What Are the Choices in Manual Pallet Wrapping?

Patrick Lee

The best pallet wrappers of all are either semi or fully automatic machines that are equipped with amenities such as automatic turntables and height sensors. You can simply place a skid full of merchandise on the turntable and push a button and the pallet itself will spin while the machine dispenses plastic wrap around the load and stops exactly at the top when the automatic sensor is tripped.

However, your business may not have the volume to require wrapping machines, or you may need a wrapping apparatus that can be brought to the pallets, rather than bringing the fully loaded pallets to a wrapping machine.

This leaves hand wrapping as the best choice for your business. However, you have options even within the scope of hand wrapping.

What are your choices in manual skid wrap?

If you only need to wrap a pallet of merchandise on rare occasions to prepare the goods for shipment or storage, a simple roll of plastic stretch wrap will suffice. This is not the plastic wrap used for wrapping leftovers, but a thicker 80 gauge plastic film.

To wrap a pallet with stretch wrap, it would help to have a roll of plastic postal tape available. All you need to do is unwrap the end of the roll of stretch wrap and tape it to the pallet with postal tape.

You will then loosely grasp both ends of the roll and pull it around the bottom perimeter of the load, letting the stretch wrap unravel as you travel around the load. Wrap a few layers around the bottom before you gradually start to unravel the wrap in a diagonal position to move upward on the load.

Unravel the wrap in a gradual upward motion, circling the load, until you reach the top of the load. You will them wrap multiple layers around the top of the load to secure it for storage or transport.

If you find that it is difficult to hold the raw ends of the stretch wrap as it unravels, you can choose to upgrade to a roll of stretch wrap with handles included. This is simply stretch wrap rolled tightly around a strong cardboard tube, with separate plastic handles that fit over the tube ends.

As the roll unravels, the tube ends spin inside the plastic handles instead of your bare hands, which is much more pleasant for your hands.

However, this upgrade still doesn't protect you from the dizziness that is the result of walking backwards in a perpetual circle as you unravel the stretch wrap around the load, or the back strain of bending over to wrap the bottom portion of a load.

Enter the stretch wrap dispenser pole

This is a most useful yet simple accessory for manual skid wrapping. A roll of stretch wrap is connected to the dispenser that is designed to allow the roll of wrap to spin freely around a round pole.

This allows the worker to wrap the bottom of a pallet from an upright position, and allows the worker to change directions from forward to backward as they circle the load, which minimizes the dizziness caused by normal manual wrapping technique.

The roll of stretch wrap can be inverted as it reaches the top of the load, and the pole held from beneath the roll of stretch wrap, further reducing strain on the body.

Each of these minor improvements are only moderately more expensive as they progress in ease of use, but they can make a big difference to the person who is doing the wrapping.