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*This is the first installment in the Package Guru blog series. Periodically we will feature a frequently asked question with an **official Package Guru answer**.
When asked if it makes sense to invest in a semi-automatic stretch wrapper, the first question often focuses on how many loads are wrapped per day. The cost of a semi-automatic stretch wrapper can be justified with as little as 10-15 loads per day. Although the focus tends to be around labor cost, it is also important to consider employee safety, damage prevention, and film cost when considering replacing hand wrapping with a semi-automatic stretch wrapper.
When a stretch wrapper is used in place of hand wrapping loads, the employee is free to perform other value-added steps while the machine operates. Options are available that allow an employee to wrap a load without ever leaving their fork truck. This allows the employee to handle other loads while the current load is being wrapped. For an investment under $10,000, this often makes a stretch wrapper worthwhile by itself.
Wrapping loads by hand, even 10-15 loads per day, can lead to significant and costly employee injuries. A roll of hand film weighs nearly 10 lbs. and requires the employee to manipulate the roll around the load from the ground all the way up to shoulder level. While this is often considered to be a “soft cost” in estimating ROI, one injury claim alone can cost many times the price of the machine.
The reason that loads are wrapped is to ensure that they reach their destination intact. Even the most accomplished hand wrapper employee will have inconsistencies from one load to the next. Furthermore, it is nearly impossible to achieve the amount of load containment by hand that a stretch wrapper can. Poorly wrapped loads can and will lead to damage in transit. Not only can a stretch wrapper consistently wrap the load to a pre-set, and proven containment standard, options are available that rope the bottom layer of film and lock the load to the pallet. Nobody wants to get the call that their valuable product has been damaged during shipment, especially when it could have easily been prevented.
By selecting a model with film pre-stretch, a stretch wrapper can reduce film costs by 30-50%. There is a point where more film does not mean more containment. By using a stretch wrapper to consistently wrap the load with the least amount of film necessary to contain the load, you eliminate film waste.
Investing in a stretch wrapper leads to increased production rates, reduced damage to loads, reduced packaging costs, and improves the overall quality of the packaging
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