Category : Containment Force

Essential Stretch Wrap Terminology


With so many manufacturers misusing stretch wrap vocabulary, it can often be difficult to understand the true meaning of these terms. To help consumers understand the real meaning, we listed a few of the  most commonly misused terms in the packaging industry.  In doing so, we hope to educate consumers so as to not be fooled by deceptive terminology when evaluating stretch wrap options.

Pre-stretch is the process of elongated film to a percentage of its original length. The advantage of operating with pre-stretch is that it provides great load stability and allows you consume less film per pallet. Below are two different methods to obtain pre-stretch.

  • Pre-stretched stretch film is film that is stretched during the manufacturing process prior to being wound up in rolls for stretch film application. The majority of pre-stretched stretch film is applied using hand wrap dispensers.
  • Another means of obtaining pre-stretch film is by elongated it using the motorized pre-stretch capabilities of a wrapper. The film passes through two film carriage rollers running at different speeds that stretch the film prior to being applied to the load.

A common misconception within the packaging industry is that stretching the film activates its elastic memory, triggering the film to return to its original state. Another mistake is assuming the two methods of obtaining pre-stretch produce the same outcome- although that’s not necessarily the case.

Suppose you have a roll of pre-stretched stretch film at $5 per roll that gives you 15ft of surface area to work with and 15ft of regular stretch film at $8 per roll. Naturally, the $5 already pre-stretched film would appeal to most plant managers. However, when operating under the correct settings, there could be more to gain from producing pre-stretched film using a stretch wrapper.

If your stretch wrapper is operating at 250% stretch, the regular stretch film at $8 per roll could potentially give you 25ft, as opposed to the pre-stretched film coming in at 15ft. Despite the regular stretch film coming in at a higher cost, it’s winds up more valuable because you’re getting more use of that film while consuming less. By choosing to stretch your film using a powered stretch wrapper, you save money on film and overall lower operating costs.

Force-to-Load is a measure of how tight the film is being pulled as it exits the carriage and is applied to the load. Force to load plays a key factor in maintaining a percentage of prestretch. Although force-to-load does not hold your pallet,  the amount applied does contribute to all around containment force.

Containment force is the amount of load retention created due to the film’s stiff properties. Containment force is the property that holds your pallet together during transit. Typically, for every 100lbs of product, you want to have at least 1 lb of containment force. Containment force and pre-stretch ought to be assessed on a regular basis to ensure the stretch wrap is being applied accurately. To evaluate the performance of your stretch film and application process, there are several testing methods that can be employed. These methods include using a film force pull plate, pull bar, double finger, or even replicating the delivery of a pallet via freight truck with a vibrations or tilt test.

Understanding this terminology can make a difference in terms of stretch film cost savings, ensuring that your load is held tightly enough, and avoiding film breaks that could potentially damage your product. Instead of buying more or new film, you may be able to simply adjust your stretch levels. Knowledge of these terms and how to correctly use them enables consumers to make more informed decisions when comparing options for your packaging line. For more information, contact us at 888 930 BEST.

Increase Your Stretch Wrap Success


When it comes to shipping, the main goal is to get products to your customer in good condition. One of the most practical means of achieving this is with stretch wrapping. Unfortunately, estimates show that nearly billions dollars of goods are lost each year due to poor stretch wrapping practices and constant jarring and vibrating of shipments in transportation.

There are many characteristics that influence the effectiveness of stretch wrapping such as the containment force, prestretch levels, film gauge, film width, the number of revolutions, etc. The best way to reduce much of the unnecessary damage is by managing these variables and making the adjustments necessary on the machine to ensure that your settings are aligned. However, here are a few simple things you can do to improve your chances of success:

  • Make sure your load has the proper containment force. Loads that don’t have enough containment force won’t be able to endure sharp turns and bumps during transit. To ensure you have the right containment force, double check the amount you’re currently using. Measure your loads with a tool designed to record holding force. If you need help finding the optimal amount of containment force, don’t hesitate to call Best Packaging Inc.
  • Secure your load on to the pallet, to avoid it slipping off. Stretch wrap is also designed to bind together the pallet and the load. The bumps and jostles of shipping can cause loads to come loose and without a tight seal around the load, it could get rattled or vibrated quite easily. Thus, a good stretch wrap ensures that wrap is tightly wound around the load and pallet. This creates a secure pallet and also facilitates the process of being quickly moved and stored. Loads should also be locked to the load with a film cable. Look for stretch wrappers that form a tight film cable. The film cable could mean the difference between having a secure load, or jeopardizing the film’s durability.
  • Double check for  film tails. If a tail end of stretch wrap drags or dangles from the pallet, it could catch and tumble the entire load. It can cause serious risk to those who work around it. Invest in a stretch wrapper that features a film blower specifically designed to contain all loose ends and eliminate film tails. Guarantee there are no long film tails, as this could eventually unravel during  the multiple times it’s handled during transport.

By paying attention to these details, you’ll be giving your loads the best chance to survive transportation damage. To learn more about reducing damage, give us a call at (888) 930 BEST.

May The Containment Force Be With You


In order for loads to be wrapped correctly for shipping, you must apply the right amount of containment force. Containment force is the number of film revolutions multiplied by the wrap force. There is a right amount of containment force for each load that ensures that the load is stable and held firmly enough. There are a few things you could do to detect the optimal amount of containment force using the least amount of film. For example, you can experiment with different types of stretch film, alter the machine gauges and prestretch levels, or manipulate the wrap force settings.  However, the best way to find the ideal containment force is to test the top, middle, and bottom of the load with a containment force tool.

At Best Packaging, we have the testing technology required to measure and determine the proper containment standard in order to make sure your film can maintain a particular load holding force over time.Using our portable film force system, we can help you identify the minimum containment force required to decrease film costs.

You shouldn’t be alarmed if your containment force isn’t distributed evenly throughout your load. In fact, the lowest containment force value recorded should become your target for shipping a stable load. For instance, if you’re measuring various pounds of containment force at the top, middle, and bottom, but you’re shipping without any issues, it’s best to set your containment force at the at the lowest-mid containment standard. Doing so ensures you must have at least the minimum amount of containment force everywhere on the load in order for it to be safe to ship. By understanding the different distribution channels, Best Packaging is able to give recommendations on the appropriate settings when sending out different loads.

Once you’ve learned how to measure and have achieved the right containment force, you’ll be able to enjoy consistently safe loads, and more importantly, consistently happy customers. To learn more about containment force or how we can help you measure it, call us at (888) 930 BEST

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