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
Totes keep produce fresh from field to store
A two-part reusable plastic tote features a frame that cradles produce in a recyclable, replaceable sleeve.
Download Today!
From the December 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
Confronting an aging materials handling system and new channels of business with new customer expectations, Rocky Brands installed a put-to-light and sortation system to ramp up fulfillment.
The Big Picture: Navigation Gets a Reboot for Automatic Vehicles
Top 20 3PL Warehouses 2017: Growth amid change
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
The State of the DC Voice Market
A lot has changed in the last 10 years, especially in voice technology. This webinar will cover the state of the voice market, review two leading voice solutions and help you gain a better understanding of the options and capabilities available today.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
System Report: Rocky Brands Sees the Light
Confronting an aging materials handling system and new channels of business with new customer...
Top 20 industrial lift truck suppliers, 2017
The top lift truck suppliers list is changing with industry acquisitions causing a dramatic...

Lodge Manufacturing: Distribution Cast in Iron
In a new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business...
Rochester Drug Cooperative: Robots ready for work
It’s still early stages, but Rochester Drug Cooperative is proving that mobile robotic piece...