Shrink and Stretch Wrapping: Differences and Applications

“Go ahead and shrink wrap that pallet”, my boss said before he walked out of the warehouse. I leaped into action only to waste 15 minutes searching for a shrink wrapper in the warehouse. There wasn’t one. As my boss returned, he said to me in an annoyed voice, “Ok, what was confusing about shrink wrapping the pallet?”. “I noticed there isn’t a shrink wrapper here, sir”, I said. He stared at me for a second before replying, “Ok…I guess it is hard to miss”, then he grabbed the pallet jack and wheeled the pallet over to a large, conspicuous stretch wrapper just 20 feet away.

There is a common confusion regarding shrink wrapping and stretch wrapping. These two applications have something in common: they are both methods of packaging something in plastic. However, these applications package things much differently and for different purposes.

Shrink Wrapping

Shrink wrapping is the process of using shrink film, a material comprised of polymer plastic, and heat to seal products inside of the shrink film. The heat application process can be done via either a heat gun or a shrink tunnel. Packaging manufacturers like Seal-A-Tron produce shrink wrapping systems for industrial applications. A shrink-wrapped item will look something like this:

Image result for shrink wrapped product

In some cases, entire pallets of produce can be shrink wrapped to provide a form of product protection in transit and/or storage. However, most applications involve individual products, especially food products.

Stretch Wrapping

Stretch wrapping is the process of wrapping stretch film, a highly stretchable and elastic plastic film, around products. The elasticity of the stretch film pulls the products together and keeps them secure. This process is often performed with a turntable stretch wrapping machine like Orion’s Flex CTS Twin Station Stretch Wrapper, although many options are available for different user needs. A stretch-wrapped pallet looks something like this:

Image result for stretch wrapped pallet

This particular pallet was also strapped and equipped with corner board, a form of protective packaging, for optimal protection and security in transit and in storage.

Which One Should You Use?

This question is best answered by requesting more information from the R.V. Evans team. However, to get you started, a brief breakdown of a couple advantages and applications is shown below.

Stretch Wrapping Applications/Advantages Shrink Wrapping Applications/Advantages
· Wrapping boxes and pallets of products

· Cost-effective (particularly with pre-stretch)

· Protection from dust, dirt, and moisture

· Typically used to secure single products

· Best choice for food products

R.V. Evans Co. would be happy to provide you with any additional information you need at 1-800-252-5894 or via the website.

Industrial Packaging: Functions and Materials

Industrial packaging includes a variety of materials, forms, applications, and equipment. There are multiple facets of industrial packaging, including Primary Packaging, Secondary Packaging, the function of each type of material, and the variety of applications in which you can utilize plastic industrial packaging. 

Industrial-Shrink-Film-on-a-Roll-Photo

Primary Packaging

Industrial packaging can refer to primary packaging – the packaging in which products are brought to market – (a good way to think of this is it’s often the last thing that you toss when the product is consumed, or it’s the packaging that comes directly in contact with the product)

Packaging Product
Bottles Soda, water, juice
Tubing Toothpaste, cosmetics,
Boxes Crackers, household goods, electronics
Jars Candles, Salad Dressing
Clamshells (plastic cases) Hardware (nuts, bolts, etc.), Toys
Shrink film Frozen Pizzas, Apparel

Secondary Packaging

Secondary packaging refers to protective packaging, including strapping, edge protection, stretch film (palletizing), envelopes, etc. This is the packaging that is used to protect the product in transit, storage, and on the shelf. Secondary packaging also includes –

   Air pillows         Air cushions
   AirPouches         Void fill
  Paper void fill         In-the-box-paper packaging
  Foam-in-place         Rolled bubble and foam products
  Corrosion prevention         Bubble wrap
  Paper liners         Air pouches
  Packing peanuts         Corrugated boxes
  Protective sheeting

What it’s made of: Polyethylene Film

One of the most prevalent materials in the flexible packaging industry is polyethylene (PE) film. Polyethylene is made from ethylene gas and is versatile, tough, has good clarity, and there are several variations with distinct and specific characteristics that make it a preferred material for industrial packaging applications.

There are several variations of PE film that are regularly used; three of the more popular types are LDPE, LLDPE, and HDPE. PE film is a popular flexible packaging material because of its relatively low cost, sealability, moisture barrier, and tear resistance. Its applications are versatile, ranging from uses within the agriculture, construction, and manufacturing industries. There are several different types of PE, three of the most common are:

  • LDPE – Low Density Polyethylene film
    • LDPE film is known for its toughness, flexibility, and fair transparency.
  • LLDPE – Linear-Low Density Polyethylene Film
    • Characteristics of LLDPE film include its high tensile strength, high impact and puncture resistance, flexibility, and resistance to chemicals and UV radiation.
  • HDPE – High Density Polyethylene Film
    • HDPE film is known for its high clarity and scratch resistance. HDPE film is harder, stiffer, and stronger when compared to LDPE film.

