How do you get the best out of Pallet Wrapping?
What it can and cannot do.

Typical Equipment for Pallet Wrapping:

Manual Handfilm Dispenser Semi-automatic EXP-308 Automatic EXP-501 Fully Automatic EXP-702
Hand film Dispenser
E3 Wrap 2100
Fully Automatic

Process: The development provides a film around one or more products with the aim to stabilise protect and secure the cargo from tampering or theft. There are two main methods of the Pallet Wrapping process; the Vertical Development and the Horizontal Development. The highly stretchable film is wrapped around the item while adjusting the tension, the film provides secondary protection. Other products which can’t resist the tension of the film can be, in principle be damaged. It is thus important that the product packaging is stabilized and maintained before and during the wrapping process.

Pre-Treatment of the Film by winding:

  • Brake Pre-Stretching directly from the roll, the core is slowed down while the product/pallet pulling the film from the roll.
  • Brake Pre-Stretching using the roller system, and then brake rollers while the product/pallet pulls the film through the rollers.
    • Mechanically adjustable brake pre-stretch
    • Magnetic / Electric adjustable brake pre-stretch
  • Motorized Pre-Stretching through the roller system, rollers regulated product is filmed with minimal tension.
    • Fixed for pre-stretch degree
    • Variable for pre-stretch grad
  • The pre-processed sheet which is used in connection with the above-mentioned processes.
    • Fort Solid Film
    • Perforated Film

Concepts of Pallet Wrapping Vertical Development:
  • Pallet Wrapping Basics: The pallet is wrapped to provide protection and stability of the product for day-to-day transportation.
    • Normal. Clear film for the general distribution
      • Pallet Wrapping and Storage: The pallet is wrapped for stability and protection of the product over time, including:
        • Dust proof pallet wrapping, top film used
        • Waterproof pallet wrapping, top film used
        • UV light protection for the product
        • Black film for theft/tamper proofing "expensive" products
        • Film with special properties such as anti-rust etc.
        • The sealing of the product
        • Other variables in the wrapping process:
          • Number of top and bottom turns. This is governed either by time or by number. Number is the best solution.
          • The Cycle:
            • Bottom – top – bottom
            • Bottom high speed to the top - bottom
            • Top – bottom
            • bottom – mid position – top – bottom
            • bottom – top – level down under top film- pause – top - bottom
            • Single level

Applicable equipment in relation to different processes:
  • Manual:

    General: The physical dimension such as height and weight, the handling limitations of manual hand wrapping.
    • Hand Films dispenser for hand film 450 or 500mm width.
    • Hand Films handles for mini rollers 100 to 125mm width.
    • Hand preferred films for direct winding without a secondary tool.
  • Semi-automatic:

    General: The physical dimension such. height, diameter and weight put restrictions on what the machines can perform. Each machine series will typically have a number of options that enable greater dimension, weight and diameter, this applies to all machines semi-automatic, automatic and fully automatic.

    Basic Machine Concepts:

        • Tower type with the turntable, the pallet is rotating while being wrapped.
        • Satellite type of unit where the film is wrapped around the stationary pallet.
        • Tower type turntable with horizontal rolls where the product is rolled and rotated.
        • Combining turntable, satellite aggregates leads to extreme process speeds.

    • Semi Automatic Pallet Wrapping EXP-408, where you manually attach the film to the pallet before the process starts and automatically cuts the film when the process is completed. Basic Solution.
    • Semi Automatic Pallet Wrapping EXP-108, where you manually attach the film to the pallet before the process started, but the machine itself, cut the film when the process is completed. Advanced Solution.
    • Best film with a manual process where the wrapper has a pause function.
  • Automatic:

    • Automatic Pallet Wrapper EXP-501 which can start the process automatically and holds the film after cutting, ready for the next pallet to wrap. The only manual work is loading/unloading of the pallet which in turn is handled manually by truck or pallet truck.
    • The Best film with a manual process or automated integrated solution is the STEP HB 800.
  • Fully Automatic:

    • Fully Automatic Pallet Wrapping EXP-202A is a process where the machines develop and manage the pallet without human intervention. The pallet is transported onto the taxiways, wrapped and carried out subsequently. It is important that the pallet has the necessary stability for the internal transport.
    • Top films such as Fully Automatic Integrated Solution.
  • Other equipment which may advantageously be integrated around the wrapping process:

    • Weighing of the pallet with integrated weight system.
    • Data collection around the packed pallet. The data are collected and stored up against the ERP system using the STEP Data Exchange System.
      • Scanning the pallet registration number.
      • Weighing Function.
      • Pallet dimension measurements.
      • Image capture of the pallet
      • 360-degree video capture of the pallet
    • Top film dispenser.
    • Top plate for stabilisation of the pallet during wrapping.
    • Taxiways on the turntable and / outlets for manual or automatic pallet change.
    • Label marking of the pallet.

