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Strapping also known as banding, is a vital part of product packing and distribution. It is used primarily to secure pallets but is also widely used to bundle together items in transit for a smaller shipment footprint. The choice of strapping is varied but comes down to two main categories – metal and plastic. This article will show you the benefits of a switch to polyester strapping.

Most metal strapping is made from steel and most plastic strapping is made either from polypropylene or polyester.

Traditionally, steel strapping is used in the shipment of heavy-duty items, such as bricks or timber. Plastic strapping has been seen as more suited to the palletisation of lighter duty products. It is also applied directly to cardboard boxes to improve handling.

Why you should consider the switch from steel to polyester strapping

If you’re using steel strapping in your business, it can be a manual handling nightmare! It’s heavy, sharp and slow to apply. It can also be expensive to buy and very heavy to transport or move too. All these factors take a toll on your productivity, costs and carbon emissions.

Steel strapping also carries health and safety risks because edges can often be sharp. The risk this poses to employees is even greater if the strapping is cut under tension.

So, if you are shipping heavy duty products such as lumber, bricks and tiles, don’t assume you need steel strapping.

Polyester strapping is extremely strong. It can withstand up to two and a half times more energy before breaking than traditional steel strapping. The switch will also deliver significant cost savings to your business.

The switch to polyester strapping is easier with the right tools

What can the switch to polyester strapping deliver for your business?

Easier handling, storage & transport

The average roll of 1500m polyester strapping weighs about the same as 300m of steel. That’s 5 times as much strapping! And, because polyester strapping is much lighter than steel, it’s easier to handle, saving valuable time for your team. Polyester strapping also weighs less so shipping it uses less fuel. It’s a win, win: save money and the environment. Another positive is that polyester strapping will take up much less space compared to steel, so you’ve got more room for your product!

Simple implementation that boosts productivity

A battery operated friction welder will make the transition to polyester strapping easy and effective. It tensions and seals the strapping in seconds, significantly reducing application time. If you are applying strapping to a higher volume of items, consider a weight sensing, fully automated friction welder. These can complete up to 27 straps per minute. Both options can enable your operators to efficiently pack more items in less time – another productivity win!

Lower environmental impact when you switch to polyester strapping

polyester strapping contains recycled material and can be recycled through industrial waste streams. Arguably, the environmental impact of polyester strapping is lower than that of steel. This is because polyester is often extruded from recycled materials. Steel, on the other hand, is manufactured through a forging process, which requires significantly more energy.

Improved health & safety – when polyester strapping is cut, it does not leave any dangerous edges, meaning a safer work environment for your team when compared to the potential perils of steel strapping.

The switch to polyester strapping improves the protection of products like sawn timber

How does polyester strapping compare to steel strapping in practice?

A great example of the comparison of steel vs polyester is in the bundling of sawn timber…

When steel strapping is used to bundle sawn timber, it can easily mark the wood, leaving deep grooves when tension is applied. This problem gets even worse if the timber expands or shrinks.

Polyester strapping is often advertised at a lower break point than steel, but it can often be found to hold much more securely due to its elongation recovery. So, when tension is applied to polyester strapping, it does much less damaging to the timber as it has the flexibility to grip rather than cut into it.

Additionally, during transit or storage, if the timber shrinks, the steel may lose its grip. Polyester strapping, on the other hand, will attempt to return to its original length. This makes it tighten around the timber, giving a much better hold. This also works conversely if the timber expands.

If you are interested in making the switch from steel strapping or are looking for ways to improve your strapping application processes, contact Macfarlane Packaging today.

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