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Common & costly mistakes of stretch wrapping

Supplier: Fromm Packaging Australia
19 October, 2015

With over 40 years experience in the industry, Fromm Packaging Australia are experts in everything stretch wrapping. We have compiled a list of the most common & most costly mistakes made while stretch wrapping.

Over-Stretching – It is important to know the maximum stretch, tensile strength & tear strength of your stretch film in order to fully utilize the film's elasticity to your advantage. The process of stretching your film around your load actually increases the load integrity as the film tries to revert back to its original length, much like a rubber-band. However, over-stretching your film will compromise the latent elasticity, reducing your load stability.

Stretch film must be stretched to 'just under' its maximum stretch, creating the best possible security & reducing the amount of film required to secure your load.


Film-Tails – Many stretch wrapping machines start & end the wrapping cycle at the bottom of the pallet, which can leave what is known as a 'film-tail'. This can become a major issue if you supply products to big companies with automated processes, as film-tails can see your pallets returned without hesitation. Large companies with automated processes can’t run the risk of a film-tail becoming stuck and holding up the entire line, meaning you can’t run the risk of having film-tails.

You’re options here are to; Have employees look out for film-tails and manually tuck them in, however, this is time consuming and the element of human error is still there. Alternatively, you can invest in a high quality stretch wrapping machine (such as Fromm's FSW-50 stretch wrapper) that features a 'film blower' specifically designed to eliminate film-tails.


Over-Use – If a load moves while in transit or on the production line, it can cause significant delays and even injury. Too often we see companies simply apply a few additional layers of stretch film, believing they are increasing the load integrity - this is not the case. If not applied properly, with the optimal amount of stretch, applying extra stretch film is not only a waste of time and money, it can be risky.

Over-wrapping creates the illusion of load security; rather, real security is achieved when stretch film is… well… 'stretched' (who would have thought?). It is the elastic aspect of stretch film that really unitises a load, pulling everything together as the film tries to return to its original length before being stretched. To eliminate the risk of a moving load and avoid needless film wastage, heavy loads should be wrapped with a high quality stretch wrapping machine.


Sneaky Suppliers – Not all stretch film rolls were created equal. Purchasing officers tend to make stretch film purchases based on price per roll -'questionable' suppliers can take advantage of this thinking and ignoring these common tricks can cost you dearly.

If you don't know what to look for, you could be getting ripped off. Here are some of the common 'tricks';

  • Check The Length – Have you ever actually checked that you are getting the length you're paying for? It is becoming increasingly common to supply less stretch film than is declared; you could be paying for 1000m and only receiving 800m, unless you check, you’ll never know.
  • Core Weight – Common method of increasing roll weight, deceiving you into thinking there is more film-per-roll than there actually is. A roll of film on a cardboard core with a bigger diameter and greater weight will not normally have the same amount of film as a roll on a smaller, lighter core. Cardboard is cheaper than stretch film.
  • Price Per Meter – If you are focused on price per roll & film thickness, you can be pulled into a price trap, in which you willingly buy rolls of film with less meters. Some suppliers use every trick in the book to make you think their film is the cheapest per roll, but is it the cheapest per meter? Do the math before you buy, you could be getting a bum deal.
  • Too Thick – Don't be fooled into thinking that you need super thick film to secure your heavy loads, thickness doesn’t create load security, elasticity does. Suppliers want you to use a thicker film, because you'll go through it faster and buy more. If you are using a thinner film with greater elasticity with a high quality stretch wrapper, you'll achieve greater security whilst using less film. Win – win.


Poor Quality – One of the biggest costs to companies wrapping high quantities of products is unusable low quality film. Yes, you may be getting the lowest price per meter of stretch film, but there are other costs involved in using poor quality wrap.

Firstly, you use more film when trying to compensate for a lower quality film. You aren't saving any money using 40 meters of low quality film to secure a load when you could be using 20 meters of high quality film to do the same job. You could actually be losing money on the added time needed to secure a load.

Secondly, you need to think in terms of 'applied meters' not simply the meters on the roll. The cheapest price per meter isn't always the cheapest price per applied meter. Higher quality stretch film will stretch further, even exceeding 200% stretch, meaning you are getting 3 meters of 'applied film' for every meter on the roll. Again, do the math before you purchase and avoid being caught out.

Lastly, low quality stretch film can be inconsistent from roll to roll. It is very common for film to snap or tear during application, some rolls tearing more than others. Unbeknown to the purchasing officer, half used rolls of film could be tossed out regularly due to poor quality. If even 1 in 5 rolls are deemed unusable, you could be throwing thousands of dollars in the bin.


Uneducated Decisions – Too many machinery suppliers are simply re-sellers of pallet wrappers, in some cases their 'experts' won’t know anymore more about the machine than what exists on the website – this can be dangerous. Stretch wrapping is not always straight forward and there are many factors to consider when optimizing your wrapping process.

Firstly, you need to pair your machine with an appropriate film. Just as you need to select a stretch film specifically for the type of load you're wrapping, you need to be sure the film will work effectively on your machine. For instance, if you are paying a premium price for a high quality film with great stretch, but are using a cheap, low quality stretch wrapping machine, you are wasting money. It is imperative that you do your research & carefully plan your purchasing decisions, or contact a 'real' expert, one that can make sure you are set up correctly. In this industry, you need to be focused on 'cheapest to own' not 'cheapest to buy'.

If someone can supply stretch film cheaper than anybody else, there is usually a reason & you need to be careful. Contact an expert that is not simply a re-seller.

Fromm have been supplying the world with the highest quality wrapping & strapping solutions for over 60 years. We know the pitfalls our customers fall into and we're dedicated to partnering with our customers to create long lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.