Are you considering an investment in a pallet strapping machine? These machines can increase your productivity, as well as profitability.
Several types of strapping materials are popular, and can be applied manually to your pallets, as well as by semi-automatic and automatic strapping machines.
However, you may be wondering: what’s “strapping”? Essentially, strapping refers to the process of securing products for transport. It can involve strapping cartons, or strapping bundles of items together, as well as securing products onto pallets.
Choosing the right strapping for your applications can be challenging. You want to package securely, with high quality strapping, but you don’t want to choose more expensive strapping than you need.
Let’s look at different types of strapping, and their applications.
Strapping protects and secures your products: choose high quality
What type of strapping is best for your applications?
Popular materials for strapping include:
Traditional steel strapping: a popular choice in many industries
Tough, durable steel strapping is popular and widely used in heavy industries such as the timber industry. With its high tensile strength, it holds loads securely for long periods without stretching.
Loads secured with steel strapping can be loaded and reloaded as needed, without loosening. Since it’s available in many grades, with many different coatings, steel strapping is often a good choice, especially when weather and temperature resistance is important.
However, steel strapping has disadvantages. It’s expensive and can be hazardous when handled—it’s sharp, so if it snaps when under tension, the recoil can cause accidents.
Polypropylene strapping: safe and economical
In recent years, polypropylene strapping has become popular for strapping light and medium loads. Not only is it economical, its elasticity makes it suitable for use in many applications.
Polypropylene strapping is available in many grades of varying thickness and width. It may be embossed, so that it grips more securely.
Unfortunately, polypropylene strapping has a disadvantage. Although it stretches to tension loads, if it’s tensioned and elongated too often, it won’t recover, although its initial elongation recovery is up to 40%. Commonly polypropylene strapping will lose around half its tension within an hour after tension is applied.
Will you be using your strapping in varying temperatures? If so, reconsider polypropylene strapping. It can split if too many changes in temperature occur, or if it’s exposed to weather for long periods.
Polyester strapping: safe, lightweight, and strong
Not only is polyester strapping lightweight and versatile, it’s safer to handle than steel strapping, with a lower effect on the environment than steel. (Steel strapping requires high-temperature forging.)
Polyester strapping can be easily recycled too.
However, the primary reason polyester strapping is popular is because it can be as strong as steel strapping, while offering reliable elongation and recovery. If a secured load expands and contracts, the polyester strapping accommodates it easily, without loosening and allowing the load to shift.
If you’re looking for a strapping material which is safe for loads which will be shipped and stored in many different environments, polyester strapping is an excellent choice. It’s resistant to humidity and moisture as well as UV light.
Composite strapping: five times more lightweight than steel
Looking for super tough and strong strapping? Composite strapping may be the best choice. Not only is it lightweight and weatherproof, it’s soft in handling, and can be reused many times, which can offer significant savings.
Like polyester strapping, it expands and contracts with loads. It can be re-tensioned as required, too.
When you’ve chosen the correct strapping material for your applications, it’s time to consider the advantages of an automatic strapping machine.
Strapping machines: choosing a semi-automatic or fully automatic strapping machine
In a high-volume packaging situation, an automatic strapping machine may be an investment, but it repays your investment quickly. A machine can provide up to 60 straps in one minute, offering big productivity benefits, because there’s little for the operator to do.
Automatic strapping machine are often referred to as arch strapping machines because the strapping is wrapped and tensioned around a package automatically. These machines are available in several widths and heights of arch openings, to suit different sizes of packages.
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If your strapping requirements are lower, a semi-automatic strapping machine requires a lower investment. There’s more operator involvement. These machines are often referred to as tabletop or benchtop machines; they’re easy to use. An operator loops the strap around a package on the machine’s table then feeds the strap into the tensioner and sealer to complete the operation.
Need portability? Both semi-automatic and fully automatic strapping machines can be mounted on casters so that you can move them around your factory or warehouse.
If you’re unsure whether you need a fully automatic strapping machine, get advice for your supplier. The correct strapping machine will provide you with years of service, while lowering your packaging costs.