Everything you need to know about pallet wrapping machines

SInce the Plastic Packaging Tax was introduced in 2022, many businesses have assessed their packaging materials and have looked at ways to reduce how much plastic packaging they use and whether to switch to recycled options. When it comes to pallet wrap and stretch film, using less of a higher quality film is often an effective solution. Switching to stretch wrap with recycled content is another popular option. But one area that shouldn’t get overlooked is the pallet wrapping machine itself.

The right stretch wrap film combined with the right pallet wrapping machine will increase your packaging efficiency, improve pallet stability and reduce plastic use – which can deliver significant cost savings in terms of materials purchased and any PPT liabilities. Selecting the right type of machine for the task and keeping it regularly serviced is essential to make your pallet wrapping as efficient as possible.

Below we explore everything you need to know about pallet wrapping machines and how to choose the right pallet wrapper for your packaging operations.

How to select a pallet wrapping machine

First of all, define your pallet packaging goals. Your options other than hand wrapping are automatic or semi-automatic pallet wrapping.  Equipment of this type is an investment, so think big picture and consider how many loads you might be wrapping in five to 10 years. Choosing the right pallet wrapper for your business will maximise your return on investment.

What am I wrapping?

The size, weight and variability of the goods you are packing will affect the pallet wrapping machine you choose.

Variable height goods may need to be wrapped horizontally on rails to ensure they are adequately secured on the pallet. Stable, lightweight cargo can be used with rotating wrap. Unstable or heavy loads will be better handled by rotating arm machines.

Types of pallet wrapping machine

  • Turntable – a stretch wrapping system that places a load on a turntable. It rotates to dispense the wrapping film. This is ideal for light – mid weight stable loads.
  • Rotary Arm/ Ring – The pallet stays stationary while the wrapping head rotates around the pallet. This is ideal for the high-speed wrapping of lighter more fragile loads and heavier less-stable loads.
  • Stretch Hood Machines – stretch hood technology uses the elasticity of tubular plastic film that gets stretched and then released around the pallet load. Ideal to secure uneven or unstable loads, without the need to heat the film.

What additional features do I need?

Semi-automatic and automatic wrapping machines can be fitted with customisable options depending on the model you choose. Features like electric pre-stretching functions help to minimise film consumption while add-ons like film dispensers for anti-dust or anti-rain coatings can speed up operations.

Pallet wrapping machine troubleshooting

Pallet wrapping machines are designed to make pallet wrapping quick, hassle-free and efficient. The right stretch film combined with the right pallet wrapping machine will ensure efficiency, plastic reduction and cost saving. However, there are three key areas where packaging and logistics businesses may trip up:

  1. Using the wrong film. This can include the wrong type of film, or the wrong gauge, meaning pallets are not entering the supply chain wrapped optimally.
  2. Using too much film.A common mistake is to apply too much stretch film with the mistaken idea that more will help create stable pallets. Using the right film with the right tension often means that less is more.
  3. Incorrect machines settings. Even when the perfect film for the pallets to be wrapped has been specified, you won’t get optimal performance if the settings on your machine are incorrect. For example, film may not be being stretched properly, which will in turn affect performance.

Essential maintenance for pallet wrappers

Pallet wrapping machines are a business asset and just like a fleet of vehicles, regular servicing is essential to prolong life and ensure optimal operation. Visual checks should be performed every day with the below carried out every 4 – 12 weeks depending on usage:

  • Regular lubrication – all moving parts should be cleaned and well lubricated according to the user manual.
  • Inspect and clean the sensors or photocells. Avoid using harsh chemicals as this could cloud the sensor housing unit.
  • Check the drive system for worn or damaged belts and chains. Don’t wait for a break to replace well-used parts.
  • Check the stretch-wrap tension on a test pallet and recalibrate if necessary..

Lindum offer a wide range of pallet wrapping machines and pallet wrap dispensers to suit for your specific packaging requirements. Our team of experts are here to advise and help you choose the right machine and film combination based on your needs, taking into account your warehouse environment, pallet volume and variability of pallet size and load style.

If you need help choosing a machine or want more information about our pallet wrappers, just give us a call or use our online contact form.

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