Packaging Corner: 3 steps help prevent stretch wrap failure

Developing baseline wrapping standards can help reduce waste and damage in your operation.

By ·

When a unit load fails, stretch wrap is often fingered as the culprit. After all, had the wrap held the load together on the pallet, damaged product wouldn’t be heading to the landfill and impacting the bottom line, right?

Not necessarily, says Derek Jones, senior marketing product manager for Lantech. The wrap may be perfectly fine, he suggests. Instead, it’s the application that may have been faulty.

“Many companies that experience stretch wrap failures haven’t established a baseline standard of best wrapping practices for each type of unit load being handled,” Jones explains. “Depending on the size of the operation, there could be anywhere from a couple to a dozen different load weights and types, with or without sharp corners.”

To establish proper wrapping standards, Jones suggests three steps. First, make sure the minimum amount of containment force, or wrap tightness, is applied to ship the load correctly. “Baseline containment force is calculated by multiplying the wrap force—controlled by a knob on the stretch wrap machine—with the number of revolutions of film,” he says.

Second, ensure the load is properly locked to the pallet. “Product damage happens when a load slides off the pallet because the load was not locked to the pallet,” Jones adds. Operators often start the wrap over the sides of the pallet—where forks from a pallet jack or forklift can puncture the film. Lantech’s systems automatically roll a short, initial “cable” of film that grips the pallet just under the deckboard, avoiding fork damage.

Third, take time to manually tuck the film’s tail under the wrap. This prevents any excess that could snag against something and compromise the wrapped load’s integrity.

Because a facility could potentially be wrapping multiple load types, Jones recommends first developing a baseline wrapping standard for the most common type, then build from there. While it requires a time investment, the alternative is far more costly, he says.

“We estimate that annually 0.5% of all shipped product gets damaged,” Jones says. “That translates into billions of dollars of damaged product that likely ends up in a landfill, causing a sustainability issue.”


About the Author

Sara Pearson Specter
Sara Pearson Specter has written articles and supplements for Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News as an Editor at Large since 2001. Specter has worked in the fields of graphic design, advertising, marketing, and public relations for nearly 20 years, with a special emphasis on helping business-to-business industrial and manufacturing companies. She owns her own marketing communications firm, Sara Specter, Marketing Mercenary LLC. Clients include companies in a diverse range of fields, including materials handing equipment, systems and packaging, professional and financial services, regional economic development and higher education. Specter graduated from Centre College in Danville, Ky. with a bachelor’s degree in French and history. She lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley where she and her husband are in the process of establishing a vineyard and winery.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

June 2013 · Lantech · Packaging · Packaging Corner · · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Evaluating Goods-to-Person Technologies
This white paper overviews the various, self-contained, goods-to-person AS/RS systems available for handling the totes, cases and eaches most frequently faced by e-commerce order fulfillment operations, and the typical applications for each.
Download Today!
From the May 2017 MMH Issue
Every company considers itself an innovator. It’s time to include materials handling leaders in that category.
Top 20 Worldwide Materials Handling Systems Suppliers 2017
ERP Suppliers’ Changing Role
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Materials Handling Innovation (and why it matters)
Every company considers itself an innovator. It’s time to include materials handling leaders in...
Thrive Market’s Startup Distribution Network
How does a fastgrowing, e-commerce startup company build out order fulfillment capabilities? Thrive...

U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics: Version 2.0 released today
On Tuesday, the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics: Version 2.0 will be released on...
2017 Productivity Achievement Awards
Modern’s annual Productivity Achievement Awards honor companies that have made exceptional...