All posts by Kary

Pack Expo 2017 – All Wrapped Up!

That’s a wrap, folks!

PMMI Pack Expo has concluded for the year!

Highlight had a wonderful and productive time at the show, and we hope you did too!

Highlight’s “Highlights” included:

  • Showcasing our new Portable HiLIFE System – for film, equipment and operator monitoring (more details will follow! Stay tuned!)
  • Showing the Voyager System paired with the Stretch Tools App – your personal Packaging Engineers built in to your stretch wrapper, and your mobile device!
  • Collaborating and meeting with numerous suppliers and distributors to continue to improve and build on our service and support lines
  • Meeting with new companies and showcasing Highlight’s stretch wrapping and case sealing capabilities, and providing solutions to improve their current packaging methods
  • And much, much more!

We’d like to thank our amazing team here at Highlight for all of their work; from set-up/tear down, meeting coordination, working the booth and making sure each of our guests were well taken care of.

We’d also like to thank each and every one of our guests at the show – we truly appreciate the time you spent with us, and can’t wait to assist you further with your packaging needs!

If you’d like more information about what systems Highlight had at the show, as well as our technology, click HERE.

If you didn’t get a chance to stop by and exchange information, and you are interested in Highlight’s offerings, email us HERE.

From all of us at Highlight, thanks for a great show, and we’ll see you in Chicago in 2018!


So you are sitting in high school math class studying the  Pythagorean theorem and wondering when am I ever going to use this……. the answer is: whenever you want to sell a stretch wrapper.  In determining how large of a turntable you will require for a particular pallet load, or if the pallet load will clear the machine while wrapping, we use Pythagorean theorem.

We all remember A squared + B squared = C squared.  Of course on your pallets, we do not have an A, B or C so think of it this way.  A = Length, B = Width and C=The load diagonal from one corner to the opposite through the middle of the pallet.  So lets do the math: In our example we will use a length of 48 (A) and a width of 42 (B) to find the diagonal (C).

In our example, it would look like this:

(48 x 48) + (42 x 42) = Diagonal Squared

2304 + 1764 = Diagonal Squared

4068 = Diagonal Squared

Take the square root of 4068, which equals 63.78.  Therefore 63.78 is the diagonal across the pallet and this is the number we would use to determine if the pallet is too large for the machine.

There is thankfully another way, load up the HLI Stretch tools and run the load diagonal program.  Simply put in your length and width and select calculate.  This will return 63.8, nothing could be easier.

load diagonal calculator


Download the Stretch Tools App for iPhone and iPad HERE

and for Android and Google Play devices HERE

Remember to contact us with any questions that you might have or any blogs that you might want to read in the future.  Just email us at





Who is Navin R. Johnson?

If you, like me grew up in the late 70’ and early 80’s you should know.  No, he is not Highlight Industries Director of R&D, or some Silicon Valley Software Engineer.  He is the inventor of Opti-Grab, a fictitious glasses support system in the 1979 movie “The Jerk”.

Navin, like Highlight Industries, was always seeking a better mousetrap.  So what could “Highlight’s Opti-Grab” possibly be? Voyager! Voyager has the ability to determine containment force, analyze film strength, save multiple wrap patterns and track film performance all on a unique film delivery platform that is unmatched in the industry.  This allows for the machine to essentially correct itself regardless of how you try to “trip” it up with adjustments and film changes.  Scroll to the bottom of this page to learn even more.

But wait there is more…Remember this scene?

On their date, Navin tells Marie (Bernadette Peters), “This is the best Pizza in a Cup ever, this guy’s unbelievable. He ran the old Cup O’ Pizza guy out of business”.  We at Highlight Industries also have the best “Pizza in a Cup”, it is called HiLIFE.  HiLIFE is a film monitoring system to understand all the factors that determine a stretch wrappers efficiency and productivity.  Although many claim to have a comparable system, few can match the accuracy of our monitoring.  Don’t be fooled by the old “Cup O’ Pizza” guys telling you that they can do it all and with a high degree of accuracy.  Our “Pizza in in a Cup”  (Highlight Industries HiLIFE) is a combination advanced algorithms, hi-tech electronics and 35 years of software development.  In fact, most film manufacturers worldwide use Highlight Industries Film Test Stands to determine their film quality and performance characteristics.  Best yet,  HiLIFE is Cloud based so it can be monitored anywhere in the world.  Take our reporting for a test drive here!

We all know that The Jerk is a Rags to Riches to Rags story, but for us it was about writing something fun and hopefully entertaining…..and unlike the original opti-grab, you will not go cross eyed.

