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Types of Stretch Film and Stretch Film Applications Guide

Did you know that one of the safest, most efficient manners of moving pallets of product has nothing to do with the transportation method at all? Instead, it's how the product is secured to the pallet or skid. Using a stretch film or pallet wrap to secure product is essential to the overall safety and efficiency of your industrial application. Stretch film ensures that product remains right where you left it, no matter the method of movement. However, pallet wrap comes in many different sizes, styles, and thicknesses, and it can be tricky to determine which wrap is best for your business. That's why we've created this helpful guide - read on to learn more!

Stretch Film or Pallet Wrap Applications

5 inch x 1000' Disposable 80 Gauge Banding Film / Pallet Wrap / Stretch Film - 15/Case

Stretch film or pallet wrap is perfect for use in warehouses, receiving docks, and other shipping or storage areas. While it's designed primarily to keep items intact during storage and transportation, it also provides a smooth surface to secure shipping labels, documents, and other important information without damaging the boxes it is around.

Stretch film or pallet wrap is available in varying widths and diameters. Smaller diameter rolls are great for use in low-volume establishments, or areas where bundling small packages is key. They usually measure between 2" and 5" in width, and can easily be used with just one hand, making for fast, efficient work. Wider diameter rolls are perfect for larger applications or high-volume use. These rolls are typically used with a dispenser, and last much longer than smaller rolls, thanks to their ample widths and diameters.

Rolls with widths ranging from 12" to 18" are often classified as "hand grade", or for use dispensing by hand. 12", 15", and 18" widths are ideal for shorter loads or loads where only the top or bottom need to be wrapped. Even larger rolls, 20" wide, are designed primarily for use by machine dispensers, thus making them "machine grade". Machine grade wrap promotes more efficient wrapping and reduces waste.

Glossary

Banding: The act of applying multiple wraps of stretch film to a certain area of a load to reinforce it or to band together multiple units.

Bottom Wraps: The revolutions of film applied to the lower layers of a pallet or load. Typically more than one revolution is applied to this area to increase the load stability of the unitized load.

Core: The reinforced, hollow cardboard cylinder around which the stretch film is rolled. Core styles include standard or extended length, with standard length being ideal for use with optional dispensers. On the contrary, extended length cores allow for quick and efficient use without the added expense of a dispenser.

Equivalent Cast: Stretch film or pallet wrap that is made of stronger, thinner materials than traditional wrap. Equivalent cast film uses a multi-layered technology to increase the strength of the film while using less petroleum resin, therefore lowering costs.

Gauge: The thickness of a plastic sheet, or in this case, stretch film. It can be measured in mils or microns. The higher the gauge mil or micron, the thicker the plastic, and the more durable the product.

1 mil = 0.001"
25.4 microns = 1 mil

Typical gauges for stretch film or pallet wrap range from 63 to 80 gauge, though some lighter gauges do exist. This level of thickness ensures that the wrap can stretch taut to your products without the risk of puncturing. Lighter gauges ensure efficient wrapping of smaller, lighter loads, while heavier gauges are designed for significantly larger applications. Here are some general weight guidelines:

  • 63 Gauge - Ideal for loads up to approximately 1300 lb.
  • 70 Gauge - Ideal for loads up to approximately 1600 lb.
  • 80 Gauge - The most common thickness of stretch wrap. Ideal for loads up to approximately 2200 lb.

Hand Grade: Stretch film designed to be applied by personnel without equipment is called hand wrap.

LLDPE (Linear Low Density Polyethylene): The most common stretch wrap material. LLDPE is a polyethylene with a density < 965 kg/m, produced by a low pressure process. It's clear in color, making it great for optimum product visibility in storage and transport.

Machine Grade: Stretch film designed to be applied with the use of heavy equipment is called machine wrap.

Pre-Stretched: Film or wrap that has been mechanically stretched close to its ultimate break point prior to being wound onto rolls for final use. Pre-stretched film gives users the same (or better) load stability with less product, less physical energy, and with greater control. Consumption can be less than one-half that of traditional stretch film, resulting in a 25%-40% savings.

Stretch Film or Pallet Wrap: A highly stretchable plastic film that is wrapped around items. The elastic recovery keeps the items tightly bound without leaving a sticky residue behind.

Top Wraps: The extra revolutions of stretch film applied to the top portion of the load to be wrapped.

Dispensers

Hand Saver Pallet Wrap / Stretch Film Dispenser Set

Stretch wrap dispensers make it fast and easy to wrap entire pallets or to bundle packages. The Hand Saver dispenser set, in particular, is designed to work with any stretch film with a 3" diameter core. This two piece set simply attaches to either end of your pallet wrap roll, ensuring that the cardboard core remains intact, even after extended use.

Plastic Handle Pallet Wrap / Banding Film Dispenser

For a little more control during wrapping, a plastic handle pallet wrap/banding film dispenser may be a better fit for your operation. These lightweight handles make using regular wrap and narrow film easier, with an ergonomic design that fits comfortably in your hand. Like the Hand Saver dispenser set, plastic handle dispensers also typically fit stretch film rolls with a 3" diameter core.

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