Troubleshooting Stretch Film: 9 Common Problems

Stretch film, a versatile packaging material widely used in industries for securing pallet loads and protecting products during transit, can sometimes present problems. Stretch film problems may arise from various factors, including manufacturing issues, shipping conditions, equipment performance, operator knowledge, and more. However, with a keen eye and the right knowledge, you can spot these common film issues and implement effective solutions. In this article, we will explore these issues and guide you on how to address them.

1. Edge Tears

Problem: Edge tears manifest as diagonal tears starting from the top or bottom of a roll, typically caused by nicks in the film's edge.

Solution: To address this issue, simply unwind the film until you reach the section without imperfections. This action should eliminate the problem.

2. Ultimate Breaks

Problem: Ultimate breaks appear as straight-line breaks with pointed edges and usually occur when the film has been pre-stretched excessively.

Solution: To prevent ultimate breaks, reduce the percentage of pre-stretch during the wrapping process, ensuring the film doesn't exceed its limits.

3. Gels

Problem: Gels are V-shaped breaks in the stretch film, often caused by resin imperfections or manufacturing problems.

Solution: Before replacing the film roll, attempt to correct the issue by lowering the F2 or pre-stretch percentage, which may help address the problem without the need for a full replacement.

4. Stretch Film Tails

Problem: Film tails refer to loose ends of stretch film hanging from wrapped pallets, usually resulting from low cling or excessive dust on the film. Tails can also occur when film is cut under tension.

Solution: To prevent tails, wrap the final layers with reduced stretch percentage and lower F2 settings to maintain film elasticity, preventing the tail from pulling free.

5. Tackifier Buildup

Problem: Tackifier, responsible for giving stretch film its cling, can accumulate on rollers over time, leading to film sticking to the rollers and itself.

Solution: Regularly clean rollers using a mild detergent (e.g., isopropyl), warm water, and a nonabrasive cloth to remove tackifier residue, ensuring smooth film application.

6. Sun Damage

Problem: Standard stretch film is not suitable for outdoor storage as it degrades under sunlight, weakening the film.

Solution: Protect wrapped pallets stored outdoors by covering them or use specially formulated ultraviolet-irradiation UVI-stabilized films designed for extended outdoor use.

7. Static Discharge

Problem: Stretch films can generate static discharge, making them unsuitable for use in potentially explosive environments.

Solution: Use anti-static measures such as Christmas garland or static eliminators to dissipate static buildup when packaging electronic devices in stretch film.

8. Temperature Damage

Problem: Stretch film properties change with temperature. Higher temperatures make the film softer, while lower temperatures make it stiffer and more challenging to stretch.

Solution: Select stretch films recommended for specific temperature conditions to ensure optimal performance in your environment.

9. Dust Accumulation

Problem: Dust and debris can accumulate on pre-stretch and dispensing equipment, causing a loss of film cling and potential performance issues.

Solution: Maintain clean rollers, dispensers, and equipment in high-dust environments to prevent debris buildup and ensure consistent film performance.

SEE ALSO: Stretch Film 101 - Why, When, and How to Use It?

By recognizing these common stretch film problems and implementing the appropriate solutions, you can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your stretch film applications, reducing the risk of issues during shipping and storage.