Stretch Wrap 101

Allstar Supply offers to share decades of knowledge from the expert sales team offering a composite 20 years on the job. Take a moment and learn more about stretch wrap from the Allstar Supply order fulfillment experts.

Stretch Wrap vs Shrink Wrap

Many customers ordering stretch wrap improperly refer to “stretch wrap” as “shrink wrap.” However, “Stretch Wrap” and “Shrink Wrap” are very different indeed.

Shrink wrap is manufactured using polyolefin plastic. Stretch wrap is manufactured using polyethylene plastic.

Stretch wrap is generally used to hold boxes on a pallet for transport and other similar uses. Stretch wrap is applied around the load with tension as it comes off the rolls, therefore stretches and clings to itself to form a rigid load. This type of polyethylene plastic used for stretch wrap has memory and wants to return to its original size resulting in an “elastic band” effect which holds the load tight and secure during transport.

Alternatively, shrink wrap is generally used to cover and protect a single product. An example of an appropriate use for shrink wrap is a wrapping protecting toys, or the wrapper covering a CD Cover when you purchase music or video discs. Shrink Wrap applications create a tight seal by applying heat.

Shrink Wrap is typically applied around products and then heated with a hair dryer styled tool or by placing a wrapped product on a conveyor so the product can travel through a heat tunnel. Shrink Wrap can also be used for bundling products together. An example of bundling products is common for bottles of water, cases of soda, and like kind uses when buying two or more similar products.

Allstar Supply sells both types of wrap film, “stretch wrap” and “shrink wrap” film are available at cost-effective pricing in the online SHOP.


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Stretch Wrap: CAST vs BLOWN

Early on, all stretch wrap was the “blown” type. Blowing stretch wrap is similar to blowing bubble gum. To envision this result, imagine resin heated up and passing over a stream of air and as the resin balloons the surrounding air cools the blown stretch wrap. There are numerous drawbacks to using blown stretch wrap. More recently, the preferred manufacturing method is a process of producing “cast” stretch wrap in varying lengths which is cooled by rollers and has enduring qualities not achieved using “blown stretch wrap”.

Cast stretch wrap is extruded through rollers and “laid out” in sheets. This process allows the film to be made in multiple layers. The layers allow the film to be made with cling on only one side. This optional one-sided-cling film is great where you don’t want one pallet to stick to the one next to it. Also, these films layers can make the film stronger by adding tough layers to the inside. Cast film is also clearer and quieter coming off the roll. Our film is all cast film.

Stretch Wrap: Understanding Thickness

A “mil” is simply a measurement of thickness. One mil is one thousandth of an inch thick. When you select stretch wrap you will want to determine the applications and then select the appropriate thickness or mil to achieve the desired results. For example, .80 mil stretch wrap is .8 thousandths of an inch thick. That measurement is often times expressed as “80 gauge” which is same as .80 mil. Although .80 mil sounds thin, keep in mind that 80 gauge or .80 mil thick stretch wrap is an ideal thickness for most stretch wrap applications.

Stretch Wrap: Sizes Explained

First, determine how you intend to apply the stretch wrap, whether by hand or by automated equipment application? If you are stretching the film by machine you will generally use a stretch wrap which is 20″ tall and the roll may be 5000 to 6000 feet long. These large stretch wrap rolls can be heavy and difficult to carry around weighing in at or about 32 lbs. per roll. Utilizing a 32 pound roll of stretch wrap can be difficult for employees attempting to secure a pallet of products. To make the stretch wrap task easier, many shippers will utilize a smaller roll of stretch wrap such as 18″ x .80 x 1500′ and wrap the pallet by hand. If your skids are not very tall, or if you just need to wrap just the top and bottom of your loads, you would likely do better using a shorter roll of stretch wrap, perhaps 15″ or 12″ might work well in many instances depending upon the type of products you are shipping.

Stretch Wrap: Bundling Explained

If you are securing millwork, plastic pipe and small boxes then small rolls of “bundling stretch wrap” can be used in varying sizes ranging from 2″ up to 6″ inches depending upon the type of products you are bundling. Bundling Stretch Wrap is fast and cost-effective, because unlike tape, bundling stretch wrap does not leave behind any type of adhesive residue once the bundled stretch wrap is removed from the bundled products at delivery.

Stretch Wrap: Caution Required

Industrial Stretch wrap is not appropriately used to wrap or bundle exposed food products. Stretch wrap generally is attractive to young children, therefore not recommended for use near children play, because stretch wrap is plastic and can block airways and otherwise dangerous to unsuspecting children at play.

Stretch Wrap: Recyclable?

Yes! Stretch wrap can be recycled through many local and state recycling centers.

High-Quality Stretch Wrap Products At Discounted Pricing