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What Is Stretch Wrap In Packaging?

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    Innovation is crucial in the ever-changing field of packaging to ensure the safe, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing display of products. When it comes to securing and protecting goods during storage, transportation, and exhibition, nothing beats the tried-and-true effectiveness of stretch wrap.

    Stretch film, or thin and elastic plastic, has become an indispensable part of modern packaging practises for several reasons beyond its attractiveness. This article goes into the notion of stretch wrap in packaging, investigating its attributes, uses, and importance in the modern business world.

    The unusual flexibility of stretch wrap as a plastic film makes it useful for wrapping and securing a wide variety of objects. Its principal function is to securely encapsulate things, either alone or as a group on a pallet, providing a barrier against damage and keeping them in position.

    This keeps things from moving around during shipping and prevents any harm from occuring. Stretch wrap is available in a variety of gauges, strengths, and hues to meet the packaging requirements for a vast array of goods.

    As an added bonus, it can stick to itself without the need of adhesives, making it a useful and effective method for anchoring a wide range of objects.

    Stretch wrap is used for a wide variety of packaging purposes across many different markets. Stretch wrap is a versatile and inexpensive option for many packaging needs, including bundling tiny products, preserving fragile objects, and attaching huge loads onto pallets.

    Stretch wrap is commonly used in the retail industry to produce aesthetically pleasing and secure displays that maximise product exposure and deter theft.

    Its application in warehouses and the logistics industry guarantees that products will not shift or be harmed during storage or delivery.

    Stretch wrap's capacity to maintain freshness and shield against contamination is especially useful in the food business. Stretch wrap is an integral part of the packaging process, offering protection, presentation, and peace of mind at every stage, from the factory floor to the retail shelves.

    Stretch wrap's importance in packaging goes beyond its functional uses since it reflects the growing interest of shoppers in eco-friendly and cost-effective products.

    Some varieties of stretch wrap can be recycled and reused, which is a positive step towards more sustainable packaging. Its low weight also helps minimise wasteful packaging and harmful emissions during shipment.

    Stretch wrap's widespread use exemplifies today's packaging industry's dedication to protecting goods while also minimising its carbon footprint.

    How Stretch Wrapping Helps

    When packing an item or items, stretch wrapping involves stretching a thin layer of semi-elastic stretch film (often linear low-density polythene) over the item(s) to be packed. The film's resistance to punctures and tears increases as it extends due to an improvement in its mechanical properties.

    The elastic qualities of the film make it strive to shrink once the wrapping is complete, keeping the contents securely wrapped.

    The use of this film ensures that the individual boxes or containers included within a pallet will remain securely attached to the pallet during the transportation process. The film's barrier properties can also shield packaged goods from:

    • Shipping collisions with other items.
    • Radiation from the sun (unless you use UV-blocking film).
    • Contamination from airborne particles, soil, water, etc.

    In a nutshell, stretch wrapping aids in ensuring that your goods arrive at their destination unscathed and ready to be received by your customers. In addition to keeping your customers pleased, this also helps cut down on the number of shipments that are rejected and the number of claims made for lost goods.

    Types Of Stretch Wrapping Machines

    forklift in a warehouse full of wood pallets3

    You should realise that there are many various types of stretch wrapping machines before you go shopping for one. These machines range in size and complexity from simple hand-cranked models to fully automated machines capable of wrapping hundreds of packages in a single pass.

    Listed below is a brief explanation of the many forms of automated wrapping:

    • Stretch wrapping is done by hand using almost entirely human labour. A worker applies stretch wrap to a pallet load and then wraps it by hand, going around and around until the job is done. This is often the most time- and labor-consuming approach to applying stretch wrap because human operators cannot stretch the wrap as much as a machine can and hence take longer to apply the wrap.
    • In semiautomatic wrapping, a human operator applies the stretch wrap to the load and hands off the task to the machine. After a cargo has been wrapped, the film tail is trimmed. Although there is some physical labour involved, the operator is free to attend to other matters while the machine secures the load.
    • There is almost no need for human involvement throughout any stage of the wrapping process with these fully automated devices. These systems require no human intervention to wrap a load, weigh it down, and then cut the film tail before transporting it to the final staging place.

    Therefore, there are primarily three kind of wrapping machines used in semi- or fully-automated processes:

    • Wrapping machines with a revolving arm are known as rotary tower machines. For loads that are too heavy for a turntable model, or for loads that are too unstable to remain on the turntable while the stretch wrap is being applied, these machines are the prefered option. Installing one of these devices on a scale allows for continuous weighing of the weight while it is being encased. In contrast to turntable machines, rotary tower machines have a greater operational footprint due to the necessity of the moving arm.
    • Robot tower turntables. Turntable machines use a turntable to spin the load as the stretch wrap is applied, as opposed to a revolving arm. To guarantee that the weight being wrapped is completely encased, the tower travels up and down during the procedure. Although it requires less room than a rotary tower machine, there are constraints on the heaviness of the load that can be wrapped.
    • Systems for Wrapping Horizontally. Larger loads that cannot be transported on a single pallet are ideal candidates for these systems. With the film carriage arm attached to a ring that revolves around a load as it moves along the conveyor, the operation of these devices is functionally similar to that of a rotating tower machine. These systems are more unusual because they are designed for heavier weights, but they can increase productivity by wrapping multiple containers at once.
    • Beyond the obvious labour savings, an automated stretch wrapping system also helps businesses "stretch" their supply of wrapping material to cover more product. Unlike automated techniques, which can reliably stretch the film by 250 percent or more, manual labour methods can only accomplish a stretch of 10 or 20 percent at best.

