Martyn Sumner, Technical Stretch Film Consultant at Kite Packaging, shares his tips on how to get the best performance out of your pallet wrapper.
- Take a regular health check: Just like a car, if you don’t service your pallet stretch wrapper you will not get the best out of its performance. An audit checks not only the electronic and mechanical condition of the machine but also how well it is performing with the film that is being used. Kite recommends servicing machines every six to eight months. During a machine service, engineers will typically tighten belts and check that components are well lubricated and that bearings are free of build-up. Don’t forget it is a business critical item.
- Get in the right gear: Gears are a vital factor in getting the best performance out of your wrapper. Pre-stretching of film is carried out by two rollers, rotating at different speeds, rather like a set of gears on a bicycle. By changing the gears, from, for example 200% to 300%, you might be able to get a better stretch ratio out of the film and save 30%.
- Weight up pay per wrap vs. rental or outright purchase: With pay per wrap, users pay the same amount per pallet wrapped, no matter what the size. Also, if the roll runs out whilst wrapping, it will have to be changed and the machine will register this as a complete cycle (which you will be charged for). Kite offers pay per wrap, rental and straight purchase. If every pallet you send is the same and your demand is constant, then pay per wrap may make sense, but if you have fluctuating demand and a variety of pallet combinations, the other options will usually prove far more economical.
- Don’t settle for second rate film performance: Just because a film doesn’t snap on the machine, doesn’t mean it’s working efficiently. Some users judge whether a film is working or not by whether it breaks or not. For film to work efficiently, it needs to be pushed to its limit.
- Solve crushed case problems: Boxes getting crushed is a common problem that is usually caused by a poor combination of film and machine. Customers often waste money purchasing new, stronger boxes, however with the correct combination of pallet wrap and pallet machine settings, this problem can be easily solved as the boxes are not the problem.
- Choose the right machine: There are two pallet stretch wrapping technologies - core brake and power pre-stretch. A cheap core brake machine will be adequate if you are wrapping 10-15 pallets per day, but for 100-200 pallets per day, the cost advantage of buying a cheaper machine would be outweighed by the high running costs - you would be better off spending more on a power pre-stretch machine.