How to Choose the Right Stretch Film

How to Choose the Right Stretch Film

Stretch film, often known as stretch wrap, is an underutilised item that many businesses use regularly. It is a very stretchable plastic sheet made out of linear low-density polyethylene. Its elastic recovery feature keeps the components firmly bonded together. It is used to wrap around objects to secure items in place. It protects a wide range of everyday items, from food to paint cans. It comes in various widths and thicknesses, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. It has been proven to reduce product loss, discourage load tampering, and even reduce worker accidents.

Key features

The following are the most common reasons for shrink wrapping items:
  • Keep moisture, dust, and other contaminants away from the goods
  • Bundle items in groups of two or more
  • Keep freshness and lid removal at bay
  • Provide an efficient means of preventing tampering
  • Add an extra surface for labelling and attaching theft prevention devices

Choosing the right stretch film for application

Customers frequently base their decision to purchase stretch film on the cost of the roll. In reality, the cost of wrapping the pallet is the key driver of stretch film expenses. If your warehouse's stretch wrapping procedure has not been assessed, your business may be losing out on significant savings. To find prospective opportunities for cost savings, examine the following:
  • Common Stretch Film Misconceptions
  • Types of stretch film
  • Stretch film selection based on application
  • Optimal times for switching to automated processes with stretch film equipment

Types of stretch film

Stretch film comes in a variety of forms. A list of each type is provided below. Below the list, we will look at each film's capabilities, popular applications, and various dynamic properties.
Machine Stretch
  • Cast Stretch
Cast stretch film is created by a complex manufacturing process known as cast extrusion. The continuous pressing of a thermoplastic substrate into a flat die and onto a cooled roll is known as cast extrusion. The speed with which the casting roll pulls the plastic away from the die determines the film gauge. This method enhances the clarity of cast films, allowing end-users to view the wrapped objects. This film also stretches more easily since the molecules are aligned when extruded.
  • Blown Stretch
Blown stretch film is created through the method of blown extrusion. This method involves pushing plastic melt through a circular slit die, resulting in a refined tube. The air is then forced into the tube, allowing the amount of air contained within to expand the tube to its ideal width. After that, the tube is closed with an air ring, which is blasted over the substrate to cool it. This method gives the blown film additional strength and flexibility over other wraps.
Hand Stretch
Hand stretch film is designed solely to be hand-wrapped. It is often used by businesses that wrap small quantities of goods. This refers to businesses that wrap fewer than 50 pallets each day. Hand stretch film's capabilities must be regularly assessed against the various potential benefits of switching to a stretch wrapping machine. Choosing the proper stretch application for your packing line helps increase efficiency and reduce production costs.
UVI Stretch
Ultraviolet film is a stretch film with specific light-resisting chemicals that protect it from photographic deterioration when wrapped objects are stored outside and exposed to the environment.
VCI Stretch
VCI (Vapour Corrosion Inhibitor) stretch film is designed to wrap metal components and keep them from rusting. This formulation is often used for packaging tools, metal pipes, and other metal items or materials because it inhibits metal oxidation.

Common Stretch Film Misconceptions

Even though stretch film comes in a range of gauges, lengths, and styles, customers frequently utilise the same stretch film for several applications or a less effective stretch film for a single application. This is due, in part, to the following widespread stretch film misconceptions:
  • Misconception: The higher the gauge, the stronger the film and fewer revolutions required.
  • Reality: Compared to conventional films, advanced resins and multi-layer technologies in lower gauge films can give stronger strength and equivalent performance while requiring fewer revolutions. This results in a higher roll yield and cheaper total costs.
 
  • Misconception: The higher the number of film revolutions on the pallet, the greater the tension and load security.
  • Reality: Wrapping a pallet with too many redundant revolutions might result in wasted film and overpayment for the film.
 
  • Misconception: One film fits all applications.
  • Reality: Certain stretch films are more suited to specific purposes than others. Using the correct film for the job minimises waste, total expenses, and overwrapping.
 
  • Misconception: The greater the stretch, the better the film.
  • Reality: The stretch capacity of the film has no bearing on how well it will hold the weight. In fact, excessive stretch (when not properly aligned) might reduce the effectiveness of palletization.

Choosing the Right Stretch Film for the application

When considering new stretch films, it is necessary to examine your application first. As previously stated, no single stretch film is ideal for every purpose. Consider the following factors while looking for the best stretch film:
1. Load's form and weight
Types of load
  • Uniform with clean edges
  • Irregular load with uneven edges
  • No conformity with sharp edges
The shape of the load will help determine the type of film needed and the gauge required to contain the load efficiently. Another significant factor to consider is the weight of the pallet load. Light loads typically weigh 1,000 pounds or less, medium loads weigh 1,000-2,000 pounds, and heavy loads weigh 2,000 pounds or more.
2. Present process's speed and efficiency
When assessing stretch film to enhance speed and efficiency, look around the warehouse to evaluate where existing wrapping stations are, how much throughput the business needs, and how many personnel are presently supporting operations.
3. Load containment and protection
Then, consider what is being sent, how it is being shipped, and how much force is necessary to ship the pallets without damage to calculate what stretch film the business will want for best load containment.
4. Volume and cost
Consider how many pallets the business sends every day, week, and month. What are the current material, time, and labour expenses associated with those volumes? With this information, businesses may compare films to identify the most efficient option.

Optimal Times for Switching to Automation with Stretch Film Equipment

If the business wraps more than 25 pallets per day, automating the stretch wrapping process might significantly save cost.

Conclusion

In conclusion, determining the sort of stretch film to use for business procedures may be complicated and should not be dependent just on the cost of the roll. Other factors unique to the load and warehouse practices might also contribute to high stretch film expenses. To select the optimal film for application, perform a cost per pound analysis as well as a cost per load study.
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