Hand Stretch Wrap Differences

We believe in offering a large variety of stretch film products for our customers to choose from. This offers customers the opportunity to find the right stretch film at an affordable price. We also believe it is important, to be honest about our products and let people know what the are buying. There are many stretch wrap suppliers that will try to pass off equivalent stretch film for a standard gauged stretch film. This post is going to look at the different hand stretch film options we offer, the benefits they have, and how to tell what you are buying.

Traditionally manufacturers made a standard gauged stretch film for customers to use. It was affordable and worked well to secure a variety of loads. Standard stretch film comes between 60 gauge and 150 gauge. Over the years an 80 gauge stretch film took center stage as being the most versatile thickness on the market. Since then, things have changed. Rising petroleum prices have encouraged manufacturers to produce a film that uses less petroleum resin to keep the cost down. The most common hand stretch film options on the market now are: standard or true gauged stretch film, Eco or Micron stretch film, hybrid or multilayer stretch film, and pre-stretched stretch film.

The Micron stretch film and the hybrid stretch film are both considered equivalent stretch films. They are often passed off by stretch film suppliers as being a true gauged film. This is often used to increase profit margins by making customers pay true gauged prices. Below is a brief explanation of each film and the benefits they offer.

Standard or True Gauged Stretch FilmThis film is what companies used and manufacturers produced for years before petroleum prices got out of hand. True gauged stretch film offers a great amount of stretch, tear resistance, and strength. The main drawback of using a true gauged hand stretch film is unneeded waste. The user does not reach the maximum stretch potential of the film.

Eco or Micron Stretch FilmThis film is called different things by manufacturers, but is still considered an equivalent film. It is a step down from true gauged stretch film and often comes in a 57, 60, or 63 gauge. Many suppliers try to pass this film for a true 80 gauge stretch film. The main differences between this and the true gauged stretch film is the thickness and the amount of stretch potential. A micron stretch film is often stiffer and will not stretch as much as a true gauged stretch film. It does offer several great benefits. It is more affordable, it’s strong, and it often promotes less waste. Because the micron film has less stretch, users can often apply enough force to reach maximum stretch potential to reach the full use of the film.

The best way to tell if you are getting a micron equivalent film is by weight. It is common for suppliers to even have printed on the box 80 ga. when it is not, so do not trust the box. If you do look at the box or label and it has EQ. anywhere on it, it means it is an equivalent stretch film. As stated above, weight is the best way to tell. Take an unused roll and weigh it. An 18″x1500’x80 ga roll should weigh no less than 8.8 lbs. If the roll you weigh is less than that, it is probably a micron film.

Hybrid or Multilayer Stretch Film–  This is also considered an equivalent stretch wrap commonly used in place of lighter gauged film. Depending on the manufacturer, this film often comes in a 47, 51, or a 53 gauge. Some suppliers often try to pass it off as a true 70 or 60 gauge. The micron stretch film is a multilayered film as well but does not have as many layers as the hybrid stretch film. The hybrid stretch film is stiffer and has less tear resistance than the micron film. Benefits include cost, lighter rolls,  less physical exertion when applying, and stronger. The multilayers make the film stronger than a true gauged film of the same thickness. The hybrid does not come in thicker forms because the whole purpose is to use less petroleum resin.

The best way to tell if you have a hybrid stretch film is the thickness of the film and the amount of stretch. It will have considerably less stretch than a true gauged film and will also be very thin.

Prestretched Stretch Film– This is a great “green” option for users wrapping lighter loads. The prestretched stretch film is a true 80 gauge stretch film stretched up to 90% of its stretch potential then placed on a roll. This makes it an affordable film that promotes less waste. Users can reach the full stretch potential when applying the film with little physical exertion. We recommend users use prestretched stretch film for loads no heavier than 1000 to 1200 lbs.

The best way to tell if you have been using a prestretched stretch film is by looking at the roll. The film on the core can easily be pressed down when on the roll and often appears to have a squishy feel to it. No other stretch film rolls will have this.

If you have any questions about any of these hand stretch films, call us at 1-800-441-5090 or visit us at www.uspackagingandwrapping.com.

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