How to Wrap a Pallet (Hand vs Machine)

How to Wrap A Pallet Article BannerHow to Wrap A Pallet Article Banner

Protect Your Pallet!

When products need to get from point A to point B, protection becomes the number one priority. The last thing that customers want is for their products to be damaged, dropped from the pallet or broken. This extra level of padding from a pallet wrap limits potential damage from transit or the enviroment, keeps products in place and makes it easy to figure out what is inside. Pallet wrapping allows companies and customers to save both time and money in the process.

Two Different Types of Stretch Wrap

There are different types of stretch wrap available for your product needs: cast stretch wrap and blown stretch wrap.

These types of stretch wrap help protect a pallet and keep your products together. It is known as a cost-effective method to use on uniform or irregular pallet sizes.

Stretch Wrap Used to Wrap a PalletStretch Wrap Used to Wrap a Pallet

Cast Stretch Wrap vs Blown Stretch Wrap

Cast Stretch Wrap Advantages

  • Generally less expensive than blown stretch film.
  • Perfectly clear, makes reading and scanning in warehouse light easy.
  • Very quiet when unwound from the stretch roll.
  • Offers two sided cling that allows the wrap to stay securely wrapped.

Cast Stretch Wrap Disadvantages

  • Two sided cling causes pallets that are touching to stick together, making it difficult to unload trucks or containers and causing the film to tear on pallets that are moving in transit.
  • Does not offer the load/holding power blown stretch film offers.
  • Less memory and tear resistance than blown stretch film.

Blown Stretch Wrap Advantages

  • Offers higher load and stretch capacity.
  • A higher degree of memory once stretched allows loads to stay better secured.
  • A higher tear resistance is an advantage when securing loads with sharp edges.
  • One sided cling, great for higher load retention, pallets don't stick together.

Blown Stretch Wrap Disadvantages

  • Higher costs due to manufacturing process.
  • Poor clarity can make reading and scanning harder.
  • Noisy when unwound from rolls.

Two Different Methods to Utilize Stretch Wrap

Stretch film is primarily applied using two different methods: by machine and by hand.

1. Machine Stretch Wrap

Machine stretch wrap is a great choice for medium or large pallets. Users can rely on machine stretch film to get the job done right in a specific amount of time, making it simple for uniform pallet sizes. By using machine stretch wrap, both users and customers save time in comparison to using a manual stretch film option.

2. Stretch Wrap by Hand

If companies do not have a stretch film machine available or work with smaller pallet sizes, the hand held options can be effective. When using stretch film and applying it by hand instead of using a machine, warehouse noise can be reduced by up to 75%.

A Stretch Wrap Alternative: Mesh Pallet Wraps

Stretch wrap is designed to be used on pallets once and then discarded. For a wrapping option that can be reused and save waste, mesh pallet wraps are a great choice.

Mesh pallet wraps are designed to be easier to install and remove from a pallet, saving time in the wrapping process and with material costs. Additionally, using a pallet wrap puts less stress on the employees trying to reach and manually wrap pallets. Each pallet wrap is made from reusable and weather resistant material and includes with a clear vinyl window near the front for ticket placement.

When comparing the material of pallet wrap options, one mesh pallet wrap at two feet long will save at least 750 lbs. of plastic stretch film waste, with a larger wrap saving even more. Mesh wraps can be used in temperatures ranging from -40°F to 180°F. A mesh pallet wrap is a great option for protection when used wtih cardboard boxes and plastic products. For products that rely on quality and freshness, mesh pallet wraps are ventilated to reduce food spoilage.

Mesh Pallet WrapMesh Pallet Wrap

How to Wrap a Pallet

Once you have your order ready to be shipped to your customer, it can then be wrapped. There are three main ways that a pallet can be wrapped.

Wrapping a Pallet with a Stretch Wrap Machine

Stretch wrap machines make the pallet wrapping process simple and fast. There are two different types of machines: automatic and semi-automatic.

Semi-Automatic vs Automatic Stretch Film Machines

Semi-automatic wrapping models are user-friendly, allowing operators to control the cycle selection, bottom turns, rotation speed, carriage speed and film tension. They are known as semi-automatic models beacuse users need to load the pallet onto the machine or unload it when finished. Additionally, there may be additionall settings on the control panel that operators need to edit and change if necessary

There are also automatic stretch wrap options. With automatic models, the machine is able to perform at the same efficiency as a semi-automatic model. However, the one main difference is that the machine loads/unloads the pallet without any user assistance.

Stretch Wrap MachineStretch Wrap Machine

Wrapping with Hand-Held Stretch Film Options

Without the use of a machine or a mesh wrap, hand wrapping a pallet requires more steps and a little more time. However, the end result can be just as effective in keeping items on a pallet.

The steps are as follows.

1. Stack Goods Correctly

It is important to make sure that the items on the pallet are as close to one another as possible, with the heavy items near the bottom. There should not be any products overhanging to the point where it cannot reached.

2. Secure Wrap to Base

It is efficient to start at the base of the pallet. The base can be wrapped multiple times for extra protection. Wrapping the base first makes the process easier over time, requiring less wrap.

3. Attach Wrap to Pallet by Working Up

The stretch wrap needs to be tight and secure around the pallet as users go up. Making sure it does not get caught or tear in the process is crucial for product safety.

5. Secure the Wrap

The remaining wrap can be torn off manually or with the use of a stretch film cutter.

6. Consider Top Sheeting

Top sheeting is putting more stretch film on top of the pallet. This is able to keep dust and dirt away from the products that are stacked up high.

7. Test Load Stability

Once the pallet is wrapped correctly, there should not be any cases leaning, close to falling off or not secure in place. There should also not be any physical damage to the cases or products.

Wrapping a Pallet with a Mesh Pallet Wrap

When working with a pallet wrap, it is a simple process to ensure your products are secure onto the pallet.

Mesh Pallet Wrap Steps

1. Start by unwrapping the pallet wrap (standing tall) around the pallet.

2. There will be a point where the two poles will meet in the front with straps. Start with the second strap, putting it through the rings and tighten it.

3. Continue down with the third and fourth straps.

4. Finish with the first strap and cover strap on top.

Watch the video below to see the process in real time.

Waiting for the Right Wrap?

The Cary Company offers a wide variety of pallet wraps and shrink wrap, both handheld and by machine. We also have products specialists available to answer any questions and find the right product for you.

If you have any questions, give us a call at 630-629-6600 or email us at!

We also have resources available on how to reduce product shipping costs, finding out which box is best for your product, and more.