Semi-Automatic or Automatic Shrink Wrapping Machine: A Guide to Identifying Which One Fits Your Business Better

Posted on February 3 2017 by Jon Jossie


In today’s ever-changing world there usually is not a one-size-fits-all solution. This can be seen time and time again when people are deciding on the type of shrink wrap and bundling packaging equipment to purchase. Each manufacturer has a different need whether it’s the packaging, improving packaging line speed, replacing a retiring workforce or redistributing employees to improve packaging line efficiencies. And while ROI is certainly a factor, there are many other considerations to weigh when deciding on the right solution for your operation.

To help you decide whether a semi-automatic packaging machine or fully automatic packaging machine may be best for your business, we’ve outlined situations in which one option may be more suitable than the other.

Semi-Automatic Shrink Wrap Packaging Machine

In many cases, a semi-automatic wrapper may be all you need for a cost-effective secondary or end-of-line packaging solution. Typically designed for reduced throughput rates, a semi-automatic wrapper requires an operator to load product and activate each wrapping sequence.

Circumstances that make investing in a semi-automatic packaging machine a great option:

  • Your company packages many different products in many different configurations. This situation makes for a lot of added expense in an automatic machine, including costly change parts and the time it takes to set up and changeover the machine.
  • Your product line changes year after year. This can make an automatic machine outdated in a very short time and/or lead to costly machine modifications and re-tooling.
  • You package small runs. This will mean more down time due to changeovers and set up time for an automatic machine; a semi-automatic might just be perfect for this situation.
  • You have multiple lines that you would like to feed into one machine. Instead of transporting and handling products before they are packaged, sometimes it is easier and more cost effective to handle them once they are packaged.
  • You have budget concerns. Sometimes you get a better bang-for-your-buck with a semi-automatic solution. In some cases you might be able to buy multiple semi-automatic machines for the same price or less than the cost of one automatic machine.

Automatic Shrink Wrap Packaging Machine

Automatic shrink wrap systems can be designed and manufactured to meet a wide range of packaging goals. And are commonly installed in manufacturing settings that warrent mid- to higher production rates.  

Circumstances that may lead you to purchase a fully automatic packaging machine:

  • You have a limited number of products and have large runs of them. This is usually the best fit for an automatic machine.
  • You would like to eliminate some of the hands-on processes that may be associated with packaging your products in order to improve line efficiencies.
  • You need your machine to present your products in a very specific manner. In this case an automated machine will have the repeatability you are looking for.
  • You need a machine that will perform multiple functions (e.g., erect a tray, place your product in that tray, wrap the tray). Here, an automatic solution may end up being the more cost effective option.

When considering what type of equipment to get, don’t immediately jump to conclusions – you could end up with a one-size solution that doesn’t fit well. Instead, look at all the possibilities and then weigh them independently as well as together against your needs.

If you need some additional input, engage the experts and use their knowledge and experience to help you to find a solution that will suit you now and in the future.


This entry was posted in Packaging System Upgrades