Stretch wrap — also called pallet wrap — is a type of plastic packaging manufacturers use for securing items on a pallet. It protects products during storage and shipping.
Though it seems like a simple process, stretch-wrapping is versatile. You can use stretch wrap to secure pallets with regular and irregular loads, wrap manually or by machine and choose different types of wraps and varying thicknesses.
This guide will introduce you to the benefits of using stretch wrap, answer common questions about stretch wrap and show you how to stretch-wrap pallets effectively.
Organize your supplies beforehand. You’ll need the pallet wrap, a pallet jack and a cutter.
Next, you want to stack the pallet properly according to its structure. Choose the best pattern for your stack’s weight, shape and size. The items should not fall over before you attempt to wrap the load. You can move to the wrapping stage once you have stacked the shipment correctly.
2. ANCHOR THE STRETCH WRAP TO THE PALLET
It’s critical to maintain tension and stop items from coming loose by securing the wrap to the pallet. Anchor the wrap to the pallet by tying one end to the base pallet or lodging the wrap firmly underneath some of the products.
3. WRAP THE BOTTOM LAYER WITH EVEN TENSION
Wrap from the bottom up. The bottom layer is the foundation of the wrap, so you want to wrap it with even tension. Keep your hand parallel to the load and move around it, maintaining a consistent distance to keep the pressure even. Wrap the bottom layer at least twice before you move up to build layers. You also want to partially overlap the upper half of the pallet to secure the load further.
4. BUILD LAYERS WITH OVERLAPPING WRAPS
Build layers that further secure the products to the pallet by overlapping wraps. You want to overlap the film by about 50% to create a secure wrap. Ensure proper coverage of all sides as you go.
5. APPLY ADDITIONAL WRAPS TO REINFORCE WEAK POINTS
You may need to reinforce some layers of the wrap if there are any vulnerabilities. The corners are common weak spots — they may pierce the wrap or cause it to slack a bit. Go around these sections with even pressure and keep the wrap taut as you reinforce with one or two extra layers.
6. FINISH WITH A TOP LAYER AND SECURE THE END
Continue to wrap evenly until you reach the top of the load. Then, extend it slightly to create a secure layer across the entire top.
7. CUT THE WRAP
The final step is to cut the wrap neatly, leaving just enough excess to pat the edge securely to load. Use a sharp knife to cut smoothly. Opt for a safety knife with a retractable blade guard to prevent injuries.
BENEFITS OF USING STRETCH WRAP
Using stretch wrap to secure your pallets offers many benefits, from protection and costs to efficiency and sustainability.
1. INCREASED PROTECTION
Pallet wrap is an excellent material for securing loads:
Stretch wrap secures a load and helps minimize the frequency and severity of shipping damages
You can keep items free of dust, dirt and moisture by stretch wrapping
Many stretch wraps have UVI properties that protect items stored outdoors from UV rays, as the UVI additives stop the film from degrading
If you opt for an opaque film, you can conceal the contents for added privacy and safety
2. REDUCED COSTS
Incorporating stretch wrap into your packaging solutions can save money.
Stretch wrap is a cost-effective alternative to other films and packaging methods
Entry-level stretch wrap equipment often costs less than the tools you need for strapping or shrink-wrapping
Operating stretch-wrapping equipment is more energy efficient than using alternative systems
3. IMPROVED EFFICIENCY IN SHIPPING AND HANDLING
Stretch wrap increases your shipping and handling efficiency in several ways.
Using clear stretch wrap is advantageous to inventory control. You can do quick visual checks and scan labels through the packaging for stock take or RFID scans
You can maximize cube space by combining an angled board and the stretch wrap to stack the load higher on the pallet
Stretch-wrapping pallets is an excellent way of storing similar products together and reducing product separation
Keeping related products together in a clear wrap also makes your inventory controls more organized and accurate
4. GREATER SUSTAINABILITY
Plastic use is always a concern in the manufacturing and packaging industries, and sustainability is crucial. Stretch wrap consists of polyethylene, which is recyclable.
From questions about durability to inquiries about which product to use, we’ll provide thoughtful answers and valuable insights to ensure a seamless packaging experience.
IS CAST OR BLOWN STRETCH WRAP BETTER?
That depends on your packaging needs. Cast is better for uniform loads, while blown stretch wrap is a wise choice for irregular loads. Blown film is more robust due to its manufacturing process, and items are less likely to poke through or tear the film. Cast is better for loads where you need to see or scan labels, as it has better clarity than blown film.
HOW LONG DOES STRETCH WRAP LAST?
Stretch wrap has an expiration date of one year after you receive it. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the wrap after a year — especially if you store and use it correctly. You can keep your wrap in the best shape by storing it at room temperature or slightly lower.
IS STRETCH WRAP WATERPROOF?
Stretch wrap offers some degree of water resistance. It can keep products safe from minor splashes and humidity, but is not fully waterproof.
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