Investing in pallet wrapping equipment is a great way to ensure that your shipments arrive at their destinations intact. Wrapping machines can save you a significant amount of time in your warehouse by automating the wrapping process. Unfortunately, all machines eventually need service and maintenance. If your warehouse crew has only ever used automatic wrapping tools, they may not know how to do the wrapping by hand when the machine is down. Here are some tips to teach them how to do it manually.
Match The Pallet To The Boxes
This should be standard practice even for the wrapping machine, but, especially if your machine supports mismatched sizing, you'll want to stress the importance of choosing a pallet that's sized to match the boxes. You don't want boxes to overhang the edges of the pallet, because that could ultimately lead to product damage when the box corners get smashed. You also don't want to have the pallet be larger than the products because the wrap may catch on the sharp pallet edges.
Stack The Shipping Boxes Tightly
This step isn't as much of a concern when using mechanical wrapping equipment because the wrapper will push the boxes in together as tightly as it can. However, when wrapping them manually, your crew will need to understand the importance of packing all of the boxes together as tight as possible. This ensures that the boxes can't shift around inside the pallet wrapping and cause damage.
Load The Manual Wrapper
Choose the right stretch wrap option for the shipment. The stretch wrap roll should be attached to the manual wrapper so that it is secure. Make sure the retention plate is in place and the locking screw is tight so that the roll doesn't slip. Discourage your staff from trying to wrap the pallet without the manual wrapper wand, though. It's difficult to maneuver the plastic wrap roll without it, so it can lead to loose wrapping and the potential for back injuries.
Wrap The Pallet
In order to get a secure wrap on the pallet by hand, you need to start the stretch wrap at the bottom of the pallet. Roll the end of the plastic wrap into a small rope, then wrap that rope around the pallet corner. Pull it tight so that the plastic rope sticks to the wrap on the other side. Wrap from the bottom of the pallet, pulling the plastic wrap down the side until it is as tight as you can get it. Then, wrap the plastic around that spot two or three more times to be sure that it's reinforced and secure. Gradually work your way up the pallet in the same manner, ensuring several layers of wrap in each spot. Make sure that every layer is as tight to the boxes on the pallet as you can get them.
Reinforce The Wrapping
Once the entire pallet is wrapped, check the stability of the package. If it isn't as secure as you'd like it, you can add more support by working your way back down the pallet. Pull it as tight as possible as you go for extra strength in the layer. Then, cut the plastic wrap and tuck the end under an edge on the pallet to keep it from unraveling.
When your shipping and receiving crew has spent a lot of time working with automated pallet wrapping, the art of wrapping by hand can be lost. With these tips, you can walk them through the process the next time you have to take the wrapper down for maintenance. While it's beneficial to capitalize on the technology available to you, it's equally important to have a level of self-sufficiency like this in case something should come up. If you're looking to invest in additional pallet wrapping equipment, contact a company like Fox Packaging Services for additional information.