Wrapping machines: the definitive guide to choosing the right model for your company
Wrapping machine wrap loads and products vertically or horizontally using a reel of stretch film that protects them and stabilizes them.
The vertical stretch wrapping machines cover packages placed on pallets, while the horizontal one also cover products such as boards, tubes, and sheets.
In both cases the number of spins of stretch film depends on the type of pallet wrapper.
A fully automatic turntable wrapping machine, for instance, a machine for companies that have little storage space, gives by default six complete turns at the top and bottom followed by a film tensioning phase.
The wrapping process takes place by means of a motorized trolley that brings the palletized load closer to the machine, followed by the descent of a hydraulic arm that locks it, which triggers the table rotation capable of reaching 30 p/h.
The pitch of the spiral is adjusted automatically and is measured by the ratio between the speed of the trolley uphill and the speed of travel of the wrapping machine.
Why buy a wrapping machine?
The companies that could obtain benefits from the purchase of a pallet wrapper are companies with a warehouse or that operate in the inventory management.
Without further ado, the purchase of a packaging machine is a good choice for:
- reducing the use of stretch film (an automatic wrapping machine is able to extend a polyethylene film of 400% of its original length compared to 10/20% if the operation is performed by hand by an employee);
- reducing warehouse labor costs (instead of having an employee to wrap your pallet, a wrapping machine, like those sold on Pieri, will do that for you 50 times faster in a 1/10 of the time, which allows you to employ your car operator, your mechanical maintenance technician, your electrical maintenance technician in in other tasks);
- reducing training costs and accidents (wrapping a pallet by hand, although it may seem a pretty simple operation, requires the training of personnel that an automatic pallet wrapper does not need);
- reducing warehouse space (an already wrapped pallet can be immediately sent to storage witch frees up inventory space);
- improving inventory control (wrapping pallets with well-applied stretch film allows you to place stickers with scannable code on them which could be useful for inventory control operations);
- zeroing the risk of tearing the film and damaging the packaged material (a pallet wrapped and sent to storage does not run the risk of being torn apart during the most common warehouse activities, such as clashes between forklifts and such);
- standardizing the wrapping process (a wrapping machine allows to standardize the output of the operation, maintaining the same final result also from the point of view of the look);
- reducing the number of returns of goods (thanks to the use of a wrapping machine, the packaging will be better protected which will drastically reduce the number of returns of good due to damage or breakage occurring during transportation).
Aspects to evaluate before buying a wrapping machine
The process of purchasing a wrapping machine must therefore be well thought out because their purchase price varies between €5000 and €30000.
Our advice, that could be useful if you decide to schedule a phone call with a sales person to ask for advice, is to collect the following information:
- how many pallets do you pack per hour? Or by shift or per day?
- do you think you need a manual, semi-automatic, or automatic machine? This decision depends on your answer to the previous question. To give you a reference, an automated wrapping machine wraps 10 pallets per hour;
- what are the measures of your pallets (width x length x height)?
- what is the weight of your pallets?
- do you need vertical or horizontal packaging?
- do you work with stable or unstable goods?
- do you have any special requirements? For instance, tape thickness, wrapping density, etc.?
The most common wrapping machines types
There are many types of wrapping machines on the market.
The first distinction possible is between manual wrapping machines, semi-automatic wrapping machines and automatic wrapping machines.
Let’s dive into the latest that’s where our expertise are.
Automatic pallet wrappers
The automatic pallet wrappers do not require any intervention by an operator.
Another distinction is made between horizontal pallet wrappers and vertical pallet wrappers.
The vertical stretch wrapping machines are useful for coating height-developed palletized products, products with reduced thickness or circumference; products that need an end to end wrapping.
The horizontal stretch wrapping machines, on the other hand, are used to wrap rectangular or square palletized products along their entire length.
The vertical winders include:
- Arm wrapping machines: with this type of pallet wrapper, the load remains stationary because it is the rotating arm that turns around it, unwinding the stretch film over its entire surface,
- ring wrapping machine: with this type of wrapping machine, also the load remains stationary in the wrapping area but it is a rotating ring that wraps around it in its entire surface.
- turntable wrapping machine (or rotating table or rotating platform): with this type of wrapping machine, the palletized load is wrapped as the turntable rotates, thanks to a system with a toothed thrust bearing and a gear motor controlled by an inverter. According to Wikipedia, “more sophisticated systems also pre-stretch the film before wrapping by means of fixed/variable gear ratios”.
Important factors to consider while evaluating the purchase of a wrapping machine
Now that you have a solid idea about what type of wrapping machine you need, I want to show you some of the features I think you should look for in your purchase:
- the entire wrapping process depends on the heat tunnel that leads to the plastic film shrinking. This heating function is often defective in used wrapping machines. Check it at the time of purchase,
- the machine must use as little film as possible to stabilize the palletized load,
- the pallet wrapper must guarantee a solid and resistant wrapping,
- the wrapping machine must offer the possibility of adjusting the film tension on the palletized load,
- the machinery must ensure an easy replacement of the polyethylene coil and the wheel lubrication,
- after-sales service; although these machines are very solid, it is important that the company that sells you your next pallet wrapper offers a trustful after sales service in order to reduce machine downtime.