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Our favorite type of stretch wrapper

When looking for the right pallet wrapper for your facility, beyond understanding the features of the machine you’re hoping to buy, it is equally important to understand exactly how pallets get from point A to point B. When I say “how they get from point A to point B” I do not only mean the route they take but also the placement of safety walkways and warehouse equipment along that journey, the mode of transportation (forklift, rider jack etc), how well the pallet’s contents are stacked, what object is being wrapped, what is the shape of the object, what size are your pallets, how much overflow is there – and a number of other factors.

The Lantech S-300 XT Straddle Wrapper is an example of a rotary arm stretch wrapper.

There truly is no one-size fits-all option for most types of packaging equipment. It takes time and research to find the appropriate configuration, and consulting with an expert is highly advised. With that said, when it comes to stretch wrappers there is a type of machine that does check off the requirements for a much wider array of applications than the rest, and that is the rotary arm/straddle wrapping system.

This pallet jack rider unloads three pallets consecutively in the wrap zones of 3 WRTA-150 pallet wrappers before starting them remotely using a lanyard starter.

If you’re unfamiliar, a rotary arm pallet wrapper can utilize the existing floor space as the wrap zone, without the need for a bulky turntable or conveyor system. Giving the ability to pallet jack riders with multiple pallets to unload and wrap them in one go, while they go to get the next loads.

Double stacked pallets queue at the end of a WCRT stretch wrapper’s outfeed conveyor. The WCRT is a conveyorized rotary arm stretch wrapper from Wulftec, this one featuring an extended wrap height.

Rotary arm wrappers are extremely durable machines available in both automatic and semi-automatic configurations. Generally having a small footprint and taking up very limited space while not in use, non-conveyorized rotary arm or “straddle” stretch wrappers are often an excellent fit for a growing operation that needs flexibility. While not as portable as a turntable solution, relocating smaller rotary arm systems is not an immense task. They can however, be used in tandem with a conveyor system where a forklift rider can leave a pallet at the in-feed of the unit and then go get other pallets and queue them on the conveyor while the first one wraps, picking it up wrapped on the other as the queue proceeds to be wrapped. This creates a smooth and steady flow of pallets that can be individually queued on the WCRT (Wulftec Conveyorized Rotary Arm Stretch Wrapper) powered roller conveyor and picked up seamlessly on the other end – a truly fully automatic stretch wrapping system.

Opting for a fully automatic conveyorized rotary arm solution from a manufacturer like Wulftec also means that your machine can operate at higher RPM because of it having as many as 4 robust all steel legs. Conveyorized rotary arm wrappers provide high throughput and the best safety possible with a stretch wrapping system, as they are fully automatic systems that are enclosed in safety fencing and protected with a light curtain safety package.

SWS Packaging installed this dual carriage Wulftec WCRT-200 for a customer in Ohio. This machine reaches 35 RPM, with a blazing fast wrap time of 25 seconds total. The system is enclosed in safety fencing and protected by a light curtain safety package.

While smaller footprint machines definitely serve their purpose and are awesome as a portable option, larger fully automatic machines are faster, safer and suffer from human error far less often than other stretch wrappers. In a way, the Wulftec WRTA-150 straddles (no pun intended) the divide between small footprint and large footprint pallet wrappers, with moving it being a difficult but far less cumbersome task than moving a larger WRTA or WCRT unit.

In conclusion, we love the WRTA and WCRT series stretch wrappers as an ALMOST go to solution. They are the most versatile and applicable stretch wrapping systems on the market.

Dan Hart
Equipment Specialist
Over 30 years of packaging experience. Started SWS Packaging in 2009 with my friend John.