Pallets are the standard storage products used for shipping items both nationally and globally. However, another packaging item which has become the mainstay for businesses shipping products all over the world is pallet stretch wrap. Pallet stretch wrap is used to secure the items with the pallet and also with one another. The pressure applied by the stretch wrap keeps the items securely in one position.
Types of Pallet Stretch Wrap
Pallet stretch wrap is a plastic film made of linear low density polyethylene. The major characteristic of the wrap is that it is highly stretchable. The high elastic recovery makes the pallet stretch wrap highly suited for efficiently packaging pallets.
The two kinds of pallet stretch wraps are as follows.
- Cast stretch wrap is produced using a process called cast extrusion process. In this process, a melted thermoplastic is extruded on a chilled roll through a flat die. The melted thermoplastic is then quenched and re-solidified. Cast stretch wrap is highly resistant against tear and does not require much force to stretch. This wrap also adheres strongly to the pallet. Highly transparent surface provides a clear view of the wrapped products.
- Blown stretch wrap is manufactured by a process known as blown extrusion. In this process, melted plastic is extruded vertically through an annular slit die. This forms a tube shaped column of melted plastic. There is an opening at the centre of the die through which is introduced. The air causes the tube film to blow like a balloon. Air is blown at the top of the film as well to cool it. Blown stretch wrap is more stretchable and has more load capacity as compared to cast stretch wrap. Tear resistance is also high which makes it suitable for wrapping sharp edged pallets.
- Equivalent stretch wrap uses less amount of petroleum resin which reduces the cost of manufacturing. High strength is imparted to the wrap using multi-layer technology.
Advantages of Pallet Stretch Wrap
There are multiple advantages associated with using pallet stretch wrap for packaging pallets for shipping.
- Damage to the products during transit, loading, unloading and stacking in warehouses is minimised significantly because the pallet stretch wrap doesn’t allow shifting of the products.
- Pallet stretch wrap is easy to handle and does not require much efforts to wrap securely on the pallet. Thus, worker productivity is increased as more number of pallets are packed in less number of time.
- The products are protected against dust and moisture. UV grade stretch wraps enable the pallet to be stored outdoors under the sun as the products are shielded from the UV rays of the sun.
- Similar products can be packed together as a single unit using pallet stretch wraps. This makes inventory control much simpler because the products are not separated.
- Optical scanning system is able to scan the barcodes of the products through the transparent stretch wrap.
- Stretch wrap reduces the risk of theft because the products are unitised and it is necessary to unwrap the whole unit to pinch even one product.
Manual vs Machine Wrapping
The pallet stretch wrap can be wrapped around the load by using either a handheld roll or wrapping machine. Manual wrapping involves a lot of bending and twisting and the stretch wrap is not stretched more than 50% of its ability by hand. Machine, on the other hand, automatically wraps the loads and stretches the wraps completely. However, a machine is not a good investment if the number of pallets to wrap do not even reach 15 per day.