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Ask Steve

Ask Steve

February 23, 2024

Question from Andrew: We are plagued with load failures, even though we have good force-to-load. If we put any more tension on, we will crush our boxes. If we have good FTL, why are we seeing so many load failures?

Hi Andrew, thanks for sending in your question. You may be surprised to learn that it is a very common problem.

You will be happy to know that it can be solved, it just requires the application of a little science.

Let’s start by understanding what is causing your load failures. Fundamentally, the job of the stretch wrap is to resist the forces that act upon the load during transportation with an equal and opposite force. To do that, two very important qualities need to be considered when we discuss load containment. The first is unitization (which is your Force-to-Load measurement). This is the force the film applies around the load, which is similar to the force your hand applies to an object when you pick it up. This force pulls all the boxes on your pallet together and prevents them from moving freely. As you have found, there is a limit to the amount of “unitizing force” you can apply before you start to crush or crease boxes. Tension and the number of wraps will dictate the amount of Force-to-Load. The film will naturally want to retract to some degree, once it is stretched, this is called memory. As it retracts, it will pull the load together. You can also increase Force-to-Load by adding more wraps. On the surface adding wraps may not make a lot of sense since you might be using the same tension or amount of stretch as before, but now suddenly you get a higher Force-to-Load??? Strech film has a “cling” quality similar to the Saran Wrap you have in your kitchen at home. You know how it will stick to itself (especially when you don’t want it to). As you apply additional wraps of film, the layers stick together effectively increasing the thickness of the film while magnifying the memory (or force) generated when the film retracts.

We have learned what Force-to-Load is and we have learned that there is a limit to how much force we can apply to some loads. We know that you have maximized this force and yet you still have continual load failures. That means there is another element to load containment that is missing in your containment standard. That element is called Secondary Stretch, or how much additional stretch the film will have when a force is applied after the pallet has been wrapped. Now we get into a paradox, the film must stretch to generate the Force-to-Load required to unitize your boxes, but we don’t want it to stretch any more after the load is wrapped. I will address that paradox shortly, but first let’s identify why your loads are failing. The film that is containing your load continues to stretch after you have wrapped the pallet and during transportation. This allows for excess movement which increases the load inertia causing the boxes stacked on the pallet to place even more force directly on the film. The more the force, the more it stretches and the more the boxes move until eventual load failure happens. I am discussing boxes because that is what you are shipping, but the same applies for bags, pails, and literally anything you can stack on a pallet. So, the second element of load containment is Secondary Stretch, and that is measured by the total amount the film is stretched after it has been applied to the load. We refer to this as Total Applied Stretch. Since it is obviously critical to load containment, you may ask why isn’t it a part of your load containment standard, like its counterpart Force-to-Load? The reason is straightforward, it is something that is not fully understood and that is why it is missing. As you stretch film the amount of force required to stretch it changes. It typically increases, then levels off, and at some stretch distance, it increases dramatically until it fails (breaks). Most stretch films are applied to loads in the level portion of the Stretch Force Curve where there is very little resistance needed for continued stretch. At higher levels of stretch, the film becomes more susceptible to puncture and web breaks. If you stretch the film enough to reach its maximum level of performance, any sharp corner of the pallet or a box will cause a web break. Tensions are turned down by the operators to counter that, but the Total Applied Stretch is also reduced along with your load containment. Film manufacturers test film to generate a force over distance curve (you may have heard the term Ultimate Strength) using a round drum to wrap the film around as force is being measured. While this is a great start, puncture and tear propagation also need to be considered because that is what the film will encounter in the real world, wrapping a pallet. (Unless you are shipping a single round drum.)

We have studied the physics of load failures to understand what happens, then using science, have developed a solution that addresses Secondary Stretch, the unspoken element of load containment.

Our solution uses two rolls of film, one full width and one banded. We mechanically narrow the edges of the bands through a set of rollers to form filaments. These are joined with the full web and laminated into it between the machine’s pre-stretch rollers, forming a single web with reinforcement filaments of roughly the same thickness as your conventional film. We can stretch the film much more (pre-stretch) before it is applied to the load because of the reinforcement filaments, taking most all the stretch out. You can use the same level of Force-to-Load as you currently do, but now the film will resist further stretching when forces are applied during shipment, keeping the load unitized and limiting movement. The reinforcement filaments will also prevent web breaks and if something does puncture the film, the hole will simply stop at the next filament without compromising load containment.

Because we stretch the film so much more than conventional film can be stretched, you will use 50%-60% less film per pallet, need fewer wraps (giving you more machine capacity) and cost less per pallet. But the most important thing for you is that it will eliminate your load failures without crushing your boxes!

