When I was a child, one of our family highlights was our annual summer trip to Atlanta, Georgia to visit my father’s family. The weather was usually beautiful, there were plenty of entertaining things to do, and the company was great. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that communication was a bit different. I am not speaking of the ever present “you all” or “y’all”; rather basic words that simply meant something different.

My relatives would ask me to “cut” the lights off or offer to “carry” me over to the Dairy Queen. I was sometimes asked to “tote” a bag in from the car. Memories of these summers got me thinking of the vocabulary that I use every day when speaking of stretch wrapping equipment. What if what I am saying is different than what people are hearing? To avoid this occurrence, I thought it good to review some basic stretch wrapping terms.

Stretch Wrapping Equipment:

Equipment that secures products on a pallet without the use of heat (shrink wrapping).

Pre-stretching Film:

One foot of purchased stretch film is stretched into a longer length of the applied stretch film. At 250% pre-stretch, one foot of purchased film yields 3-1/2 feet of usable film.

Core Brake Technique for Pre-stretching Film:

This is the method that early stretch wrappers utilized. A brake holds the film as it comes off the carriage.  As the turntable turns, the film is stretched, just like pulling taffy at a carnival. Typically, this method yields 100% to 125 % pre-stretch.

Powered Pre-stretch:

Two shafts powered by two different-sized gears turn at different RPMs and stretch the film. Much like a bicycle, the use of different gears provides a considerable mechanical advantage. In theory, stretch film can be pre-stretched up to 400% or more. In practice, 250% is typically a practical max.


This is the force that pushes toward the center of the load and holds the load together. Simply put, it is why we use stretch film. Containment is critical at the top, middle, and bottom of the pallet. It can be measured with a variety of devices that shows a metric reflecting the amount of force (lbs.) that it takes to pull the film away from the load.

Lowest Cost Per Load Effectively Shipped:

This should be the goal of everyone who purchases stretch film and the companion equipment. Lowest cost per load does not mean the least expensive roll; rather, it means thinking of stretch film as coins taped to the load going out of the Shipping Department. Is it three-quarters or just two? We want that amount to be as low as possible without sacrificing effectively shipping. Any amount of film savings is quickly erased by a load failure in transit.

Now that we have a few phrases in common, let’s talk more. FlexPAC promises not to use words like “tote”, “cut off”, or “carry”. What FlexPAC will do is help you achieve the “lowest cost per load effectively shipped”. Please give FlexPAC a call today. We look forward to hearing from “y’all”.

stretch wrapping

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