Manual Stretch

The True Costs of Manual Pallet Wrapping

On the face of it, investing in an automated pallet shrink wrapper may seem unjustifiable compared with the cost of a manual stretch wrap film dispenser, particularly if your need is infrequent and isn’t causing a bottleneck. But look closer into the true, hidden costs of manual wrapping and you may think again.

Aches and pains

Often the person who makes the decision whether or not to upgrade to automated wrapping seldom manually wraps a pallet themselves, and certainly not on a daily basis, so it is easy for them to be unaware of how unpleasant a job this can be.

  • The constant bending and stretching into awkward poses that lead to short term injury to the back and shoulders, with a risk of long term chronic lower back pain that can result in lost work time and disability.
  • The strain on hands and wrists as the heavy dispenser and roll is held at arm’s length to reach the top of high pallets or down to the pallet base, and while the film tension is constantly manually adjusted.
  • The repetitive circling of the pallet, walking backwards and bent over, that brings on dizziness and disorientation that can put a worker at risk of tripping over or colliding with objects or people, or even stray into the path of approaching warehouse vehicles.

Such working conditions can rapidly lead to absenteeism and low staff morale, while injury and disability can cost companies thousands of pounds in lost work days or compensation. A poor safety record can result in difficulties hiring new staff and closer scrutiny from HSE.

Best results

Automated stretch wrappers don’t tire or lose concentration, but programmed to follow a pre-set wrapping cycle, they will deliver reliable results time and again.

Consistent film tension will ensure best pallet stability and uniform film coverage for a more professional finish, meaning that your pallet will arrive at its destination looking tidy and intact.

Time and money

An automated stretch wrapper is able to wrap a pallet faster than the best manual worker, but also leaves the operator free to carry out other tasks during the process, such as preparing the next pallet for wrapping or loading the previously wrapped pallet onto racking or a truck.

It will also use considerably less film to achieve the same level of pallet stability, particularly if it features power pre-stretch. This stretches the pallet wrap as it comes off the roll and before it is applied to the pallet, to up to four times its original length. This not only drastically cuts the amount of film needed, but also removes all residual stretch from the film so that it cannot work loose during transit.

In conclusion

There will always be a demand for manual strapping where there is no available space or power supply for an automated wrapper, or where use is infrequent. Southgate® supply a wide range of ergonomically-designed stretch wrap tools and films under their Transpal® brand.

For companies who decide to automate, Optimax® turntable and robotic stretch wrappers – also supplied by Southgate® – are proven, reliable and productive.

packaging · fulfilment · productivity

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