Many advances have been made in packaging technology over the past few decades. This blog series takes a deeper look into the technological advances in three main packaging processes: void fill, carton sealing and pallet wrapping.
A Closer Look at the Pallet Wrap Process and New Technology
Once the carton is filled and taped, cartons need to be conveyed to the palletizing area. Once the cartons are placed on the pallet, the cartons on the pallet need to be secured. Most distribution fulfillment centers use pallet wrap to secure the loads on the pallets.
Pallet wrap or stretch film is a highly stretchable plastic film that is wrapped around items. The elastic recovery keeps the items tightly bound. Many films have about 500% stretch until it breaks but are generally only stretched to about 100 – 300% in use. Once stretched, the elastic recovery is used to keep the load tight. Stretch or pre-stretch ratios are typically determined by the type of film and settings on the pallet wrap equipment.
Pallet wrap equipment can be broken down into 2 categories:
- Semi automatic
With semi automatic pallet wrappers, the pallet to be wrapped sits on a turntable and the operator fixes the pallet wrap to the load. The load then spins relative to the film roll, which is housed in a carriage and can move up and down a fixed “mast”. Stretch is achieved by rotating the load at a faster rate than the film is fed. Semi automatic turntable wrappers are very cost effective and most common in distribution fulfillment center environments. Entry level pricing for semi automatic pallet wrappers is approximately $5,500 to $9,000.
With automatic pallet wrappers, the process is fairly similar to the semi automatic. However, with the automatic pallet wrapper, the wrapping operation is executed when a button or remote stop/start is pressed. The main benefit of the automatic wrappers is productivity. While the semi automatic wrapper requries the operator to manually fix the pallet wrap to the pallet, an automatic system allows the operator to place the pallet on the turntable and start the wrapping process without getting off the walkie or pallet truck. Automatic turntable pallet wrappers are generally much more expensive and could be cost-prohibitive to many organizations.
However, Cousins Packaging have been recognized for bringing new and innovative packaging technology to market like the exclusive patented A-ARM technology. This new packaging technology uniquely cuts and attaches the stretch film above the load.
For a modest increase in price from a semi automatic pallet wrapper, the A-Arm technology can be operated from the forklift with wireless remote. So, there is no need for the operator to attach and cut the film. This technology has no air requirement or noisy compressors fits any budget. With just a slight up-charge from a semi automatic gets you into a A-ARM from Cousins.
If you are looking for new ways to streamline your packaging process, reduce your packaging costs and eliminate packaging bottlenecks, investigating new packaging technologies is the first step. You can contact a 3G account manager to fill you in on some of the latest technologies to improve your packaging process.