    The load is better protected by the wrap's mechanical characteristics and the extra stretching helps to reduce waste.

    Selecting The Best Stretch Wrap For Your Requirements

    foil wrapped large crate

    The type of stretch wrap your company needs to use is determined by the items you intend to wrap. The following are factors to think about while choosing the best stretch film:


    It is critical to choose a stretch film with a yield strength and performance levels suitable for the loads being wrapped. The yield strength of a stretch film is the stress at which plastic deformation begins to occur. A stretch film's elastic deformation before it reaches its yield point allows it to spring back to its original shape when the force is released.


    Using polythene top sheets, you may protect the surface of your pallet in this way. This creates a downward push on the pallet load, protecting your goods in transit. Users are advised to allow for up to a 50% overlap when applying films by hand. No matter the film width, users of machine-applied films should provide for a 50mm overlap.


    To reinforce the load or band numerous units together, stretch film is used in multiple wraps to a specific section of a pallet.


    This occurs when a film is stretched and loses width, making it less suitable for use as a dispensing roll. When wrapping a load or pallet, a neckdown limits the coverage provided by each wrap, increasing the likelihood that more wrap rotations and film will be required.


    Think about what's being wrapped, how much there is (usually per pallet), how the load will be shaped (see below), and how it will be transported.

    Money, Time, and Resource Utilisation

    For less frequent or less substantial needs for stretch film wrapping, hand wrapping is the way to go. Moving house or workplace, for instance, lends itself well to hand wrapping with stretch wrap. Look no further than this comprehensive moving guide for assistance in organising your upcoming residential or commercial relocation.

    Machine wrapping, on the other hand, could save package costs, labour, and waste.

    The Benefits Of Stretch Wrap

    Stretch wrap is commonly used to protect goods from being damaged, tampered with, or lost in transit. It's available in several formulations, widths, and thicknesses to accommodate a wide range of product sizes. The most significant advantages of stretch wrap include:

    • It lessens the potential for packages to be tampered with or polluted.
    • Seals out dirt and moisture to keep the contents safe.
    • Protects users from potential danger caused by loosely assembled products.
    • With edge protectors in place, you may stack more pallets high and take up less storage space.
    • Maintains dryness and cleanliness of shipments for satisfied clients.

    Manual, semi-automatic, and automated methods exist for applying stretch wrap. However, manual load management is time consuming and strenuous, and it can lead to ailments like repetitive stress syndrome. To avoid this, Swiftpak suggests fully or partially automated machinery. Watching this video, you can observe firsthand how much more efficient machine wrapping is compared to hand wrapping.


    Stretch wrap is a cheap and flexible plastic film that is used in packaging for many things, like wrapping and binding different things. Its main job is to wrap things on a pallet securely, protecting them from damage and keeping them where they are. Stretch wrap comes in different thicknesses, strengths, and colours. It can also stick to itself without glue. It is often used in the retail business to make displays look nice, protect fragile items, and secure big loads to pallets.

    It is also used in stores and logistics to keep things from moving around or getting damaged while they are being stored or shipped. Stretch wrap is important for more than just its practical uses. This is because there is a growing interest in items that are good for the environment and save money. Its low weight also helps reduce the amount of wasteful packaging and harmful pollution that happens when it is shipped.

    Stretch wrap helps make sure that goods get to their destination without getting damaged and are ready to be used by customers. This cuts down on the number of shipments that are refused and claims for lost goods.

    close up shot of a forklift in action lifting

    There are many different kinds of stretch wrapping machines, from simple ones that you turn by hand to fully automated ones that can wrap hundreds of items at once. The stretch wrap has to be put on by hand for automated wrapping, which is often the most time-consuming and labour-intensive method. In semiautomatic wrapping, a person wraps the item with the stretch wrap and then hands it to the machine. Fully automatic systems don't need any help from a person at any point during the wrapping process.

    In semi- or fully-automated processes, there are three main types of wrapping machines: rotary tower machines, robot tower spinners, and horizontal wrapping systems. Rotary tower tools are the best choice when moving heavy or unstable loads that can't be moved on a single pallet. Robot tower turntables use a turntable to spin the load while the stretch wrap is being applied. Horizontal wrapping systems are best for bigger loads that can't fit on a single pallet.

    Which stretch wrap is best relies on things like performance, overlap, banding, neckdown, products, and how well money, time, and other resources are used. Hand wrapping is good for needs that come up less often or are smaller, while machine wrapping can save money, time, and waste.

