Questions and answeres to clarify the various aspects of full automatic and semi-automatic film over wrap machines.
DVD cas Inserter / collator:
Full automatic Merlin, description & specifications
Photo image of Merlin
Semi-automatic Presto for slip cover insertion
Photo image of Presto


Super Overwrapper & FilmStar over wrapper:

Over wrapper Q&A

DMA overwrapper description

Over wrapper photo image


Overwrapping Films:

overwrapping films


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Questions and answeres on overwrappers



1) Over wrapper quality and product handling.

Various new high performance tight overwrapping films are becoming available and thus it is very important that overwrappers can hold the necessary tight mechanical and temperature tolerances to best make use of this performance. A product's good appearance on the retail shelves more than compensates the fraction of a cent in price difference between good and poor quality film. A film that initially yields a tight appearance can, through poor quality, relax and leave a baggy product on the shelf. It is thus important to use a film with good overwrap, does not relax, and an overwrapper that does justice to the contemporary type of tight wrap film.

DMA: Our contemporary use of electronic control technology enables the best performance from these new films.

2) Throughput speed for automation:

Two categories of machines exist, those that can run at 60 parts per minute and those that can not. This 60 parts per minute is a very important threshold as automation lines run at this speed or greater. A machine running at lower thus is not ideal for automated production lines. Even when not in an automated production line and being hand fed, speed is of great importance as running time is directly related to labor costs. Simply put, a 30 parts per minute machine costs twice as much in labor costs as a machine running at 60 parts per minutes. In order to reach speeds of 60 parts per minute no short cuts can be taken and special design and manufacturing requirements are necessary. This relates to cost and one should expect to pay far less for a 30 parts per minute that a 60 or more parts per minute machine. Also, very importantly, these slower machines are rated "55 parts per minute" but not quite the automation standard of 60 parts plus per minute. In practice however these slower machines often turn out to really be 27 to 30 parts per minute machines.

DMA: Our design is essentially high speed, no short cuts have been taken, and we have many extra features such as powered film stock take off reels and more.


3) Automated vs. semi-automated :

The overwrapper market can be segmented into the automated and semi-automated groups. This differentiation is made on the demand of operator involvement. This is determined by the intelligence of the input, central and output product processing systems of the overwrapper. The machine is only semi-automatic if the operator has to keep the hopper full and synchronize the end of the current batch with the addition of blank dummy product in order to carry the good product through to the exit. This is true, not only at the end of production runs but in fact every time the machine is stopped. Also problematic is the input supply from other automated machines that need to pause, run and stop These semi-automatic system usually have a micro switch a few product heights from the bottom of the input hopper to turn off the drive system of the machine in advance due to momentum of the drive system. If the product should run out before stopping the machine, the continued feeding of film will cause a jam up. This part is easily achieved but not so the clearing of the product out of the machine. If the product remains in the machine longer than during normal overwrapping, this extended exposure to the heat sealers causes damage to heat sensitive product. It is this down side that needs to be worked around by an operator adding dummy product at the right time to clear the good product out of the machine before stopping.

An automated machine reacts automatically to the availability of product at the input and in addition clears the product through the machine at a pause or end of a run.

The trade off is thus the cost of an operator and possibly wasted product vs. the higher initial cost of a fully automated overwrapper which can easily be a two to one ratio. This choice of a semi-automatic overwrapper is only possible for semi-automatic applications. These include boutique type opperations. See our semi-automatic overwrapper for details. Overwrappers running in conjunction with other in-line automatic machines, such as inserting machines in production lines, need to be fully automatic.

DMA: Our fully automatic overwrapper operation is achieved by our micro processor control system and many software enhancements.


4) Feasible vs. non-feasible product size change:

The only constant in business is change! This is equally true about overwrapping product size. Multiple stacks are here and new packing is introduced continually. Just think of the new super jewel box and the Blu-Ray Disc. Overwrappers are differentiated into two groups according to their feasibility to change size. The two factors of importance being price of change out components and the time and expertise to effect this change. The effect of easy size change out is two fold:

a) Quick Size Change: This is very advantageous to the smaller business who does not wish to purchase one machine product size.

b) Businesses who can not afford a fixed product size machine to become redundant when new formats take over such as Blu Ray disc or HD-DVD.

The above parameters are important in all industries but especially in the media industry. Format changes in the near future can quickly drop a machine into redundancy. When contemplating the purchase of an overwrapper which can not feasibly be changed, a very short amortization period is necessary to minimize exposure.

DMA: Our quick size change with minimum of change out parts is achieved by our microprocessor control system and software enhancements.


5) Reliability and maintenance:

A clear distinction should be made between the simple technical requirements and highly specialized maintenance such as detailed below:

a) Timing: The timing of an overwrapper can be by means of levers and cams on rotating shafts or by electronic servo control. Both are effective but adjustments are far easier with the clearly visible indicators of the servo electronic type. The mechanical cams and levers variety, due to the force behind the motion, tend to go out of adjustment during jam ups. The electronic servo systems exert much less pressure on the product and machine in the event of a jam up and are by virtue of being electronic also immune to these timing upsets.

b) Specialized adjustments like the cutting knife: With a dual bladed application where one blade acts on another blade (scissors action) or a cutting wheel, the wear is understandably excessive. The setting up of these dual bladed cutting systems is usually a formidable task and needs to be repeated at regular intervals. The alternative is the film being held taught while using a single bladed cut off knife. The low wear, reliability and ease of set up and replacement make the single cut off knife make is a winner but at a higher initial cost.

The above are serious trade offs between the use of a highly skilled factory technician vs. initial purchase cost.


DMA: Our overwrapper is not susceptible to such timing problems as it is microprocessor and servo based. Our cut off knife is of the long life single bladed type and easy to replace if needed.


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