How to wrap a Pallet? Here are all the Best Practices
Knowing how to wrap a pallet is essential to better organise the shipment of goods and ensure their arrival at destination without mishap or damage.
Ever since its invention in the 1940s in the United States, the pallet has made it possible to group and ship goods from one part of the world to another: all by using simple pallets as support bases, on top of which the goods are placed and wrapped, thus creating a standard load unit that is easy to manage.
The advantages are considerable in every respect: in addition to preserving the integrity of the goods and providing greater security, pallets help to optimise volumes in both transport and storage; in addition, they save time when handling loads and even reduce shipping costs.
However, this only makes sense if the pallets are wrapped correctly.
To simplify the task of wrapping a pallet, specific tools have been invented. These include pallet wrappers, which are veritable wrappers capable of perfectly wrapping the goods.
Let’s find out more about how they work and how best to use them to find the definitive answer to the question “how to wrap a pallet?“.
How to wrap a pallet with wrapping machines
Pallet wrapping machines, also known as pallet wrappers, are machines specifically designed to wrap pallets of goods.
There are different types, ranging from manual pallet wrappers and semi-automatic pallet wrappers, which require operator intervention, to fully automated pallet wrappers.
Undoubtedly, the latter represent the ideal solution to how to wrap a pallet.
Equipped with a reel of stretchable elastic film, these devices allow palletised units to be wrapped with film and sealed perfectly so that the goods are protected, immobile and stable during transport.
In fact, pallets are usually used to move or store several packages of goods, which is why it is essential to create a compact and solid structure that allows easy and safe transport, both for the goods and the operators.
Wrapping with film, if tightly and tightly wrapped around the goods, can create a stable connection between the pallet and the goods load, at the same time compacting together the different packages placed on top of the pallet.
Doing all this by hand alone would be unthinkable: it would be difficult to achieve precise results in terms of tensioning and quantity of film to give maximum stability to the pallet. Not to mention the considerable waste of time, the use of more manpower, higher labour costs and the risk of accidents that manual operations entail.
Using a wrapping machine to wrap a pallet, especially if it is fully automatic, can overcome all these problems, speeding up and optimising the work of palletising, wrapping and storing goods.
The result is also better: depending on the number of turns made by the pallet wrapper and the film tension, the load can be given the right level of solidity to start transport and storage operations.
Greater stability means easier and faster handling: a well-packed palletised unit can be moved more easily, improving the efficiency of warehouse logistics operations.
And that’s not all: the correct application of stretch film allows the goods to be protected during transport, for example by avoiding perforations or tears that could damage the packages before they arrive at their destination.
Obviously, to understand how to wrap a pallet correctly, several aspects must be taken into account: the type of goods to be wrapped, the purpose of the wrapping, the type of wrapping required.
Knowing these aspects is also fundamental for choosing and purchasing the right pallet wrapping model for your logistics business.
Using wrapping machines to wrap a pallet
Coming back to us, we can say that automatic wrapping machines are undoubtedly very useful for wrapping stretch film around palletised units. On the other hand, the first operations to prepare the pallet are always the responsibility of the operator.
Let us therefore see in detail how to wrap a pallet, step by step.
Palletising: preparing for pallet wrapping
First of all, a sturdy pallet (wooden, plastic or cardboard) must be chosen that is suitable in size for the type of goods to be transported.
When making this choice, it must be borne in mind that the packages must always remain within the shape of the pallet: even just a few centimetres of overhang increase the risk of damage to the goods during transport.
Once you have chosen a pallet of the right size and strength, you can begin to arrange the packages in a stable and compact manner. Two types of stacking are possible:
Column stacking: this consists of creating columns of boxes on the pallet, arranging them one on top of the other in an orderly manner, starting from corner to corner or side to side;
Interlocking stacking: this consists of arranging the boxes in a staggered manner, a bit like brick walls: it is the most suitable solution to guarantee stability to the palletised unit, while reducing the compression force exerted on the packages.
In either case, the aim must be to create a composition that is as cubic as possible and with the weight well distributed. In this regard, it is a good idea to place the heaviest packages at the base: this will distribute the centre of gravity of the goods evenly.
On the other hand, it is absolutely inadvisable to place the packages in a pyramid shape or to have the goods protrude outside the pallet. In fact, these situations do not facilitate subsequent packaging operations. Instead, it is better to form a flat and regular surface for the entire pallet, which is easier to manage for the film wrapping phase and, subsequently, for transport and storage.
To ensure greater stability, it may also be useful to use straps to better secure the packages to the pallet.
It is also necessary to remember to affix signage labels to the surface of the packages, which are useful for shipping and recognising the goods.
But let us now see how to wrap a pallet using the main types of automatic pallet wrappers.
Pallet wrapping with wrapping machines
The techniques for wrapping a pallet are different and depend on the type of pallet wrapping machine adopted.
With Pieri’s Ring Wrapping Machine, for example, the pallet is loaded onto a wrapping area, where it remains motionless: meanwhile, a ring surrounds the load, wrapping it with stretch film for the entire height. Alternatively, it is also possible to wrap only part of the load (lower or upper) with the film.
Also with Pieri’s Arm Wrapping Machine, the wrapping system takes place when the pallet is stationary. Once the load is positioned in the centre of the machine, a mechanical arm rotates around it, wrapping the pallet from bottom to top and then returning to the starting position.
With Turntable wrapping machines, on the other hand, it is the pallet that rotates on a platform, being wrapped by a stretch film released by a pre-stretch carriage fixed on a column. As it rises and falls, the trolley first allows the film to be stretched and lengthened by more than a metre and then wrapped around the load.
Useful tips and precautions on how to wrap a pallet
We have seen how to wrap a pallet using automatic pallet wrappers is relatively easy. Now only two further points remain to be clarified on how best to carry out the operation.
How to protect the pallet during wrapping
When wrapping a pallet, it is important to protect the goods load from possible damage by using special pallet accessories.
For example, it may be useful to cover corners, edges and any sharp surfaces with bubble wrap, polyethylene or special wings and edge protectors. The latter, in addition to reducing damage to the edges of the boxes, are also useful for stabilising the load.
The same applies to any cardboard sheets and cardboard interlayers: placed at the top, base and sides of the palletised load, these create a protective barrier that improves impact resistance and weight distribution. To ensure greater stability, the load can also be secured to the pallet using special ratchet straps.
For good wrapping, polyethylene hoods can also come in handy: special high-strength bags used to cover pallets, ideal for protecting goods from dust and weather.
Film quantity and tension for wrapping a pallet
There is at least one other aspect to be considered in order to wrap a pallet in the best possible way, and that concerns the pallet wrapping film.
We have seen that stretch film is the most important element in wrapping a pallet. But how much of it should be used to improve the tightness and stability of the palletised load?
It goes without saying that if a pallet is not covered with the right amount of film, the goods could move during its movement, causing damage or even harm to the operators.
In fact, the film should always be applied in several layers until a sufficiently thick and resistant surface is created to guarantee maximum safety during transport and storage manoeuvres.
Thanks to Pieri’s wrapping machines, it is possible to define a preset quantity of film to be used for wrapping, even adjusting the tension of the film, so as to impart the right force to the goods load in order to compact the different packages on the pallet.
Among other things, this option optimises the use of packaging material, saving costs.
And that’s not all: Pieri’s automated pallet wrappers are also equipped with a pre-stretching trolley that allows you to pre-stretch the wrapping film, using less of it; a further saving in material and costs for your logistics business!