Don’t Buy A Stupid Stretch Wrapper 4: YOU ARE IN CONTROL

So, you have taken the necessary steps, but how do you know nothing will change with your new method?

Lets review the steps taken so far.  You have DEFINED the problem and admitted that you could be better at wrapping.

We walked through MEASURING your current methods to establish a baseline.  Additionally you used the ISTA to ASTM methods to ANALYZE your systems.

Then you IMPROVED your methods (and hopefully wrote the specifications for your packaging).

Now to CONTROL the changes.  There are several methods to verify that the settings of the machine are maintained.  They could range from on board monitoring systems, to cut and weighs, to continued containment testing.

The theory of all is that by wrapping consistently you will utilize the same amount of film on identical pallets.  By incorporating any of the methods into a customer’s PM routine, you will use consistency as your control.

control excellence

Lets expand on the various methods of measuring and how they work: The first is ON BOARD MONITORING.  This system will measure film as it’s applied to the load and report back to the customer via close based servers.  This is the best and most accurate method as it will allow customers to view the data in multiple ways.  It could be linear footage, amount of stretch, cost per load…..the list goes on and on.

The second method is the STRETCH FILM CUT AND WEIGH TEST.  The principle here is the same, but the control is the weight of the film.  You purchase film by the roll, but the resins that make the film are actually sold by the pound.  Using weight is an excellent method to verify cost per load and consistency of wrap.

The last method is CONTAINMENT.  This method is also very accurate as every revolution of film on a pallet will increase the containment force.  By measuring containment, you can verify that your wrapper settings have remained set to specifications.

The last method that can be used is a visual inspection of machine settings; but know that if there has been a film change, or as the machine wears, it will become inconsistent in performance. Different films stretch at different forces; putting on a softer film but leaving the machine at the same mechanical settings will increase film yield but decrease containment force.  Wear, well that speaks for itself, all things eventually wear.  The more play in your roll carriage bearings, the more film can slip through your roll carriage costing you money.  As a side note, this is also an issue with some film monitoring systems.  Because of how film is measured, they cannot account for slip.

Well, that wraps up our “Don’t Buy a Stupid Stretch Wrapper” series.  I hope that you enjoyed it and feel slightly smarter than you did prior to reading this.

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DBASSW Bonus: The Magnetic Film Finger

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you this important announcement from our sponsor: HIGHLIGHT INDUSTRIES.

So you have been trucking along reading about how to improve your pallet wrapping and now a commercial, no fast forwarding through this like its on your DVR.  This is that infomercial that may actually help you, so don’t consider this a commercial, think of it as sponsored learning.

While we spent time talking about the method of adjusting your machine, there are some additional tools that you may want to make note of.  Since I try to have some fun while writing bear with me while I channel my inner Ron Popeil.

I’m not going to paddle a screen door bottomed canoe around a lake that has been sprayed with a new tangled sealant, or spray paint my head yet, but wait, there’s more!

From the inventor who brought you such great things like Dual Powered Hydro-Stretch, Revolver Wrappers, Synergy Wrappers and everyone’s favorite the Predator Wrapping Family, we have the revolutionary new craze that is taking stretch wrapping by storm:  The Highlight Industries  Magnetic Film Finger, for when dialing in your containment force is too difficult to do because you just cant seem to get enough force without breaking the film!  Magnetic Film Fingers (MFF) are not made of space age materials and are not coated with impregnable Peruvian Yak Hair to limit wear.

film finger

But they are easy to use and their benefit is unmatched.  Mounting to most steel, they can be positioned on roll carriages and bases to provide a small roll of film which is more resistant to tear and propagation.  It’s simple, place the film finger in a position on your machine which allows for the roles end to fold the edge of the film over on itself.

 Seeing is believing, so watch below to see the MFF in action:

 

And watch here to see the MFF used as a bottom roper:

Also know that after your testing is complete, Highlight Industries can provide you a set of adjustable permanent fingers for some styles of machine. Machine sold separately.

 

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Blog.

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DBASSW Part 3: Improving your Method

Improving you method.

Are you having shipping damage?  Most everyone does, so if you answered no to the question: Congratulations! You are an exception, or perhaps ignorance is bliss.  Perhaps you should be filling the blogosphere with your wisdom…..or you can continue reading.

So now you are armed and dangerous with your Test Kit and you have the Highlight Stretch Tools Application on your Mobile Device.  Now what?  Well, you may ask yourself: “Self, this is great information but how do I use it?”

