Case Study: Stretch wrapper helps steel fabricator reduce labor, time, film consumption


November 19, 2013

A fabricator looking for a more efficient, less labor-intensive means of wrapping found a system that it says improved productivity, reduced product damage and wrapping inconsistencies, and saved on film use, while also saving worker wear and tear.

Yellow Jacket


With a 70,000-sq.-ft. steel fabricating facility in Fairless Hills, Pa., Waste Gas provides services from laser and plasma cutting to forming, machining, and delivery.

In 2012, with increasing production demands and a commitment to cost reduction through operational efficiency, the company decided to expand its shipping and receiving departments. The additional space allowed room for more racking and helped increase shipping and receiving productivity.

However, the company was still hand-wrapping more than 500 skids a week. Lifting the 50-lb. rolls of film and bending in awkward positions to apply the wrap was putting operators at risk of back strains and pulled muscles.

Applying the right amount of film tension and wraps to loads was a challenge to do manually. If operators didn’t apply enough tension, the loads could topple in transit. If they applied too much tension, the product could be damaged or the film could break.



The new layout gave the company room for a new piece of equipment, and one month after warehouse renovations were complete, the company obtained an 87M Yellow Jacket orbital stretch wrapper from ITW Muller. The new stretch wrapper replaced the need for hand-wrapping.

A forklift driver transports the load up to the wrapper and positions the load in the center of the ring. Leaving the load on the forklift, the operator walks to the wrapper and places both hands on the side controllers/handles. Each handle has one button; when both are pressed, the film is released over the load. The operator then moves left and right to position the ring across the load. In a matter of seconds, the load is wrapped and the operator can return the forklift and drive the pallet back to its desired location.

The wrapper eliminated employee injury from hand-wrapping and helped improve productivity. Operators now wrap four skids in the time it took to wrap one by hand. The job now can be done by one employee instead of two or three.

The machine applies the correct amount of wrap tension to help reduce product damage, wrapping inconsistencies, and film usage. 

“We continued to use the same stretch film as before, but the machine allowed us to cut our film waste by nearly 50 percent,” said Kyle Cloman, president and CEO.

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