The end of the year is a smart time to think about big investments – like automation in your packaging and shipping process. Automated equipment purchases not only allow for tax savings for the current year, but also position you to start the new year ready to hit the ground running, growing your business, and fulfilling more sales.

Automated stretch wrappers provide better protection for your products and a safer environment for your workers. They also save costs in labor, materials, and time. Determining the right automation for your business will depend on the scale of your operation and your goals. Whichever route you go, here is a breakdown of the advantages to consider.

A fully automated stretch wrapper can handle as many as 100 loads per hour.

Stretch wrappers come in both fully or semi-automatic varieties and can be customized to handle bundled items of various sizes. Which option is the best for you? Semi-automatic models are ideal for businesses hand wrapping pallets all day long. These wrappers can automate that process up to as many as 20 loads per hour. Even if you only need to wrap 10 loads per hour, a semi-automatic wrapper could yield substantial savings. With a fully automatic model, your operator initiates the process, but the machine takes over from there. Loads are brought to the wrapper on a conveyor belt. The machine calculates the size; wraps, cuts, and seals the load; your forklift operator then picks it up and moves it on to the next stage. Fully automatic stretch wrappers can handle anywhere from 20 to 100 loads per hour and more.

Automatic stretch wrappers make your packaging and shipping process safer.

Automated wrappers increase safety in several ways. Because they ensure the wrap tension is consistently correct, the likelihood that boxes can shift and cause damage to products or create unsafe conditions for workers is greatly reduced. In addition, forklift operators can run an automated stretch wrapper by simply pulling a cord. If you consider that 20 percent of all forklift accidents involve pedestrians, it’s much safer to keep your operators on their forklifts and off the warehouse floor. Automation also reduces and even eliminates the occurrence of physical wear-and-tear injuries workers often suffer from strenuous repetitive tasks.

Automated pre-stretching makes stretch film go on stronger and last longer.

Films are designed to stretch as much as 300 percent (meaning one foot of film becomes four), which increases its tensile strength and effectiveness in holding items more securely in place.

By switching from hand wrapping to automated machinery, you can expect to cut your film usage by 30 percent or more. Because the machinery is more consistent in pre-stretching and applying the films than hand wrapping, you’ll be able to better predict how much film you need to purchase and store.

Automation helps you predict production volume more accurately.

Whether you’re looking at semi- or fully automatic machinery, introducing automatic wrapping is going to make your packaging process much faster and more consistent. Hand wrapping a five-foot or larger pallet is difficult, but a machine can handle that task in seconds. Obviously, hand wrapping is slower – but just how much slower will vary based on the skill and speed of the individuals doing the wrapping. These variables make it harder to set realistic goals around your packaging and shipping volume. Automation allows you to plan for sales and growth, knowing exactly how much volume your production line can handle.

Is an automated film wrapper right for your packaging process?

At Fastpak, we partner with you to help you optimize every aspect of your packaging and shipping processes. We have years of experience matching equipment and films to our clients’ unique needs. We’ll even customize machines for your specific uses, allowing for faster wrapping and less resetting. We provide stretch wrapping equipment and will support you the entire time you own your machines with ongoing maintenance and repairs.

To learn more about Fastpak’s commitment to customer success, visit our website. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call. We’re happy to talk with you about how we can help you optimize your packaging and shipping process.

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