A Quick Guide to Choosing a Stretch Wrapping Machine

A pallet wrapper or stretch wrapping machine is a big investment for any business, but one that can save you time and money; rather than shipping items in boxes that add weight and dimensions to the shipments, you can use stretch wrap to secure them. Rather than running this stretch wrap around your products by hand and paying personnel to manage this, a machine can do this for you. There are many different types of stretch wrapping machines on the market and they vary in size, price, and function, so note a few tips on making the best choice for your facility.

1. Automatic versus semi-automatic

An automatic pallet wrapping machine will usually have a conveyor belt of some sort that loads the pallet, box, or other item to be wrapped, and then handles all the wrapping, cutting, and unloading of the pallet to its next point in the production line. These can be the most expensive models available, so note if your facility wraps enough pallets to justify their cost. If you only wrap a few pallets every hour, a semi-automatic may be sufficient.

With semi-automatic machines, a forklift loads the pallet onto the wrapping station and then unloads it once the wrapping and cutting is done. It may involve that human intervention for just loading and unloading, but even with paying personnel to manage these quick tasks, it might be the best option if you workload doesn't justify the higher cost of an automatic machine.

2. Turntable versus vertical

A turntable machine is self-explanatory: you put the pallet on the table and it turns while an arm wraps the stretch wrap horizontally around your product. A vertical machine has an arm that moves up and around the item being wrapped, while the pallet itself stays motionless.

A turntable machine is usually more affordable and can work for larger parts and items that won't move if the pallet turns. However, if you're stacking heavy bags such as pet food, feed, and the like, note that these might easily slip out of place as you spin the pallet. A vertical machine can be a better option for anything slick or unstable. Vertical machines also work better to wrap the top of objects, so for machinery and anything that needs a full wrap and not just wrap on the sides, this can be the right choice. Note too that a turntable machine often takes up more room since it needs space for the table itself, so check on the area available on your warehouse floor before you decide.