The Breathe Easy Film Slitter slice the film into 3 or more individual bands than can be adjusted in width. Ideal for products that require air flow, heat dissipation and condensation/moisture prevention (such as produce, flowers, dairy products etc..).
Long before a pallet of product ends up at the pallet wrap machine, there’s a lot that goes into the planning and building of a pallet load. How a pallet of product is built is a critical variable in the packaging process and ensuring the product successfully arrives at a customer’s location.
Pallet wrap machines are used in diverse packaging applications from high volume beverage distributors to garden and nursery suppliers. While the product often drives the form and shape of a pallet, there are some general guidelines. Let’s take a look:
1. It starts with the right-sized pallet.
The pallet itself – whether it’s made of wood or plastic – is the foundation of every pallet load. A standard pallet is 48 by 42 inches, but in specialized circumstances, pallets can be smaller or larger. If possible match the size of the pallet to the size of the cartons or containers to the size of the pallet to create a cube. In pallet loads comprised of multiple different types of product, this may not be possible.
2. There’s art in every pallet stack.
Depending on your line of business, pallet stacks can be the same each and every time, or be a constant puzzle to put together. For example, a pick and pack distribution center can have unlimited variations in packages – in size and weight – that are placed on the same pallet heading for the same destination, while a beverage distribution center will likely have multiple cases of the same product on each pallet day in and day out.
There are several accepted and distinct ways to stack a pallet (see diagram).
“A” Profile: A perfect cube, these loads have no protrusions and a clean shape. Because of its uniform shape, it’s the simplest load to apply stretch wrap.
“B” Profile: Different sized boxes may necessitate this type of pallet load. The protruding edges increase the likelihood of punctured stretch film, so it may entail a different or more “engineered” application of stretch film.
“C” Profile: The most irregular shaped profile, with its many corners, sharp edges and protrusions, it is likely pallet wrapping is probably the only way it can be unitized. But it will likely require an engineered solution in both the application and film itself to be unitized for shipment.
Other “common sense” tips:
Place heavier products on the bottom of the pallet,
Inspect the pallet for quality and safety before placing product on it.
Pack boxes/cartons tightly without space in between.
3. Choose the correct stretch film and application.
Stretch film is a raw material. It is the pallet stretch wrapper that takes this raw material and stretches it (and potentially other operations) to engineer the film to suit many applications – it’s what makes it such a versatile product. The characteristics of your product and overall pallet load will determine the type of “engineering” your pallet will need in the pallet wrapping process.
Our pallet wrap machines allow for customization of various elements, including film force, pre-stretch, wrap cycles (i.e. double wrap cycle, split wrap cycle, top banding) and wrap speed, among others. These controls allow for a standard stretch film to be used in most pallet wrapping applications, whether it’s a heavy load (a pallet of soda bottles), light load (PET bottles) or a pallet with multiple protruding corners.
The right film and application ensures the undamaged and safe shipment of the product.
4. Consider packaging add-ons.
With the pallet stretch wrapped, it’s likely ready for transport and delivery. But, some custom stretch wrapping applications require other packaging elements that can be built into the production line.
For example, some products/pallets require protection from the elements. Pallets of gardening supplies is a prime example – product is often shipped well ahead of the gardening season. A top sheet needs to be added to the pallet to ensure rain and snow don’t damage the product. This can be an in-line element to streamline the pallet wrapping process or done within the wrapping process to save valuable floor space.
Each time you build a pallet, you’re preparing your product for a customer. Although it’s one of the last elements in the production process, the condition of a pallet is the first impression your product makes on customers. Professional looking packaging is not only safe, it’s a reflection on how a company values its product and customers. Following these four guidelines will put you on the right path to pallet success.
Every business is different and often calls for a specific tool set to do the job in the most efficient manner. Sometimes what you need isn’t widely available on the market, so you need to find a customized solution. Phoenix engineers are constantly reexamining and improving our stretch wrapping machines to ensure each custom stretch wrapper fits the client’s needs and helps them face their challenges head on.
