In his memoir about his time as a steamboat pilot, Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain recalls a story about his mentor quizzing him about certain navigation landmarks on the Mississippi River. Twain repeatedly answered that he didn't know the names of the places he was being quizzed about, and went so far as to say he was "gratified to be able to answer promptly"; even though he didn't have a clue what the answers were. At the end of the quiz, his mentor got increasingly agitated and finally scolded Twain:
“My boy, you must get a little memorandum-book, and every time I tell you something, put it down right away. There’s only one way to be a pilot, and that is to get to know this entire river by heart. You have to know it just like A B C.”
Historically, stretch film manufacturers representatives have given themselves,(justified in many cases), a bad reputation for not only not knowing what stretch film to recommended confidently-- or worse-- "promptly" answering questions about what stretch film should be used with ill-informed replies that send a customer down the river to crash with bad directions.
Stretch film, by formula and gauge, should be placed with the singular goal of providing the appropriate level of load containment with the lowest overall cost. The three questions that always should be asked to identify what film and gauge should be tested are:
1 : What brand of stretch equipment is being used?
All stretch film equipment manufacturers have their own designs- specifically relating to how film is stretched through the carriage head and delivered to the load. Manufacturers reps should be able to KNOW how each design affects the delivery and stretch of their films to help select the best formula and gauge.
2 : What is the true gauge, width, and length of the current film being used? Is it working appropriately with no load failures?
3 : What are the dimensions (length and width) of one load; and how many revolutions are being put on that load?
All stretch wrap manufacturers representatives should be able to tell you, with the above information, what the total on pallet stretch the machine is putting on the load.
Given the data combining the style of machine, the current film data, and calculating the total on pallet stretch information; a knowledgeable stretch film rep will be able to consider those factors and recommend the right film formula with the right gauge. This will provide the lowest overall cost to wrap loads with the appropriate containment to keep customers from crashing on the river.