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Five ways pallet wrap is great for ecommerce

No Comments    |    , , ,     |    June 22, 2023    |    Reading time 5 minutes
Image of a man in a warehouse applying pallet wrap to secure a pallet of cardboard boxes ready for shipment.

Pallet wrap - sometimes called stretch wrap - is a well-known staple in the packaging industry. This flexible, plastic film has a stretchy elastic quality and an ability to elongate without tearing or being punctured. Add these qualities to the fact that it has a two-sided cling happy to adhere to anything and you have a material which is able to create a strong and robust tension.

When it's no longer required, pallet wrap can be peeled off and removed just as conveniently with little hassle despite its functional strength. If necessary, it can then be reused and nowadays, it’s also widely recyclable made as it is from single polymer. There are even companies out there who'll take shrink wrap off your hands and recycle it for you.

Different types of Pallet Wrap

There are two main types of pallet wrap - Cast Film and Blown Wrap - and both are cost efficient.

Cast film wrap is made using a thermo plastic material which makes it quick and easy to produce, so much so, that this type of wrap is the one dominating the global market. Manufactured all over the world means that prices remain highly competitive and an added bonus is that it's readily recyclable. There is one downside: cast film wrap may continue to stretch slightly after it has been applied meaning it provides slightly less security than blown film wrap, but all in all, it does an excellent job.

Blown film is the second type of wrap. During its manufacture, air is blown into the hot plastic enabling it to cool down more quickly resulting in it being more durable and not as likely to rip or tear. As a result of a glue additive, blown film wrap is especially sticky and although extra tackiness makes it noisy to remove, it's especially ideal for pallets that are going to be outside or exposed to the elements. Produced at the moment exclusively in the UK, it's the more expensive option of the two.

Whichever pallet wrap you go for, it will benefit your e-commerce business as well as the loads on your pallets. Here are The Packaging Club's top five reasons why:

1) Pallet wrap is a stabilising force

Versatile and easy to apply tightly, pallet wrap is perfect for large loads, most especially stacks of boxes. Once swathed in pallet wrap, boxes are transformed into a single entity, thus becoming far more compact, stable and manageable.

During transit, unforeseen movement - and indeed, movement in general - is always an issue. There’s the risk of loads banging into each other or toppling over and, as a consequence, the risk of products being damaged, damaging each other, or worst of all, damaging somebody. Held together firmly as one with the wrap tightly binding the boxes and the boxes sticking (temporarily) to the wrap, things are far more unlikely to move around during transportation, however long the route. Shipping damage is therefore minimised.

2) Pallet wrap is protective

When a pallet is shrink wrapped, not only does the tension of the wrap create a constricting, protective force around the load, but the wrap also shields whatever’s inside from external elements which could harm it. We're talking here about things over which we have little or not control, like moisture or UV rays. Pallet wrap also prevents loads from getting dusty or dirty and even from being scratched or scraped. Additionally, pallets that are wrapped are a lot easier, faster and safer to move around, both in the warehouse and during transit.

And speaking of transit, when you’ve invested so much in your product and its packaging, you want both components to reach your customers in pristine condition. Few customers are able to fully visualise the journey the product takes to get to them and might not appreciate that their order has had to spend time on a container ship or in a number of warehouse, all environments where it’s easy to be subjected to scrapes and knocks as well as accumulate dust and dirt. 

3) Pallet wrap is flexible

We’re not just talking about the material’s properties here (though it is this mechanical quality which makes it so popular), but also what pallet wrap can add to the bigger picture of order fulfilment.

See-through pallet wrap enables inspection to be undertaken with the minimum of hassle. Opaque on pallet wrap on the other hand does an excellent job at concealing the contents of a load thereby reducing the risk of pilfering. Colour code your plastic wrap and with very little effort, you have an effective, visual way of enhancing inventory control relatively inexpensively.

Whatever your storage and order fulfilment priorities are, pallet wrap can help provide part of the solution.

4) Pallet wrap is efficient and practical

Pallet wrap is a bit similar to that old kitchen favourite: cling film. It’s also just as easy to get to grips with, (although one disadvantage is that it's not suitable for covering up leftovers and with pallet wrap, you won't have to watch your fingers on the lethal serrated metal strip bit).

It's learnt its stars because it's just so practical and multi-functional (see reasons 1, 2 and 3). Additionally, less is required to do the same job as, for example, strapping or banding and it's quicker and easier to use. That said, it still pays to make sure your pallets are stacked correctly so the wrap can do the job it has been designed for to the best of its ability.

One further point: It may be worth considering purchasing a semi-automatic or automatic dispenser, especially if you're wrapping more than about twelve pallets a day. True, it's an investment, but such a machine will enable your operation to run even more smoothly.

5) Pallet wrap is inexpensive

Whichever type of plastic wrap you go for, it's not a costly packaging option. Coming in less expensive than other products like strapping, but also because it enables time-effective packing, fewer man hours and less man power is required. Like anything, you do get what you pay for, so bear in mind that cheaper pallet wraps require more wraps around the pallet to be just as effective and it can tear or stretch more easily. Good quality pallet wrap may be slightly more expensive, but it gives value for money in the long run providing excellent protection and peace of mind.

There you have it: five reasons why pallet wrap works so well for e-commerce businesses relying on the handy pallet, either for storage or delivery. If you want to check out The Packaging Club's high quality, high tensile strength hand stretch wrap, click here. Similarly, if you want to chat to us about anything packaging related, give us a call on 01234 414 775. And with that I think we can safely say, that's a wrap!

This article was written by...

Jo Hilton

I studied at the University of St. Andrews and have an MA in French and German. For a number of years, I worked for a Swiss financial institution and lived in Hamburg, London, Zürich and NYC before retraining as a primary school teacher and settling with my family in Cambridgeshire. When I'm not at school, I write content for various blogs and edit academic research articles for clients at ETH Zürich and the University of Munich. I'm also in the process of completing a Masters in Crime and Thriller writing at the University of Cambridge, so behind me you'll find a trail of fictional dead bodies and actual biscuit wrappers.

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