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What are the Various Types of Stretch Film?

What are the Various Types of Stretch Film?

Stretch film, or stretch wrap, is customarily used to secure products onto pallets to ensure the load is stable and secure during transport and storage. This greatly reduces the possibility of the damage and protects people from injuries should a load topple over. Using stretch film is less labor intensive compared to metal strapping and is easy to remove. Stretch film should not be confused with shrink film, which requires a heat source to melt the edges and close the wrap around the load.

Stretch film is available in a variety of materials, sizes, gauges, application methods, and colors. Custom print stretch film is also available for maximum branding. The use case will dictate which is the best option for your needs.

There are two main categories of stretch film: cast and blown. Cast stretch film has a high level of clarity, ideal for scanning barcodes through the film, and requires minimal force to stretch. It also has high tear resistance, offers excellent cling abilities, and is quieter. Blown stretch wrap is a premium quality film that delivers powerful stretching ability and high tack. It has the power to help loads stay securely in place in some cases better than the cast film can.

Hand wrap is applied manually, with the operator moving around the load and wrapping the film. This can be physically demanding, so if a great deal of hand wrapping is necessary, pre-stretched film may be a better option. Pre-stretch is just that, already stretched to a degree. It requires less effort to achieve the same results. There are also very small rolls of stretch film, 3” to 5” wide, called bundling film. These provide a quick, inexpensive film for bundling odd-shaped items together.

Machine grade film is used in conjunction with a stretch wrap machine. There are turntable style machines where the load is placed on a rotating platform and the wrap is applied by an arm. Robot style machines automatically circle around a stationary load until completely wrapped.   

Robotic Stretch Wrapper

Other options include colored films that can help with identification or branding and opaque film that can conceal the contents for security purposes. For agricultural use, there are perforated wraps that allow airflow to maintain freshness. And, the latest innovation coming to market is hand film made with bio-assimilation technology. This allows the film to breakdown into a food source for microorganisms without exposure to sunlight or oxygen.

Stretch film is one of many industrial packaging options available from Imperial Dade. It is important to consult with an experienced supplier to determine the right products for your operation. For more information or to download our industrial packaging brochures, visit our website and request a complimentary consultation today.