Choosing the Right Machine Stretch Film for Your Application?

Choosing the Right Machine Stretch Film for Your Application?

By AAA Polymer | Stretch Wrap

Aug 16

As you start to consider the right machine stretch film, it's vital to always consider the application first. Simply put, there are no one-size-fits-all machine stretch films that will work perfectly for every application. You must evaluate your needs on a case-by-case basis. Some of the most important factors to consider include:

  • The type and size of the load
  • The weight of the load
  • Does the load have special requirements?
  • Where is the pallet being shipped?
  • Price

Continue reading to learn more about each of the most important factors to consider in choosing the right machine stretch film for your application.

Type and Size of Your Load

In general, there are three different types of loads:

Type A Loads

As the easiest type of load to wrap, type A loads offer a uniform shape and have very few film puncture points. In addition, the size of the load closely matches the size of the pallet. These loads are most commonly seen in warehouses or distribution centers where the same product is repeatedly prepared for shipment.

Type B Loads

Type B loads are less uniformly shaped than type A loads. In many instances, type B loads do not match the pallet size, or they have an irregular stacking pattern. As a result, many type B loads have several puncture points. If you are wrapping a type B load, you should closely consider the film you choose, especially at high film application tensions or at high levels of film stretch.

These types of loads are most likely to be found at smaller distribution warehouse locations or smaller manufacturing locations. With a type B load, each pallet is comprised of three or two different products being shipped to a single location.

Type C Loads

Type C loads are the worst type of loads to stretch wrap - primarily because no two loads are the same. With virtually no uniformity on the shape or size, type C loads can have various sharp points throughout the load and significant differences between the pallet size and load.

Although film selection is important with type B loads, it's critical with type C loads. These loads are typically assembled at distribution centers that supply various grocery stores, automotive centers, pet supply stores, etc. Consequently, each load could contain dozens of different products.

Weight of the Load

The weight of the pallet load and type of product being wrapped are both critical when you are considering film gauge, film type, and number of wraps. You can classify the weight of your application with:

  • Lighter loads are typically 1,000 pounds or less
  • Medium-sized loads can be anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds
  • Heavy loads are 2,000 pounds or more

Use the following bar chart to determine the optimal gauge of stretch film to use based on the weight.

Does the Load Have Special Requirements?

Some end users may have special requirements such as colored film, Ultra-Violet Inhibitor (UVI), or one-sided cling.

  • Heavy tinted colored films may be used to conceal the wrapped product.
  • UVI film may be used for products that may be stored outside for longer periods of time.
  • One-sided cling stretch film can be used for pallets that are likely to shift or to bundle.

Determining the Shipping Distance

Among the other factors previously mentioned, you should also consider the method of shipment and distance. For example, one type of film may meet the requirements of a product being shipped by forklift across the plant.

However, this same type of film may not suffice if the package is being transferred across the country by a rail or flat bed truck. Although the shipping distance and method of shipment are commonly overlooked, these are both important factors you should consider when choosing the right machine stretch film for your application.


At AAA Polymer, we talk to customers every day who errantly base their decision to purchase or not purchase a stretch film based solely on the cost of the roll. Although the cost always matters, the true driver is the amount it costs you to wrap the pallet.

In the end, it's best to conduct a cost per pound analysis as well as a cost per load to truly evaluate your costs and understand which stretch film is best for your application.

Contact AAA Polymer

Since 1974 AAA Polymer has been helping business owners find the best stretch film for their unique needs. Our experts will conduct an intuitive analysis to determine your cost per pound as well as your cost per load to understand which stretch film is best and most economical for your application.

Contact AAA Polymer today for a free stretch film analysis.

About the Author

AAA Polymer, Inc. was founded in 1974, as a plastic resin and material trading company with an innovative vision to create a company to provide plastic recycling services for industrial/commercial businesses. If you have any questions, we're here for you. Just call us at 718.389.2498.

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