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There are a variety of different ways to shrink wrap a freight pallet, depending on how much you are packing and how heavy are the objects you need to package. We have put together a guide to the three most common modes of shrink wrapping you might want to consider if you need to move a large pallet of goods for your business.

Manually Shrink Wrapping your Pallet with a Roll of Wrap.

Man driving shrink wrapped boxes around a warehouse

The most common form of shrink wrapping pallets is with a roll of wrap. If you are only wrapping a couple of items together a day to put on pallets, then manual shrink wrapping is best. However, it is the most labour intensive mode of shrink wrapping freight pallets, and should not be done with particularly heavy loads (more than 20kg) for health and safety reasons. It also is much more difficult to wrap irregularly shaped pallets like bottles than alternative packing methods.

How to Manually Stretch Wrap your Freight Pallet:

1. Before beginning, ensure there is at least one label visible on each side of the freight.
2. Tuck the lead of the wrap between the pallet and the bottom box.
3. Begin wrapping in an upward spiral, overlapping each layer by at least half.
4. Twist the wrap every couple of times the shrink wrap encircles the pallet to increase its strength.
5. Once you reach the top of the pallet, stretch the shrink wrap diagonally over each corner to contain the freight.
6. Then, spiral down diagonally. Ensure the cargo is secured to the pallet with several extra layers of wrap.

Shrink Wrapping Your Freight Pallet with a Heat Shrink Gun

three lots of cargo being loaded onto a plane

Somewhat easier than manual wrapping, a heat shrink gun is a tool connected to a gas tank to heat up and contract shrink wrap around a pallet. While we sell a variety of automated heat shrink machines, using a gun is a slightly cheaper (but more labour-intensive) wrapping solution if you are wrapping low volumes.

How to Wrap your Freight Pallet with a Heat Shrink Gun:

1. Before beginning, make sure that there is at least one label visible on each side of the freight.
2. Loosely put a shrink wrap pallet bag over your load and pallet.
3. Tuck in any excess wrap underneath the pallet, so it surrounds what you are trying to wrap. Don’t worry about tightly encasing what you are covering, because the heat shrink gun will secure the pallet load.
4. Tape down any excess wrap to prevent the wrap creeping upwards during shrinking.
5. Turn on the gas tank that powers your heat gun. Make sure the right amount of pressure is coming from the tank to the gun.
6. Apply the heat shrink gun over the shrink wrap bag until it tightens around the skid at the bottom of the pallet.
5. Once the bag is tight, start applying heat to the load. Try to use the same amount of heat to all four sides for even shrinkage.
6. Apply hot slow strokes of the heat gun on the top of the freight load to fan the bag until it is tight at the top.

Shrink Wrapping your Freight Pallet with Automated Shrink Wrap Machinery

cane sugar shrink wrapped over a wooden pallet
Each piece of shrink wrap machinery is different, depending on the needs of the customer and the degree of automation one wants in the shrink wrapping process.

One popular shrink wrapping machine is a turntable style machine. Perfect for high volume loads, you simply put the freight pallet you wish to shrink wrap on the device and let it work, safely and quickly wrapping your product while eliminating the need for an operator to strain themselves with high volumes of wrapping.

Semi-automated shrink wrap machines are also extremely popular. Typically, this is a machine to which you attach a manual shrink wrapper, that then goes around your pallet and protects and secures whatever is inside the same way you might do so manually. By being automated, however, you minimise risk, the strain of your employees, and the time it takes to wrap each freight load.

How to Shrink Wrap a Freight Pallet with Shrink Wrapping Machinery:

1. Make sure there the area is sufficiently clear to use your automated shrink wrapping machine, that its settings are correct for the load, and the device is plugged in and turned on.
2. Put your freight onto a pallet. If needed, move the height limiter upward or downward to suit the size of your load.
3. Add the pallet to the automated machine.
4. Check and pull through if necessary the shrink film around the pallet.
5. Once completed, quickly and efficiently move the shrink-wrapped freight pallet to another area of your business.


Are you looking for shrink wrapping solutions for your business? If you need any advice on what shrink wrapping machinery you need, please get in touch and your team of industry experts we will be happy to assist you.