Thanks for asking!

Steve

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Ask Steve

Ask Steve

January 23, 2024

Question from Gavin: I was told by a supplier that the percent you can stretch film increases with thickness and the term ultimate strength was used. What does that mean and is it true that thick films can be stretched more?

Hi Gavin, Thanks for the question, it is a subject that is widely misunderstood.Let me begin by defining the functional role of stretch film, because we should never lose sight of that. Motion of product on the pallet during transportation is at the root of most all load failures. Stop the movement, stop the load failures. When forces act upon the load as it travels from point A to B, the components of the load are put in motion. The stretch wrap must provide an equal and opposite force to prevent that movement.

Ask Steve

Ask Steve

December 21, 2023

Question from Miles: We are getting a lot of pressure from corporate to use stretch film with post-consumer recycled content. If we do, will we be able to achieve the same load containment that we have now?

Hi Miles, Your question could not have been better timed. There is a lot of discussion regarding corporate directives as well as upcoming state and federal regulations that are pushing in the direction of PCR films, and I see a growing number of products that are marketed specifically to answer that demand. So, I am going to step away from the marketing hype you may be hearing and give you some solid (science-based) facts that I hope will help you make the right decisions.

Ask Steve

Ask Steve

November 22, 2023

Question from Alfred: I’m constantly told by salespeople that downgauging our stretch wrap will save us money. What are the risks (pitfalls/potential issues) of downgauging stretch wrap to reduce film costs?

Hi Alfred, I am sure everyone reading this has had the same thing presented to them at some point by a salesperson selling stretch film. While that may be true on paper, let’s explore what really happens when you downgauge film.

Ask Steve

Ask Steve

October 19, 2023

Question from Sally: We are experiencing a lot of load failures between our plant and warehouse, which is just about 5 miles away. There are no bumps, few turns, one stop light, and no hills. What could be causing the failures?

Hi Sally, I am very impressed with the great questions people in the industry are asking, and this is certainly one of them! Forces experienced during normal driving conditions (turning, start/stop, up and down hill) should not be sufficient to cause a load failure between your facilities if the pallets are properly wrapped. Let me explain why.

Ask Steve

Ask Steve

September 22, 2023

Question from Abby: How does stretch wrap machine condition affect load containment?

Hi Abby, that is a great question! I can confirm that machine condition will affect load containment, and in addition, it will affect your film usage. Now, let’s explore why machine condition is tied to load containment and film usage.

Ask Steve

Ask Steve

August 22, 2023

Question from Rob: How do the new high-performance stretch films compare to your Rapid Bander.

Hi Rob, great question, and one I am certainly not afraid to answer. For many years there was little advancement in stretch film technology because, after all, it’s just something you wrap around the product before it ships! More recently, when pressed by customers experiencing significant load failures, stretch film companies began looking closer at various resin blends to achieve higher performance. And by higher performance, I mean an improvement in load containment.

Ask Steve

Ask Steve

July 26, 2023

Question from Ray: I see that your Rapid Bander system uses 2 rolls of film as opposed to the normal 1 roll. Does it mean that each revolution of the machine counts for 2 wraps?

Hi Ray, thanks for the question and the opportunity to clarify something that a lot of people have misunderstood.

The quick answer: we apply one wrap for each revolution of load, not two. Or to put it another way, you are wrapping the pallet with a single web of film, formed from two layers provided by the two rolls. Now, let me explain why, even with two rolls, you are not applying more film to your pallet.

Ask Steve

Ask Steve

June 22, 2023

Question from Ted: We have stretch wrap machines, but I really don’t understand how they work. Can you explain the basic function and what adjustments can be made?

Hi Ted, thanks for a really great question. I have talked at length about stretch film and the physics of load containment, but have not really focused on the stretch wrap machine itself, which is an integral part of the process.

There are several types of machines in use, but they all have some basic elements in common.

Ask Steve

Ask Steve

May 18, 2023

Question from Ally: How much film do we need to apply to a pallet of our product for good load containment?

Hi Ally, and thanks for your question. Let’s start by defining the role that stretch film plays in load containment, and then we can get into more specifics.

First and foremost, the job of the stretch film is to prevent movement of product throughout the load. So, by definition, it must resist the forces which are applied to the load during transport. This is achieved in two ways:

Ask Steve

Ask Steve

April 25, 2023

Question from Jordan: Do the corners of the tier sheets poking through the stretch film affect load containment?

Hi Jordan, thanks for the question. I know this will come as a surprise, but there are two answers to this question.

Ask Steve

Ask Steve

March 16, 2023

Question from Eli: How much film should we be using to wrap our pallets?