Typical process rates in the choice of machine type/process, depending on the sum function, pallet dimensions, product, movie selection, etc.

Manual: 5-10 pallets day. A person will presumably be able to wrap more pallets per day but it is definitely not recommended as a permanent solution for regular pallet wrapping due to the negative impact working environment-wise.
Semi-automatic:        5- 100 pallets a day
Automatic: 5-30 Pallets per hour
Fully Automatic: 5-45 Pallets per hour

Fully Automatic Pallet Wrapping, projected full-optimal solutions, up to 70-100 pallets per hour. 

Advanced wrapping and packaging lines with the incorporation of many types of processes in the project specified solution concepts and lines. In many cases, several technologies are implemented to ensure optimal use of each element, whereby material and energy consumption is minimised. Data are collected and processed to ensure the right quality and information. 

Other types of machines and equipment for Wrapping 
Horizontal Wrapping EXR-401 Roll Wrapping STEP Data Exchange System Top films Dispenser STEP TF 1500
Horizontal Wrapping
Roll wrapping Data capture pakke
STEP Data Exchange System
Top films Dispenser 
STEP TF 1500

Film Types: 

General consideration and reality: 

It is expensive to use an inexpensive film

It is extremely important that the correct film used for the right purpose, so make sure you get a price optimal development of its product. This choice, start by selecting the machine, aggregate type, process point in relation to your production flow, material selection and secondary processes that affect the entire packaging process, mixed stability by moving internally from the process point to the moth. 

  • Hand Film:

    • LDPE cast or blown, clear, white, black, other colors Additional Features: UV, rust protection
    • Thickness: 9 to 35my
    • Width: 450-500mm for hand film on core ø50 - ø76 and core movable type. Hand Scrolls 75 to 150mm on core ø76.
    • Pre-stretch: regular, Pre-stretched.
  • Machine Film:

    • LDPE cast or blown, clear, white, black, other colors Additional Features: UV resistant, UV, rust protection, perforated holes, added glue, etc. 

      • Butene / Hektene types of short chains. LDPE Low Density with limited characteristics about the strength and elongation. STEP Basic Stretch
      • Oktene types of long and branched chains. Octene LLDPE Linear Low Density with good general properties such as strength and elongation. STEP Advanced Stretch
      • Metallocene types with numerous and widely branched Chain Metallocene catalyst is not a monomer such as ethylene, but the film producer of the donor represent. Especially good strength, tear and elongation properties. STEP ultimate stretch.
    • Thickness: 9:02 35my
    • Width: 500mm ø76mm on the core and the outer diameter up to 250mm, common European hemming. Jumbo rolls of width 750mm with an outer diameter up to ø450mm.
    • Pre-stretch degree: 100% to 400%, Pre-stretched. The typical commercial products in Denmark are 150%, 280% and 300% Pre-stretch degree.
    • Interior or exterior glue.
    • Invoicing of film gross to net DKK / kg or gross to net DKK / roll with a number of meters in thickness given
    • Hemming: Machine Film wrap on pallets typically 2 or 3 layers upright. Film Rolls should not lie down for the sake of balance, excitation and crib conditions during storage. Each layer is typically packed with either 15 (within a EURO pallet without an overhang) or 22 in which the film roll is packaged with an overhang on the pallet. Other variants exist.

Environmental Conditions: 

PE material composition is of particular interest as this is often hot welded: 

Polyethylene ca. 98 %
Color pigments are not toxic     ca. 1-2 %

Toxic and Reaction Properties:
Polyethylene is chemically and biologically inert. Polyethylene can be used directly for food. 

Physical Contact: 

There is no risk, beyond the mechanical. 

Welding, Gluing and Printing of PE Materials: 

It is recommended to have the workplace have an outside ventilation to avoid exposure to welding fumes from plastic welding. If welding at a room temperature below 150 degrees, smoke and steam generation is considered to be insignificant. It is recommended that you always provide adequate ventilation for the sake of the general welfare of the workers. 

PE can be used in friction welding and ultrasonic welding without the need of suction, as all welding fumes go into cables in the weld zone. 

PE has a low surface tension and therefore can only be glued and applied to the text for the treatment of the surface. 


When the polyethylene is heated, the material will melt at approx. 109-125 degrees. 


Controlled burning is recommended. When ignited, the material will continue to burn, even after the ignition source is removed. The decomposition produces H20 and CO2. If burned with a low presence of oxygen, the combustion will also produce a mono oxide, which is toxic. 


PE materials are suitable for recycling.

The Author of the Article:

Gunnar Salbæk

CEO/Industrial Design with 30 years of experience in the field.