Are You Using the Right Stretch Film?

Right-Gauging Films:

Every manufacturer wants their customers to receive their products without damage, but a dinged widget box is perceived a little differently than a dinged box of favorite snack food, bakery item, or packaged meats.  When it comes to your food brand, safe shipment of product is a priority. Which means not only is the design of your primary packaging a priority, but the proper shipping of the package to the retailer or wholesaler is key as well.

When preparing items for shipment, food processors will typically use some type of stretch wrap. Sometimes the system is optimized to their needs, and sometimes there is room for improvement. In a 2021 Documented Cost Saving project, one of our manufacturing customers saved almost $10,000 by down-gauging by 10% to the proper film for their products. Prior to our audit, the food processor seemed so focused on the product arriving safely that they were going overboard to be sure that it did. We get it. The brand is important. But with our expertise, you don’t have to over-gauge to achieve safe shipment of product. Of course we don’t want you to under gauge either. The correct gauge, or right-gauge film, is just a few steps away.

Right-Gauging means to have the correct film, on the correct equipment, with correct load. Our experts can analyze your needs, help you test recommendations, and ensure optimum efficiency and effectiveness for the safe shipment of your products.  

If you have the space and are shipping more than 10 skids per day, an automatic stretch wrapper can offer a significant labor savings. These work best with a low gauge / high-performance film that is designed to run at a higher pre-stretch. Ideally, they need to be applied at 250-300%. During our site audits, we have seen customers running these films on equipment that can only apply them at 200%. Unfortunately, this is practically throwing money out the window! Further, the films don’t perform as well at 200%, allowing your skids to have defects in shipping. There are several options here, buy the right film for the equipment or buy the right equipment for the film. We’ve got you covered either way.

It’s also very common to see a customer trying to use the thinnest machine film possible to reduce cost. But just down-gauging without analysis and you run the risk of damaged deliveries, upset customers, and increasing returns… not to mention the overuse of film that starts to occur. Some customers down-gauge so much, that their team starts to increase the amount of top and bottom wraps to compensate for load instability. Ideally, you want two at the bottom, and two at the top. Down-gauge too much, and we see load wraps gradually increase from 2/2 to 3/3 or even 4/4. Well, then you are actually using double the film you should be. If you are seeing this in your facility, it would make more sense to up gauge, and reduce the amount of wraps.

Finally, many of our customers just don’t have the space for an automatic stretch wrapper. There are still ways we can help. If you are hand wrapping pallets with a standard film, consider switching to pre-stretch. This transition can help you save significantly on labor not to mention give you happier employees, and today we all need that! Check out this video that features the benefits of pre-stretch when hand wrapping.

Right-gauging is thing whether you are using equipment or not, and again Nichols’ expert packaging engineers are happy to help you find the right film for your application. Interested in a site audit? Just click here and we’ll circle back with you soon!