Hi Eli, thanks for submitting your question! There are several factors that come into play when determining the right amount of film to apply. First and foremost is to identify what is most important to you. Limiting stretch film cost per pallet, preventing load failures during transportation (or in the warehouse), or reducing source material are the three main categories. For some, it may be increasing capacity or throughput, without adding facility, equipment, or personnel by reducing the number of wraps applied, although I know that does not apply in your case.

Ask Steve

Ask Steve

February 16, 2023

Question from Howard: Have you been able to duplicate your test lab results at customer locations?

Hi Howard, what a great question, and one I am sure is in the mind of anyone with whom we discuss a lab project. The short answer is yes, in every case we have been able to duplicate our lab results at customer locations, improving load containment, reducing film usage, increasing machine throughput, and saving them money.

There are several reasons that we have had such great success.

plastic pottles

in the news

March 1, 2023

less packaging, more sustainability

Food Technology Magazine talks about packaging reduction. They mention Rapid Rpoer Plus as a way to replace traditional solutions.

Read the full article here.

packaging reductions

in the news

February 10, 2023

6 Packaging Reductions That Don’t Increase Food Waste

Packaging Digest discusses three lightweighting techniques and three redesign innovations that reduce the amount of food packaging without a downside. They cite Rapid Roper Plus as an effective tactic for replacing heavier packaging materials.

Read the full article here.

Ask Steve

Ask Steve

January 19, 2023

Question from Jesse: Is the testing you do in your lab an ISTA test?

Thanks for the question, Jesse. It is a question that comes up often when customers send product to our lab for testing. The test protocol used in our lab is different from what is used by ISTA.

Ask Steve

Ask Steve

December 15, 2022

load containment follow up

We had a great response from the last Ask Steve post. Several of you asked about Total Applied Stretch and how it factors into load containment. So, I thought that would be an excellent follow up question to answer.

Ask Steve

ask steve

November 17, 2022

Question from Clint: Why do we have load failures, even when we meet our corporate force to load containment standard?

That is a great question Clint, and a very common issue (and one that is not well understood).

Rapid Bander

ask steve

October 18, 2022

If we switch to Rapid Bander could we reduce the thickness of our ECT box?

Today, we are more aware of the impact that our waste stream creates on the planet, and as a result, we are more focused on every opportunity we can find to reduce source content. Rapid Bander will certainly have a major impact in the reduction of stretch film used, but it can also open the door to downgauging secondary packaging.

Let’s start by understanding the function that the ECT (edge crush test) box provides.

Rapid Bander

solutions

October 13, 2022

Do you know the # 1 reason that your pallets fail during transit?

The answer is simple: Lack of load containment strength and stability.

Rapid Bander, Rapid Roper, and Rapid Roper Plus Sustainable Load Containment Systems deliver up to 300% greater load stabiity and reduce the economic cost per pallet wrapped by at least 25%. They also reduce stretch film usage and greenhouse gas generation by 40-60%.

Rapid Bander

Cost Savings

September 11, 2020

Do you know why rapid bander is better than your palletization Process?

The Rapid Bander® Sustainable Load Containment System reduces the economic and environmental costs associated with properly protecting hard-to-handle shipments. These include products that are heavy, unsteady, valuable, or costly to remediate in the event of load failures. Relevant applications include boxes, bottles, buckets, pails, drums, cans, sacks, and bags.

Rapid Bander

ask steve

September 9, 2022

Would a lighter gauge full web film provide more savings, or would we not be able to apply as much pre-stretch resulting in the same weight of film per pallet wrapped?

Hi Sherry, I really appreciate your question. Many purchasing professionals, like yourself, look for every opportunity to minimize their stretch film spend. This question shows you are really thinking outside the box!

Rapid Bander

Sustainability

August 18, 2022

What's the most sustainable stretch film?

It's the film that keeps your products securely on your pallets.

Rapid Bander

ask steve

April 14, 2022

Question from Fred: What is the optimum number of inches that you should wrap on the pallet itself to best secure the load to the pallet and not be damaged by forklift tearing film?

Hi Fred, let’s start with how we contain the load itself, then address attaching it to the pallet.

Rapid Bander

ask steve

March 17, 2022

Question from Gary: If cycle time is not an issue, do you get better overall value (containment & cost) by using thicker film with fewer revolutions or thinner film with more revolutions on average?

Hi Gary, That is a very good question and one that has been asked several times, so definitely something on people’s minds.

Rapid Bander

Sustainability

How the Right Packaging Can Help You Meet Your Sustainability Objectives

Concern for the environment is becoming less of a “hot topic” and more of a necessity. Whether through government regulation or company initiatives, companies are having to change the way they think about their ecological footprint.

Rapid Technologies

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