Machine applied or manual strapping: Which is right for my business?

4 mins

Strapping offers an ideal solution for securing shipments before transit or for medium to long-term storage. Whether it be to fix a parcel to your pallet, or join one parcel to another, strapping can be used to secure almost anything, from fragile products up to bulky loads.

When it comes to choosing your strapping material, there are three main types to choose from – Steel, Polypropylene, and Polyester. Each have their own pros and cons, and what’s best for your business will highly depend on your load types, weight and size (we explore the differences in our recent strapping materials comparison blog).

Whilst your chosen strapping material plays a huge part in the effectiveness of your packaging process, how you apply your strapping will heavily influence the efficiency of your entire operation.

So, with that said, here’s all you need to know about your strapping application choices.

Your strapping application choices

The application of strapping can be achieved via three methods:

  1. With a strapping machine,
  2. Using a strapping tool;
  3. Manually with tensioners, cutters, or combination tools.

Let’s break down the options in further detail to help you decide which is best for your application.

Strapping machines

Strapping machines are electrically powered and use strapping to create a consistent, secure seal. They are used to save time, energy and materials over typical packaging processes and do so without the need of manual strapping tools. They’re available in fully or semi-automatic variants:

  • Fully automatic strapping machines – These are the quickest and simplest strapping solution to use once set up. When the item is placed in the correct position detailed by the machine, a push of a button, will automatically strap the package in seconds.
  • Semi-automatic strapping machines – Semi-automatic machines require a little more involvement from the operator. Although still a simple operation, the process takes slightly longer than using a fully automatic strapping machine. You’ll need to feed the strap over the top of the item and into the other side where it’s fed back into the machine.

Hand-held strapping machine

Hand-held strapping machines are the perfect middle ground between a fully automatic machine and manual strapping. Their main benefit comes with having the portability offered in manual strapping tools, but with speed and performance closer to a stationary machine.

These hand-held devices will tension and seal your strap in once action, without the need for metal seals or buckles.

You can take it on the road with you or move freely around the warehouse. So, consider a situation where you may need to take the strapping machine to the goods instead of the goods to the strapping machine. A hand-held strapping machine gives you the freedom to be more flexible in your operation.

Manual strapping

Manual strapping requires the use of several tools to complete the job in lower volume strapping scenarios. A sealer, hand tensioner, crimper and dispenser are used in combination to ensure loads remain secure during transit, handing and storage.

The process of applying strapping manually can be lengthy. But when access to power is limited, or volumes are low, manual strapping is effective.


How to determine the right strapping choice for your business

There are a number of factors to consider when identifying the right strapping application for your business. But the volume of packages that require strapping each day should be a good initial indicator. If only a handful of packages need securing, a manual strapping process may cut it. Anything more, and the speed that strapping machines have to offer could prove a wise investment - Remember, time is money.

If you’re unsure on what’s right for your business, here’s a wider list of benefits that strapping machines have to offer over manual tools:

  • A more consistent strapping application
  • Increase in productivity
  • Save time and money by redirecting workers’ efforts

Strapping solutions from Swiftpak

Still unsure which strapping application method is right for your business? Speak to one of our experts at Swiftpak today. With over 45 years of experience in the industry, we have the knowledge needed to advice on the very best strapping solution for your needs.

We stock a variety of steel, polypropylene, and polyester strapping products, as well as automatic and semi-automatic machines, hand-held strapping machines and manual strapping tools. Explore our strapping range today and secure your pallets with confidence.