Remember, if you have a question about your system hit us up at:

Happy Wrapping!


Visit Highlight Industries at the Pack Expo Trade Show!

invites you to


Register for FREE!

We’d love to have you visit Pack Expo at no cost! Here’s how:

• Click HERE to be taken to the PMMI Show Registration Page
• Click “REGISTER” and complete the registration process as an END USER
• Use Comp Code 19K95 at the end and your show registration fee will be waived!

We hope to see you there!

pack expo show prize

Highlight will be at Booth C-3840 with a variety of packaging equipment and technology – stop by and check out the solutions we have to offer!

If you can’t attend, be sure to check out our website and follow a live feed of Highlight’s events HERE and subscribe to this BLOG to receive an in-depth overview at the conclusion of the show!

Highlight vegas

How to handle a Machine Break-Down

Let’s talk machine break downs:

Kinda ironic that The Fixx sang One Thing Leads To Another, isn’t it?

It happens before you know it; not machine breaks, (which never happen at a good time) but you find yourself singing an 80’s diddy as you drive down the road and reminisce about days gone by. Just like when you took in you bright shiny machine and it ran like a clock. But like your body, with age and neglect, it breaks down.

What you cannot understand is how it has SO many things wrong with it (I’m talking the machine) when it ran so long so well (your body too).  It seems like yesterday that it was just in its prime.  Now your first daughter is married, the second is on deck and a third is in college (and your bank account reminds you of that fact daily). But I Digress.

You have your local service rep come in (factory trained of course) because you want the best for your diagnosis (still talking machine here).  They go through the examination and you are given a laundry list of items that are recommended to be replaced.  But it ran fine yesterday.

Leave it to the Fixx to provide the answer:

Just like with a twisted ankle, when you limp, you stress your good leg eventually causing a problem with that leg too.  What picks up the slack on your machine for its “twisted ankle”?

When machines become neglected, like your body, they break down.

Rest assured it will always be at a time that is best for you when it happens.  That is why at Highlight Industries we stress the importance of simple preventative maintenance on every machine (ours or not, stretch wrapper or not).  In the long run, you will save money.

This is also why Highlight offers the HiLIFE System – to help monitor your film, equipment, and operators and to alert you of any machine deterioration or abnormalities in its performance, as well as changes in settings or film. This allows you to perform less invasive maintenance on smaller issues, before they propagate into huge disasters.

Imagine if you had a system like that for your body… oh, the doctor visits it would save!

You can also schedule your downtime to make minor adjustments instead of having the machine break while your largest customer is waiting for a truckload of products.

Who would have known that the London based band formed in the late 70’s were such machinery visionaries?

Happy Wrapping, and remember: if you have a specific problem or question let our experts answer by emailing us at:

Re-Thinking Non-Powered Pre-stretch Stretch Wrappers

For years people have argued that powered pre-stretch stretch wrappers are a must.  WHY?

It’s simple really, because that is what we were all trained on years ago to sell a higher priced machine.  We also told everyone that 80 gauge film was a down gauged product (of course back then it was).
Now, just because you would run a 70 or 80 gauge stretch film on a powered pre-stretch machine (and in many cases a much lower gauge) does not mean that what is good for the goose (powered pre-stretch machine) is good for the gander (non-powered pre-stretch machine/core brake machine).
Allow me to expand….First we must look at the machine types and determine how they work to get a basic understanding of the fundamentals.  To make it easy for me we will use a simple graphic of a bicycle.  As you can see below, each time you pedal with your legs, the sprocket labelled A will go one complete turn.  Because of the differential in the size of the sprockets between sprocket A and sprocket B, B will turn perhaps 2 times around.
Now lets apply these basics to a stretch wrap machine.

Powered Pre-Stretch:

  1. Our Legs are replaced by an electric motor
  2. So every time the motor turns sprocket A one time, sprocket B turns twice.
  3. NOW if each sprocket was attached to a roller that carried film, and they are the same size, for every rotation of sprocket A, B would turn twice which would create a stretch between the rollers of 100%.
  4. The force it requires to stretch the film is absorbed by the motor. Therefore with a POWERED PRE-STRETCH machine you can lay the film on loose like a dust cover, or so tight it either breaks the film or crushes the product being wrapped.

