If you’re looking for ways to protectively and securely package a variety of products efficiently, yet at a low cost, consider plastic stretch wrap film.
This film, made from low-density polyethylene, and available in a selection of gauges, is used in many industries—including the agriculture, construction, food and beverage, and electronics industries. It’s used to package products individually, as well as to secure products to each other, and to pallets.
When applied, stretch wrap film is stretched around products and pallets under tension. It adheres to itself, so no seals are needed. Once stretched, it protects products and pallets from shocks and punctures. It’s ideal for awkwardly shaped products. When its job is done, it’s able to be removed quickly and simply, and can be recycled.
Plastic stretch wrap film can be confused with shrink wrap film, but you can’t use stretch wrap film with heat.
Is plastic stretch wrap film similar to shrink wrap film?
If you’re familiar with the stretchy plastic cling film you buy in the supermarket and use to wrap foods, you may not be aware that plastic stretch wrap film also has industrial applications.
Although plastic stretch wrap film seems similar to shrink wrap film, it protects products by clinging to itself: it doesn’t need the application of heat to shrink it around products. This makes stretch wrap film an excellent packaging for fragile and delicate items which might be affected by heat.
Depending on your requirements, you may also consider a stretch wrap tape—a form of non-adhesive packaging tape which secures boxes for storage and shipping. You can combine a stretch wrap tape with a hot-melt adhesive if needed: this form of tape is many times stronger than acrylic tape.
Choose the perfect plastic stretch wrap film for your applications
Plastic stretch wrap film is available in your choice of widths and thicknesses (gauges), as well as in various varieties, such as ultraviolet (UV) stretch film.
When choosing the best film for an application, choose the gauge and the width which suits the weight of your loads, as well as your method of application—whether manually, or via machine.
For example, a 80 gauge stretch wrap film is the most common and versatile gauge. It’s suitable for loads up to 1000 kilos, and may be applied both manually and via machine. If you’re a heavy user of stretch wrap film, a wrapping machine will soon pay for itself—it’s faster than manual application and uses less film.
Let’s look at types of stretch wrap film you might consider. If you’re new to this form of packaging, get advice from your supplier.
1. Save costs with equivalent cast stretch wrap film
When cost is an issue, consider equivalent cast film. This type of stretch wrap film is manufactured in layers. It’s thinner than standard stretch wrap film, offers similar protection, and is less expensive because it uses less material.
2. When concealment is an advantage, consider opaque stretch wrap film
If you ship expensive products, you want to reduce theft and pilfering. Opaque stretch wrap film hides the contents of pallets. It also provides good UV protection and protects products stored in the open for longer than transparent film.
Black is the most common form of opaque stretch wrap film, but it’s also available in white, yellow, green, red and blue—this is ideal if you want to colour-code your pallets.
Do you ship products which are sensitive to heat? If you ship foods and beverages, or pharmaceuticals, white opaque stretch wrap film hides the contents of pallets, as well as shielding them from the sun.
3. If products may be damaged by the sun, consider UV stretch wrap film
UV stretch wrap film is specially manufactured with an additive which protects the plastic from sunlight. Depending on the gauge, it may protect products for as long as 12 months before it begins to degrade.
This type of file is ideal for products which will be stored in the open, because standard film degrades quickly when exposed to the sun. UV film is not only slower to degrade, it also protects your products from sun damage.
4. For high-volume operations, consider a stretch wrap film machine
You can choose a stretch wrap film for manual or machine application. A stretch wrap machine may be a good investment if your operation wraps a high volume of products daily. A machine not only speeds production, it reduces costs.
The benefits of machine wrapping include: speed, reduced waste, reduced labour, as well as consistency of wrapping. An additional benefit: because machines are consistent, you may be able to reduce the gauge of your wrap, which also reduces costs, while maintaining load protection.
Although manual wrapping performs well, worker fatigue means that often the film won’t be stretched to its maximum. This can lead to unstable loads in transport, resulting in product damage.
The best stretch wrap film for your application
Choosing the best stretch wrap film for your applications can be challenging, with so many types of film and different gauges available. Consider getting expert advice. Then you can be sure that you’re using this popular form of packaging supplies effectively.
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