There are many reasons why a company might need a custom stretch wrapper. Perhaps your business has a unique application, unusual pallet or load size, special warehouse space considerations, or business model.
We believe the best way to illustrate our ability to provide highly customized stretch wrapping machines is to offer examples of custom stretch wrappers that we’ve provided in the past. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be showcasing some of the custom stretch wrappers we’ve made for specific industry applications.
Let’s start with some unique industry applications and how Phoenix Wrappers was able to tailor our stretch wrapping technology to suit.
Custom Stretch Wrappers for Bottling
Sometimes described as “bottling air” one of the toughest stretch wrapping applications is pallets of empty PET bottles. It comes with a number of inherent challenges.
Larger than Standard Pallet: PET bottles are most often palletized on extra-large pallets, typically 44 by 56 inches.
Tall Loads: The PET bottles are usually stacked high, sometimes as high as 10 feet.
High Rate of Production: Bottle loads are produced quickly, anywhere between 50 and 75 pallets per hour.
Lightweight Product: There’s little weight to a pallet full of empty plastic bottles. Not only does the wrapping machine have to work fast, it has to do it gently so as not to crush the bottles.
This specific application challenges a standard stretch wrapping machine. A custom and forward-thinking solution is necessary. The versatile Phoenix PRRA Rotary Ring style wrapper can do the job, with specifications to suit this particular type of business.
The size of the rotary ring stretch wrapper can be adjusted based on the load type, addressing both the first and second challenges. To wrap fast and efficiently, the fully automatic rotary ring wraps the load from the bottom up, then cuts and secures the film tail. This not only saves time, but also saves money on stretch film. Saving more than 30+ feet of stretch film on each load adds up to thousands in savings over the course of a year.
Phoenix’s proprietary rotary ring technology allows the stretch film to be applied to the pallet with just enough tension to hold the load in place and protect it from the elements, while ensuring the force is not great enough to crush the empty bottles.
Available in two speeds, the PRRA-2100 can do up to 75 loads per hour while the PRRA-4000 can wrap up to 120 loads in a single hour.
Custom Stretch Wrappers for Produce & Agriculture
While there are some applications that require a stretch wrapping machine with special adjustments, others have to customize the wrap itself. Such is the case for this particular customization, which has applications in food packaging, pharmaceutical, and agricultural industries.
The ultimate goal for all stretch wrapping applications is to ensure the load arrives safely and in good condition. In the food, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries, there are special considerations. For example, sometimes the product is still warm when packaged (dog food, sauces, yogurt) and sometimes the product needs to breathe (i.e. fruits, vegetables, eggs, plants). In both cases, maintaining airflow is essential to prevent condensation or spoilage.
Traditional wrapping in these types of cases would risk damaging or spoiling the load during transport. In the past, clients have come to us with the problem of unfit packaging that delivers corroded, moldy, or soggy product. At best, this is poor presentation and, at worst, the product is useless for sale and consumption. And that can negatively impact your bottom line.
To suit this type of application, Phoenix Wrappers developed the Breathe Easy Film Slitter, an affordable solution that allows airflow throughout the load. The beauty of our solution is that it does not require special stretch film; it can be used with standard stretch film.
Here’s how it works. The Phoenix Breathe Easy Film Slitter cuts the film into three or more bands (width can be adjusted) and wraps the load. At the end of the cycle, the slitter stops, leaving a full sheet of stretch film to complete the wrap. The stretch film bands still secure the load with the proper load retention while allowing the product to breathe. It’s that simple. We’ve implemented this packaging innovation for several produce applications from apples to eggs.
We hope this post inspires you to find and use the right custom stretch wrapper for your industry and applications. Stay tuned for our upcoming posts, as we will be tackling one industry at a time to help supervisors and operators improve their bottom line.
If you’re interested in learning more about our custom stretch wrappers, contact us today!
Once again Phoenix is in the beautiful city of Chicago for another packaging show. Thanks for all that visited us and if you haven’t done so yet, pass by our booth # 1859 and check out our upgraded stretch wrappers, it is the last day and we are super busy but we always have time for you!