The pallet wrapper industry has flourished thanks to the increased number of products being shipped around the world. Also referred to as stretch wrap, stretch film or shrink wrap, the technology offers even small businesses the opportunity to grow or expand production.
If you’re considering investing in pallet wrapping for your business, here are some of the basics you’ll need to know.
1. Hand wrapping vs. machine wrapping
When looking at the right wrapping solution for your business, you’ll need to consider your needs and capacity. Hand wrapping machines allow you to wrap pallets manually, while the other kind is applied using a semi-automatic or automatic pallet wrapping machine. If you don’t feel you need the machine wrap option based on your production volumes, hand wrapping as a solution is sufficient. However, consider looking at added technologies such as using end caps, handles, or a dispenser to reduce the strain on your hands from the manual application.
2. How pallet wrap is measured
When you’re purchasing pallet wrap, it’s obviously helpful to know your options. You’re likely to order it by the metre. But it would help if you also considered the ‘micron’ measurement of the pallet wrap. This has to do with the thickness of the wrap. A micron (mu) is a thousandth of a millimetre, and options range from 12mu to 30mu. Why is this important? You want to select a film that is appropriate for the load. For example, a thicker film is needed for heavy and irregular loads and those that are vulnerable to being punctured or scratched during transit.
3. How pallet wrap is made
There are two ways that pallet wrap is made. It is either cast or blown. Blown film is formed by producing a layer of resin first. This thick layer then has air blown into it to create a bubble. As the bubble cools, the material stabilises, and it is collected onto rollers and wound into a roll. On the other hand, cast film is produced by having the resin pressed through cooled rollers to flatten it. This process is the more common way of producing a stretch film.
4. Why colour counts
Did you know there are multiple options when it comes to the shade of pallet wrap? This has excellent organisational benefits. You could choose different colours of wrap for varying ranges of products or their destinations to make identifying them easier. Black pallet wrap also has the advantage of keeping items hidden, which is an option for valuable things that need increased security measures.
Consider introducing a range of colours into your end of line, but also remember other handy products that can assist further, such as pallet labelling. Investigate the options that will help you communicate key information such as the fragility of a load or impart knowledge that will make handling or storage more accessible. For example, storing shipping, transit, and customs information can be stored in doculopes on pallets and Rippa labels can communicate warnings clearly.
5. Protecting corners is key
The corners of pallets can experience damage during transport. While using the right thickness of pallet wrap will minimise scratches and punctures, pallet corner boards are the better option for peace of mind. Here are some other benefits of using them:
- You can stack containers more securely and efficiently.
- Stacking strength is improved with corner boards because the stress is moved to the edge of the container.
- They can be used as a marketing tool (carrying your business name or logo).
6. Pallets need to be kept dry
Wooden pallets are a significant investment. So you want to prevent the rot from setting in. Proper storage is essential. If the pallets are being stored outside for a couple of months, they should be fine. However, with long-term storage outside pallets can grow mould or rot, rendering them useless. You can do the following to increase pallet life.
- Keep the pallets off the ground by using 4×4’s or other dunnage.
- Ensure good airflow. This relates to indoor storage in a tight, damp area, too, which can also lead to rot.
- Rotate the stock by using the pallets from the back row first. Also, consider moving them around to change the position so that those in a high-moisture area have time in dryer areas.
In transit and during storage, pallets can be kept dry by adding an additional protection level using pallet tops.
7. Consider other materials
Plastic wrap isn’t suitable for all products. A net cover is a breathable option suitable for wrapping produce. Look for a high strength knitted net wrap, which will give the protection the product needs. Another benefit is that the net pallet wrap is lighter, so it may be a solution if you are looking to cut transport and freight costs.