Tag Archives: Stretch Wrap Terminology

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.

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Shrink vs. Stretch Wrap


The terms shrink wrap and stretch wrap are often used interchangeably, but the reality is, they are two different products. While they are both used for packaging purposes and are both clear plastic films, they serve different purposes during application. Understanding these differences can save you the frustration of ordering the wrong film.

Stretch wrap is an elastic film commonly used to wrap and secure loads on pallets for shipping purposes. As the products are wrapped in the film, tension is applied as it is wrapping several times around the load. The properties of the wrap cause it to cling to itself creating a tightly wrapped, secure packaging. Stretch wrap can come in a variety of specialty films such as: UV stretch film, colored stretch film, prestretched stretch film, etc., making it more adaptable than other films.

Unlike stretch wrap, shrink wrap is a clear plastic film that is not stretchy. Shrink wrap covers loosely around a product and shrinks tightly when heat is applied. It is typically used to professionally package retail items giving them a tamper proof and protective barrier. Shrink wrap is mostly used to wrap individual items such as CDs or meats, but can still be used to package multiple items together. Shrink Wrap has the option of being ventilated, which creates an advantage in reducing any damage that can occur from moisture.

Whether your application calls for stretch film, shrink film, or both, let Best Packaging help you find the right materials and equipment for you. Give us a call at (888) 930 BEST to set up a consultation.

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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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Stretch Film 101


Many consumers don’t realize that stretch film plays an important role in delivering and transporting many of the products they use. Stretch Film is the highly elastic plastic material used to wrap products and secure them onto pallets. It is most commonly used to unitize products for efficient storage, but also serves as protection for transportation.

Stretch film is made from LLDPE (Linear-Low-Density Polyethylene). LLDPE is the ideal material for wrapping and securing loads because of its flexibility. The film’s ability to stretch around corners of products, boxes, and pallets offers increased puncture and tear resistance as well as greater efficiency when applied appropriately. High puncture and tear resistance guarantees that the load will remain stable and secure during transportation. Increased puncture resistance as well as a reduction of cost can be detected when the film reaches its maximum stretch potential.

At Best Packaging, we use state of the art testing technology to evaluate stretch film performance. If you’re currently wrapping products with stretch film and want to ensure you’re getting the maximum stretch potential, give us a call at (888) 930 BEST. By helping you understand your wrapping operations better, we can recommend solutions to reduce costs and improve your wrapping performance.

What’s your take? We welcome guest bloggers! E-mail socialmedia@bestpackaging.com if you’d ever like to collaborate.