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Stretch Wrap 101
Stretch film often is confused with heat shrink wrap. Though often confused, there is a big difference between the two. Below is a quick definition of stretch wrap.
Stretch Wrap- A highly stretchable plastic film commonly made from Linear low-density polyethylene that is wrapped around items. The elastic recovery keeps the items tightly bound.
When do I use Stretch Film?
Usually stretch film is used to hold boxes and products together on a pallet for transportation. It can also be used to hold other object together and protect objects during transportation and storage. Stretch film can come in a variety of specialty films. Some examples are: UV stretch film, vented pallet wrap, anti-static stretch film, colored stretch film, etc.
How do I know what size of film to use? Different sized thicknesses and widths of film are needed for different applications. Use the chart below to find which thickness and width would be ideal for your application.
|Thickness Width>||2"-5" Banding||12"-20" Hand Grade||20" Machine Grade|
|60 Gauge||Ideal for lighter smaller objects, small boxes, and banding light items together. Many moving companies use light gauge banding stretch film in place of tape.||Ideal for loads up to approx. 1300 lbs. 12", 15", and 18" widths are ideal for shorter loads or loads where bottom and top only need to be wrapped.||Same strength as 12”-20” hand Stretch wrap. Machines promote more efficient wrapping and reduce waste.|
|70 Gauge||Same uses as the 60 gauge, but enables slightly stronger holding strength.||Ideal for loads up to approx. 1600 lbs.12", 15", and 18" widths are ideal for shorter loads or loads where bottom and top only need to be wrapped.||Same strength as 12”-20” hand Stretch wrap. Machines promote more efficient wrapping and reduce waste.|
|80 Gauge||The most common gauge in all stretch wrap. Known to be very versatile and handle a variety of applications||Ideal for loads up to approx. 2200 lbs. 80 gauge is the most common stretch film thickness and ideal for a variety of applications||Same strength as 12”-20” hand Stretch wrap. Machines promote more efficient wrapping and reduce waste.|
|90 Gauge||Uses are comparable to 80 gauge stretch film, but has increased strength.||Ideal for loads up to approx. 2400 lbs. 90 gauge is a starting thickness for heavier film. The 18" and 20" 90 gauge and above is ideal for taller or heavier loads.|
|100 Gauge||Commonly used for heavier boxes and products to bundle together. Medium heavy boxes and medium heavy items such as light lumber are ideal.||Ideal for loads up to approx 2800 lbs. The 18" and 20" 100 gauge and above is ideal for taller or heavier loads.|
|115 Gauge||Used for smaller heavy objects, commonly used for banding lumber together.||Ideal for loads up to approx. 3000 lbs. The 18" and 20" 115 gauge and above is ideal for taller or heavier loads|
|150 Gauge||Greater strength and puncture resistance, great for regular and irregular shaped boxes. Ideal for securing heavier loads..||Ideal for loads up to approx 3500 lbs. The 18" and 20" 90 gauge and above is ideal for taller or heavier loads|
What is equivalent stretch film?
Due to rising petroleum costs stretch film manufacturers have been persuaded to make stronger thinner stretch wrap. This thinner stretch film uses less petroleum resin during manufacturing, therefore costs less. The equivalent stretch film uses a multi-layered technology to increase the strength of the film. Different manufacturers have different names for their equivalent films. The two equivalent hand stretch films we offer are Hybrid stretch film and Micron stretch film. We also offer our Performance line of machine stretch film that is thinner stronger and offers users the ability to save on costs.
Hybrid stretch film is a thinner stretch film with a super strong resin formula. It is the thinnest strongest film we offer, but is not recommended for loads over 1800 lbs. Because the film is thin, it does not have the same amount of tear resistance as a thicker film.
Micron stretch film is a film in-between the "true gauged" stretch film and the Hybrid stretch film. It is a multi layered film that offers great cling, stretch, and tear resistance. It offers users the ability to reduce costs while staying confident about load security.
Performance machine stretch film is our answer to rising machine stretch film costs. The performance stretch film is a multi-layered machine stretch film that provides more stretch than traditional machine stretch film. It offers a high amount of cling and down sizing opportunity.
Are there any advantages to using opaque stretch film?
Opaque stretch film offers a variety of advantages over clear stretch film. A few advantages include:
1. Detours pilferage through valuable shipments by concealing products.
2. Helps to protect products from UV Rays.
5. Great for color coding products.
Do I need a special stretch wrap machine?
Stretch wrap machines are recommended for any business wrapping more than 15 loads per day. Stretch wrap machines help to reduce waste, increase efficiency, and promote a more secure and consistent load.
