipment

Once you have the proper pallet, make sure to use the following best practices for stacking it:

  • Always stack lighter, smaller items on top of heavier items.
  • Ensure your cartons are new and capable of withstanding stacking.
  • Securely seal all cartons
  • Utilize adequate amounts of dunnage within cartons and avoid leaving spaces between products.
  • For greatest stacking strength, organize boxes in neat columns from corner to corner.
  • Use pallet liner paper or slip sheet underneath the load as well as every third layer — if possible. This will help protect the bottom layer and evenly distribute the weight.

Securing Your Load with Plastic Stretch Wrap

The final step in wrapping pallets with plastic is to use the right type of plastic stretch wrap based on the attributes of your load, the products you’re shipping, as well as several other factors. The plastic stretch wrap should be effectively applied around your pallet from the bottom up. Overlapping by 50% is an excellent way for your employees to have added package protection without creating substantial waste.

Contact AAA Polymer for Plastic Stretch Wrap and Film

Determining whether you need blown or cast film to wrap your pallets can — at first — seem challenging. However, the experts at AAA Polymer offer decades of experience helping facility managers and supervisors choose the best stretch wrap material for the desired results. Since we offer a full range of different types of stretch wrap, we will listen to you needs and guide you to the best solution.

Contact AAA Polymer today for professional-grade stretch wrap and best practices.

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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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