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Before You Pitch Your Stretch Wrapper, Consider These 5 Factors.


Monday morning. You go to flip the power switch to your stretch wrapper only to find it is DOA. Two service repairs for this machine in 6 months and it’s creeping up to the 10-year mark.

Is it time to pitch it and get a new one? Let us walk you through how to make this determination.

There are five key factors that should be considered about your fickle machine:

  • Age
  • Environment
  • Application
  • Usage
  • Maintenance History

Understand that the information on these factors is best interpreted as a whole, as opposed to each specific element on its own.

Age: How old a stretch wrapper is, needs to be considered. As a general statement, as a piece of equipment ages, the cost of ownership will increase. Warranties typically expire within the first three years of ownership and after the first five years of use, it is not uncommon to start seeing major component failure/replacement. Additionally, the ongoing changes in technology can have an impact on the useful life of your equipment. Lastly, as a stretch wrapper ages, parts availability may become scarcer which will increase repair costs and increase downtime.

Environment: Based on what type of environment a stretch wrapper is required to work in does have a significant effect on its longevity. Work areas with caustic or extreme environments will need to be cycled out more frequently and will be more expensive to repair. It goes without saying but there is a big difference between a ten-year-old stretch wrapper that is working in a freezer vs. a stretch wrapper that is used in a distribution building. Film stretches much differently in a cold environment, changing how well a pallet is wrapped and how much film is used. Knowing what the life expectancy is of equipment in your specific environment is necessary when asking the repair vs. replace question.

Application: Arguably this category could fall under work environment, but the fundamental difference is the environment is “where” the stretch wrapper is being used whereas application is more the “how” it’s being used. For example, utilizing a pallet truck to load and unload tractor-trailers filled with maximum capacity pallets would have more wear and tear occur than using a pallet truck to transport light loads from one side of a facility to another over smooth concrete floors

Usage: Total hours of use on a stretch wrapper is like an odometer on a passenger car. The question that may come up with a car with high miles would be “should I replace my transmission on my 200,000-mile car or is it time to buy a new one”. The same thing could be said about stretch wrapper rotations. The problem is you must consider more than just the high miles, and this is where the application factor comes into play. As mentioned earlier, the whole of the factors is greater than the individual parts.

Maintenance History: The last factor that also needs to be considered is total maintenance history. It is critical to be aware of the maintenance history when asking the repair vs. replace question and has to do with more than just maintenance cost. You need to be aware of what type of maintenance has been done. Has the stretch wrapper been on an ongoing scheduled maintenance plan? Has this wrapper had a history of damage from forklifts? What major components have been repaired? Is there a history of intermittent issues? What have been the most common repairs? All these factors will help determine if it’s time to continue repairing or if it’s time for a replacement.

Making the decision to repair or replace is an important part of ensuring your end of line packaging equipment is operating at optimum cost and performance. Understanding all the elements that both make and drive overall cost of ownership will ensure that when the time comes you are making the best decision. The key to doing this effectively is not to look at each factor individually but how all of them come together in your specific operation. Understanding what exactly those factors are and the relationship between each will ensure you are making the best decision when the time comes to make the decision on whether to repair or replace.

Let Best Packaging help you by evaluating your stretch wrapper(s), or any other aging packaging equipment you have on your line. Contact us at 888-930-BEST for more details.

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