After decades in the business of packaging, we’ve got load containment locked down. Here are our tips for reducing damage in transit.
1. Know your load
The weight, nature and shape of the product being palletised is an important consideration. Is it heavy or light? Liquid or solid? A load of toilet roll is going to behave completely differently to sacks of grain or PET bottles full of soft drink. It may be that the base or top of the pallet needs extra layers of film to stabilise it.
Here are our tips for reducing damage in transit.
Consider too the way the product itself is packaged. Certain inks when used on cardboard make it slippery causing product to slide around under the pallet wrap. Glass bottles of liquid also warrant careful consideration: they must be very securely contained to avoid breakage and spills.
2. Consider containment force
This is the most important metric to consider for effective stretch wrapping. Once you estimate how a load is likely to behave, you can measure the containment force required to secure it in transit. It’s the total wrapping force or squeeze applied to all points of the load and is made up of two factors: film tension and film layers. There are different tools for measuring containment force so get in touch if you’d like us to talk you through them.
3. Apply stretch wrap evenly
The goal here is uniformity so applying consistent containment force at the top, middle and bottom of the load is really important. Any weak points in the wrap can cause shifting and tipping during shipment. This is where a stretch wrap machine really proves its value. While an experienced storeperson may be able to wrap a load fairly evenly, they’ll never apply wrap as consistently as a machine. And for dispatching mixed loads or varied products, being able to set a particular number of wrap layers for the top or bottom of the pallet is really useful.
4. Secure the stretch wrap
Before wrapping a load make sure the film is securely attached to the pallet by firmly tucking it between items or tying it to the pallet. Going too low is a common mistake as the film could be pierced by forklift tines, severely weakening the layers at the base. Too high is also to be avoided as are long, loose tails of film at the end of wrapping. These can drag, get caught on equipment and unravel in transit.
5. Use better plastic film
Cheap plastic film tends to have more weak points and can be easily pierced from the inside by sharp corners. And as any experienced pallet wrapper can attest, tears and punctures compromise the overall integrity of the wrap layers.
Good quality film is more uniform in gauge with fewer flaws which eliminates breakage. This means more secure containment. So if you’re experiencing more than one or two film breaks per roll, it might be time to look at a better plastic film. Our latest packaging product, XTWrap Hand Stretch Film, has a reinforced edge which creates a strong criss-cross pattern around the pallet as it’s wrapped. Another option for more secure containment with less film is NanoWrap, a multi-layer machine stretch film that can be stretched up to 300 – 400% for a firm hold on your products.
6. Pre-stretch the wrap
Taut wrap is the key to a super stable load. Ensure the film is tensioned as tightly as possible right from the first layer so that it hugs the pallet contents firmly. Done by hand, plastic film can be tightened to a certain degree but a machine stretches it much further — by up to 200 – 400% in some cases. The tighter the wrap, the fewer the layers needed to contain the load, particularly in the case of light or unsteady loads. However there is a sweet spot: over-stretched wrap will break more often and can lose it elastic memory.
So there you have it —our secrets for avoiding tipping, ripping and shifting in transit. For more advice on how to contain loads better, get in touch with us.