From here on it it may get challenging, but hey, you are up to the task! You already have shown a willingness to learn by reading our Blog!  Compare your containment test numbers to the numbers from the Highlight Stretch Tools App, Do they match?  In most cases, they do not.  I would guess that the Stretch Tools App has given you a higher number than you recorded using the ASTM D-4649-03 Annex A1 approach .  That is okay, we can fix that.  If the Stretch Tools App has given you a lower number than you record, great.  Again, you may be an exception but also know that you could improve also.  In fact, you may have too much film on your product and there could be a savings to be had here.

uneven-film-application

In both cases you can modify your wrap patterns (number of top and bottom wraps or the amount of film overlapping itself going up and down and turntable speed) and wrap force (the film force dial on the machine that makes the film loose or tight).

By adjusting these settings you will dial in your machine to match the Stretch Tools App.  There is some art to it but stick with it, you are about to become your company expert.  After you make a change, wrap a pallet, measure using the ASTM method and tools and see where you are against the ISTA (Highlight Stretch Tools App).  Once you are dialed in on your machine you are on the path to damage reduction or film savings!

Here’s a novel idea, write up your company’s packaging specifications based upon your findings.

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Don’t Buy a Stupid Stretch Wrapper: 2

ESTABLISHING YOUR BASELINE IN STRETCH WRAPPING.

In part 2 we are going to talk about establishing a baseline. Perhaps you have heard some of these statements: “Without Data you are just another person with an opinion” – Dr. Deming.dr deming stretch wrap

Or the words of Lord Kelvin, “If you cant measure it, you cant improve it.”
kelvin stretch wrap

First, lets define containment force with regards to pallet stretch wrapping. When you wrap your pallet with stretch film, you have the decision of how much force you want that film to squeeze your pallet with. You can wrap the pallet very loosely, which will allow for only a dust cover, or you can really pull the film tightly. The pressure that the film applies to the pallet is containment force.

Read more about containment force and stretch film properties HERE.

Unlike others who design special tools to measure containment, Highlight Industries conforms to ASTM D4649-03 Annex A1. This is a documented and repeatable method to measure containment on your pallets. (Please note that we also offer tools to allow you to measure your containment).

You may ask yourself, “Self, why would I want to use this method instead of others who may incorporate a cool gadget?”

The answer is simple: Highlight Industries helps you develop your packaging standards. Isn’t it important to have a nationally recognized living document that is available to provide your customers on exactly what you have done? Instead of them having to buy custom measuring tools that may not be clearly documented in their methodology, and could also allow for user variances.

For more information and tools to help you measure your containment, please contact Highlight Industries. Tune into the same Bat Channel and at the same Bat Time to read Part 3 of our Series….Improving your methods.

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Don’t Buy A Stupid Stretch Wrapper

Don’t buy a stupid stretch wrapper (from a stupid stretch wrapper company)!
Part 1

They all go round and round round and up and down right?
Wrong!

How you stretch wrap your pallets will make or break your customer’s relationship with their customer, and ultimately their relationship with you!

Image result for business relationships

At Highlight Industries, we pride ourselves in taking a scientific approach to stretch wrapping pallets. Over the years, salespeople have all been trained that if pallets fail, the solution is to put more wrap on the pallet. Maybe more at the top, maybe more at the bottom; perhaps, eliminate the vibration in the middle. uneven stretch film application

This ‘solution’ can be inconsistent, inefficient, and potentially costly. There has never been a “this is how you do it” fix… until now.

Introducing the Highlight Industries stretch tools App!

Among other things, such as a mil to gauge convertor, diagonal calculator, 20 vs 30 film comparison, cost to wrap, etc,  the Stretch Tools App has a containment force calculator.

containment force calcuation

You may ask yourself, “self, what does that do?” The answer is: Highlight Industries Containment Force Calculator will take important criteria (load value, dimensions, distance to be shipped, etc) and deliver an estimated containment requirement (the force that provides to hold your products in place), as well as the estimated amount of film that should be used to wrap the load and achieve this containment requirement.

Containment force

The Stretch Tools App eliminates the guess work when wrapping. You’ll always have the correct amount of film to keep your products safe; not so little that it falls apart, and not so much that you’ll be wasting money over-wrapping.

This app is available in Apple and Android versions.

