By: Nathan Dube on July 2nd, 2020
How To Reduce Stretch Film Costs By 20-50% By Upgrading Your Lantech Stretch Wrapper Gears
Are you purchasing machinery or materials for your packaging line? Feeling a bit of pressure to cut costs or save as much money as possible while also keeping a smooth running line?
Chances are, you’ve always been focused on reducing costs whenever possible. But in today's world, with so many businesses coming out of long periods of downtime, cutting costs is a top concern for practically everyone. There’s extra pressure from upper management to figure out how to save your company money.
You probably ask yourself on a daily basis, How can I cut costs today?
We know that the responsibilities of purchasing personnel today are stressful. Here at Industrial Packaging, we’ve worked with purchasing departments for decades to optimize their packaging lines and save money.
That is why, in this article, we are going to give you a few helpful cost-saving tips. Specifically, if you’re running a Lantech stretch wrapper, we are going to help you save between 20-50% on stretch wrapping film costs! Want to see proof of this in action? Review this case study we created based on our own experience!
Understanding Stretch Wrapping Film Costs
If you have been buying stretch wrapping film for a while, you understand that there are many different types of stretch film. You would also understand that specific differences between films such as gauge and roll length affect the cost of your films.
Generally speaking, the higher the gauge, the more costly the roll of the film.* The cost per roll will also increase the wider the roll is. Using thinner gauges will save you money.
* Many packaging companies suggest using lower gauges to reduce price, however, some believe in using higher gauges and removing revolutions around the pallet.
Done properly, this can result in higher containment force with less spins around the pallet and a lower cost. When using higher gauge films, there is also less chance of the film breaking or tearing so there is also less waste. Less waste equals dollars saved.
Do you know how much money you could save with an automated stretch wrapper?
The Role That Stretch Wrapping Machinery Plays
Depending on the type of stretch wrapper you have, you may or may not be able to run the full variety of stretch films. Not all machines can handle higher gauge films well and many machines cannot run thin films (45 gauge or less) without specific optimization of the machinery and operational protocols.
If your company is using thin films, continual preventative maintenance is key, more so than if you are running heavier gauge films (57, 63, 70). To save money here, you can either run thin films and have a preventative maintenance plan in place, or run thicker films and pay retail for break/fix.
As for which option is best for you to save money, that is based upon the volume of the wrap you are wrapping and the type of stretch wrapper you are using.
Load containment is another variable to consider when looking at the costs of running stretch film and looking for opportunities to reduce waste and cost. Load containment ensures a load is secured in place so that it can be shipped safely to the intended destination of delivery.
The process involves three items:
- The number of wraps on your load.
- The force of the wrapping (the amount of force applied on your stretch film).
- The gauge of your film.
To achieve maximum load containment, you must have a solid understanding of the different types of loads, and their containment factors.
There are three variations of unitized loads, these are organized by the types of containers or products being shipped and how they sit on top of the pallet. These include:
- A-Profile Loads: This type of load has a uniform shape and will have no protruding items present. They are easy to wrap and often feature similar types of containers and items loaded together.
- B-Profile Loads: This type of load is not as uniform and they may have puncture hazards present with less than three inches. They often have odd or irregular stacking patterns.
- C-Profile Loads: This is by far, the most difficult type of load to palletize. This type of load contains serious puncture hazards in excess of three inches. They are usually made up of mixed items that are often assembled in distribution centers for retail organizations (supermarkets, department stores and so on).
Many factors come into play when it comes to easy, user friendly containment practices; firstly, length x width x height. A larger width x height, makes load containment easier. When it comes to height, things can go either way. The height of a pallet may increase or decrease load containment depending on the weight as well as the perimeter. Ease of wrapping is based upon how the pallet is packed.
When wrapping pallets, you often have someone doing the work manually. Manual wrapping is when a human being wraps the film multiple times around the packages on the pallet with a hand tool called a stretch wrap dispenser.
The issue with this is that doing it this way is much slower and therefore more expensive. A human worker can only stretch the film at an average of about 10% to 20%. Mechanical stretch wrapping adds up to 200% to 300% to your stretch length! That equates to major cost savings because you are using less film!
Using mechanical stretch wrapping means that you are getting highly consistent load containment. The bottom line is that your products will arrive safely and securely at your customer’s location.
By using a stretch wrap machine, you’ll minimize film use and physical labor. These are two soft costs that help you save money on your stretch wrapping.
How To Reduce Stretch Film Costs By 20-50%
All the tips and tricks above are great ways to reduce your stretch wrapping cost. That being said, what’s next is the "secret sauce" to your cost-saving success.
If you currently run a Lantech stretch wrapper, it has a gear system inside that is made to last for the entire life of the machine under proper usage. Here is the thing though, you can upgrade these gears for about $100 and reduce film costs by 20-50%!
Here is the skinny on how this is possible:
- Most stretch wrappers come with a standard 200% pre-stretch gear. Therefore 10” becomes 30” when stretched.
- For around $100.00, you can buy upgraded gears.
- We would recommend 250% and 300% gears to replace the standard ones and test the loads with your current film or films that will provide the best performance with the new gears. This can be done by contacting one of our reps to determine what films to test.
- This could equate to a 20%-50% reduction in film costs.
- They may even have higher performance films that are lighter weight but perform equally as well with the potential for more savings.
This translates to:
- Fewer changeovers of rolls of stretch film.
- Fewer pallets to store in your warehouse.
- Fewer empty roll cores to dispose of.
- Lower cost per load of items wrapped.
You will need to know the model and the serial number of your wrapper prior to working with a packaging professional to help you analyze and swap out your gears.
Your rep will have tools that can monitor your production in real-time. This way you can see instantly what your rate of pallets wrapped is and if you’re hitting your target. You won’t have to wait for the end of the day or at lunch to crunch your numbers and you will be able to see your potential cost savings quickly.
Doing this will almost always save you a significant amount of money.
This is a relatively simple upgrade and one of which many buyers do not consider, or, in many cases, are completely unaware of.
If you are interested to see if your make and model of stretch wrapper qualify for these gear upgrades, please consider reaching out to one of our packaging experts. They will be able to help you figure out if your machine has the appropriate gear system for this simple cost-saving upgrade.
If you are not currently running a Lantech stretch wrapper and are due for an upgrade, you are going to want to seriously consider moving to a Lantech machine for your stretch wrapping needs. Lantech is one of the ONLY brands that allows for this gear upgrade and therefore, you can only get these epic cost savings from a Lantech stretch wrapper.
We can help you find the right vendor for this equipment even if we are not that vendor. We are here to help you buy the right equipment from the right people for your unique packaging needs.
About Nathan Dube
As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Industrial Packaging, I am honored to create content for such a phenomenal company and work with one of the greatest teams in the Packaging Industry. Whether creating a video, writing blog posts or generating other pieces of content and multimedia, I am always excited to help educate and inspire our prospects and clients to reach their highest potential in regards to their packaging processes and needs.