Pallet wrappers: A Definitive Guide
You’re an online business that has pallets full of goods — many, many pallet loads, with goods in all shapes and sizes. These pallets typically have to get to a warehouse. You could wrap your countless pallets by hand, but that would take far too long and require an incredible amount of manpower to accomplish. It’s just not feasible if you want to keep up with the speed of business.
Pallet wrappers were created to deal with this exact scenario.
A nearly ubiquitous part of any e-commerce business, a pallet wrapping machine can wrap a large number of items placed on a pallet at a rapid pace. These machines are used to apply pallet wrap to a pallet of products, tightly wrapping it in a stretchy plastic film to prevent the contents from being damaged during shipping or when placed in storage.
Here, we’ll describe what a pallet wrapper is, how it works and which types of wrapping are best suited for them. We’ll also answer an important question, considering how much of it you likely go through: Can you recycle pallet wrap?
What is a pallet wrapper?
A pallet wrapper — also known as a stretch wrapper or stretch wrap machine — is a device that wraps a pallet in stretch film, typically for either transportation or storage.
Since pallets come in a massive range of shapes and sizes, there’s an equally wide variety of pallet wrappers. Some are designed for small pallets, others for larger ones. This makes various pallet wrappers suitable for almost any type of pallet of goods, from electronics to carpets to live trees and everything in between.
What is a pallet wrapper used for?
Pallet wrappers are meant for businesses that need to keep their goods from being damaged. They’re most common in retail and shipping, though they’re used in a wide range of other industries as well.
While it’s possible to wrap stretch film around a pallet by hand, pallet wrappers greatly increase the speed and efficiency of the wrapping process. They’re indispensable for large volumes of pallets that need to be wrapped quickly.
What’s the difference between semi automatic and automatic pallet wrappers?
A semi automatic stretch wrapper is less expensive than an automatic model and operated by hand. Typically the stretch film, secured by a stand with casters, is held by a human operator as it wraps around a stationary pallet held in place by a base attached to the machine. For some companies, a semi automatic stretch wrapper — while not as fast as an automatic model — is perfectly suited for a smaller volume of pallets. Semi automatic pallet wrappers can wrap pallets about twice as fast as a person by themselves could.
An automatic stretch wrapping machine is powered by electricity. These machines require far less input from a person to wrap a product. They’re more expensive than semi automatic models, but they can wrap pallets with greater efficiency.
What does a pallet wrapper do?
Different types of pallet wrappers function uniquely. There are five main types of pallet wrappers:
- Turntable pallet wrappers.
- Rotary arm pallet wrappers.
- Robot pallet wrappers.
- Orbital pallet wrappers.
- Manual pallet wrappers.
Of these, the most common type of pallet wrapper is the turntable stretch wrapper. This automatic style of pallet wrapper has the operator holding a roll of stretch film as it wraps around the pallet load. The film carriage rotates, creating tension, and the stretch film slowly moves higher and higher up the pallet until it’s completely wrapped.
What type of plastic is used for pallet wrapping?
Pallet wrappers use stretch wrap, or pallet wrap, which is the most ideal type of wrapping for pallets because of its strength and elasticity. It has the added benefit of being inexpensive, making it perfect for even the largest volumes of pallet loads.
Pallet wrap comes in a wide range of widths and thicknesses. There are many subtypes, including cast stretch film and blown stretch film. The toughest stretch wrap can even be used to wrap steel or heavy machinery.
Can pallet wrap be recycled?
Pallet wrap cannot be recycled via curbside pickup. Pallet wrap, like other thin plastics, is unsuitable for traditional recycling because of how easily it can become stuck in recycling equipment. However, some special services can recycle pallet wrap. Considering how much waste a large-scale operation using pallet wrap can create, this type of service could be invaluable for your business.
What is the difference between pallet wrap and shrink wrap?
While both pallet wrap and shrink wrap are used to wrap goods or pallets, they’re built differently and are not used for the same tasks. Shrink wrap is generally used to wrap smaller, singular items such as toys and food and acts as primary packaging. Pallet wrap is used for bundles of items and is usually applied after shrink wrap and after the load has been placed on a pallet. However, pallet wrap is the most suitable type of plastic for pallet wrappers.
Completely different materials are used for the two thin plastics. Shrink wrap is usually made from polyolefin plastics and is designed to shrink after being heated and cooled. This allows it to fit snugly around an item. It can also be made from PVC, polyethylene or polypropylene plastics.
Pallet wrap, on the other hand, is commonly created from polyethylene plastics. Because it’s waterproof and hard to tear or puncture, it works better for secondary packaging. Due to its durability, it can protect against the usual culprits that damage items during shipping.
Pallet wrappers can be exceptionally useful for e-commerce businesses
Any business that needs to move a large number of items quickly or keep them in storage can make excellent use of a pallet wrapper. Their capacity to wrap almost any size pallet rapidly can free up your employees for other tasks that need their attention, and you can safely expect a lot fewer returns because of damaged items.
The more pallets you have to move, the faster your pallet wrappers need to be. We understand that such determinations aren’t easy to make — which is why we’re here to help. Contact us today and we’ll work with you to find the best possible solution for your exact needs.