Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q1 - What does a pallet | stretch | skid | shrink wrapping machine do?
"Pallet wrapper" (aka. pallet wrapping machine) is the common term used to describe the majority of equipment offered for sale by Wrapper Direct. Other terms interchangeably used are: stretch wrapper (aka. stretch wrapping machine), skid wrapper (skid wrapping machine), and shrink wrapper (shrink wrapping machine).
Pallet wrapping machines are designed to partially or completely automate the process of "wrapping" loads that are on pallets with inexpensive and easy to manage "plastic". Common terms for this plastic are "Hand Wrap", "Machine Wrap", "Plastic Wrap" and "Stretch Film".
The primary reason for wrapping pallet loads is to keep them from falling apart during transport. Products contained in this way are much more likely to maintain load integrity during transport, and arrive intact at their destination ... reducing or eliminating transportation damage. In fact, many transport carriers will not accept pallet loads unless they are wrapped.
- theft deterrence
- dust protection
- weather proofing
Advantages of using a wrapping machine include:
- help alleviate ergonomic and safety concerns
- provide wrapping consistency (vs hand wrapping by operators)
- manpower savings - semi-automatic models do not require the active participation of the operator throughout the whole wrap cycle, allowing him/her to work productively elsewhere while the load is wrapped automatically
- cost savings - a wrapper with a pre-stretch film dispenser, keeps film costs low, and maintains the quality load retention that only pre-stretch can provide and helping to ensure that shipped loads arrive intact (see FAQ - Pre-stretch vs Conventional Film Dispensers)
- process efficiencies - fully automatic models (with conveyors) automate the packaging process such that an operator is not required at all except to replenish film when the machine wrap runs out
Non pre-stretch film dispensers typically use hand-wrap, machine wrap, or pre-stretched films and can stretch the film off the roll up to an absolute maximum of 100% of the film's original length. (Although this level can rarely be accomplished without pulling the load off the table or damaging the product.) It emulates the application of common hand wrap by an operator. This type of stretching provides only "post-stretch" because all of the stretching of the film occurs outside of the film dispenser.
Some applications call for the application of a "wrap" that is not stretchable, and this conventional film dispenser is preferred. An example of this is the application of "netting" used in the fresh produce food industry where air flow through the product load is important to negate condensation while preserving load integrity.
Most pallet wrapper models (regardless of manufacturer) are equipped with a pre-stretch film dispenser. Also known as a "powered pre-stretch film carriage", a pre-stretch film dispenser pulls the specially formulated "machine wrap" off of the roll and stretches it within the film carriage itself using two rollers (powered by a motor) that are running at different speeds. This effectively takes 1 foot off the roll and turns it into 3 feet coming out of the carriage. This feature of stretching the film in the carriage, instead of after it, is the root of the name "pre-stretch" (vs. "post-stretch").
The differential in these roller speeds is expressed as "pre-stretch level". In the above example of 1 foot becoming 3 feet, the pre-stretch level is 200%. Some film carriages are geared to increase this level up to ~300%, albeit at this level specially formulated films may be required. Most film carriages on new wrappers today are geared between 200% to 250%.
With a pre-stretch film dispenser, the "post-stretch" is still available, and is controlled by the operator using a control. It can be as tight or as loose as is necessary.
The primary advantage of pre-stretch is the film savings it provides. The conventional industry wisdom is, that in comparison to hand wrapping, when wrapping between 25 to 35 loads per day, a machine with pre-stretch can pay for itself in film savings alone in approximately two (2) years. If you are using hand wrap now, you could look at your current "hand wrap" film costs and expect that these costs would likely be reduced by 30% to 50%, with a pre-stretch wrapper.
The secondary advantage of pre-stretch is better load containment. Simply, a better wrapped load! This comes from the fact that the film has elastic properties. Even though the film has been stretched to 3+ times it's original length and applied to the load, over time it contracts a little, so that as the wrapped load sits there in the next few hours to a couple of days, the wrap slowly tightens on the load, securing it even better than it was when originally wrapped! Some users have a machine with pre-stretch, even though they do not have high production volumes, simply because the combination of the consistency of a machine wrapped load (vs hand wrapping by operators), with improved load retention (provided by pre-stretch) addresses their issues of loads falling apart in shipment.
Q3 - Can something that is not on a pallet be wrapped?
Many other types of automated wrapping are also possible ... even though the product is not on a pallet.
"Door and Window" wrappers are a common variant of the typical turntable style semi-automatic machine when coupled with a load holding top platen.
Other things such as:
- bundles of pipe
- plastic extrusions
can be wrapped with a horizontal ring wrapper (aka. orbital wrapper).
- steel coils
- paper tissue
- rolls of material
can be cocoon wrapped in a process that combines a stretch wrapper with a load roller.
Q4 - What services does Wrapper Direct Inc. provide?
Wrapper Direct Inc. is in the business of supplying pallet wrappers to our customers.
Our fundamental business practice is captured in the Wrapper Direct name ... to provide brand new pallet WRAPPERs ... DIRECT from the manufacturer's factory floor, to the purchaser's factory floor.
Wrapper Direct Inc. is an authorized agent and representative for several North American based manufacturer's of quality pallet wrapping equipment. We are also associated with many other industry suppliers (North American and European) ensuring the availability of equipment capable of meeting every customer's pallet wrapping needs.
That said, we also offer quality used wrapping equipment for sale. This helps our customers to manage costs in the midst of budget concerns, or if delivery restrictions mandate an alternative approach to waiting for a new machine to be assembled.
