We are open, committed to safety, and offering free shipping on all orders through May 31st to assist with COVID-19.  Our full response can be found here.

US Packaging & Wrapping main phone

8 Signs You Should Invest in a Stretch Wrap Machine

Capital expenditures can often be easy to delay because of parting with the initial cost. In the long run, the delay can often be more costly than the cost of the expenditure. Good stretch wrap machines cost a few thousand dollars and it can often be tempting to continue wrapping pallets by hand.

Below are some signs with supporting numbers to watch for when considering if the time is right to purchase a stretch wrap machine. If you are noticing one or more than one of these signs it may make sense to bite the bullet and make a machine purchase.  

1. Wrapping more than 10-15 pallets per day

This is not an exact figure. We sell machines to companies only wrapping a couple of pallets per day because they do not want to exert the manual labor required to hand wrap pallets. We do consider the 10-15 pallet mark to begin the thought of purchasing a machine. Why? Much of that will be pointed out in the signs below, but here are some other numbers and the main point we will cover for this sign.

To thoroughly hand wrap a pallet it takes 10-15 minutes, a lot of dizziness, some aching in the back. At 10-15 pallets per day that is two or more hours per day of employees wrapping pallets. A machine can speed up the process and also allow employees to push a button and do other things while the pallet is being wrapped.

2. More than 2 loads per month damaged by product toppling

Products toppling during transportation can be attributed to a variety of things. A few can be the wrong film, mishandling during transportation, improper pallet stacking, improper pallet wrapping. When wrapping pallets by hand, the vast majority of the time toppling is due to improper wrapping.

To obtain proper function from a stretch film, the film needs to be stretched to 85%-90% stretchability. The full stretch is what helps to hold pallet loads in place. When wrapping pallets by hand it is difficult to consistently reach the amount of required stretch. This can be a consistent problem when examining damaged loads.

Depending on the products being shipped, a couple of damaged loads can add up to be more than the cost of a stretch wrap machine.

Damaged Products

3. Disgruntled Employees

As mentioned above, wrapping several pallets per day by hand can cause dizziness and aching in the back. Employees can often become frustrated and fatigued after several pallets. If employees have complained before about the amount of time spent wrapping it may be a sign the expenditure is needed. It is hard to quantify employee happiness, but it can often make the workplace much more pleasant.

Disgruntled Employee

4. High Stretch Film Costs

This sign was mentioned in the second sign above. When hand wrapping pallets, employees rarely obtain the maximum stretchability of a film. Not reaching the full stretch rate of a film causes higher stretch film cost. If you can double the stretch rate of a film, you cut your costs in half.

Another advantage of moving to a machine is the maximum amount of stretch for a machine stretch film. Hand stretch film often has a 100% to 150% maximum stretch rate and machine film can have a 250% to 300% stretch rate. The savings in film can add up to pay for the machine over time.

High stretch film costs

5. Pallet loads over 60 inches tall

The first sign mentioned may not even apply if tall pallets are consistently being wrapped. Wrapping a pallet above the users head is very difficult. The ability to hold the roll high and reach the required stretch rate to make a stretch film effective is very difficult.

A stretch wrap machine eliminates the need for that. Most base model stretch wrap machines will wrap up to 80 inches in height. This helps to ensure worker safety and properly palletized loads in a timely manner.

Pallet loads over 60 inches tall

6. More than one pallet wrapping injury annually

Workplace injuries can be very costly. One workplace injury can easily exceed the cost of a stretch wrap machine depending on the severity. Wrapping tall pallets as explained above as well as bending over wrapping short pallets can lead to workplace injuries.

Pallet Wrapping Injury

7. If one or more employees spend over half the day wrapping pallets

This is one sign that should not be ignored. If one employee spends 4 hours per day wrapping pallets at the base cost of $12 per hour, that is $48 per day or $240 per five day work week for labor costs. At those bottom line numbers, a stretch wrap could be paid for within 25 weeks. The purchase of a stretch wrap machine would not force the need to get rid of an employee but could allow more time for other tasks.

All day pallet wrapping

8. More than $6000 excess working capital

Towards the end of the year companies often have surplus working capital. The purchase of a stretch wrap machine can be an excellent way to spend an excess budget. As pointed out above, a stretch wrap machine can increase efficiency, lower employment costs, reduce product loss, and increase employee satisfaction.

Working Capital

If you have noticed any of these 8 signs it may be time to consider the purchase of a stretch wrap machine. We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you in further detail about a possible purchase. Call us at 1-800-441-5090 or click on the live chat button in the top right corner of the screen.


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