8 Top Tips for Optimising a Pallet Wrapping Machine

Optimising your pallet wrapper is critical to ensuring an efficient and cost-effective packaging process.  We receive a lot of enquiries about how pallet wrapping machines should be set up to optimise the usage of stretch film whilst also giving the best load stability. So, we thought we’d share our 8 top tips for optimising pallet wrapping machines. If your role involves operating or managing packaging operations, or purchasing packaging materials, you’ll find these tips handy.

1. Clean the rollers

Visually check the rollers on the film carriage of the pallet wrapping machine. Look for two things:
a.) Labels/dirt built up around the rollers. This will impede the stretch film application and needs to be cleaned off using rags and a suitable cleaning chemical.
b.) Score marks in the rubber of the rollers. These occur when snapped film winds round the rollers and  is cut off with a knife. You might need to replace cut rollers to keep the machine running smoothly and prevent further film snappages.

2. Check the de facto stretch %

Although all pallet wrapping machines have a set stretch % ratio, this often comes out very differently when the film is applied to the pallet. To check the actual stretch ratio you are getting, mark a set distance on the roll of film and then wrap a pallet. Find your marks on the wrapped pallet and measure the new distance between them. If 10cm stretches to 30cm the machine is stretching to 300%.

3. Check that the stretch film is threaded correctly

On every pallet wrapper there is a diagram showing how the film should be threaded through the rollers. Check that the film is threaded accordingly. If the rollers have been bypassed this often indicates that a poor quality film is being used and that it’s snapping when threaded correctly. Bypassing the rollers will prevent  low quality film snapping by reducing the stretch, which also means that your machine is not wrapping effectively and pallet stability may be compromised.

4. Check film carriage/turntable speed for overlap size

Watch how much the film overlaps on each rotation as you wrap a pallet. Aim for a 30-50% overlap on each turn of the film, any less than this could be detrimental to the pallet stability, any more is wasteful.

5. Check film type is suitable for the machine

There are two main types of pallet wrapping machines; power pre-stretch machines and core brake machines. A power pre-stretch uses standard unstretched film, this film should be of a suitable stretch capacity for the specific machine. A core brake machine uses pre-stretched film.

6. Check the containment force on pallet

This is to test the strength of the wrapped pallet. The simplest method is just to pull on the film at the top of the pallet and see if it ‘feels’ strong enough however a more scientific method should be used if possible. A pull test kit can be used to measure the containment force of the film in KG’s, or a fully digital load cell can be wrapped into the pallet to produce a graph measuring the pallet retention precisely and without human error. This is useful when comparing different types of film.

7. Check the weight of pallet wrap being applied

Using the right amount of wrap not only ensures efficient wrapping but could also save you money.  One way to do this it to check the weight of stretch film used per pallet by cutting the film off of a wrapped pallet and weighing it.  This depends on a lot of factors such as the size of the pallet and weight/viscosity of goods being wrapped but as a rough guide, if it weighs more than 200g then there is potential to save some good money and reduce the amount of plastic waste.

8. Ask the machine operators

Lastly – ask the operators if they are having any problems with the machinery. They are the ones using the pallet wrapper day-to-day and will be able to tell you if there is anything amiss.

Pallet Wrapping Machine Optimisation

A well-optimised pallet wrapping machine ensures that your products are securely wrapped, reducing the risk of product damage during transit. Plus with optimised machine settings, you can wrap pallets quickly and efficiently, reduce material costs and improve safety. This means that you can increase your productivity and output, improving your bottom line.

Our team of packaging experts help companies like yours to save money, reduce plastic usage, reduce CO2 and improve pallet performance on a daily basis. One of the ways they do this is by optimising pallet wrapping machine settings.  To get your pallet wrapper settings checked by an expert contact us today and we’ll arrange for one of  our experts to assess your machine. Call us on +44(0)1469 574480 or use the contact form below. 

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