If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the options on the market for pallet wrapping machines, follow this easy guide to choose the right one for your business. You probably already have a baseline idea of what you want your wrapping machine to do, but it makes sense to think through your production line’s details, so you select the right solution.
There are three main options
Turntable – a stretch wrapping system that places a load on a turntable. It rotates to dispense the wrapping film.
Good for: stable loads and a low-to-medium production rate.
Rotary arm – a stretch wrapper that uses an overhead arm. It rotates around the load to apply the film, so you don’t need to rotate the load.
Good for: high-speed wrapping of lighter, fragile, heavier and unstable loads.
Stretch hooder technology – can be used to secure a wide range of pallet loads.
Benefits: protects against humidity and UV, and dangers of cargo shift.
Ask yourself the following
What are my pallet wrapping goals?
Your options are hand wrapping, automatic or semi-automatic pallet wrapping. They all come with differences in safety, production and consistency. Choosing the right one for your business will maximise your return on investment. You want to future proof your business, so this isn’t wasted. Compared to now, how many loads do you envisage you will be wrapping in five to ten years?
By determining your potential growth, you will be able to calculate if you have enough production now to warrant an automatic pallet wrapper. An interim choice of a semi-automatic stretch wrapper may be adequate as an addition to your line.
What loads will I be working with?
The size, weight, and variability of the loads you will be wrapping all influence the choice of pallet wrapping machine. Highly variable loads may need orbital, horizontal wrappers to ensure they are secured to the pallet adequately. Stable, light goods will work well with a turntable style wrapper. Unstable and heavy loads would require a rotary arm machine. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution really – you need the right machine for your specific needs.
What features do I need?
Some features may be essential for your particular product. Pallet wrappers come with many customisable options, so it’s worth looking at your choices – which could be a game-changer. Some of the options for semi-automatic or automatic wrapping machines include:
- Machines equipped with motorised pre-stretch to minimise film consumption. The only manual steps are the cutting of the film and its attachment to the pallet.
- Machines that can wrap palletised loads and function as independent stations. They are initiated by remote control but can also be integrated into a production line.
- Machines that can wrap palletised loads and turn their columns to maintain load stability. They don’t need any manual intervention during operation.
- Machines that have film dispensers for anti-dust or anti-rain coating of pallets.
Other practical considerations to look at include
How tall is the product, and what is the dimension of the item you are wrapping?
Do you want a scale installed on your pallet wrapper?
Will you need a ramp to load pallets if you are using fork trucks or pallet jacks?
Do you have a space limit that would require you to choose an ultra-low machine that doesn’t need long ramps to be loaded?
If you are experiencing shipping damage, what can you do to minimise this?
What pallet size do you use?
How tall do you stack your product, and what is the heaviest pallet load?
Work with a supplier that can help you establish the best end-of-line packaging solution for your business based on your processes, space constraints and outputs.
What does the fine print say?
While many stretch wrappers may look similar, it pays to look at the details. Scrutinise the service packages, warranties, and the specs of the machine. Many come with options that give you the flexibility to upgrade or add extra features as your production needs grow. Don’t get stuck on features either. You want a balance – what does the overall package look like? Which one will offer you the best return on your investment? Take the time to crunch the numbers by comparing similar options, and the best solution will soon become apparent.
What’s your budget?
How much do you really have to invest? Give yourself a budget and then look for the best option that fits it. Here, you need to consider more than just the machine. Look into the cost savings a semi-automatic pallet wrapper could offer you compared to hand wrapping.
There are other less tangible benefits of stretch wrapping machines, such as better safety and fewer injuries too. Then there’s the improved production and flow, and consistent and professional packaging you’ll enjoy. Factor these in, and you’ll see that there are many payoffs to thinking beyond manual pallet wrapping machines.
For more information about all types of pallet wrapping machines visit Melbpack.com.au