So while other companies try to tell you the importance of containment, Highlight Industries shows you the amount required……very smart!

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Elastic Properties of Stretch Film

Stretch film does not get tighter over time.

When an elastic material is deformed due to an external force (example: your hands stretching a rubber band, stretching film), it experiences internal forces that oppose the deformation and restore it to its original state (the rubber band ‘pushing’ back after you slack on stretching it, film ‘relaxing’)  if the external force is no longer applied.

elastic rubber band

 

This is elastic recovery. Elastic recovery exudes constant pressure until the original state of the elastic item is attained.

This pressure is what keeps items tightly bound when it comes to stretch wrapping loads (or binding items with rubber bands). This ability to tightly bind pallets and products is why stretch film is such an effective packaging option.

This constant pressure also means that constant force is also being applied to whatever is halting full elastic recovery.

As seen with tests run on Highlight’s Film Test Stand: Labview Document

If that force is great enough, when applied over time, it can crush particles in items such as boxes, containers, and even watermelons. In the case of stretch wrapping, this is why pre-stretch levels, film force, and containment force are so important: you want enough force to contain your products, but not so much that you damage them.

Crushed load

 

Stretch film (and rubber bands) do not get tighter over time – it is the recovery of the elastic properties that create pressure and force necessary to contain loads. And if the force is too great, this pressure can also crush melons.

 

 

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Everyone should try to “Catch One of These Predators”

Sit down Chris Hansen, these PREDATOR STRETCH WRAPPERS are eating the competition. Predator Pallet Wrap Machines are hands down the best value in the industry. Available in multiple levels, we have the correct machine for your company. If you are just starting out and looking for your first pallet wrapper, try the PREDATOR SS.

Predator® SS Semi-Automatic Turntable Stretch Wrapper with Simplified Stretch

Simple and easy to use, the Predator® SS is the affordable solution to stretch wrap your load without stretching your budget. The Predator® SS is loaded with features, including top and bottom counters, photo eye, and two (2) wrapping modes.

State-of-the-art INFO screen shows current machine operation and makes troubleshooting easy. The Simplified Stretch allows you to precisely adjust your stretch level and film force on your load with the turn of a knob.

If you are looking to step up and take advantage of a powered pre-stretch system, The PREDATOR XS (and it’s X-tra Stuff) may be right for you.

predator-xs-01

Predator® XS Semi-Automatic Turntable Stretch Wrapper 

The Predator® XS is designed with extra features that surpass all preconceived notions of performance and value in semi-automatic systems.

The Predator® XS provides greater film savings as well as improved performance with Select-Stretch™. Allen-Bradley PLC, automatic film cut, AC drives, and Fast Film Feed make the Predator® XS the most advanced and reliable system available.

Perhaps you are ready to step up to a fully automatic machine, PREDATOR PLATINUM is what the doctor ordered.

Predator® Platinum Fully Automatic Turntable Stretch Wrapper

The Predator® Platinum improves productivity by automatically wrapping loads with just the push of the remote.The automatic film attach, cut, and wipe down is the most advanced in the industry and improves productivity by up to 40%.

The Predator® Platinum is a true fully automatic system with built-in features for increased productivity that are not available on other simpler automatics.

Please contact Highlight Industries to determine which is best for your application. 1.800.531.2465

Highlight Worldwide

Highlight is the world leader in stretch film testing and load containment technology, and we just completed our Worldwide Technology Tour.

March 24, 2015 – NPE in Orlando, Florida

Highlight presented at the ExxonMobil Technology Symposium

 

April 7, 2015 – ISTA Transpack Forum in Orlando, Florida

Highlight presented on new research for predicting load stability at the 3 day conference on Transport Packaging. We also exhibited at the Equipment Supplier’s Forum.

 

April 13, 2015 – Ergis Group, Poland

Has 2 Highlight Test Stands and portable load cell testing systems and has been using Highlight technology for over 10 years. We reviewed the European Containment Standards.

 

April 15, 2015 – AMI Conference, Cologne Germany

Presented ‘Stretch Film Testing Methods for Improved Load Containment’ and met with resin producers from 23 countries.

 

April 20, 2015 – Universal Packaging, New Zealand

Universal Packaging, who currently uses Highlight’s portable film testing systems, met at our Grand Rapids, Michigan Headquarters to look into investing in the Highlight Test Cube for containment testing.

