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Pallet wrap. Stretch wrap. Shrink film. What's the difference? And how do you know which one to use for​ which job? Our short guide will help you understand the subtle differences between packaging materials - and how to get the most out of each.

What is pallet wrap?

pallette wrap roll

Pallet wrap stretch film is exactly what it sounds like - a type of plastic film that can be stretched, either by hand or wrapping machine, around a pallet.

While it is most often used to secure goods for transportation, pallet wrap has many other uses; it can be used in horizontal spiral wrapping machines to bundle or protect a range of goods and freight items. This technique is widely used for aluminium extrusions and timber moulding to wrap and bundle together. It's also a popular method of bundling flat pack cabinets in the kitchen industry.


What's the difference between pallet wrap and pallet shrink wrap?

shrink film pallette wrap

Pallet wrap is often referred to by a range of different names - including ‘stretch film’ and ‘stretch wrap’ etc. However, there is actually a difference between pallet wrap and other similar films.

Specifically, it's the ability for pallet shrink wrap to stretch and then pull back in - similar to a rubber band - that sets it apart. This particular trait is one that most other types of plastic wrapping lacks.


How can you tell which pallet wrap film is right for the job?

wrapping pallette manually

The answer to this question depends entirely on what you are trying to wrap. In general however, the more you can stretch the film, the tighter the wrap will be. A pallet wrap that stretches well ensures the wrapped load is tightly secured to the pallet, reducing the chance of breakages and other damage to your goods in transit.

So when selecting wrapping materials, it's smart to choose a supplier with a wide range of pallet wrap films. This way, you can choose a higher-end film for a tighter fit for your goods. Or if you're wrapping goods but not transporting them, you can select a lower-cost option that better fits your budget.

Most suppliers will only stock a single film and try to apply it to most machines. At ITT Jetpak however, we are able to supply a specific material for each machine which in turn will reduce costs. For example, our hand-stretch films are designed to be easy to use and cost-effective - reducing the amount of film used per pallet.

water bottles wrapped in pallette wrap

Our ‘high performance’ range of films can be used on semi and fully automatic power pre-stretch machines. These films are designed to stretch much further than standard films (up to 300% further) to enable reduced costs and increased load stability. Their improved stretch-ability also comes with an enhanced puncture resistance. The result is reduced downtime for fully automatic equipment and a much more secure load.

Our machine rolls come in many different types to suit the many types of machines available. Our films are designed to be used on brake type machines where the maximum amount of stretch obtained is only up to 100%. These films will reduce film use by around 30% when compared against normal ‘standard’ stretch films. They will also provide a more stable pallet thanks to their strength and memory.

Selecting the right pallet wrapping machine for the job

Using the proper materials for your pallet wrapping job is just one important factor in achieving the results you want. The other thing to ensure you get right is your choice of wrapping machine - and ensuring that machine is of a sufficient standard.

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