There are a variety of manual stretch film dispensers and products for businesses that stretch wrap less than 15 loads per day. Extended core stretch film is ready and easy to use out of the box. It is great for businesses that need stretch film, but do not ship many loads. Two-handed manual stretch film dispensers are recommended because of ease of use, a built-in braking system, and the ability to tightly secure loads.
Extract approximately a yard of plastic off the stretch film roll, squeeze 8 to 10 inches of the end together to form a rope shape. Thread the rope part through one corner of the pallet. A knot is not necessary. Begin wrapping around the base of the pallet. Wrap the base of the pallet at least five times while keeping the film tight as pulled off the roll. Slowly work your way up the box, focusing on keeping the wrap tight. The goal is to have all of the products stay together as one. Once at the top of the pallet, push the top boxes to see if they move or if they are one with the bottom boxes. If they move, wrap your way back down to the bottom of the pallet.
Common Stretch Film Terms
Bottom Wraps- The wraps a stretch wrap machine uses to apply film to the bottom section of the load. Forming a strong bottom wrap will help to ensure load stability.
Cast Stretch Film- A stretch film derived from the cast extrusion process. Less manufacturing costs allow cast stretch film to be the more widely used stretch film. Visit the stretch film info page to view detailed info about cast stretch film.
Cling- Allows the film to stick to itself and not the product. Some films have one sided cling and others have two sided cling.
Co-extrusion- Extruding two or more materials through a single die to enable the two materials to merge together.
Dart Drop- A commonly used test to measure puncture strength of a stretch film. It is conducted by dropping a semi-circular shaped object onto the film.
Elastic Recovery-The ability of a stretch film to recover to its original shape after being stretched.
Elmendorf Tear- Another common test used for stretch film and other products to measure tear resistance.
Extruder- Equipment used to change solid polymers into molten polymers.
Film Feed- In a stretch wrap machine, it is the speed at which stretch film is supplied to the load.
Film Force- Refers to the amount of tension applied to the film as the film is applied to the load.
Film Memory- The ability of the film to return to its pre-stretched form. This enables the film to maintain a tight load during transportation.
Film Tail- The start and end pieces of stretch film applied to the load. Generally these pieces are cut off later
Gloss- The amount of light reflected from a film’s surface. Cast stretch films tend to have a higher gloss than blown stretch films.
Haze- Refers to lack of clarity in a film. Blown stretch films commonly have more haze than cast stretch films due to crystallization during the manufacturing process.
LLDPE Stretch Film- Linear Low Density Polyethylene stretch film. A plastic that is preferred in a variety of film due to its toughness, stretchability, and relative transparency.
Metallocene- A compound used to make a new form of stretch film. Metallocene stretch films offer increased puncture resistance and many other useful benefits.
Microns- A unit of measurement commonly used to measure the thickness of a film. A micron is equal to one millionth of a meter. One gauge is equal to .254 microns.
Over wrap- The amount of stretch film applied over the top of the load. It is used to provide a downward force on the load.
Pallet Covers- A poly film cover used to protect pallets from dust, UV rays, and conceal the load. Feel free to check out the various pallet covers we offer.
Post-stretch- Stretching a film when wrapping the load to achieve tighter tension on the load
Pre-stretch- Stretching the film before applied to loads. Pre-stretch films can result in improved load integrity and lower packaging costs.
Roping- Bunching the stretch film into a rope shape. Roping used to start many loads and offers an increased strength for additionally securing a load.
Tackifiers- Additives used in the manufacturing process to add cling to the film.
Tear Resistance- Refers to the resistance of the film to tearing forces.
Tension Stretch- A pulling force that stretches the materials
Wide Web Stretch Film- A large sized film used for larger equipment. Generally it refers to machine stretch film wider than 30 inches
Yield Strength- The amount of stretch a film can have without permanently deforming.
Choosing the right stretch wrap machine should be a careful consideration for any business. There are several factors to consider when making your choice. Below are a few questions to consider.
2. What types of loads will you wrap? Will the loads all be boxes, irregular shapes, fragile, etc. Are the loads heavy, light, stable, unstable, etc. Different machines are used for different applications
3. How much do you want to spend? Machines can vary dramatically in costs depending on the features and output capacity require
Simple Automatic- A type of stretch wrapping machine that allows a forklift operator to not leave the forklift to initiate wrapping.
Stretch Wrap Protection- Stretch wrap offers a secure option for wrapping loads. The option of UV stretch films can help protect products from the sun. Stretch films can also help protect products from dust, debris, and moisture.
Adaptable- There is a wide variety of stretch films available for different applications. Stretch wrap can be applied to flat surfaces as well as pointed surfaces.
Stretch Film Videos