Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Stretch Hood System and their answers
The Stretch Hood pallet stretch hooding system is an innovative packaging technology that is becoming an increasingly popular end-of-line technology for many companies. Even so, many of its benefits and features are still unknown and many companies that decide to switch to Stretch Hood have questions and doubts about the suitability of Stretch Hood for their product. In addition to knowing the differences concerning other systems such as stretch wrapping or shrink hooding, many questions are raised about the Stretch Hood process itself, the film and its properties, the working dimensions, and the installation itself, among others.
In today’s article, we will answer the most common questions, following our series of articles on the Top 10 FAQ (Frequent Asked Questions) of end-of-line packaging systems.
Top 10 FAQ about Stretch Hood:
- What is Stretch Hood wrapping and how does it work?
- How does it differ from heat shrink?
- What type of film does Stretch Hood use? What characteristics must the film have?
- How can Stretch Hood ensure total impermeability?
- Does Stretch Hood hold the load?
- How high can Stretch Hood wrap a load?
- Which pallet formats can Stretch Hood work with?
- What are the dimensions of the machine?
- Can the Stretch Hooder be integrated into an existing packaging line?
- What communication and PLC systems is the Stretch Hood compatible with?
1. What is Stretch Hood wrapping and how does it work?
Stretch Hood is a unique pallet packaging system, as it protects the pallet using a hood that adapts to the load without the need to apply heat. Stretch Hood uses a tubular stretch film (Stretch Hood film) which stretches and applies to the load, covering it completely and protecting it on all sides. Unlike other systems, it only uses the exact amount of film needed to protect the load, resulting in a better-protected package with less film usage.
2. How does it differ from heat shrink?
Stretch Hood and shrink hood pallet wrapping systems are similar only in that they both use tubular film to protect the load. But unlike shrink hooding, the Stretch Hooder stretches the film and adjusts it to the load without the use of heat ( most commonly by gas combustion ). The hooding process works this way:
- With the heat shrink system, the machine applies a tubular film containing shrink properties. When heat is applied using combustion burners, the film shrinks until it is practically “glued” to the load. Therefore, this system uses more energy for combustion and a greater quantity of film (in dimensions and thickness of the plastic required).
- With the Stretch Hood system, the machine applies a tubular film that stretches on the spot to fit the load. The dimensions of the film are slightly smaller than the load so that it can compact and hold the load as it is stretched on it. With this system there is no need for heat shrink and much less film is used for protection.
3. What type of film does Stretch Hood use? What characteristics must the film have?
Stretch Hood film is an advanced packaging film under continuous development and improvement to offer different gripping and protection results. It is a multilayer tubular film composed of Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (mLLDPE) and to a lesser extent EVA polymer, with properties for impermeability, stretchability, and elasticity.
Its multilayer structure normally used contains inner layers that offer mechanical strength and stretch (usually composed with some EVA), while its outer layers contain additives that offer resistance to puncturing and friction, as well as sealing and waterproofing (which are those composed with LLDPE).
When choosing a film to protect cargo, it is important to know the objectives of securing, protection, visibility, etc. to determine the necessary thickness, stretch properties, or protection additives (e.g. anti-UV filters).
At Innova, our technical team can advise you in choosing the type of Stretch Hood film that best suits your load. Our Stretch hood system is certified by most commercial film manufacturers in the market with different formats and types of film.
4. How can Stretch Hood ensure total impermeability?
Stretch Hood is the packaging system that offers the best protection and sealing performance due to two factors: the stretch hooding process and the properties of the film.
During the stretch hooding process the machine stretches and applies the film so that it is sealed from the top to the bottom of the pallet. It can also perform a special type of wrapping with extra protection at the base so that the wooden pallet does not get wet in extremely rainy conditions.
In addition, Stretch Hood film has waterproof properties in the composition of the film. As it is a Low-Density Linear Polyethylene material, puncture and friction resistance is added to the film itself, so that it does not permit the stage of humidity and rain.
