Since stretch film possesses unique properties like lightweight, easy molding, clarity, dustproof, etc., it has the ability to offers packaging solutions to various industries such as food and beverages, healthcare, electronics…

As the shipping & logistics sector is growing on the backdrop of the e-Commerce industry, the demand for stretch film is expected to grow in future due to the rising demand of packaging industry for the protection of goods during distribution. Along with this is the growth of stretch wrap machines market, which is predictable considering the benefits that these machines offer:

  • Efficiency: Able to wrap up to 15-20 pallets per hour and it is possible to wrap large and multiple pallets
  • Diversity: Can deal with various products and goods
  • Controllability: Easy to control and adjust thanks to advanced technology
  • Cost-saving: Reduced product loss, material costs, and  labor costs

Now you have known the good, here comes the bad: purchasing the right stretch wrap machine can be a difficult task. What about the ugly? Buying the wrong stretch wrap machine can be a very costly mistake!

To avoid that, here are the 7 questions you will want to consider and answer correctly before purchasing a pallet wrapper.

#1 Brand new or second-hand?

A brand new stretch wrap machine obviously costs you more than a used one, but it comes with a warranty and easily accessible parts. And if you choose the right brand, the machine can easily run years without any issues.

On the other hand, a used pallet wrapping machine has lower initial costs and often offer the same benefits as new machines. However, be aware that many second-hand machines are sold as-is with no warranty. Also, you might not be able to identify the manufacturer, therefore cannot obtain parts if needed.

If you decide to go with the second option, consider finding a supplier for parts for the machine and someone that can service the machine if needed.

#2 What are the largest and smallest pallets that will be wrapped?

Knowing the size of pallets being wrapped will help to ensure the machine can accommodate everything, so have the numbers (length, width, and height) ready. Too long pallets hit the machine when rotating. Too tall pallets may not be fully wrapped. Too short can be unable to be seen by the machine photo-eye.

You can calculate the size of the machine base needed, which is determined by the pallet diagonal, using this formula:

Square root of Length squared + Width squared

#3 Is a pre-stretched head required?

This is mostly depended on the type of stretch film that will be ran on the machine. If you are going to purchase a stretch wrapper without a pre-stretched head, make sure that you will use a pre-stretched film on the machine. Pre-stretched films do help you to save on film costs significantly.

#4 What are the maintenance costs?

Think about the external environment around your future stretch wrap machine. Machines placed in

  • cold room storage: require different lubricants.
  • areas of high dust: need additional covers and protection.
  • places with high humidity: demand more frequent maintenance.

Furthermore, as the machine gets older, maintenance gets more expensive. To lower the maintenance costs and keep the stretch wrapper working as much as possible, ensure that it requires little to no scheduled preventive maintenance during its lifetime.

#5 How can the pallets be loaded onto the machine?

You need to pallets to be loaded onto the machine turntable to begin the wrapping process. Pallets can be loaded by either forklift or pallet jacks. If pallet jacks are being used, you will need a ramp.

A ramp allows workers to place pallets onto the machine by hand and its size is determined by size and requirement of a larger porch or flat area on it.

#6 What is the color of the used stretch film?

Is the stretch film being used clear or colored? Are the products need to be wrapped black or clear?

It is important to determine these factors because the demanded type of photo-eye depends on them. Most pallet wrappers use photo-eyes to determine when to stop at the top of a pallet load.

Dark colored products and clear products can often make the standard photo-eye become useless. There are photo-eye alternatives, such as the black photo-eye and laser sensor, to help the wrappers to properly wrap loads.

#7 Is it really cost-saving?

You decide to buy a stretch wrap machine to save costs, but is it really cost-saving? Have you ever thought of spreading the cost of a stretch wrap machine over the number of loads it wraps during its economic life?

The more pallets the machine wraps, the lower machine cost per load wrapped is. If you wrap 60 loads a day over 10 years, a $17,000 stretch wrapper costs 7 cents per load. But if you only wrap 30 loads a day over 10 years, a $17,000 stretch wrapper costs up to 15 cents.

So consider your production levels carefully to decide whether to purchase a stretch wrapper or not, and which price is okay.

Credit images: Derek Meijer, YouTube

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