Packaging is essential to protecting, preserving and even marketing goods and brands in markets ranging from food and beverage to household products to agriculture to pharmaceuticals. But if you’re not familiar with the packaging industry, it will probably surprise you to learn that there are many pieces of equipment that help it bring it life. There are the likes of extrusion machines, which work to create film and other materials that are used to create packages. Next comes the pouch-, bag- and paper converting machines that turn the materials into functional packages. Printing and lamination likely also occur throughout the formation of the package, and eventually the finished package will go on to be filled and sealed. Following this step, they may also be wrapped.
Packaging wrappers are typically end-of-line machinery components that are either designed to group products to aid retailers in shelf organization and replenishment (think: bottled water) or to seal the product with a wrapping altogether (think: fresh meat on a tray wrapped in film). They may also be used to wrap pallets and cartons to make packaged goods easier for shipment. In many ways, these packaging wrappers are somewhat of an unsung hero in the packaging industry in that they provide an essential, yet very taken-for-granted function. While most packaging wrappers work with film or shrink wrap, other materials may include foils and paper, though these aren’t as widely used as film.
But while packaging wrappers may sound simple, they are available in a bevy of different styles and varieties. As we noted above, some wrappers are designed to shrink wrap pallets or cartons, while others are designed to group products together to make it easier for stores to stock and re-stock on shelves. With all that being said, this post is designed to take a closer look at the different types of packaging wrappers that are commonly utilized in the industry.
The Various Types of Packaging Wrappers
There are four main types of packaging wrappers that are utilized in the packaging industry. More information on each type is as follows.
- Flow Wrappers: Flow wrappers are generally high-speed, work with smaller sized packages and products and normally perform more functions than just wrapping and sealing a product. In addition to the wrapping and sealing of a product, flow wrappers also often perform form and fill functions too. While flow wrappers are a general type of wrapper, there are many sub categories of flow wrappers to meet the needs of any packaging facility. Some flow wrappers are more designed for entry level companies that want to speed production, where others are much more specialized. High-speed flow wrappers are also available, and these machines are ideal for larger companies that have stricter timelines to meet. The likes of candy bars, ice cream bars, cookies, muffins and smaller medical devices and industrial goods are all ideal candidates for flow wrappers. Flow wrappers generally come in horizontal and vertical configurations.
- Over Wrappers: Over wrappers are primarily used to seal fresh food as a means of reducing potential contamination and ensuring long-term freshness. Noting this, over wrappers are typically used with meats, poultry and other foods that are packaged in trays. These over wrappers work with film, stretching it over the tray and then heat sealing it to the bottom of the package to lock in freshness. Aside from locking in freshness and extending the product’s shelf-life, many consumers like the fact that packages wrapped this way enable them to actually see the product they’ll be purchasing or are considering purchasing. Most over wrappers are small enough to fit onto table tops, although floor models are available as well.
- Shrink Wrappers: Shrink wrap machines work with shrink film. They work by stretching this shrink film over the product – or pallets of products – in question, then apply heat so that the film essentially “shrinks” over whatever it is covering so that it fits tightly to the product. Shrink wrap may be applied to small quantities of product (i.e. to package water bottles or soda together) or it may be used to wrap entire pallets of goods in an effort to keep items together and better protected during transportation. It may also be used to over wrap cartons and boxes. Because of the many different purposes of shrink wrap, shrink wrappers come in various different sizes. Some are small enough to nicely fit into a small, focused space on a factory floor, while others may take up a significantly larger area.
- Stretch Wrappers: Stretch wrappers are essentially a machine of a larger scale that works with shrink film to wrap pallets and other large objects. As we noted above, one application of shrink film is wrapping the likes of pallets, boxes and cartons to make sure they stand up better to any of the rigors of transportation. That’s the role that stretch wrappers essentially play. For this reason, stretch wrappers are also commonly referred to as “pallet wrappers.” Stretch wrappers come in various configurations. For instance, some employ the use of turntables, while others use straddles, while some move pallets through a ringer to be wrapped. Due to the size of the loads that are serviced by stretch wrappers, these are one of – if not the most expensive – type of wrapper.
Though stretch wrappers often have the reputation as being the most expensive of all types of wrappers due to the sizes of product that they service, make no mistake about it when it comes to packaging wrappers – it’s a capital investment. But it’s an important one, as these machines are crucial to the end-of-line packaging procedures. Buy these machines brand new and it could cost tens of thousands of dollars, a price point which can be challenging for either a startup packaging company or a company who didn’t budget for a new purchase on this type of equipment. While buying a brand new wrapper is a viable option, another option is buying a wrapper that’s been previously owned and used. Service providers like Bid on Equipment have a range of previously used wrappers available for a fraction of the price of a new one that work just as well, a big benefit to those packaging companies that don’t have the money to spend on something brand new. By utilizing a credible site like Bid on Equipment, it’s like you’re getting something brand new, but at a used price.
For more information on packaging wrappers, and to browse Bid on Equipment’s inventory of wrappers, visit the company website or contact it today.