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October 26, 2012
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The evolution of hand stretch wrap as a packaging cost control


Packaging Cost SavingsThe concept of using a clingy clear plastic wrap to protect food items started way back in the 1930s and quickly became a household staple. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that another form of plastic film, called hand stretch wrap or film, was developed for industrial use. Although, there were skeptics that didn’t think that this type of material could actually secure heavy pallet loads, they were proven wrong. After many years, more and more companies jumped on board and began using hand wrap effectively to secure and protect packages. Nowadays it is very common to see shipments leaving the warehouse with shiny bands of plastic stretched around them. As with most industrial products that have stood the test of time, stretch wrapping has evolved. There are new varieties of film, as well as, tools that can result in packaging cost savings

There are three basic kinds of hand wrappers: 

Extended Core – The core of the film wrap is extended outward and provides a built-in handle to aid in wrapping. These are the least cost effective because they tend to be difficult to control and uncomfortable to work with.

Mechanical Brake – The film sits on a mechanical structure with a brake system that creates adequate resistance and more stretching. This is very good for getting more use out of less film. 

Pole Wrappers – An ergonomic design that places the roll and brake at the end of an extended pole. Creates less strain from bending to reach low or high places. Same cost effectiveness as the mechanical brake. 

A national study on the use of hand wrap in manufacturing concluded that films need to be stretched to 100 – 150% capacity in order to hold a load that is prone to shifting. This means you’ll want to evaluate how much benefit your company is getting from current wrapping practices. 

As any packaging cost consultant will tell you, many companies are spending money needlessly by not getting the most efficiency out of each roll of hand stretch wrap. In most cases, manual application of stretch wrap results in a stretch capacity of between 25 – 40%. In some cases the wrap is only stretched about 15% to capacity. A simple way to get more packaging cost control from this item is to invest in pre-stretch attachments that can be added onto standard wrap brake machines. This change can increase stretching efficiency of each roll of wrap to 100%. 

Consider reviewing the type of stretch wrap your company is currently using. Maybe it no longer meets your requirements. If your company is going through numerous rolls within a short period of time, you should think about switching brands or upgrading to a higher performing material. Manufacturers have come up with new varieties that have increased strength and flexibility. You may find that one great way to save on packaging is to invest in pre-stretched film. Your current brand may be obsolete when it comes to performance. Take a look at newer options that provides you with optimal strength, safer operational use and easier savings.