For many metal fabricators and other manufacturers and distributors looking to get control over costs in the packaging and shipping departments, or who need to keep orders moving safely out the door without relying on a large team of employees to show up every day, there’s probably no need to leap into investing in a fully automated pallet wrapping department. In fact, from a look at the typical cost structure for a small manufacturing business in America, just dipping a toe in the automation waters with a semi-automatic pallet wrapping machine yields nearly the same results as going full automatic and at a far lower investment.

It jumped out at me when updating our Economic Justification Chart to reflect current labor rates. The numbers show that the bulk of the cost savings in labor, time, and materials, and the bulk of the packaging throughput improvements that come from using a pallet wrapping machine come from the switch from manual stretch wrapping by hand to a semi-automated orbital wrapping machine like the TAB Wrapper Tornado Standard here.

Replacing the manual process with our entry level, semi-automated orbital wrapper immediately changes the pallet wrapping process from a two- or three-person job that takes about five minutes per pallet load into a one-person job that takes about 30 seconds. It also creates a stronger, tighter wrap than wrapping by hand and eliminates the cuts, scrapes, splinters, and back injuries people complain about from moving film around the pallet and forklift.

Sure, spending a lot for a fully automated wrapping process can quickly impact the bottom line just the same and then some but why not get the lion’s share of the benefits without spending a lot up front or buying excess capacity? It isn’t difficult to upgrade later as the company grows and the volume of pallet loads wrapped per day increases. This means for the vast majority of companies that stretch wrap palletized loads, even our entry level Standard model orbital wrapper offers dramatic savings worth calculating.

How much can you save? Calculate savings here.