Applications for LDPE, LLDPE, HDPE films

LDPE film is often used to produce

  • Bags:
    • dry cleaning bags
    • newspaper bags
    • bread bags
    • frozen food bags
    • household garbage bags
  • Other uses include:
    • shrink wrapping
    • stretch wrapping
      • Stretch wrap is available in “hand wrap” or for “machine use”
    • bags on a roll
    • bubble packaging
    • industrial liners
    • container lids
    • toys
    • squeezable bottles

LLDPE film is used in the same applications as LDPE along with applications that require more toughness and sealability.

  • Hardware
  • Automotive parts
  • Food
  • Craft items
  • Medical devices
  • Electronic components
  • Retail applications

HDPE film is used in similar applications as LDPE and LLDPE films. HDPE is stiffer than other PE films, which is beneficial when packaging needs to retain its shape

  • medical
  • food
  • sporting goods
  • any application that might result in chemical contact with the film

These types of films are used for protective packaging, satisfying the needs of small operations (with 5 to 10 packages per day) and large operations packaging product around the clock. Different forms everyone is familiar with are bags, sheeting, tubing, casing, and liners. When you purchase anything that needs to be assembled at home, the hardware is in a PE film bag. When you see a home renovation or remodel, the plastic sheeting that is often protecting the floor or furniture is PE film. Trucks hauling equipment or pallets that are covered by plastic sheeting – polyethylene film! Garbage liners and mattress bags are also made from polyethylene films.

When it comes to industrial packaging and uses, PE film is one of the most common. You’ll find it in primary packaging, secondary and protective packaging. You’ll also find PE film in several different variations, serving multiple purposes because of its versatility and affordability.

Contact one of R.V. Evans’ sales professionals to discuss the material you’re currently using and the potential in your industrial packaging processes at 1-800-252-5894 or visit our website at www.rvevans.com

You can also email us at sales@rvevans.com or connect with us through our social sites.

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How to Understand Pre-Stretch Tests

Stretch film is there for the safety of products. That much is obvious. However, without the best stretch film available, your company can be losing money and actually decreasing your product’s safety.

Luckily, there are three tests that an R.V. Evans specialist can perform to help insure that your business is using the absolute best stretch film to save money and protect your products.

  1. Stretch Test – This test checks how far a film can stretch on a skid. A mark is applied to the film every 10 inches, and then the film is wrapped around a skid. The new distance between the marks is then measured. You usually want these new measurements to be somewhere between 200% and 300% of the original 10 inches (somewhere between 20 and 30 inches). This means your film can stretch 2 to 3 times its original size. The more the film stretches, the less you have to use per skid, and the more money you save.
  2. Force to Load Test – Force to Load is how much pressure it takes to loosen film from the skid. For this test, a small hole is cut in the film, a plate is put under that hole and a fish hook is connected, and pulled against the film. How much pressure needs to be applied to pull the film from the skid determines how tight the film is wrapped. The tighter the film, the more secure the product.
  3. Cut & Weight Test – This is the simplest test, but one of the most important. After wrapping a skid, the film is simply cut off, balled up, and put on a scale. Less weight means less stretch film, and more money saved.

These tests are all essential to making sure that your company is using the safest and most cost effective solution to help move large amounts of product out of your warehouse. Having the least amount of film that will stretch the farthest while holding the product the tightest is important to your products safety and your company’s wallet equally. Depending on how many wrapped skids your company sends out, you can save thousands of dollars every year just by upgrading your stretch film. R.V. Evans has experts that can come straight in to your facility and apply these tests, helping find the best solution for your team.

Retail Distribution Center’s Pallet Loads are “All Wrapped Up” with Orion Stretch Wrapper Solution

Pre-Solution ApplicationOrion RTA Tandem Stretch Wrapper

The client, a distribution center for over 50 retail store locations, was previously manually applying hand grade stretch film to unitize their outgoing pallets of merchandise.  This method was time consuming, labor intensive, and provided inconsistent load containment.

The R.V. Evans’ Value Added Solution

After performing a Site Needs Analysis and thorough review of the application, an R.V. Evans’ Packaging Sales Specialist determined the appropriate value added solution.  The recommendation:  (2) Orion Flex™ Series RTA Deluxe Tandem Automatic Rotary Tower stretch wrappers with gantry frame fencing option and alarm package.  In addition, the client will utilize their previous & current method of material handling of the pallets: electric walkies and electric double pallet jacks with extended forks to carry (2) pallets at a time.