NON-Powered Pre-Stretch

  1. The film is pulled through the rollers and attached to the pallet to be wrapped.
  2. So every time the motor turns sprocket A one time, sprocket B turns twice
  3. In the above sprocket example, you will still get 100% stretch but not the pallet will rotate pulling the film out f the machine.
  4. The force it requires to stretch the film is absorbed by the PALLET OF PRODUCT.  Therefore with a NON-POWERED PRE-STRETCH machine you can only wrap pallets in film that have the stability to stay in-tact while forces are applied equal to what it takes to stretch the film.
  5. EXCEPTION TO THE RULE – Core brake technology does not use gears and sprockets to change the stretch, they incorporate a braking method on the roll carriage that will create resistance.  Changes to the brake tension will create changes in stretch.


Stated in a more simple manner, when utilizing a NON-Powered Pre-stretch system, all of the force is absorbed by the pallet of product.  Regardless of it is a geared system or a braking system, the force is applied to the load.
As you can imagine, if I have an 80 gauge film and a 45 gauge film, they will take different force to stretch them both the same amount.  As wise man has taught me over the years “There is no replacement for mass”, so it is most likely the 80 gauge will require more force to stretch 200% than a 45 gauge.  So what does that mean to you, the consumer?  You will get less containment with a 45 gauge film than an 80 gauge because it takes less force to stretch it to its maximum point of elongation, or it will break with less force than the 80 gauge.


Because of what we just discussed regarding film and the types of stretch machines available, what is right for your Non-Powered Pre-Stretch machine?  Lets take the following items into consideration:

  1. What is the value of the load being wrapped?
  2. How far is it travelling?
  3. How is it being shipped?
  4. What is the weight of the pallet load being wrapped?
Now that you answered those questions, consider that if I wrap on a Powered Pre-stretch machine at 250%  (which is stretching the film from 10″ to 35″ before the film leaves the machine) I may start with an 80 gauge but it is a 30 gauge possibly as it is applied to the pallet (as the film thins while being stretched).With a Non-Powered Pre-Stretch it may only stretch it using a core brake (which will not allow for more force than the pallet can withstand without the film pulling the pallet load apart) that 80 gauge may only allow for me to stretch 30% (or 10″ to 13″).  This film would be applied on the pallet at a 70 gauge (as the film will thin as it stretches).

MY SOLUTION: Apply the 45 gauge so it stretches 125% (again, determined by the force you can apply without pulling your pallet load apart). All of the force is applied to the load giving you excellent containment force and as the film is thinned and applied it is probably in the area of the same thickness of the Powered Pre-Stretch applied film.

WHY DO THIS:  It all boils down to ROI (return on investment), if you are wrapping under 30 pallets a day, this is a very viable, justifiable process with tremendous labor savings and typically a great return on film as compared to hand wrapping.



Heat sealers on stretch wrappers grinds my gears!

Shouldn’t you handle the film correctly and NOT put that bandage on the open wound?

Image result for grinds my gears

Wait, how can that be?  Doesn’t Highlight Industries make heat sealers? The answer is: rarely.

Let’s pull back the curtain and show why they are not always needed with Highlight Industries machinery. 

Heat sealers are to seal the film to itself after the pallet has been wrapped.  Sounds simple enough right?  The rub for most is the two primary types of systems out there.  The first is a heated roller that rolls down the side of a pallet (on an automatic conveyor) and melts the film layers together.  The second is a heated tamp pad (typically mounted in the same position).

The problem:

  • Heated Roller : These in theory are great but the combination of heat and the roller make it hard to properly regulate the heat and hold the narrow band between not hot enough and too hot.  Additionally the roller is a high wear item so these have proven to be unreliable and a maintenance headache.
  • Heated Tamp : Although more stationary and fewer moving parts the problem is in transferring a pallet into the area and stopping it in order to heat your seal band.  Costly in throughput and almost equally as unreliable.


The Solution:

Highlight typically will offer you the following deal: if you try our system and feel as though you still need a heat sealer, we will provide it.  In years of building machines, we have built very few!   Go ahead and ask, WHY?

We incorporate Dual Powered Hydro Stretch (DPHS) systems into some of our machinery as our film stretch method (we’ll explain more on this below).  By stretching film at 200%, others will take the tacky film and stretch every 10” into 30” taking all of the tackiness of the film and spreading it out, making it ineffective of holding the film together and creating a film tail (which will impact any automatic handling devices in your production).

Highlight Industries DPHS will have complete control over the film and stretch percentage.  It is really quite simple…reducing or eliminating the stretch at the end of the pallet wrap process (for only a couple of feet of film) will not only reduce the amount of film breaks (we will expand on this in another blog) But it will also keep all of your tackiness together.  The end result is film tails that stay in place. 

Combine that with the wiping process as the pallet exits and you are set for the life of the pallet.  Now you are putting the film to work the way it was intended to be used when you bought it.

