Stretch film or stretch wrap is a highly stretchable plastic film that is wrapped around items, usually for shipping purposes. The tight but elastic film helps keep the items together on their road to the marketplace. It has many different uses and application and comes in a variety of strengths, lengths and overall dimensions. There are two main common types of stretch film or wrap on the market today with many variations of these primary designs.
1. What are the main types of stretch film or wrap?
The first is cast stretch wrap which is made using a cast extrusion process. This involves melting a thermoplastic material that is then extruded through a flat die onto a chill roll, where it is quenched and re-solidified. There are machine and hand grade stretch wraps available and the main advantage to this type of stretch film is that is clear so that shippers and customers can see the products that are wrapped inside. It is the least expensive type of stretch wrap and features a two-sided cling that keeps wrapped items safe and secure.
The other main type of stretch film is called blown stretch wrap. It is made using a blown extrusion process. This works by having the plastic melt extruded through an annular slit die, usually vertically, to form a thin walled tube. Then there is a quantity of air pushed through a hole in the center of the die that blows up the tube like a balloon. Finally, an air ring blows onto the film to cool it. This makes blows stretch wrap much tougher and more resilient than stretch cast film. This type of film allows for a higher load and stretch capacity and an overall better quality of stretch film. It also has a higher resistance to tearing which makes it good for shipping items with sharp edges.
2. What are the main benefits of stretch film or wrap?
Shipping and transporting products and goods by wrapping packages of them in stretch film is one of the most cost-effective, safe and secure ways to get items to customers. The goods are put together on pallets and stretch wrapped together. This makes them adaptable to ship many different types of loads and can protect materials from the dangers of dust, debris, moisture and even sunlight. It is less expensive than strapping and the equipment required to use it is simple to maintain and cheap to buy.
Stretch film is also better for the environment since all stretch wrap and film can be recycled and reused. It plays an important role in delivering many of the goods and food products that we need and that stores and supermarkets display and store for our purchase. Because there are so many different shapes, sizes and uses of stretch wrap, it has become an essential part of our modern consumer economy. It is also very adaptable and that means it can be used for almost any item that needs to be shipped in bulk in a secure and relatively economical fashion.
3. What is stretch film used for?
Stretch wrap of film is used to transport and deliver almost every product on the market today. This includes thousands of products that are wrapped in stretch film for transportation, storage, and even direct retail sales. The most common use of stretch film is in palletized boxes of products that are placed on trucks and in containers for shipping across the country and around the world. Some of those products are buckets of paint, liquids, and dry goods, wire reels and canned beverages like beer and soda. Other items are clay, electronics, soil and mulch for landscaping and gardening as well as tires, furniture and bricks. Everything from live trees to carpets and windows can and is shipped using shrink wrap and film every day of the year.