Perhaps the question of thickness of pallet wrap film isn’t at the forefront of everyone’s mind but, to the under pressure manager responsible for warehouse productivity and profitability and the shipment of goods it should be.
In fact, this is a challenging and important question often put to us by current and potential customers when looking at pallet wrap solutions. So we thought we would attempt to answer this question for you!
Traditionally, buyers of pallet wrap film have looked at thinner films as the ‘cheaper option’. That’s natural. This is because, for the same weight, you will receive a longer meterage. However, that’s a quite simplistic approach and one that doesn’t take into account some of the key factors in the buying decision.
We suggest that customers look at pallet wrapping as a marriage between three things:
- The method that you are using to wrap your pallet (by hand or machine and the capabilities of the machine)
- The load that you are wrapping (what is the makeup of the load? What is the film supposed to be doing to the load?)
- The film you are using
For example, if you’re wrapping a product that is inside a pallet box, the pallet box will provide the majority of the necessary stability and strength. In most of these instances, the pallet wrap film becomes a dust or a waterproofing protection to the pallet box itself and contributes very little to the stability. As a consequence, the film requirements would need to be evaluated in a different way than if there was no pallet box.
In our last blog and podcast on benchmarking the suppliers of pallet wrap film, we spoke about the need for benchmarking based on the price per pallet wrapped, rather than the price per kilo or meter.
So, if we look briefly at the history of pallet wrap films, over the past several years they have been generally 17, 20 and 23 microns thick. As the industry and technologies evolve, we’ve seen a move to pre stretched films where the film is stretched before being put it on the roll and then films with a metallocene additive to increase strength. These have helped in developing thinner films but only in some instances have they helped to reduce costs.
So, if thinner pallet wrap film means that your wrap is “cheaper”, does it hold my pallet stable? If it is cheaper, are my products more likely to get damaged in transit? If it is thinner, will the product snap in use?
However, what we’re seeing now, with new nanotechnology solutions being introduced onto the market, is that we have situations where we’re able to meet the requirements of the customer based on four considerations
Stability – which film technology and gauge gives you the required stability of your pallet?
Speed – Can you achieve a faster throughput to your wrapping operation?
Operation – can you balance the machine and film so that you get excellent production efficiency
Cost – is your wrap cost commercially competitive.
Now in some instances a thicker film will achieve all four of these considerations. For example:
A thicker film has a higher holding force and will increase stability, It could allow us to reduce the number of wraps on your pallet. This in turn reduces the wrap weight and also the cost. And a thicker film will also snap less frequently so should improve operational efficiencies.
Now, this is only valid if you know what your current film is achieving and you understand where you need to be. It’s important therefore that you work with a supplier who is able to marry all the three elements i.e. equipment, your pallet and the film to ensure that you get the optimum wrap at the optimum cost.
Date posted Mon 18 January 2016 in Blog