Key Benefits of the Orion Flex™ Series RTA Stretch Wrapping Solution

  • Secure up to 40 – 50 loads per hour (based on 80” tall load, 12 revolutions)
  • Runs 20” standard and 30” optional width stretch film with a standard prestretch ratio of 260% = (increased yields!)
  • Ultra low wrap to within 1.5” off floor
  • Automatic load height sensing photo eye and film force-to-load control
  • Second leg gantry style frame and zone protection fencing with photo eyes for enhanced wrap zone protection and/or high speed applications
  • Alarm package: audible/visual warning and light/horn to indicate start cycle
  • Boost end-of-line packaging efficiency – RTA automatically attaches the film tail to the load, then cuts and secures the film tail at the end of the cycle.  Operators pull a hanging lanyard to start the cycle and perform other duties while the pallet loads are securely wrapped for shipment.
  • Proudly made in the USA.  4 year warranty on all major components, 5 year warranty on structural frame, lifetime on InstaThread stretch rollers

Measurable Savings Realized

This stretch wrapping  solution has enabled the client to experience a number of improvements including increased throughput with the dual wrapper wrapping (2) pallets in tandem, reduced labor, improved load containment, as well as increased yields with the use of machine grade stretch film at a 260% prestretch ratio.  In addition, the automated solution vastly reduces the chance of injury associated with hand wrapping and increases the level of operator safety with the addition of the gantry frame fencing option and alarm package.

If you are interested in a stretch wrapping solution specific to your application, contact R.V. Evans Company by visiting www.rvevans.com.  Here is a link to view more stretch wrapping solutions on our website:  http://www.rvevans.com/Packaging-Solutions/Stretch-Wrapping.aspx  or if you would like to set up an on-site review of your packaging process, R.V. Evans can help.  Schedule a Site Needs analysis by clicking on this link: http://www.rvevans.com/Contact-Us/Schedule-Site-Needs-Analysis.aspx.

For a variety of videos featuring different stretch wrapping machines in action, check out the R.V. Evans’ Orion Stretch Wrapper Playlist on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC699644908B14C7B</a>

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Ways to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle in Your Packaging & Fastening Process

Ways to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle in Your Packaging & Fastening Process

Logo courtesy of http://americarecyclesday.org/

Logo courtesy of http://americarecyclesday.org/

November 15th was America Recycles Day so it seems fitting to provide businesses with some ideas that may help them reduce, reuse, and recycle in their industrial packaging and fastening processes.

Not only does the R.V. Evans Company make every effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle in their daily business practices, we also partner with manufacturers to distribute products that help our business partners find sustainable methods of packaging & fastening.  Business’ today are seeking solutions that can help them reduce their environmental footprint and R.V. Evans Company can help provide solutions that will not only minimize environmental impact, but will also provide overall savings in the total cost of ownership.

Following are a few ideas to get you started.  Click on each application category title below and then the Sustainability heading to access additional information including a number of white papers.

  • Bagging Applications – Use baggers with printers to print variable information on bags to reduce inventory of multiple pre-printed bags for multiple SKUs.  There are also a number of biodegradable films available for bagging applications.
  • Shrink Wrapping Applications – A variety of energy-efficient equipment options are available.  There are film down gauging options to help reduce materials. In shrink bundling applications the use of corrugated products can drastically be reduced.  There are also a variety of biodegradable shrink film options available.
  • Stretch Wrapping Applications – There are a number of ways to reduce stretch film consumption such as reviewing the overall application method, analyze film stretch, and load stabilization.
  • Strapping Applications – In many strapping applications there are opportunities to reduce material usage by using a higher strength strap that has been manufactured using fewer raw materials.
  • Carton Forming & Closure Applications – Use energy-saving carton forming and closure equipment with a built-in power save mode.  Review methods of carton closure such as taping, gluing, and stapling.
  • Marking, Coding, & Labeling Applications – Printing directly on a label or carton can drastically reduce wasted packaging materials like preprinted cartons.  Consider energy saved when using electric equipment vs. equipment requiring the use of compressed air.
  • Protective Packaging Applications – There are a number of ways to reduce the amount of packaging used to protect products and fill voids in shipping.  The best way is to measure the savings and reduction using a free “pack-out” test.  Contact R.V. Evans to learn more.
  • Nailing, Stapling, Collated Screw Applications – For those wood & steel recyclers – fasteners are a must.  The use of nails, staples, screws, pins, adhesives, and more make rebuilding, recycling, and reusing a cinch.  R.V. Evans Company has a multitude of creative fastening solutions for those challenging fastening projects.

Let us know how we can help you with your sustainability goals in your packaging and fastening processes in 2014.  Contact R.V. Evans Company today!

