Getting to grips with strapping for your packaging

3 mins

Are you using the right strapping for your packaging operation? Read on and learn more about the different types of strapping available and their applications.


One facet of the packaging process which businesses can really benefit from revisiting from time to time is their strapping solutions. Strapping processes often remain unchanged for a significant amount of time. This article will give you a better idea of the suitability of your current solutions and allow you to determine if they are really the best for your needs.

Strapping can come in many different guises, each with their own benefits in relation to usage and application, most commonly in plastics and steel materials. The best solution for your own needs will depend on a number of different factors. This includes the weight of your consignments, the regularity of their shape and their size.

The key differences between steel and plastic strapping is in strength and elongation. There are also a number of specific differences between different polyester and polypropylene strapping that will play a part in deciding the most suitable product for your applications.

Let us examine the key specifiers to each type of strapping…

Steel Strapping

Steel strapping is generally for more specialist applications but is by far the strongest variety of strapping available, being both heavy-duty and secure. This means that it is most suitable to heavy consignments with sharp edges. It is also good at conforming to awkward angles and shapes. However, unlike polyester strapping where strength is relative to a good elongation and recovery rate, steel strapping is incredibly rigid. This makes it less suitable for loads that are prone to shrinkage or jarring during transit.

Inadequate steel strapping can represent a hazard when improperly dressed. Each type of steel strapping that we stock at Swiftpak is sheared and dressed for added safety. Steel strapping should only be cut and sealed with an appropriate safety cutter to prevent steel strapping from springing back when cut.

Polyester Strapping [Plastic]

Polyester strapping offers a high break strength and can handle high tension rates, combined with good elongation and recovery that isn’t available in steel strapping. This makes it a common choice for businesses moving away from steel strapping. However, it does not offer the same level of strength of steel strapping.

Polyester strapping is available in a variety of different applications and has a great selection of suitable tooling accessories and cutters. Because of its unique qualities, Polyester strapping is versatile and suited to a wide variety of different applications, particularly those prone to warping, shrinkage or jarring during transit.

Polypropylene Strapping [Plastic]

Polypropylene is a popular strapping option for light duty applications due to its relative ease of application coupled with a high elongation rate but low recovery. This means that, unlike Polyester, Polypropylene will often stretch out but will not return to its original shape - it is more likely to remain stretched or break altogether. This doesn’t mean that Polypropylene is not useful - on the contrary, for light use it is an economic and simple solution. However, it isn’t at all suitable for larger or heavier consignments.

If you are still unclear about strapping and wondering whether or not your current solutions are the right option for your products, just get in contact with us. We would be happy to direct you.

Swiftpak is a packaging supply comapany with over 30 years experience in choosing the right packaging supplies if you are looking to improve your packaging operation or need advice on the right packaging supplies for your products please get in touch and we will be happy to advise.