Insights
Is thinner pallet wrap film always cheaper?

How to find the right pallet wrap or stretch film for your packaging needs:

The question of the cost-effectiveness of thinner pallet wrap is a challenging but important query often put to us by customers looking at pallet wrap and packaging solutions.

Traditionally, buyers of pallet wrap film have looked at thinner films as the ‘cheaper option’. That’s natural. This is because, for the same weight, you will receive a longer meterage of packaging product. However, that’s a quite simplistic approach and one that doesn’t take into account some of the key factors in the buying decision.

We suggest that customers look at pallet wrapping as a marriage between three things:

  • The method that you are using to wrap your pallet (by hand or machine and the capabilities of the machine)
  • The load that you are wrapping (what is the makeup of the load? What is the film supposed to be doing to the load?)
  • The film you are using

For example, if you’re wrapping a product that is inside a pallet box, the pallet box will provide the majority of the necessary stability and strength. In instances like this, the pallet wrap film becomes a dust or a waterproofing protection to the pallet box itself and contributes very little to the stability. As a consequence, the film requirements would need to be evaluated in a different way than if there was no pallet box.

We always recommend benchmarking based on the price per pallet wrapped – rather than the price per kilo, or meter. You can read more about this approach in our other blogs: How to benchmark suppliers of pallet wrap – here or, The benefits of paying a price per pallet wrapped – here.

Over the years pallet wrap films have been generally 17, 20 and 23 microns thick. As the packaging industry and technologies have evolved, we’ve seen a move to pre-stretched films, where the film is stretched before being put on the roll and then films are given a metallocene additive to increase strength. These have helped in developing thinner films but only in some instances will they help to reduce costs.

Finding the right balance

So, does thinner pallet wrap film still hold a pallet stable? And will it be cheaper? As above, that depends on the answer to those three questions around your packaging operations, loads and film types.

However, we are now seeing that with new nanotechnology solutions being introduced onto the market, we’re able to meet customers’ requirements based on four considerations:

Stability – which film technology and gauge gives you the required stability of your pallet?

Speed – can you achieve a faster throughput to your wrapping operation?

Operation – can you balance the machine and film so that you get excellent production efficiency?

Cost – is your wrap cost commercially competitive?

In some instances a thicker film will achieve all four of these considerations. For example:

A thicker film has a higher holding force and will increase stability, It could allow us to reduce the number of wraps on your pallet. This in turn reduces the wrap weight and also the cost. There’s a good example of this in our case study, here.

A thicker film will also snap less frequently so should improve operational efficiencies.

However, this is only valid if you know what your current film is achieving and you understand where you need to be. It’s important therefore that you work with a supplier who is able to marry all the important elements -equipment, your pallet and the film to ensure that you get the optimum wrap at the optimum cost.

For more information on how MorsaPack can help you on this please give us a call on +44 161 793 7793 or email robert.m@morsapack.com

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