In contrast, other solutions such as the shrink wrapper can leak moisture or raindrops between the wrapping layers. In the case of the heat shrink system, the application of heat itself can generate cracks or perforate the plastic.
5. Does Stretch Hood hold the load?
Depending on the type of load, the Stretch Hood provides total support for transport and handling. This is the case for stable pallets (e.g. for sack loads) or light pallets (e.g. for logistics or pharmaceuticals). However, in the case of heavy and light loads (e.g. ceramics or building materials), it is advisable to use an additional securing solution such as strapping systems or stretch wrapping with a roping application.
Nevertheless, due to advances in the development of Stretch Hood films, there are more and more films on the market with increased strength and hold-down that allow the load to be secured with a single hood. The key to securing lies in the properties of the film combined with the correct stretch application by the Stretch Hood machine.
6. How high can Stretch Hood wrap a load?
The Stretch Hood system usually adapts to various heights required by the customer and common commercial formats. For example, Innova’s system usually wraps pallets up to 2,500 mm (8 ft), and even pallets that can be towed (as in the case of bulk / FIBC bags). Thanks to the modularity of our Stretch Hooder system, the machine can be adapted to higher loads.
With the adaptability of the Stretch Hood, unstable and high pallets can be protected with a single cover from head to toe, using much less film than a stretch wrapper for the same type of pallet.
7. Which pallet formats can Stretch Hood work with?
The Stretch Hood System is famous for being able to adapt to different pallet sizes and shapes. Stretch Hood film has a high stretch capacity and there are films on the market that can stretch up to 120% for adaptability to different load sizes, in the case of multi-format production. In addition, most Stretch Hood systems offer a 2-3 reel holder capacity to accommodate these formats.
In the case of Innova’s Stretch Hood system, the standard pallet sizes are 1300 x 1250 mm (52 x 49 inches), but we also have the option of Stretch Hood large formats for loads of 3300 x 1400 mm (130 x 55 inch).
8. What are the dimensions of the machine?
There are several sizes of Stretch Hood machines on the market depending on the manufacturer and customer needs. In Innova’s case, the Stretch Hood machine measures 5400 x 6500 mm (length x width) – 212 x 256 inches – with a height of 4900 mm (193 inches) and can be extended in height according to the customer’s wrapping needs (even with high loads). The Innova Stretch Hood system has been designed taking into account the modularity of the system itself, the safety requirements for the handling of the machine, the standard dimensions of the loads, and the standard dimensions of the production plants.
Our Stretch hood has a 4-pillar frame to provide more safety and stability in wrapping, compared to other manufacturers that only use two columns in their Stretch hoods. It also has an upper safety stop for hood carriage maintenance and the possibility of adapting to different safety requirements for access to the hooding carriage.
9. Can the Stretch Hooder be integrated into an existing packaging line?
Yes, Innova’s Stretch Hood system can be integrated into any automatic packaging line that requires it. Although the other systems should be of the same brand, the Innova Stretch Hood system can be retrofitted to lines with existing strapping or stretch wrapping systems to offer the advantages of stretch hooding.
In the case of such integration, our engineering team adapts both the conveyor line and the communication systems to ensure a smooth packaging process.
10. What communication and PLC systems are the Stretch Hood compatible with?
At Innova, we connect with the most commonly used communication and PLC systems in the packaging and end-of-line industry. We offer integrations and compatibility with Omron, Siemens, Rockwell, or Schneider systems among others.
Consult without obligation the compatibility of Stretch Hood with the system of your factory.
In short, there are many generic questions about the Stretch Hood system and other more specific questions about the system manufactured by Innova. Whether they are issues of mechanics, electronics, components, film consumption, or system integrations… our Engineering and Technical and Commercial Consulting teams can solve them without obligation.
Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding the Stretch Hood system or any other Innova packaging solution, we will be happy to assist you.