Stretch Wrap an Essential Tool for Keeping Pallets Safe

Photo courtesy: Robert F. Blackman at
Photo courtesy: Robert F. Blackman at

What in the world did we do before stretch wrap? It’s now one of the most commonly used methods of pallet wrapping.

Stretch wrap isn’t just effective. It’s also relatively cheap, easy to use, and convenient. And it can be either low-tech or high-tech: In small operations, it can be slid onto a broom handle and manually wrapped around a pallet to provide a safe, comprehensive wrap.

In larger operations, rotating platforms and automated stretch wrap feeders can wrap hundreds of pallets per hour as they move down a production line and into the beds of waiting trucks.

Benefits of  Stretch Wrap

Stretch wrap offers one of the most effective means of securing items loaded onto pallets. Prior to the development of stretch wrap, most loads had to be covered with tarps that were tied down. Some loads were even packed into nets that could be easily lifted by dockside cranes.

But stretch wrap safely and tightly holds palletized items while providing a protective coating against weather, dust, debris, moisture, and other hazards. There are even UV stretch wraps that can help protect products from the sun’s rays.

It also can be applied to a variety of surfaces, including flat loads and those with pointed corners.

Stretch wrap is also much less costly to use than other methods of pallet wrapping such as strapping or tarps. The equipment used to automatically wrap pallets with stretch wrap is often less costly than other machines and usually requires less energy to operate.

It’s also better for the environment. Most stretch wraps on the market today are completely recyclable.

Wrapping Pallets in Stretch Wrap

Using stretch wrap is remarkably simple even if you don’t have special pallet wrapping equipment. All you need to do is to pull about three feet of plastic off the stretch wrap roll, then squeeze about 8 to 10 inches at the end of the sheet together to make a rope shape.

Then simply thread this roped end through one corner of the pallet. You don’t even have to tie a knot if you don’t want to because stretch wrap will stick to itself.

Then, beginning at the base of the pallet, begin wrapping the pallet. Wrap the base at least five times while keeping the film tight as it is pulled off the roll. Then move up toward the top of the load, making sure to keep the tension tight.

Use a knife or cutting tool to cut the stretch wrap after the entire pallet load is safely wrapped.