Do you have questions about film breaks or anything else? EMAIL ME HERE and we can discuss any breakage issues that you are experiencing.

Happy Wrapping!






The Containment Force Awakens Part 2

 Welcome back to our saga on Containment Force…

We left off with this important question: How will you know whether or not the standards you’ve set using Stretch Tools’ recommendations are being adhered to or not?

Much like secret plans exposing faulty exhaust vents, the HiLIFE System will give you A New Hope when it comes to knowing about system performance, as well as measuring the parameters that make a difference in the safety and economics of your loads, including Applied Stretch, which is the most accurate way to determine your Containment Force. Forget what you thought you know about measuring pre-stretch only.

As a famous Jedi Packaging Master once said:

yoda containment force
As the Packaging Masters know, measuring pre-stretch only doesn’t factor in relaxation, post stretch, or slippage. Applied Stretch, as measured with HiLIFE, is the only way to ensure accuracy in your wrapping.

You’ve now completed your training – you’ve learned to utilize the wisdom from Stretch Tools to provide you with your Containment Force. You’ve acquired your weapon, the tool you’ll use to combat poor containment by data acquisition, and you’ve been guided under the Master, HiLIFE, to monitor performance and maintain your standards.

You are no longer a Packaging Padawan, but a Packaging Master.

With these components working in harmony, you will ensure the balance of Containment Force, and ultimately the reduction in damage, and the savings on film.

The Dark Side of Packaging – damaged product, wasted time, wasted money – will not prevail so long as you stay at the ready with your knowledge, and there will be peace in the galaxy warehouse.

jedi containment force


The Containment Force Awakens, Part 1

star wars highlight intro
The need for the Force has been reawakened….

containment force awakens

All too often, Containment Force is either looked over as unimportant, or the Force is not properly balanced or calculated, and load failures occur.

CONTAINMENT is KEY. Accuracy and repeatability is required when determining it, but how are you supposed to know what is right for your loads, and how are you supposed to achieve a balanced Force and reduced damage?

Balanced Force
Manual systems rely on operators to perform tests and determine Containment, but operators can influence tests, either purposefully or accidentally.

Highlight has the solution: our line of film testing equipment, along with the technology in our Stretch Tools App, will help you Master the Force and get you well on your way to proper load Containment, damage reduction, and film savings.

Starting with the Stretch Tools App, the inner strength of Highlight’s packaging knowledge. You could say that the knowledge from Stretch Tools is what allows us to be one with the Containment Force….
Related image
Stretch Tools contains powerful and easy to use tools based on over 30 years of research and experience. With the power at your fingertips, you can calculate the proper Containment Force for individual styles of loads, and determine how much film will be used on that load, the cost to wrap, and much more.

The most effective and efficient way to understand containment is to understand how the film’s forces are applied to your load. You’re still a padawan learner, but even padawans need weapons.

Highlight’s Portable Film Force System is your lightsaber; portable and wieldable, the PFFS will take operator influence out of the equation, providing you with real time data on Containment Force as well as puncture resistance on your wrapped loads. It can, and should go with you everywhere you go. The PFFS is the best tool to collect data on your loads, and ultimately combat poor Containment.

glowing pffs

But how can you ensure that even after you measure your load’s Containment, your machine keeps up with the standards set and tested, day after day, year after year?

Image result for to be continued














Highlight’s Freedom Automatic – Built to Last

Highlight Industries recently visited a customer to talk about adding a new high speed automatic wrapper to their packaging line.

They currently have two of Highlight’s Freedom 6500 automatic rotary arm stretch wrap systems, built in 1996 – 21 years ago!

They also have a 1 year old non-Highlight high speed automatic, which they are not pleased with – and looking to replace.

During Highlight’s visit, we evaluated the machines and came up with some numbers that help illustrate how Highlight machines are built to last:

Between the two old Highlights, one had run 661,000 cycles and the second had run 857,000 cycles.

The second Freedom’s carriage traveled a total distance of 35,600 miles, which is far enough to go around the earth 1.43 times!

Related image

Both Highlight machines are still running well, and with a little service, which our distributor is planning to do, they should keep running for many more years.

To add to the customer’s army of  Freedom machines, Highlight is quoting that same robust technology that can circle the earth, and we’re also talking about adding the HiLIFE system, which is the latest technology from Highlight to monitor your system and load performance.

So we’re crossing over from the past to the future, keeping what works and improving it with state-of-the-art technology.

Highlight has countless success stories like this one – machines proving themselves time and time again, running for years, and putting customers at ease about their product protection. This is just another example of Highlight’s heavy duty equipment.