Stretch Hood for Appliances
June 2007
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A newly developed stretch hood machine for appliances has proven capacity of 220-plus units per hour, a level of capacity that could allow a manufacturer to replace up to three stretch wrappers with a single stretch hood machine. This may allow the manufacturer to reduce space requirements, reduce manpower on the packaging line, and increase the number of units per truck shipment. Compared with corrugated packaging, the supplier says, the user can reduce packaging material costs by up to 40%.

The stretch hood machine automatically measures the height of the load to be wrapped before it is conveyed into the machine. The correct film size is automatically chosen and the right amount of film is fed to the film-opening system. The film hood is then welded and cut. The hood is stretched hydraulically by means of four grippers applying the film and ultimately delivering it underneath the product. This ensures that the unit is effectively secured for transport. In this manner, valuable goods are secured against transport damage as well as dirt, moisture, and dust.

The supplier says a clear and wrinkle-free surface is achieved by using its unique film application technology. The hydraulic stretch units guarantee a controlled application of the stretch hood film. Every step of the application process is fully controllable, from stretching the film to the application over the unit, to releasing the film under the product. The supplier’s top stretch film unwinding system unwinds a controlled amount of film during stretching, so that thin and fragile film is avoided, especially on the corners of the product. Furthermore, the system is designed to ensure a very flat film on top of the unit, allowing for easy top-on-top storage of products of up to eight layers. During the actual application of film over the product, the film does not slide off the stretch units; the winding off is controlled in a manner said to lead to improved clarity and improved marketability and branding of the wrapped product. The film snap-back system releases the film from the stretch units in a controlled manner to ensure packaging integrity, which in turn leads to less product damage during transport and thus fewer returned products.

Whirlpool Corp. previously used corrugated boxes to pack American-style refrigerators. The company invested in four stretch hood machines from the supplier and, the supplier says, saved more than 35% on packaging materials. And at the same time, the OEM reduced the number of products damaged during handling, as handlers were now able to see the appliance in the package. The supplier says the change to stretch hood film wrapping brought other advantages to Whirlpool, including a reduction in warehouse space required for products, better product stability from straighter stacks, more products per shipment for lower transportation costs, reduced packing costs, and reduced manpower requirements. The OEM reacted positively to the change to stretch hood film packing, the supplier says, appreciating the visibility of the units when packed and the ease of removing the packaging material. Lachenmeier A/S



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