Wrap It Right: A Guide to Stretch Film Varieties & Uses

Crownhill Packaging > Blog > Product Highlight > Wrap It Right: A Guide to Stretch Film Varieties & Uses
Posted by: Crownhill Packaging
Category: Product Highlight
A Guide to Stretch Film Varieties and Uses

Stretch film is an essential tool in the packaging industry, used widely to secure and protect goods during transport and storage.

In this blog post, we explore the different types of stretch films and their applications for businesses. By understanding the various options available, you will be able to choose and use stretch films more effectively, creating secure and tailored packaging solutions for a wide range of needs. Read on to learn more!

Understanding Stretch Film

First, let’s begin by defining stretch film.

Stretch film, also known as stretch wrap, is a highly elastic plastic film made from polyethylene. It wraps tightly around items to secure them together, primarily used to bundle pallet loads but also for other packaging purposes. Its high elasticity keeps items tightly bound and protected from dust, moisture, and other hazards. For this reason, stretch is a very popular packaging material and is ubiquitous in nearly any sector, including both consumer-grade and industrial-grade products.

Benefits of Using Stretch Film

Stretch film is an excellent packaging product that offers plenty of versatility and benefits. In particular, stretch film offers the following advantages:

  • Stability: Stretch film improves the stability of packages or products, holding them securely in place during transportation.
  • Protection: It provides a tight cover that protects goods from moisture, dust, and dirt.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Compared to other bundling options, stretch film is a cost-efficient method for protecting and securing shipments.
  • Efficiency: Applying stretch film is fast and easy, allowing for quick packaging operations.
  • Reduced Product Loss: With better stability and protection, there is a noticeable reduction in product damage and loss.

As you can tell, stretch film is certainly a go-to packaging solution for many businesses! Discover more about the benefits of stretch wrap here.

4 Different Types of Stretch Film

While you might be very familiar with stretch film, did you know that there are actually quite a few different types of stretch film on the market? If you are buying stretch film, you will want to make sure you are purchasing the right choice for your business needs.

Let’s walk through some of the most popular types of stretch film and wrap on the market today:

1. Hand Stretch Film

Hand stretch film is designed to be applied manually without the need for machinery. It is perfect for smaller operations or in environments where the volume does not justify an automatic machine. Hand rolls are lightweight and portable but applying them can be more labor-intensive than machine options. Consider buying this for basic wrapping needs, especially for one-off wrapping.

2. Machine Stretch Film

Machine stretch film is intended for use with a stretch wrap machine, which can be automatic or semi-automatic. These machines help in efficiently wrapping larger volumes of goods with less labor. The film used in these machines is generally sturdier and can handle higher loads and more stressful conditions compared to hand stretch film. Machine stretch film is best suited for industrial applications.

3. Pre-stretched Film

Pre-stretched film is stretched mechanically before it is wound onto rolls. This offers plenty of advantages, including:

  • Reduced Wastage: Because the film is already stretched, less film is consequently used per pallet, which helps to reduce material costs.
  • Easier to Apply: Less force is required to achieve optimal tension, making manual application easier.
  • Lightweight: Rolls are lighter, which reduces shipping costs and makes handling easier.

4. Specialty Stretch Films

Specialty stretch films include varieties like UV-resistant, vented, and colored stretch films, each serving unique purposes:

  • UV-resistant stretch film protects products from UV damage, which is crucial for goods exposed to sunlight during storage or transportation.
  • Vented stretch films have pre-cut holes that allow air circulation, ideal for products that need to breathe, such as produce and dairy.
  • Colored stretch films provide an added security level by concealing the contents of the wrap, plus can be used for color coding shipments for better inventory and warehouse management.

How to Choose the Right Stretch Film for Your Needs

When selecting a stretch film, first consider the item you will be using the stretch film for. Specifically, you will want to know the following:

  • Load Weight: Heavier loads require a film with higher puncture resistance and load retention capability.
  • Load Configuration: Irregularly shaped loads might need a film with higher stretchability to properly secure them without tearing.
  • Type of Goods: Fragile items might require a gentler film that applies tightness without damaging the product.

Once you know the above, you will then want to evaluate the performance of each stretch film based on this. Look for the following features to match the performance needs of your packaging environment:

  • Stretchability: This refers to how much the film can stretch before breaking. Higher stretchability is needed for irregularly shaped loads.
  • Puncture Resistance: Important for loads with sharp edges that could tear the film.
  • Cling: The film’s ability to stick to itself without adhesives. Good cling ensures the layers of stretch film bond well, providing better security.

Tip: Do not worry if you feel overwhelmed with choosing the right stretch wrap for your needs, there are quite a few factors to consider here. In many cases, you can simply talk to your packaging provider and discuss your needs. They will be able to help guide through your options.

Best Practices in Stretch Film Application

Now you are well versed in what stretch film is, as well as its various forms, let’s take a look at how you actually use it in your packaging process.

There are two main ways to apply stretch film to a product, these are through manual application or machine application.

Which one you choose will depend on your packaging needs. Generally, manual application is better suited for ad-hoc or low volume application, making it a more affordable option for smaller businesses. Machine application meanwhile is a much better investment for mass production lines, offering greater efficiency and wrapping quality.

Below are some tips to follow when using each method.

Manual Application

When applying stretch film by hand, follow these tips:

  • Even Application: Ensure the film is applied evenly across the load. Uneven application can lead to instability.
  • Appropriate Tension: While too little tension can cause the load to be insecure, too much tension can damage the products or the film.
  • Overlap: Overlap the film by at least 30% as you wrap it around the load to ensure thorough coverage and security.

Machine Application

For those applying stretch film by machine, consider these guidelines:

  • Machine Settings: Regularly check and adjust the machine settings to be suited for the type of film and the load being wrapped.
  • Regular Maintenance: Keep the machine in good working order through regular maintenance checks. This ensures consistent performance and longevity of the machine.

Purchase Quality Stretch Wrap from Crownhill Packaging

Choosing the right stretch film and applying it effectively are crucial for securing and protecting your goods efficiently. Whether you are using manual or machine applications, understanding the different types of stretch films and their specific uses will help you optimize your packaging operations.

If you need further information on selecting and purchasing the right stretch film for your operations, do not hesitate to contact Crownhill Packaging, a SupplyOne Canada company. Our team is ready to provide you with tailored solutions that meet your packaging needs effectively.

Skip to content