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Frequently Asked Questions: Stretch Wrap/Stretch Film

  1. What gauge do I need?
  2. Should I use cast or blown film?
  3. What's the difference between bundling, hand, extended core, and machine stretch wrap?
  4. What other options are available with stretch film?
  5. What is gauge equivalent or replacement gauge film?

What gauge do I need?

  • Gauge is the most common measure of the thickness of the film (sometimes also measured in microns).
  • Example: 80ga = 20.3 microns = .0203mm thick
  • The higher the number, the thicker the film (100ga; 80ga; 60ga, etc)
  • 80 gauge is the most common film, the average or standard
  • Heavier gauge films typically required for:
    • Heavy loads, such as fasteners, machine parts, bags of mortar or mulch, etc.
    • Uneven loads with more corners and angles
    • Irregular shaped loads with fewer smooth sides
    • Greater puncture potential
  • Lighter gauge films typically required for:
    • Lighter loads, such as foam products, or light food products (snack foods like chips, etc)
    • Even, square loads
    • Regular shaped loads
    • Little to no puncture potential
  • Film is available in gauges ranging from 40ga - 150ga
  • The actual numeric gauge is not as important as whether it is a light gauge (40-60ga), medium gauge (70-90ga) or heavy gauge (100-150ga) film.
  • Ultimately, the thickness needed is subjective. We will be happy to provide you with free samples so you can determine what works best for you and your business.

Should I use cast or blown film?

  • Cast Film
    • By far, the most commonly used film, particularly with stretch wrap machines and bundling film
    • Easy, quiet release
    • Clear
    • Tear resistant
    • Limited puncture resistance
    • Best for even loads of average, near-average, or below average weight
  • Blown Film
    • Most often used with hand wraps
    • Noisy unwind
    • Hazy, low clarity
    • High puncture resistance and toughness
    • Best used for heavy, uneven loads, or those with high puncture potential

What's the difference between bundling, hand, extended core, and machine stretch wrap?

Bundling Film has a smaller width (2 inch, 3 inch, or 5 inch) and is hand applied.

  • Applications:
    • Securing long lengths of product, such as extruded metal, wood molding, PVC lengths, pipe, rebar, etc
    • Bundling together multiple small boxes so they ship as a single unit
  • Advantages:
    • Small width
    • Similar application as tape but with no sticky residue
    • Easy to apply
  • Means of Application:
    • Handy Bundler our most common bundling film, it comes on a 3in. core and ships with one plastic plug-in handle per case
    • Best Bundler comes on a 1in. core which extends almost 5in. beyond the film, creating a built-in handle for each roll. Ships with a red rubber grip.
    • QuikWrap our best, most efficient and most ergonomic option, ships on a 1 3/4 in. core and with one black plug-in handle per case. The handle end features a black rubber grip that rotates freely around a core, allowing for easy application and a secure fit into the core of the stretch wrap.

Hand Wrap comes in 12 inch, 15 inch, 18 inch, 20 inch, and 30 inch widths and is hand applied.

  • Applications:
    • Wrapping small pallets of average weight and evenly stacked product
    • Large pallet wrapping, but not in large quantities per day
  • Advantages:
    • Can wrap a full pallet without the large capital investment required by a stretch wrap machine
    • Portable and can be used anywhere
  • Means of Application:
    • Standard Hand Wrap ships on a 3in. core and is applied by hand or with a variety of dispensers (12in., 15in., and 18in. widths)
    • Extended Core Hand Wrap ships on a 1in. extended core (looks like a rolling pin) and is applied by hand (20in. and 30in. widths)

Machine Wrap most frequently comes in 20 inch or 30 inch widths, but is also available in 40 inch, 50 inch, and 60 inch widths.

  • Applications:
    • Standard size skids but of heavy-weight product which require a high degree of stretch
    • Environments that require multiple skids to be wrapped per hour throughout the day
    • Semi-automated environments
  • Advantages:
    • Machine wrap can obtain a stretch of over 250%, depending upon the film and the machine
    • Saves time
    • Greater efficiency and safety
    • Saves money on stretch wrap by getting more stretch out of each roll
  • Means of Application:
    • Semi-Automatic Stretch Wrap Machines range in price from $6000 and upward and offer a variety of options to best fit your production and budget needs
    • Stretch Wrap Machines are generally not mobile and are restricted to a specific location within your warehouse

What other options are available with stretch film?

The most common non-stock options are:

  • UVI: for long term outdoor storage.
  • One-Side Cling: Good for loads that deliver on flatbed trucks (such as mulch) so that the skids of product do not stick together and risk being torn.
  • Color Stretch film: can be made in various primary colors, both in tint and opaque.

What is gauge equivalent or replacement gauge film?

  • Up until a decade or two ago, the only real measure for stretch film was its gauge, or thickness. As a result, certain gauges became associated with certain strengths and performance characteristics
  • More recently, with the advances in technology, we are able to make thinner films that have the equivalent strength of thicker (higher gauge) films. This enables us to provide you with a high quality film at a lower price because less material is used in the production of the film. Our Extreme films are an example of this type of film.
  • Gauge equivalent or replacement gauge films are best suited for even loads of average or below average weight.
  • Despite the advances in production technology, the most common way of referring to film strength and performance is still the gauge. 80ga, however, now, may not necessarily refer to the actual thickness of the film, but to the relative performance it will perform comparably to an actual 80ga film.

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