Hand Stretch Film vs Machine Stretch Film: What’s the Difference?

In the world of industrial packaging and shipping, stretch film plays a crucial role in safeguarding bulk goods from damage, ensuring stability during transit, and improving overall efficiency.

Two of the most popular options available are hand stretch film and machine stretch film. But what is the difference? Let’s dive into the key features and advantages of each to help you choose the right stretch film solution for your specific needs.

What is Stretch Film?

Stretch film, known as pallet wrap or stretch wrap, is a remarkably pliable plastic film made from either LDPE (low-density polyethylene) or LLDPE (linear low-density polyethylene). Its elastic nature allows it to cling tightly to items, creating a secure, unitised load that minimises the risk of shifting, moisture damage, and pilferage. Stretch film comes in various formulations, thicknesses, and sizes to accommodate a wide range of application requirements.

What is Hand Stretch Film?

Hand stretch film, as the name suggests, is applied manually by hand with a stretch wrap dispenser. It is typically available in rolls of varying widths and thicknesses, and best suited for small-scale operations such as retail stores and warehouses who wrap or bundle moderate quantities of pallets, boxes, and other individual products.

Key Features of Hand Stretch Film –

Convenience: Hand stretch film is easy to use and handle, allowing for effective load containment, without the need for specialised equipment.

Versatility: It adapts well to different load sizes and irregular shapes, providing sufficient flexibility for various packaging requirements.

Portable: The compact rolls are short and lightweight, allowing for easy transportation and storage.

Cost-effective: Ideal for companies with a limited budget, as it does not require any investment in machinery or staff training.

What is Machine Stretch Film?

On the other hand, machine stretch film is designed to be used with stretch-wrapping machines. These automate the wrapping process, which is ideal for large-scale operations and industries such as manufacturing, logistics, or construction. Machine stretch film is available in larger roll sizes and has a higher stretch percentage to ensure the integrity of the load.

Key Features of Machine Stretch Film –

High Efficiency: With the use of wrapping machines, the packaging process becomes faster and requires less human labour, significantly increasing overall productivity.

Enhanced Stretchability: Machine stretch film often has superior stretch characteristics, providing better stability and cost-efficiency as it covers more pallets per roll.

Uniformity: Machine application ensures consistent tension and overlap, resulting in a uniformly wrapped pallet and improved load containment during transportation.

Reduced Waste: The precision of the wrapping machines reduces film wastage compared to other packaging methods. Plus, stretch film can be recycled, minimising damage to the environment.

Which Option is Right For You?

When deciding which stretch film is the best fit for your business, several factors need to be considered, including including the scale of operations, budget, workforce, and the load size and shape.

For small businesses or occasional packaging needs, hand stretch film is a viable and economical choice. Conversely, companies with high throughput and larger volumes of pallets will benefit from investing in a stretch-wrapping machine to optimise productivity and load stability.

Your Trusted Stretch Film Supplier

Discover our extensive selection of high-quality stretch films, including standard and high-performance options ranging from 6mu to 34mu thickness, available in various colours and customisable with your company logo. Ensure your products’ safe arrival and streamline your packaging process with us.

Contact our dedicated team at 01942 290149, or fill out the form on our website to inquire about your stretch film needs today.