Checklist: What features and accessories should be considered in a pallet wrapper?
What wrapping system do I need? What speed does the pallet stretch wrapper deliver? Which securing accessories are recommended? When choosing an automatic pallet wrapper, there are many aspects to consider depending on the packaging objectives and characteristics of your product. In this article, we will explore the fundamental factors to evaluate when selecting the most suitable stretch wrapper to optimize the wrapping process and ensure load stability and safety.
1. Do we need an automatic or semi-automatic Stretch Wrapper?
This is the turning point when choosing an industrial wrapping machine since their performance and objectives are very different. This choice will depend on the production level, being the automatic one more appropriate for medium and high productions, while the semi-automatic stretch wrapper can be sufficient for low productions.
2. Which wrapping system is best suited to my product?
Although it may be a subjective decision to the company’s preferences, different types of vertical pallet wrappers can offer different performances depending on the product and securing objectives.
In the case of automatic pallet wrapping systems, we can find:
- Turntable Stretch Wrapper: The turntable wrapping machines are versatile, simple, and usually do not take up too much space in the factory. However, it is not recommended for unstable products, as the load rotates during wrapping. It also has lower speed and fewer performance features than other stretch wrapping systems.
- Arm Stretch Wrapper: In addition to versatility, the Arm Stretch Wrapping system t offers greater safety since the arm is the one that rotates around the load, providing greater stability to the wrapping.
- Ring Stretch Wrapper: The Ring Stretch Wrapper is usually the highest performance and speed system. It provides maximum support and stability using a wrapping ring that envelops the entire load with customized cycles.
3. What technical and programming features should be taken into account?
Wrapper Technical features:
There are certain aspects of the technical performance of the wrapping machines available on the market that are essential for choosing a wrapping machine system or specific wrapping brand:
- Pre-stretching film system: Although it is an essential feature of automatic stretch wrapping systems, it is important to have a wrapper with a pre-stretching film system as it provides greater savings and optimization of the film used.
- Wrapping speed and machine capacity: To meet production needs, it is essential to know the speed and wrapping capacity. A second film cart can also be considered to increase the speed and autonomy of stretch wrapping with fewer film changes.
- Load dimensions: It is important to take into account all the formats and dimensions to which the wrapping machine must be adapted.
- Wrapping finish system: Another essential point is the automatic wrapping finishing system, which is usually done by welding, but in other wrapping systems, it may be done by adhesive or by a film tying system.
Programming features to be taken into account:
The programming functions of the stretch wrapper are essential to optimize the wrapping process, and therefore another aspect that should not be forgotten when choosing a pallet wrapper.
- Own programmable PLC: A programmable controller lets you adapt the wrapping cycle to different load dimensions and wrapping needs. The PLC system allows greater flexibility and better maintenance, without the need for replacement of electrical components (such as cards) in case of failure.
- Customizable wrapping cycle: In the programming section, the stretch wrapper must be able to perform various types of wrapping operations depending on the size of the load to be packaged. This way, it is possible to program a cycle with different finishes at different heights of the load.
- Customizable wrapping tension: Following the previous point, it is also important to determine the ideal containment force for our product to provide greater load securing and stability.
- Remote access to the machine: A remote access system not only facilitates troubleshooting and avoids trips to the factory, but is also useful for updating programs remotely.
4. What complements and accessories are needed to improve wrapping?
These complements may be additional, but some products or load types may require these accessories to ensure optimal stretch wrapping:
- Reinforcement cord system (roping device): The roping is an essential part of the pallet wrapping machine, as it provides a better hold on the load, especially in the case of fragile or unstable products.
- Vertical top-press system: The top-press is used to improve the wrapping of lightweight or unstable loads since it enables the load to be secured during the cycle. The top-presser device can be pneumatic or motorized, scissor or “press” type.
- Automatic top cover applicator: In automatic wrapping systems, the automatic cover accessory is essential to offer total protection to the load, since it covers and protects the 5 visible sides of the pallet.
- Edge Protector Applicator: Edge protectors are an accessory widely used in strapping systems, but they are also included in the stretch wrapper to protect the edges of the load during handling and to shield the product from the wrapping application itself. Edge protectors, which are usually vertical, are used on boxed products or products presented in a block such as household appliances.
5. Other aspects to check in an automatic wrapping system:
In addition to these main features, it is essential to review other important aspects of the wrapping machine:
- Machine structure: The structure of the machine itself, with columns and wrapping frame, must be robust and durable. For example, at Innova, our automatic stretch wrapping systems are equipped with a 4-column chassis for greater stability and safety during wrapping.
- Wrapping machine dimensions: The dimensions and footprint of the wrapping machine must be taken into account to adapt it to the space in the factory.
- Adaptability to the factory environment: Characteristics such as the temperature, whether the environment is corrosive or humid, whether it is an ATEX zone, etc., are requirements that must also be considered when choosing a stretch wrapper and passed on to the manufacturer of the stretch wrapping system.
- Wrapping machine electrical panel: Whether the electrical control panel is integrated into the machine or in the packaging line itself, depending on the needs of the project.
- Machine safety elements: The automatic wrapping machine must have a secure perimeter area, security access, and safe maintenance protocols, among others.
- Communication technology: The wrapping machine can be equipped with wireless or wired communication systems, depending on the technical requirements of the system itself. For example, the Innova ring wrapper uses a wireless communication system for better efficiency and maintenance of the wrapping carriage.
- Adaptability to the conveyor line: The wrapping machine must be compatible with the existing conveyors in the production line, in terms of type (rollers, chains, etc.) and height.
- Accessibility to Cargo Vehicles: The wrapping machine must allow easy access to loading vehicles such as pallet trucks, forklifts, AGVs, or others.
- Weighing and Detection Systems: Other aspects to evaluate are whether the stretch wrapper includes additional safety systems such as a load weighing system, or a height detection system to improve packaging efficiency. Height detection control by means of a gauge is a must for multi-format loads such as in picking warehousing or logistics industries.
- Connection with other end-of-line systems: The stretch wrapper can be connected to other packaging or end-of-line systems, such as labeling systems.
In short, the right choice of an automatic pallet wrapper is a technical process that requires multiple aspects to be evaluated. Therefore, it is important to consult with a manufacturer specialized in wrapping systems to help us solve all these technical issues. At Innova, with more than 20 years of experience and hundreds of packaging installations around the world, we can help you with your project. Do not hesitate to contact our technical team without obligation to evaluate what type of wrapping machine and features best suits your product and company.