    Stretch wrap is often used to keep things from getting broken, tampered with, or lost while they are being shipped. It has many benefits, such as making it less likely that packages will be tampered with or contaminated, keeping dirt and moisture out, protecting users from goods that need to be put together properly, letting you stack more pallets high, and keeping shipments dry and clean.

    Content Summary

    • Stretch wrap is crucial for securing and protecting goods during storage, transport, and exhibition.
    • Also known as stretch film, this material has become indispensable in modern packaging practices.
    • Stretch wrap is a thin and elastic-plastic film with unusual flexibility.
    • Its primary function is to encapsulate items securely, either individually or in groups on a pallet.
    • The material acts as a barrier against damage and keeps items in position during shipping.
    • The wrap comes in different gauges, strengths, and colours to meet various packaging needs.
    • Stretch wrap can adhere to itself without the need for adhesives.
    • The material is commonly used across many markets for diverse packaging purposes.
    • In retail, it helps in creating secure and aesthetically pleasing displays.
    • In logistics and warehousing, stretch wrap ensures products remain unharmed during storage and transport.
    • The food industry uses stretch wrap for its ability to maintain freshness and protect against contamination.
    • Some types of stretch wrap can be recycled and reused.
    • Its lightweight nature reduces emissions during shipping, contributing to sustainability.
    • Stretch wrapping involves covering an item with a layer of semi-elastic film.
    • The material gains increased resistance to punctures and tears when stretched.
    • Once wrapped, the elastic quality of the film keeps the contents securely in place.
    • The film protects against shipping collisions, radiation, and contamination from airborne particles.
    • Stretch wrapping ensures goods arrive unscathed, reducing the number of rejected shipments.
    • There are different types of stretch wrapping machines ranging from hand-cranked to fully automated models.
    • Hand wrapping is the most labour-intensive method of applying the stretch wrap.
    • Semi-automatic wrapping involves human operators starting the process before machinery takes over.
    • Fully automated wrapping systems require no human intervention.
    • Rotary tower machines are suitable for heavy or unstable loads.
    • Robot tower turntables use a spinning platform for wrapping and are more space-efficient.
    • Horizontal wrapping systems are ideal for larger loads and can wrap multiple containers simultaneously.
    • Automated systems can stretch the wrap by up to 250%, making it more efficient than manual methods.
    • The type of stretch wrap to use depends on the items being wrapped.
    • Factors like yield strength and performance levels must be considered when selecting a stretch wrap.
    • Yield strength refers to the stress point at which the film begins to deform.
    • Polythene top sheets can be used for additional surface protection during transit.
    • Banding is a method where stretch wrap is applied multiple times to specific areas for reinforcement.
    • "Neckdown" occurs when the film loses width upon stretching, requiring more wrap rotations.
    • Hand wrapping is recommended for less frequent or smaller needs.
    • Machine wrapping can result in cost, labour, and waste savings.
    • Stretch wrap protects against tampering and pollution.
    • The material seals out dirt and moisture, keeping the contents safe.
    • It also minimises the potential danger caused by loosely assembled products.
    • Using stretch wrap with edge protectors allows for higher stacking of pallets, saving storage space.
    • Stretch wrap ensures the dryness and cleanliness of shipments, leading to customer satisfaction.
    • There are manual, semi-automatic, and automated methods for applying stretch wrap.
    • Manual handling of stretch wrap can lead to ailments like repetitive stress syndrome.
    • Automated machinery is recommended for efficiency and to avoid health risks.
    • In the packaging industry, stretch wrap is important for protection, presentation, and peace of mind.
    • The wrap ensures that products do not shift or suffer damage during storage or delivery.
    • Its application in the retail industry maximises product exposure and deters theft.
    • In the food business, stretch wrap helps maintain the freshness of products and shield them against contamination.
    • The wrap's low weight contributes to minimising wasteful packaging and harmful emissions.
    • Automated stretch wrapping systems help businesses use wrapping material more efficiently.
    • Stretch wrap's versatility makes it a popular choice across many sectors.
    • The increasing focus on sustainability is leading to innovations in stretch wrap materials that can be recycled and reused.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Stretch Wrap is a thin, stretchable plastic film that is often made from polyethylene. It is used to lock and secure products onto a pallet. The stretch film is wrapped around the pallet, applying tension and enabling the film to extend its length, creating a force that allows it to be held in place.

    Plastic stretch wrap is a flexible cast film used primarily to bind and bundle household items during the packing process. This versatile tool is essential in the world of packing and moving because it makes loads more manageable, more compact, and better protected from dust, dirt, and scratches.

    Stretch wrap — also called stretch film — is a clear type of plastic film with the consistency and appearance of saran wrap. This material is commonly used to bundle or wrap items together and offer an added level of stability for storage and/or shipment.

    The short answer is yes. Stretch film is generally made with linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) which is denoted as category four in recycling programs. For many plastics, the real-world answer is more complex.

    Wooden crates should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated area to prevent moisture damage. They should also be handled carefully to avoid splinters or damage to the crate itself.

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