Hand Stretch Wrap vs Machine Stretch Wrap

Pallet stretch wrap is available in hand and machine rolls. Hand rolls are shorter and lighter. Machine rolls are longer and wider and can weigh in excess of 100 lbs. Most machine stretch film rolls are available in 20″ to 80″ wide. Hand rolls often range from 10″ to 18″ wide.

Other than noticeable physical traits, one of the main differences between hand and machine stretch wrap is the film stretch rate. The stretch rate is the percentage of stretch a film can obtain before tearing. A 100% stretch rate doubles the roll length, which reduces film waste and cost.

Each type of film uses different additives during the extrusion process. The additives used with the melted resin pellets adjust the performance of the stretch wrap. Additives can increase UVI resistances, puncture resistance, stretch rate, and more. For this comparison we are using hand and machine stretch wrap side-by side to display the stretch rate differences.

Hand Stretch Wrap

Hand stretch wrap is made for hand applications, therefore rolls are shorter and lighter. Hand rolls often range from 1000 ft to 2000 ft. long. The most popular hand stretch wrap length is 1500 ft. rolls. Rolls range from 5-9 lbs. in weight.

Multiple thicknesses are available depending on the item(s) being wrapped. Pre-stretched hand stretch film can be as thin as a 30 ga thickness. Heavier hand film can be up to a 130 ga thickness. Thicker film offers higher puncture resistance and increased film memory. It also requires harder tension to reach the maximum stretch rate.

A standard 80 ga. hand stretch wrap typically has a 75% to 150% stretch rate depending on the manufacturer. Users applying the film must maintain constant tension to obtain a 100% stretch rate. If a 100% stretch rate is obtained, a standard 1500 ft. roll would stretch to 3000 ft.

Machine Stretch Wrap

Standard machine stretch wrap comes in 20″ wide rolls. Widths can vary up to 80 inches wide, but require special machine film carriages to fit the rolls into the machine. Wider rolls are used for tall pallets to reduce the amount of revolutions required to wrap a full wrap.

Like hand stretch wrap, machine film comes in a wide range of thicknesses. Pre-stretched machine stretch film can be as thin as a 30 ga thickness. Thicker film is available up to a 150 ga. or 1.5 mil thickness. Thicker machine stretch wrap has excellent stretch and puncture resistance for wrapping heavier pallets with sharp and jagged edges.

The ability for a machine to maintain a consistent tension allows much higher film stretch rates. Machine stretch film offers higher stretch rates up to and beyond 200% to 250% stretch rates are standard. The type of film being used and the stretch wrap machine settings are the two biggest factors in obtaining maximum film stretch rates.

Obtaining a 200% stretch rate turns a standard 5,000 ft. machine stretch wrap roll into 15,000 ft. The increased stretch rate dramatically reduces film costs.

Video Description

For the video we chose to use a 16 micron or 63 ga. stretch film thickness. Both rolls used are identical thicknesses. The hand roll is 1,500 ft. long and 18″ wide. The Machine roll is 5,000 ft. long and 20″ wide.

Both rolls have been tied to comparable pallets and wrapped around the pallet two full revolutions. The demonstrators in the video are holding the rolls tight to prevent slippage only displaying the film stretch rate.

Conclusion

Wrapping a pallet by hand holding a 43 lb. machine stretch wrap roll is not practical. Hand rolls are are made lighter to be held by hand for longer periods of time.

Using a hand stretch wrap on a stretch wrap machine will not obtain the same stretch rate as a machine stretch wrap. The reduced stretch rate equals stretch film waste. Stretch film waste can in some cases double or triple overall cost. The right stretch wrap machine with a machine stretch film can save thousands in costs annually.

Shop stretch wrap film and machines online or feel free to call us at 1-800-441-5090 to discuss film usage and cost.

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