Stretch hood wrapping offers packaging savings

Wrapping 2.5m high pallets in just 15 seconds.
Wrapping 2.5m high pallets in just 15 seconds.

In today’s tough economic times, many companies are looking to make their business more efficient and save costs, and one place to start is with your packaging.

One of those ways a company can save on packaging costs is by converting to stretch hood wrapping.

There are many advantages of stretch hood wrapping, compared to shrink wrapping. It costs less per pallet, less maintenance is required for machines and it provides waterproof packaging with a closed hood for pallets that need to be stored outside.

In the food industry, stretch hood wrapping can also provide dustproof pallets and work on a capacity of up to 100 pallets an hour. The machine also requires 35-40 times less film change.

The Lachenmeier Stretch Hood machine uses a tube of PE plastic or laminated plastic in different grades starting at 40 microns up to 200 microns thick and can completely cover the pallet.

"It can be open top or it can be sealed with the welding unit at the top and then cut to length," Lee Barlow, Sales Manager at Bliss and Reels, told IndustrySearch.

"Basically it’s one piece of plastic wrapping the product and we can do up to 240 cycles, so we can wrap a full pallet up to 2.5 metres high in 15 seconds."

This compares to other machines which can take in excess of 45 seconds. Other machines also use a cling wrap film, which is more expensive.

"So you’ve got a minimum of 40 per cent savings on using this hooding. Basically the durability of the product is one piece and it actually ties a product to the pallet," Barlow said.

Bliss and Reels is currently working with a large fertiliser company in Queensland which supplies to Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Big W. It is producing over 80 pallets an hour 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Stretch Hood Type Multi Flex XL is suited to large pallets in the building industry for insulation, insulation boards and gypsum boards and can be used for pallets up to 3,000mm x 1,200mm.

Meanwhile, the Stretch Hood Type Multi Flex has been designed for pallets which vary in size and is typically used in the beverage, food and logistics industry. For example, soft drinks in PET, beer in cans and bottles, milk products, washing powder, logistic products and white goods.

Stretch hood wrapping provides stability to pallets through a controlled unwinding of the film during the application. This ensures the film is vertically stretched and means packaging costs are kept to a minimum.

Film on the corners of pallets is also thicker, which provides extra strength and stability.

There is currently a patent pending for the grippers of the stretch hood.

"We’ve got a special vacuum system that actually opens the hood. Some of our competitors use blowers or gripping arms. We use little vacuum plates which aren’t affected by static or electricity on the plastic hood," Barlow said.

"It pulls the hooding open so it opens the tube and allows the bag to be opened so the forks can actually come in, grab the product and then draw it down to the length that is required and then weld it shut."

As sustainability has grown in importance in the community, so too have businesses been quick to respond to the issue.

Stretch hood wrapping helps with waste reduction and reduces the idle time of the machinery and staff. It also uses recyclable materials.

"All companies are looking for an environmental standard of some sort," Barlow said.

"The packaging industry itself has a standard that needs to be adhered to or worked with as best as possible. So they need to source recyclable or reusable products as much as possible, so it’s made this system and the product itself quite user friendly."

Not only does stretch hood wrapping save on wastage, but the cost savings can be significant.

"Nine times out of 10, customers will save a minimum of 40 per cent in the way of costs compared to traditional methods and the investment is funded and amortised rapidly by the savings, in some cases as little as 18-24 months," Barlow said.