1. Determine the optimum force needed. Packaging is being drastically light-weighted to control cost. This affects the ability to contain and unitize loads without damaging goods. Consider equipment that incorporates technology that ensures the use of the optimal containment on each load.
2. Understand how the equipment will impact freight and labor costs. Some semi-automatic stretch wrappers enable operators to stay on fork trucks while wrapping saving time and labor. Cut transportation costs by weighing each load to ensure quality and gauge freight. Integrated scales allow operators to wrap and weigh loads simultaneously.
3. Know the speed at which you want the equipment to run. High-speed equipment isn’t as expensive, comparatively, as you might think. Buy flexibility to accommodate future needs.
4. Consider greater integration. Some suppliers are incorporating robotic technology into the wrapping process to move pallets to the pallet wrapper and ensure that the palletizers can communicate with automated guided vehicles (AGVs).
5. Always ensure safety. Make certain that stretch-wrapping equipment is properly guarded or curtained.
6. Ensure that conveying systems associated with the stretch wrapper are as robust as possible. Machines need to withstand the abuse personnel will subject them to, wittingly or unwittingly.
7. Weigh the imperative to automate. Hand wrapping is the biggest culprit for using too much film. Do a simple cut-and-weigh test on a typical load. Take a hand-wrapped load, cut off the film, and weigh it. Then compare that number to the amount of film applied by a machine. If you’re using too much film, it’s simple to calculate the payback time period on the machine based on the film savings alone.
Tip #7 can’t be stressed enough about doing your own cut-and-weigh test. Do you know what your “cost per load” is?
This is the first question Alex Montalvo, Pak West’s Technical Service Manager, asks while on a service call. He says that the majority of companies do not know, which means they could be overpaying on stretch film costs. Companies need to think cost per load, not price per roll. This can be confusing since the rolls vary in weight, length, thickness, and price per pound.
“If hand wrapping or even a pallet wrapping machine uses one pound of film per pallet, but only needs 8 ounces for proper containment, the costs are doubled right there,” he adds. “And, more is not always better.”
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