Is a Semi-Automatic Stretch Wrap Machine Right for You?

With most products being sold, you will want to package them before selling them to customers. If selling large quantities of products, eventually bulk shipping products on pallets or skids may be necessary. While some companies wrap their pallets manually, they find it can be an issue because there is room for error.

Other companies use a semi-automatic stretch wrap machine, which is close to fully automated. It requires a person to attach the film, but the photo-eye tells the film carriage to apply film until it reaches the top of the pallet load. Once the pallet is wrapped, the operator cuts the film. Semi-automatic machines are great from a lower volume level of 10 to 15 pallets daily or up to a warehouse distribution center wrapping dozens of pallets daily.

How to Know If Your Business Would Benefit from a Stretch Wrap Machine

Stretch wrap machines can be beneficial to companies in several different ways. This investment in packaging automation can be an intelligent step when ready to grow a company. There is an initial capital investment, but it will pay off quickly.

Companies often delay making a purchase because of the costs, as it can be a significant initial investment. However, improving the efficiency of your packaging and shipping is one of the best investments you can make when you are ready for growth. Take a look at ways to know that you would benefit from having a stretch wrap machine.

  1. Higher Volume of Pallets

If you produce many products and place them on pallets for shipping, you will benefit from having a stretch wrapping machine. Any company wrapping more than ten pallets in a day would benefit. The stretch wrapping machine allows workers to wrap pallets in less time and increase productivity.

Hand wrapping pallets requires more time and more labor. On average, a machine can wrap pallets in half the time to wrap them manually. The time spent on workers properly pulling the wrap around each pallet can be used for more productive tasks.

2. Damaged Products During Transport

Another sign that you would benefit from a stretch wrap machine is if your products are damaged frequently during transport. One of the primary causes of damage to pallets is improper wrapping before the shipment.

Pallets need wrapping in a specific way to ensure products are tightly packed together and don’t shift during transport. This step is even more critical when your products travel longer distances or are stored for extended periods.

Having damaged products hurts any business and cuts into profits. Stretch wrap machines will wrap your pallets correctly with the right amount of force consistently, and they will keep products safe so that they arrive at their destinations free of damage.

3. Labor Turnover

Companies often have high turnover for manual labor. This type of work can be strenuous and stressful, and it has a higher turnover than other positions. When you have employees who aren’t invested in the company’s success, they may not make the same effort to wrap pallets correctly.

In addition, you will need to train new employees all the time, which leaves a lot of room for error. It becomes more expensive because you need more supervisors, and rookie mistakes are always possible.

In this case, a stretch wrap machine is an advantage because it only requires an operator to turn it on, feed the stretch wrap, and cut the film. The job, in general, is less strenuous and takes little knowledge to operate.

4. High Film Costs

When manually wrapping pallets in high volume, more film than is necessary may be used. The problem most people run into is not stretching the film tight enough. To properly stretch a good film, workers have to pull hard around all of the pallet. Without using the maximum stretch rate of the material, much is wasted, and loads are not correctly secured.

If you use a stretch wrap machine, your pallets will always be wrapped correctly with the minimum amount of film necessary to do the job. Over time, you will see significant savings on stretch wrap film because you will no longer be overusing it. Stretch wrap machines are designed to break film less often, reducing the extra use of shrink wrap.

What Is the Difference Between Semi-Automatic and Fully Automatic Stretch Wrapping Machines?

If you are considering making a change and automating the process of wrapping pallets, you can choose either a semi-automatic or a fully automatic stretch wrap machine. There are benefits to each one and how they will help you wrap your pallets more accurately.

Semi-automatic stretch wrapping machines do need a human operator. The operator will start by attaching the film to the load. Then the operator can press the start button to turn the machine on, and they will cut the film at the end of the wrap. This type of machine is an excellent option for companies with lower volumes. If maximum film savings are desired, a semi-auto machine with a pre-stretched head will stretch film up to 300%.

Businesses use a fully automatic stretch wrapping machine with a high volume of shipments. Automatic machines offer higher speeds and can keep forklift drivers on their forklifts. They do not require any operator; the film is applied to the load and cut when finished wrapping. There are different types, and you can choose the ideal one for your industry and your products. Make sure your pallet load type will work with the automatic machine you are interested in.

What to Know Before You Choose a Stretch Wrapping Machine

When you decide to transition from manual wrapping to a semi-automatic machine, an initial investment will need to be made. It is essential to make sure that you understand the questions to ask to get the best machine for your needs.

The first thing you need to know is the size of the largest and smallest pallets being wrap. Check each pallet’s length, height, and width to make sure that you purchase a machine that can accommodate all of the loads. The pallets need to be compatible with the device to wrap them correctly.

Next, you need to consider whether or not the products you are wrapping are black or dark colored. Most semi-automatic stretch wrap machines use photo eyes to know when they reach the top of a pallet load. They shoot a beam of light that bounces back. Black products will absorb the light rather than reflect it, making it difficult for the photon eye to know when it reaches the top of the pallet. You may need a different photo-eye if you have black products. Laser and sonar photo eyes are capable of seeing colored pallets and can be quickly added with ease.

Consider how the pallets will be loaded onto the machine, typically done with a forklift or pallet jack. A low profile and a ramp are necessary for a semi-auto machine to load products with a pallet jack.

Final Thoughts

If you have a business that ships or stores pallets, you might want to consider a semi-automatic stretch wrapping machine. Although many companies manually wrap their pallets, you can save time and money, reduce errors and damage by investing in a semi-automatic machine. If you have questions about your pallet loads and a suitable machine, call 1-800-441-5090.

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