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3 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Stretch Wrap Machine

3 questions to ask before buying a stretch wrap machine

The switch from manual stretch wrapping to machine stretch wrapping requires an upfront cost, but can quickly pay dividends. The reduction in wrapping man hours, better-protected loads, and reduced film waste will cover the initial investment in minimal time. Before spending thousands of dollars on a stretch wrap machine you should ask 3 questions about the pallet loads being shipped out.

What are the largest and smallest pallets that will be wrapped?

Knowing Length x Width x Height x Weight of the pallets being wrapped will help to ensure the machine will accommodate everything. Pallets too long may hit the machine when rotating. Pallets too tall may not be fully wrapped. Pallets too short may not be seen by the machine photo-eye.

Most pallets over 30 – 36 inches high should be able to be seen by stretch machine photo eyes. If the pallet is too short it will never register in auto mode to begin wrapping. The machine mast height will determine the maximum height the machine can wrap. If the pallet is taller than the film carriage will reach, the load will not be fully wrapped.

The best way to ensure the pallet being wrapped is not too large for the machine is by figuring the pallet diagonal. The easiest way to figure diagonal is by using a pallet diagonal calculator. If one is not available, the formula is below. 

Square Root of Length Squared + Width Squared


Pallet Measurement

Is the product being wrapped black?

Most semi-automatic stretch wrap machines use photo eyes to determine when to stop at the top of a pallet load. The photo-eye shoots out a beam of light that bounces off the product and returns to the photo eye.

Any black products or very dark products absorb the light beam is sent from the photo eye, not allowing them to return. This makes the photo-eye not register the pallet that is in front of it.

There are photo eye alternatives for wrapping darker pallets. Black photo eyes are made for wrapping darker objects. Lasers shoot out a laser beam that does not have to return back to it. They can work for pallets with gaps in them such as pipes or pallets with missing boxes.

Stretch Wrap Machine Photo Eye

How will pallets be loaded onto the machine?

Pallets have to be loaded onto the machine turntable for wrapping to begin. Typically, pallets are loaded by either forklift or pallet jacks. If pallet jacks are being used a ramp is required. A pallet jack ramp allows workers to place pallets onto the machine by hand. Electric pallet jacks can require custom ramps due to the size and requirement of a larger porch or flat area on the ramp. Be sure to determine the proper ramp if one is required for purchasing.

Stretch Machine Ramp

We have our stretch wrap machine questionnaire posted online next to all of the machines we offer. We highly recommend anyone buying a stretch wrap machine to look at some of the additional questions on it to be sure the chosen machine will be the right solution.

Feel free to give us a call (1-800-441-5090) if you are still unsure which machine is right for your application. Our sales team is trained to be certain the right machine is being sold before it goes out the door.


Pallet Diagonal Calculator

Enter the correct measurements per label. All fields are required.

Pallet Diagonal


Shrink Film Width Calculator

Enter the correct measurements per label. All fields are required.

Shrink Film Width