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Pallet Unitizing: The Different Types of Pallets and How to Protect Them

Using strapping material to secure pallets has been around for forever. Using stretch wrapping as a method to unitize pallets really came on board in the 70’s. It has since changed the way that people unitize pallets and can be a huge asset to any company. The whole key to determining the best approach to take with stretch wrapping is the size, weight and shape of the customer’s product on the pallet.

Stretch Wrapping Machine

Stretch Wrapping Machine

Stretch film and machinery vendors have classified pallets into three different types called A, B or C type pallets.

A Pallet:

An A pallet is uniform and neatly stacked with smooth edges. This is the easiest style of pallet to wrap because there are no protruding edges that could cause potential rips and breaks in the stretch film.

B Pallet:

B pallets are not so uniform and may have a variety of different items on the same skid. This may require more protection as the protruding edges are causing more force against the stretch film. In some cases, a higher grade of stretch film is used to prevent breakage.

C Pallet:

C pallets may look like a person with four arms. There are edges protruding all over the pallet causing sharp edges. These are normally difficult to wrap and require manipulation of the film and strap used to protect the load.

The nice thing about stretch film is that it often takes 1 ½ – 2 minutes to wrap a pallet, when using strapping to unitize a pallet, it normally takes around 5 minutes. A lot of companies still use strapping to unitize pallets because they have done so for the last 50 years. With new technological advancements in the manufacturing of stretch film happening every day, switching from strapping to stretch film can realize cost savings and provide better product protection during shipping. Determining what type of pallets you are shipping is the first step in identifying what the best approach to protecting them is.

For more information on the pros and cons of each option, feel free to contact us at www.rvevans.com or by phone at 1-800-252-5894.

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4 Ways to Reduce Packaging Costs and Increase Productivity

“Stretch wrappers are one of the easiest pieces of machinery to cost justify, use, and maintain,” Mark Collins, Vice President of Sales at Orion Packaging, said. A majority of the cost justification comes from both material and labor cost savings. Stretch film is designed and engineered to be stretched (obviously). The interesting part is just how much stretching can save you. By elongating the stretch film, the material becomes much more puncture and tear resistant. Not only does it make the material stronger, but it also increases the load holding ability of the stretch film. Material and labor cost savings are not the only benefit of the right stretch-wrap machine, though.

            •           Material Cost Savings

In terms of material savings, today’s high-performance machines pre-stretch the material by 250 percent or more. This means that every foot of stretch film you use on a role can cover two-and-a-half times as much area that it normally would. A material savings this astronomical is a large contributing factor to cost justification and the great ROI that stretch-wrap machines have. This 250 percent increase often outweighs the 10-20 percent material increase that is seen from hand wrapping or even from some older machines. A majority of stretch-wrap machines often pay themselves back in a year or two, and some in as little as seven months, simply as a result of these material cost savings.

            •           Labor Cost Savings

Another side of cost savings is the reduced labor rates from fully automating your stretch wrap process. Manual hand wrapping involves 100 percent direct labor. This is often time-consuming and leaves room for the element of human error. The next step is semi-automatic wrapping which involves the worker attaching the stretch wrap to the pallet load, starting the machine and then cutting the film tail at the end of the process. This is a little bit less direct labor and allows the worker to perform other duties during the wrapping process. Finally, there is fully automatic wrapping equipment that requires almost no direct manual labor. A conveyor system delivers the load to the automatic wrapping system which wraps and cuts the load, weighs down the film tail, and transports the wrapped load to the staging area for pickup.

            •           Productivity Gains

The productivity that is gained from a fully automated process is something that is harder to measure. Though it is less tangible, it is still very valuable. With less direct labor involved in the wrapping process, workers are able to perform other value adding duties. This lowers labor costs while increasing efficiency in the process.

            •           Customer Relationship

Customers satisfaction is something that is essential to any company. By fully automating the stretch wrapping process, there is a decrease in damaged goods during shipping. This means that the product shows up at the customer’s door in the condition that was promised, improving their trust and satisfaction. A fully automatic stretch-wrap machine also provides a level of quality and consistency that will improve the reputation of your business with customers. When a client is assured and confident that their product will be delivered in a quality wrapped pallet load, consistently, they are more likely to continue doing business with you.

These are just a few of the many reasons why a stretch-wrap machine can benefit your application and provide cost justified savings to your process. To find out more about which stretch-wrap machine would work best in your application contact the R.V. Evans Company at http://www.rvevans.com or send us an email at sales@rvevans.com

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source: http://rvevans.com/Packaging-Solutions/PDF/orion-specifying-stretch-wrap-machine-for-application.pdf