Leasing options for both new and used equipment is available.
- after-sale support
- equipment maintenance
- breakdown services
are also available through a network of Wrapper Direct's industry partners.
Contact us today to discuss your needs. All consultations are free of charge and commitment.
Q5 - What is the business case for leasing or financing?
Leasing and financing services provided by:
Q6 - What are the power requirements for semi-automatic pallet wrappers?
The power supply rating of almost all semi-automatic pallet wrapping machines is 110 / 120 VAC, 15 AMPS, 60 Hz. The power plug used is the same standard 120 VAC plug / receptacle found in your home and office.
The use of a standard plug is especially useful for turntable style wrappers which are fork lift portable. This allows the machine to be plugged in wherever it is convenient for your wrapping process in your warehouse or shop floor.
Please consider that for a brief moment, at the start of a wrap cycle, the machine could actually pull close to the 15 AMPS it is rated for.
We recommend that the wrapper should NOT SHARE a 15 AMP circuit with other high current demand devices (eg. air conditioner, space heater, hot plate, etc.).
For truly trouble free operation, the factory recommends dedicating a 20 AMP circuit to the machine, but your needs will dictate what is possible.
We also recommend avoiding the use of a long extension cord because the line voltage loss at 110/120 VAC over an extended distance can be significant and result in issues.
Q7 - What film (machine wrap | stretch film | plastic wrap) is needed for a wrapper with a pre-stretch film carriage?
All pallet wrapping machines with pre-stretch run industry standard machine film; typically "Machine film, 20" Roll width, 10" Diameter".
An ever diminishing number of machines use 30" Roll width film.
There are only two (2) industry standard sizes for film, 20" and 30".
The thickness of the film is typically expressed as 'Gauge' (Ga), with thinner film being lower numbers, eg. 40 Ga is thinner than 90 Ga.
Typically, a 50 or 60 Ga film is used when load retention is less important and you want more of a dust cover than a secure wrap.
80 to 90 Ga is typically used when the loads are heavier and load retention is more important.
If you need both light and heavy application of film for different load types, you can use a lighter film, and simply increase the number of wraps on loads that require better retention. It takes longer to wrap the heavy loads, but saves you from having to change your film roll each time you have different load types.
Q8 - What do I need to consider when receiving a machine?
- Most wrappers are forklift portable from one end. (Some from both ends.) This facilitates shipping of the machine and easy movement of the machine throughout your facility as your needs dictate. A 3,000 lbs capacity fork truck, with 4 wheels, is recommended.
- Please check the size of the shipping / receiving door, and any other doorways the machine must pass through to its final destination to ensure they are large enough to accommodate. The shipping dimensions of the machines vary. Please check your documentation or speak to your representative for details.
- For turntable style wrappers it is important to ensure the machine is placed on a flat and seamless (crack-less) section of flooring to ensure even distribution of load weight and to help prevent structural issues.
- For low profile turntable wrappers with a ramp, the ramp ships with the machine, usually stacked on the turntable, and must be manually installed. Dependent upon the machine model, and your installation needs, the drilling and tapping of bolt holes may be required. Unless otherwise arranged, the customer is responsible for this installation.
- The "Ramp" typically ships on top of the wrapper turntable.
- A "Ramp mounting bracket" is also supplied.
- There are four (4) threaded holes in the pedestal base of the turntable support column. There are two (2) "Set screws" shipped in 2 of these 4 holes. Remove these "Set screws".
- Attach the "Ramp mounting bracket" to the pedestal base of turntable first (using the "Set screws"), in the position appropriate for your needs. (The holes are drilled to accommodate the standard three (3) ramp positions used by most applications.)
- Then, position the "Ramp" close to the turntable, leaving approximately a 1/4" to 3/8" gap between the turntable plate and the ramp. (Use a screwdriver or crowbar to maneuver the ramp.) Attach the "Ramp" to the "Ramp mounting bracket" with bolts, fixing it in place, and maintaining a proper gap.
- Test the turntable rotation and ensure there is no binding. Adjust if necessary.
The loading ramp must be attached to the wrapper’s base or anchored into the floor in such a manner that it will not be in contact with the rotating turntable. A 3/8” gap between the two is advisable. Furthermore, the ramp must be leveled at least 1/8” below the turntable’s surface to prevent rotating pallets from rubbing on it.
Recommended Tools: Socket wrench; 9/16" Socket (long); Extension; Large flat head screw driver (or small crowbar)
Q10 - HOW-TO INSTRUCTIONS:
What should my pallet | skid | stretch | shrink wrapper settings be to properly secure my loads for shipment and reduce my stretch film costs?
- To properly secure the load for transport (keep loads from falling apart in the truck)
- To provide protection against dirt and moisture (helps to keep products clean and dry)
- To provide theft deterrence (make it harder for people to steal products)
- To minimize packaging costs (save money on the cost of film by preventing needless over wrapping of your loads)
- Start a wrap cycle.
- Adjust the turntable speed to approximately 2/3 to 7/8 of maximum speed.
- Adjust the film force to the desired tension.
- Adjust the film carriage up (raise) speed of the film carriage until there is a film overlap of approximately 4" (100 mm).
- Adjust the overwrap height to make the film fold over the top of the load and create a band around the top of the load that is approximately 4" (100 mm) wide.
- Set the top wraps count to at least two (2) revolutions.
- Adjust the film carriage down (lower) speed to a fast rate.
- Set the bottom wraps count to at least two (2) revolutions.
- Repeat wrapping loads as necessary until satisfied with all settings.