Business Situation: A FW Warehousing customer needed their pallets stretched wrapped before delivering the product to protect their loads from shifting and possible bad weather.
Background: “Stretch wrap or stretch film is a highly stretchable plastic film that is wrapped around items. The elastic recovery keeps the items tightly bound. In contrast, shrink wrap is applied loosely around an item and shrinks tightly when heated.” 
Stretch wrap is frequently used to unitize pallet loads, but it may also be used for bundling small items together.
Functions: In pallet unitizing, stretch wrap can have several functions:
- Improved stability of products or packages, forming a unit load
- more efficient handling and storage of unit loads
- some degree of dust and moisture protection
- some degree of tamper resistance and resistance to package pilferage
FW Solution: Stretch wrapping more than 20 pallets a day by hand was not efficient. In order to effectively stretch wrap the necessary pallets, FW purchased an automatic stretch wrapping machine.
When it comes to stretch wrapping companies have several options. Here are three different types of automatic stretch wrapping machines:
- Rotary Arm Wrappers: In this system, the load remains still while a rotating arm turns around it wrapping the load. This system is used for light loads or for speeds which would otherwise cause the load to topple due to high rotation speeds.
- Turntable Wrappers: The load to be wrapped sits on a turntable, which spins the load relative to the film roll. It is then housed in a carriage that can move up and down a fixed mast. Stretch is achieved by rotating the load at a faster rate than the film is fed.
- Rotary Ring Wrappers: The film is housed in a carriage on a horizontal ring in which the load remains static while the horizontal ring is rotating around the load and moves up and down vertically relative to the load. It is similar to a rotary arm stretch wrapper. The rotary ring technology is a more balanced system with less ear and maintenance than the other available wrapping technologies. These wrappers are capable to reach the highest production capacities, which is up to 160 pallets per hour. 
Benefits: FW Warehousing found that the new automated stretch wrapper consistently wrapped loads in a manner acceptable by the customer. The loads leaving the warehouse were protected from he weather and other possible damage during transportation. The new automated stretch wrapper used substantially less wrapping plastic then when done by hand.
Other benefits to using an automatic stretch wrapping machine include:
- It provides professional looking, quality packaging with secure and consistent wrapping.
- It increases wrapping speed over hand wrapping with lower labor and material costs.
- It improves employee safety with decreased fatigue, bending and tripping.
- It decreases damage in transport and protects from obvious pilferage.
- Operators can perform other tasks while pallets are wrapping. 
1. Stretch wrap (Wikipedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stretch_wrap