Q: What's the difference between semi and fully automatic stretch wrapping machines?

A: Semi-automatic stretch wrapping machines are normally used in low volume applications where no more than 30 loads an hour need to be wrapped. These machines require that the load be brought to the machine either by fork lift (high profile) or by pallet jack (low profile). After the load is placed on the turntable or in the wrapping area, an operator must attach the film to the load, press the start button, then detach and secure the film tail to the load at the end of the wrapping cycle.

An automatic stretch wrapping system does not require an operator, except to load film. Loads are usually transferred to the machine via a powered conveyor. Once in the wrapping area, the machine begins the wrapping cycle automatically. A load height sensing photo eye tells the film carriage how high to wrap. At the end of the cycle, the film tail is automatically cut and either brushed down or heat sealed to the load. The pallet load is then conveyed out of the wrapping area and the machine is ready for the next load. With Orion's HPA, LPA, MPA and CTS Portable Automatic machines, the loads are brought to and removed from the machine by lift truck. The driver starts the cycle with a hanging pendant switch. Automatic systems can process anywhere from 30 to 120 loads per hour.