Choosing the right strapping for your business
Strapping is ideal for bundling products together, securing loads on pallets, as added security on individual boxes or even just enabling easy pick up of difficult to grip packs.
Available in a variety of widths and materials, there is a strapping solution available to support every application. Strapping suitability is measured in strength and breaking strain, this is the amount of force that can be applied before the material snaps. It’s vital that you check that the strapping you plan to use is capable of safely containing your product before you proceed.
Strapping can also be printed with your company name or logo, making it difficult to replicate or replace if intercepted, giving your product extra security against theft.
Here is a quick overview of the types of strapping and their suitability.
Available in light, medium, heavy or super heavy duty, polypropylene strapping can be hand or machine applied.
Hand applied strapping can be wrapped on either a cardboard core or plastic reel, the type you need depends on the dispenser you use. A dispenser is advised, without it, you’ll have run away strapping snaking across the warehouse floor, a definite trip hazard!
Breaking strains on polypropylene strapping depend on the width, application and duty of the material. Light duty typically has a breaking strain of around 115kg whilst super heavy can be around 310kg. If you are unsure what duty you require, check with a packaging professional.
A polyester strapping solution is extremely strong, yet soft, lightweight and weather-resistant. It takes around 2.5 times more energy to break than steel strapping with the same break strain and its “elastic memory” maintains tension even when there is pack settlement or shrinkage.
It’s often preferred over steel strapping as there are no sharp edges, creating a safer working environment and also reducing the potential for product damage compared with steel strapping.
Corded polyester strapping is also available, this has a textured finish for an ultra-firm grip.
As with polypropylene strapping, breaking strains depend on the width, application and duty of the material. But as a rule of thumb, it can have a breaking strain of between 300 – 460kg. Again check with a packaging professional to identify the right strength for you.
Steel strapping comes in two formats – ribbon wound or oscillated. The type you need depends on the type of dispenser you use. Again, a dispenser is required to ensure that the strapping is safely contained.
Steel strapping is hand-applied and has the highest tensile strength of any strapping material which means it’s widely used within the construction sector. Typically, it has a breaking strength of between 500-930kg, depending on material width.
Strapping Application by hand
Hand applied polypropylene and polyester strapping needs to be fitted tightly to the load to ensure stability, this is done using a tensioner tool. A metal seal should be applied to hold the strapping firmly in place, this requires a tool to squeeze it closed and secure the strapping. When the seal has been applied, the strapping can be cut using the tensioner tool.
A friction welder removes the need to apply the seal as it fuses the strapping together using heat, it automatically applies tension before it seals. These are much faster than using manual tools and fantastic for ensuring tension consistency. If you are strapping multiple pallets per day, a friction welder would be the best option.
Corded polyester strapping follows a similar process but as it has a textured finish a buckle is used instead of a seal. The strapping is first fed through the buckle then tightened using a tensioner tool.
Steel strapping is secured using snap-on or overlap seals. Specialist steel strapping safety cutters and tensioner tools are required or, you could use a steel combination tool to complete both actions.
Strapping machines are ideal for strapping large volumes across a wide range of operations and ensure consistency of application, guaranteeing load containment. They also use the minimum amount of strapping, cutting each section to the exact size required. This often reduces the amount of strapping that you use, reducing waste and costs.
Semi-automatic strapping machines are recommended for higher volume, single product runs. They apply strapping quickly but require the operator to feed the strapping around the pack.
Fully automatic strapping machines are well suited for regular, everyday use where packages vary in shape and weight. They automatically apply the strapping with no intervention required by the operator, who just needs to place the pack within the strapping machine arch and press a button. The strapping is applied in seconds.