Before we look at the pallet wrapping machines for small spaces, or your options, let’s take a trip down memory lane to discover the history.
When the plastics industry began to boom in the 1900s, the packaging industry embraced it and created stretch wrap. It has become an integral part of the industrial packaging industry, and the primary solution used on pallets to ensure they are shipped safely. Pallet wrapping machines, invented in the 1970s, have also become the most widely used piece of machinery in the industry.
Before pallet stretch wrapping machines, manufacturers loaded trucks with their products individually, or they used metal strapping or shrink bags to hold loads together. The process was labour intensive and expensive. Brothers Pat and Bill Lancaster is the team we should thank for developing the first stretch wrapper in 1973 and they unveiled it at the Packaging Machinery Manufacturer’s Trade Show of that year. They had built technology for the first time that allowed one to unitise products on pallets by wrapping them in layers of plastic films.
This changed things monumentally in the shipping industry. Forklift drivers could now easily, and quickly load items instead of having to rely on it being done by hand.
Today: Pallet Wrapping Machines
While the benefits of using a pallet wrapping machine are evident, the factor that holds many businesses back is their lack of space in their facility. However, you don’t need to relocate to enjoy the efficiency, cost savings, and productivity that pallet wrapping machinery will inject into your business. If you have limited space in your warehouse the issue is you can’t use a fork truck to load pallets onto the wrapper.
So, what are the solutions?
Option 1: Mobile Pallet Wrappers
These battery-powered automatic machines can be used in tight spaces or for loads too big for a regular pallet wrap machine. You don’t need an operator to guide them as they have a tire on a bracket that follows the pallet load while it is wrapping the pallet.
Option 2: Rotary Tower Machines
There are suitable when you have the situation of moving pallets with pallet jacks. Loads are placed on the floor. The arm of the pallet wrapper and the roll of film rotate around the pallet load. These wrappers are also ideal to wrap loads that are light or unstable. The load will not rotate or move. This cuts the risk of products falling off the pallet while being wrapped. The downside is they tend to take up larger floor space while they operate.
Option 3: High Profile Machines
If you want to use a pallet wrapper, but have limited space for a pallet jack ramp, a high profile pallet wrapper that combines with a pallet stacker to load the pallets onto the turntable is an option. These machines have a raised square turntable and the underside of the raised turntable is a few inches off the ground. The frame that the turntable is mounted to is also around 30 inches wide. It means straddles of out-riggers of a straddle stacker can fit under the turntable and straddle the frame.
Automatic stretch wrapper pallets
One of the big advancements in the pallet wrapping industry was the invention of automatic stretch wrapper pallets. They brought with them the following benefits to the industrial wrapping industry.
- Increased productivity. Operators do not waste time having to oversee the start or stop part of the wrapping cycle, which is necessary with semi-automatic machines. Even entry-level automatic machines can wrap up to 40 loads per hour with bigger models completing up to 120 loads per hour.
- A streamlined production process. Both turntable models or conveyorised automatic machines will impact the productivity of your work floor. It frees up staff to do other tasks while the machine wraps, and forklift or pallet jack operators can place the pallet and start to prepare another pallet.
- Savings on film costs. Semiautomatic and automatic stretch wrapping machines save on film costs compared to hand wrapping because they ensure the correct amount of stretch is applied to the film.
- Better safety. A forklift operator never needs to leave the vehicle – this automatically means they are less likely to have forklift accidents because most accidents involve a pedestrian on the warehouse floor. Hand wrapping is also notorious for causing wear and tear injuries, so automatic will help you there too. By producing consistent wrap you will also reduce the risk of loads toppling.
From the past to the present, the stretch wrapper industry is constantly evolving. There are exciting innovations happening right now with automatic stretch wrapping machines. With every challenge or business objective you have, such as reducing costs or boosting productivity, or reducing wastage, there is a machine that will likely address the need.