 

April 23, 2015 – DOW Chemical’s Materials University, Freeport Texas

Event at DOW’s facilities focused on flexible packaging processing and materials testing. Highlight presented to groups of industry professionals on the use and significance of stretch film as a unit load stabilizer.

 

In the last 60 days Highlight met with resin companies and film companies from around the world to share the most advanced stretch film and load containment technology available. We are always continuing our efforts to bring you the highest quality, highest value, and highest technology test systems in the world.

High Speed Wrapping and Film Breakage

with Luke Venechuk, Sr Packaging Engineer

speed dial pic

What happens when films are run at high wrapping speeds? Why do films breaks increase so much for these applications? Will the same film perform differently at differently at 12, 24, and 40 RPM?

There are some people in our industry that believe film breaks increase at high speeds because the film heats up and lose its integrity. To find out whether this theory is correct Highlight ran films at different speeds and measured its properties to compare.

The graph below shows a single film being ran at speeds equivalent to 12, 24 and 40 RPM:

graph pic

 

In the graph above we can see that the force to stretch the film (on the left-hand Y-axis) increases slightly as the application speed increases, this is about a 2% increase if we look at the force to stretch at 200% (stretch level is the bottom X-axis, and 200% is within the middle red circle).

We can also see that the stretch at break or ultimate stretch does not change significantly (the right hand red circle).

The increase in force is due to the fact that we’re doing the same work, stretching the film to the same level, in a shorter amount of time, which means we have to pull a little harder to end up with the same result.

There are some small differences that take place for the film at different speeds, but it’s certainly not anything that would cause the film to break.

So what is causing film breaks at high speeds?

Highlight found that the cause of most film breaks at high application speeds is due to poor corner compensation. Corner Compensation is a system within most stretch wrappers that increases the film payout rate for the corners of the load and slows the film speed on the sides of the load while wrapping, usually by changing the speed of the prestretch rollers throughout the wrap cycle

Here’s a top view of a rotating load:

rotating load pic

Corner Compensation is needed as the film demand is constantly changing as the four-sided load rotates. Here’s an example of a changing demand rate through one revolution of wrapping:

graph 2

As we wrap faster and faster, the equipment has less time to change its film speed, so the rate of acceleration for the film delivery gets exponentially higher.

At 12 RPM the film goes from 131 to 200 ft/min in .66 seconds. At 50 RPM the film goes from 550 to 835 ft/min in .16 seconds.

graph 3

This rapid acceleration creates more stress and is the reason why we see more film failures at high wrapping speeds. This is compounded by the fact that many corner compensation systems perform worse as they age, becoming “out of sync” with the wrapping needs of the rotating load.

What’s the solution to all of this?

The correct approach with the film or the equipment can reduce these film breaks.

For the film: high ultimate stretch levels allow films to absorb sudden spikes in stretch levels without breaking. It may be possible that very stiff films will resist stretching when exposed to spikes in stress.

For the equipment: The best solution is to fix the corner compensation system. Highlight responds to corner demand and changing film feed rates without the constant acceleration and deceleration of the prestretch roller, where the most stress on the film occurs. By moving our corner compensation from the high stress area of the prestretch section to the low stress area after that we can almost completely eliminate film breaks due to corner compensation at high speeds.

For more information visit www.highlightindustries.com or call us at 800-531-2465

 

Machine Spotlight: Complete Inline System

Highlight builds many custom inline systems and specialized machines to help customers with their specific packaging challenges.

Model:

Revolver R36 Orbital Stretch Wrapper, Custom Magnum 4500 SD-R Top and Bottom Case Sealer, Saturn SAS-3600 SS Side Strapping System.


Industry:

A gear and drive motor manufacturer.


Primary Project Challenge:

Provide an economical and efficient alternative to costly foam-in-place packaging while protecting product and readying it for transit.


Problem Solving Features:

This specialized inline system creates a smooth path for the product to travel down, starting with the Revolver system centering the product and securing it to a corrugated base with stretch film, providing an inexpensive and protective package.

The package then goes to the Magnum case sealer where a case is placed over the product on the corrugated base, and then taped using two bottom tape heads and one top tape head.

The product, now sealed in a case, moves onto a special conveyor that shifts the product to one side to enter the Saturn strapper, which applied three consecutive straps to ensure the product stays in its case. The straps are heat sealed on the side so as to not interrupt the conveyor flow.


Watch the system in action: