Strapping, or so-called pallet banding, is a packaging and shipping essential. For a pallet to be deemed ready for shipment, it’s vital that the product or carton is properly secured to make sure it remains protected throughout the journey and adhere to health and safety laws.
To guarantee the best results and ensure that your load and the people securing it are safe, it’s crucial to use the right materials, tools, and techniques. Within this article, you will learn the best tips and tricks we have to offer for pallet strapping so that is ready for shipment.
Tip 1: Choose the right strapping material for the product
This may be an obvious one, but without knowing the pros and cons for each strapping material, it can be easy to get wrong. The right material will depend on the following factors:
- The size and weight of your pallet
- How much your load may shift during transport
- The length of time the strapping will need to maintain its tension
- How much exposure the bundling will have to moisture, sunlight, or corrosives.
Strapping is available in different materials including polyester (PET), steel, and polypropylene and each have their pros and cons, so we shall have a look at those now:
The lightest and most economical strapping material. Polypropylene strapping is most often used for light to medium duty applications like carton closing, paper or newsprint bundling, and bailing or unitising lightweight materials and products.
- Pros for Polypropylene strapping: Easy to work with, very flexible, and resistant to water and corrosive liquids. Polypropylene strapping has a high elongation rating and recovery of approximately 70%, allowing it to withstand shocks and movement without the load breaking.
- Cons for Polypropylene strapping: Not the best choice for heavier applications as tensile strength can be low compared to other strapping materials. The stretchiness of the strapping, as well as extreme temperature changes and exposure to UV light, leads to deformation over time meaning the polypropylene will no longer being able to hold the load tightly.
Steel is the most commonly used bundling material thanks to its high tensile strength that allows for the steel to be strong enough to secure the heaviest loads. Steel strapping is most commonly used to secure materials such as logs, construction materials, or industrial equipment.
- Pros for steel strapping: other than its high tensile strength, steel is highly resistant to changes in temperature and exposure to moisture and UV light. Steel also has a low stretch rating, so it retains good tension on the load over time.
- Cons for steel strapping: Steel strapping is very heavy so can be dangerous to work with. If the strapping were to break or be handled improperly during tensioning or removal, it could snap back with enough force to cause serious injuries. Steel strapping is also more likely to cause damage to the products or packaging, especially since untreated steel can rust and leave stains.
Polyester (PET) strapping
Polyester (PET) strapping is a popular alternative to steel for all except the heaviest loads.
- Pros for polyester strapping: PET is considered to be stronger than steel and is also safer and easier to work with. PET strapping is resistant to moisture and corrosives, and with polyester being more elastic than steel, it provides better tension to the package when loads shift and settle.
- Cons for polyester strapping: similar to polypropylene strapping, polyester tends to deform and lose its ability to retain tension over time. Its performance can also be degraded by exposures to extreme temperatures or UV light, so for loads that will be exposed to these elements it may be best to stick with steel strapping.
Now you know the pros and cons, you can see why our first tip is to ensure you have the right strapping material.
Tip 2: Make sure your strapping has the correct break load
The break load rating of your strap should be well above the expected force that it will be exposed to so that you have a safety margin.
Using a heavier strapping than needed for your load will not only be less effective, but also a waste of money.
In order to find the right break load, you need to know the total weight and size of your product, the number of straps you will need to secure it, as well as the forces it will likely be subjected to during transit.
If you are unsure of what bundling strength you need, feel free to contact our packaging experts today for more information.
Tip 3: Use edge protectors to avoid damage
Strapping can crush and damage your products if not applied correctly. To avoid any damage, we highly recommend edge protectors. Edge protectors will spread the force of the strapping so that it does not cut into the edges of boxes.
If you are strapping a load that is crushable or delicate, our tip is to consider using straps with less tension rather than a smaller amount of high-strength straps that provide a higher tension.
Tip 4: Use the right tool or machine
This might sound like an obvious one, but it’s important to understand what items you are strapping. If it is always the same size, a strapping machine might be a worthwhile investment, whereas if you often have different sized packages to be strapped a battery strapping tool might be more efficient.
Battery strapping tools first emerged around the mid 1970’s when a manual tension, battery powered friction-weld combination tool known as the “Tiger” was invented. Since then, battery strapping tools have become game changers when it comes to bundling. Especially since safety and cost concerns associated with steel strapping are rising, and so the use of polyester strapping with a battery strapping tool has increased dramatically.
New widths and break strengths of PET strapping means that applications that were historically strapped with steel strapping, are now able to be used with PET as well.
There is no wonder that the popularity of Battery strapping tools is rising since they encourage much more flexibility, allowing for operators to move around the site quickly and effectively strap the products where they choose. The development of the battery strapping tool has enabled operators to perform bundling faster with less fatigue due to it being a lighter tool and much simpler to use. They also relieve a lot of stress and strain that comes with using manual strapping tools on a daily basis.
At Swiftpak, we recommend using our portable strapping tool that is pre-set with three easy settings to allow for simple, stress-free strapping to make packaging operations much easier. Paktool Semi-Automatic Strapping Tool comes with a 12-month warranty and a new spare battery available to purchase.
To see how our Battery Strapping Tool can be used, see our quick and easy tutorial.
To find out what’s right for you, have a look at our guide comparing machine applied and manual strapping.
Strapping Tips and Tricks from Swiftpak
At Swiftpak we have expertise to help you find the right strapping solution with our wide range of high-quality, durable strapping so you can secure your pallets and products with confidence.
If you would like further tips and tricks for bundling your cartons, contact our friendly packaging team today who will be more than happy to help.