Grant Gerke

January 29, 2014

4 Min Read
Stretch wrapper offers increased speed and simplicity


Above, the stretch wrapper applies a top wrap to a pallet of Sport Utility stoves. The PLC unit sets the number of top wraps. Below, the forklift operator pulls the unitized pallet away from the stretch wrapper.


'That's a wrap.' This famous movie adage also applies to outdoor stoves that are palletized and stretch-wrapped at Dutro Camp Chef's plant in Logan, UT.

Dutro Camp Chef unitizes its line of outdoor products on a hybrid stretch wrapper from Orion Packaging Systems. The model HPA-66 is a semiautomatic machine with the ability to allow a forklift operator to place a load and start the wrap cycle without getting off the forklift. At the end of the cycle, the HPA-66 automatically clamps and cuts the film web. The plant is capable of producing 1,500 stoves daily. Product pieces are welded, assembled, placed in boxes and palletized. Personnel and robotic welders and fabricators execute the manufacturing and packaging activities.

Forklift operators pull the 40 x 48-in. pallets and place them on the HPA-66 machine. A steel backstop on the turntable helps the operator place the pallet. The pallets can hold up to 70 stove units.

Once the pallets are placed on the HPA-66, the forklift operator pulls away from the load and activates the machine. The operator starts the HPA-66 from the forklift by using a lanyard switch that hangs from the ceiling. This feature allows the operator to remain in the forklift, and to focus on moving more pallets, PD is told.

Although the HPA-66 is capable of wrapping up to 35 loads/hr, Dutro Camp Chef averages eight pallet loads/hr and 80 pallets/day at the Logan plant. Pallets of Utah supplies the wooden pallets for Dutro Camp Chef.

The great outdoors
About 10 years ago, the Dutro Co. decided to build high-end, camp stoves. The primary audiences for the stoves are hunters, outdoorsmen and family campers.

Overall, Dutro Camp Chef's stoves weigh from 14 to 66 lb each. The Sport Utility Stove comes in at 22 lb. The structural-steel HPA-66 is capable of pallet loads up to 4,000 lbs, but load weight is not a factor at Dutro Camp Chef. The HPA-66 wrapper comes with Orion's Insta-Thread™ film-delivery system. The film is manually loaded into the film carriage by opening a hinge that guides the film tail through to the rollers. The stretch film is made up of 80-ga polyethylene, from Zellerbach.

"The film is loaded into the carriage in only seconds. The speed is phenomenal," remarks Charlotte Gardner, shipping clerk at Dutro Camp Chef.

The Insta-Thread delivery system stretches the raw film to 245 percent. This "pre-stretching" brings out the maximum holding power and strength characteristics of the film, and also cuts film usage costs. Two textured rollers inside the delivery system stretch the film, with one roller turning faster, allowing for the stretching action upon the film. The roll is pre-stretched, the film winds to the clamp/cut/wipedown station in front of the pallet load. From there, the HPA-66 turntable rotates, on average, 16 to 20 times to wrap a load.

The wrapper comes with an Allen-Bradley PLC that sets top and bottom wraps, carriage speed and film tension. Also included with the HPA-66 stretch wrapper is the Revo-Logic™ Exact Wrap counting feature. The feature counts the number of top and bottom wraps set at the control panel. With the Revo-Logic system, the top or bottom wrap is counted precisely from where it started. The system measures from different points around the pallet load, providing a more precise measurement of revolutions, PD is informed.

Peter Vilardi from Orion Packaging adds, "The system's sensors send information to the microprocessor at multiple points around the load. When a top load is detected, the measuring begins immediately."

At Dutro Camp Chef, the wrapper completes one full loop–up once and down once–for each pallet. From there, an impulse hot wire cuts the film. The hot wire moves toward the pallet and cuts the film. The machine secures the film tail to the load with a pneumatically operated wipedown device. The wipedown mechanism is adjustable.

The HPA-66 wrapper is a workhorse at Dutro Camp Chef. Gardner remarks, "The machine provided higher throughput–with the remote start switch–and more efficient stretch-film consumption than the previous model. The wrapper had more features for the best price." And, in the movie and unitizing business, that's a wrap.

More information is available:

Pallet stretch wrapper: Orion Packaging Systems, Inc., 800/333-6556. Circle No. 202.

Pallets: Pallets of Utah, 435/753-0449. Circle No. 203.

Stretch film: Zellerbach, 800/662-7800. Circle No. 204.

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