Tips for Shrink Wrapping Pallets
Before a pallet delivery, you might consider adding an extra layer of safety to your pallet. You can do this through various means while you stack your pallet. However, one of the best ways of securing both your pallet and the goods is via shrink wrapping.
While we recommend you shrink wrap your pallets, you must make sure that this process is carried out properly. If the shrink-wrapping process is not done correctly, you may even risk damaging your goods while they are in transit.
Therefore, in today’s article, we’ll provide you with a pallet guide on how to properly and effectively shrink wrap your pallets. Let’s begin!
How Does Shrink Wrapping Work?
The terms shrink-wrapping and stretch-wrapping are often used interchangeably. However, the processes behind the two are a bit different.
When it comes to stretch-wrapping, you’d have to apply multiple layers of stretchable plastic film to the load. The most common material used in this process is LLDPE – linear low-density polyethylene – but PVC and other types of polyethylene can be used.
When it comes to shrink-wrapping, you’d have to apply the plastic film loosely around a load or an item and then tightly shrink it via heat.
Plastic films usually come with different thickness’s that provide variable puncture resistance. Most have their breaking point at about 500% stretch but are usually stretched up to only 300% when in use. Obviously, this applies to what we referred to earlier as stretch-wrapping.
However, both wrapping types provide your pallet and your items with protection while they are in transit. Moreover, stretch-wrapping can also protect your goods against moisture, dust, and pilferage.
Now, let’s see the proper way to shrink-wrap a pallet!
How to Properly Shrink-Wrap a Pallet
As we mentioned before, if you fail to properly shrink-wrap your pallet, then you may risk your goods being damaged in transit. So, here are some tips on how to effectively use pallet shrink wrap!
- Preparing the Load – when it comes to preparing the load of your pallet, you have to make sure that the individual boxes/items are as close to each other as possible. If you leave any spaces between them, the load can – and probably will – shift around even after you’ve shrink-wrapped it.
- Load Elevation – even though optional, elevating your load can save you some back pain and can also help you prioritise the load’s corners when shrink-wrapping. In order to elevate your load, you can either place your pallet on an elevated surface or on a stack of empty pallets.
- Attaching the Film – before you start to roll the film around the load, you should pull some shrink-wrap from the roll and shape it like a rope. You will then use this shrink-wrap rope to thread it around one corner of your pallet while folding the remaining of the rope over it. You don’t need any knots, as the film adheres to itself.
- Focus on the Base – it is important that you focus first on the pallet’s base. When wrapping the film around the base, make sure to follow the same direction as to that of the rope in the corner. Make sure that the edge of the film goes underneath every corner of the pallet so that the load has no chances of slipping off the pallet.
- Working Your Way Up – as you continue to wrap upwards, you have to keep the film tightly stretched. Moreover, each layer of the film has to overlap with the previous one by around 50%, in order to ensure the load’s safety. For more stability, you should wrap the top of the pallet twice as much.
- Pallet Check – after you finish wrapping the pallet, you should check and test its stability. Depending on the result, you might have to wrap it one more time, from the top to the base. When you consider the load being stable on the pallet, tear the film with a pocket knife or a cutter, and fold its end under one of the layers on the pallet’s side. The final product should not have any tails of shrink-wrap around it. These might impair the movement of the people or the machines around it.
As you can see, shrink-wrapping pallets is not that hard. However, make sure to always apply enough force when wrapping the load. The force you apply must be constant as you work your way up on the pallet.
Also, as an extra tip, make sure that you don’t move too quickly from the middle of the pallet to the top and that you give yourself enough time to equally shrink-wrap all the areas of your load.