Just over 50 years ago, plastic strapping began to emerge as an alternative to steel strapping. It is now one of the most commonly used methods for unitising and bundling products and pallets – especially in the construction industry.
But what are the different types of strapping and are you using them properly to secure your products? In this article, we will be showcasing our top tips for strapping your products.
1. Choosing the right strapping material
Let’s start with possibly the more obvious tip, ensure you are choosing the right strapping material for your load. The strapping materials available all have different properties in terms of elastic, tensile strength, elongation recovery, shear and retained tension. This means you need to ensure that the strapping you choose is strong enough to hold your product securely.
So, what are the different types of strapping and what kind of applications are they most commonly used for?
- Steel strapping: best for the heaviest loads as its high tensile strength will ensure that your load is secure. It is most often used for securing materials such as logs, construction materials, and industrial equipment. It is also highly resistant to changes in temperature and exposure to moisture and UV light so is the best option for loads exposed to these elements.
- Polyester strapping: the most popular alternative to steel for everything apart from very heavy loads. It has the same break load but is lighter than steel, so it is safer to work with and is more resistant to moisture and corrosives. This strapping is also more elastic and provides better tension and package integrity.
- Polypropylene strapping: the lightest and most economical, this strapping is mostly used for light to medium duty applications such as carton closing, paper or newsprint bundling, and bailing or unitizing lightweight duty applications. It is easy to work with, very flexible, and resistant to water and corrosive liquids. It is also very stretchy allowing it to withstand shocks and movement without the load breaking.
2. Tension your load properly with the right strapping tools
Strapping is used to apply tension to your loads to hold them secure. However, you won’t be able to hold your load secure if you do not choose the correct strapping and use the right tools for said strapping. All strapping materials have different elongation, recovery, and tension properties and these will make a difference to the amount of tension needed when applying the strapping.
When strapping your products, it is important to remember that all strappings will relax a little after tensioning, but at the same time you do not want to over-tension your straps or you may risk damage to your products and cartons - and of course you wouldn’t want that. Luckily, this can be easily avoided by making sure to use the right strapping tools for the type of strap you are using, whether it be polyester, polypropylene or steel tools.
3. Consider a strapping machine
Strapping machines will make life a lot easier compared to strapping by hand. They not only reduce the chances of worker fatigue, strain and backpain, but they ensure the consistency of application meaning it will be much more likely that your load is secured correctly.
By using a strapping machine, you will also be reducing the amount of strapping that you use as strapping machines cut to the exact size, which will ultimately lead to reducing waste and cost!
Interested in strapping machines and not sure which to use? At Swiftpak, we have a variety of strapping machines that can help you with your packaging operation:
- Semi-automatic strapping machine: recommended for higher volume, single product runs. They are easy to load with an exposed coil holder that will feed at through at a touch of a button.
- Fully- automatic strapping machine: best for everyday use where packages vary in shape and weight. They automatically apply the strapping at the press of a button with no intervention needed from the operator.
We stock machines for different sizes as well, if you would like to know more about which strapping machine would be best for your packaging operation, please contact us today.
4. Use edge protectors
As you may know, strapping can crush or damage cartons and products if it is not applied properly, and you don’t want that right? Well, this can be avoided by using edge protectors such as buckles and seals, these are corrugated or plastic devices that spread the force of strapping to stop it from cutting into the edges of the boxes.
Another tip for when strapping a load that is crushable or delicate, is to consider using straps with less tension instead of using a smaller number of high-strength straps under higher tension.
Strapping from Swiftpak
Hopefully, these 4 tips will help you when starting to strap your products! At Swiftpak, we supply a wide range of high-quality strapping, strapping machines, tape and tools to help secure your loads. If you have any more questions, contact our highly experienced team and they will be happy to help you further.