Depending on what application you need it for and the strength of the product you need, you have four main types of strapping to choose from. Melbpack provides a wide range of strapping equipment, however, they each come with their own pros and cons. Here’s how to choose the one that ticks all the boxes for your shipping or storage situation.
Best for: Steel, heavy construction, rail shopping, and products that are hot or sharp.
Steel strapping is the strongest option. It is also the best solution for sharp or hot products because it offers low elongation.
How it works: Mechanical seals and notch joints are used to seal steel strapping.
The bottom line: Although strong, the disadvantages are that this form of strapping can be more expensive, has sharp edges which can be dangerous and is hard to recycle.
Best for: Palletising (light duty), closing cartons, bundling, and unitising.
Polypropylene strapping is a popular choice for a strapping material because it is easy to apply and recycle. It is also very light to use. The disadvantage to consider is that it has a low retained tension.
How it works: Because it can be used with either a hand grade and machine grade, it can be sealed with a range of solutions. This includes buckles, seals, heat seals, or friction welds.
The bottom line: A cost-effective solution, it has high elongation and elongation recovery. It is affordable, lightweight, and easy to apply and recycle.
Best for: Polyester strapping is the best choice if you are looking for high strength and retained tension, but want a plastic strapping option. Polyester (also referred to as PET) is a rigid strapping option. It has less elongation than polypropylene, but on the other hand, it can retain tension for longer and is resistant to nicks.
How it works: Polyester strapping is sealed with either seals, heat, or the use of friction welds. It is available in both machine grade and hand grade. It is easy to recycle.
The bottom line: It is used to secure cans and bottles, lumber, heavy pallet loads, and more. The only disadvantage is that it offers less elongation than polypropylene.
Best for: Steel replacement, agricultural, boating
Cord strapping comes in both polyester and rayon forms (either uniline or cross woven). It’s only used in manual applications.
How it works: It is sealed using buckles, it can be tied or seals can be used. Positives are that it is resistant to moisture so suitable for outdoor applications.
The bottom line: Heavy-duty polyester cord is starting to replace steel in lumber applications because it can be applied with no tools and is moisture resistant. Negatives are that it offers poor elongation and is difficult to recycle.
Educate yourself on the following about strapping tools before you decide on what to use:
- Some tools are very versatile and can be used on any plastic strap
- Some tools can only be used on polyester or polypropylene
- Some tools can only be used on one type of strap and may be limited to size ranges (width and/or thickness).
- Only tools designed for steel strapping can be used on steel straps.
- With hand application, only buckles are needed. The strap is tightened by hand. Only suitable for cord strapping.
- When choosing manual tools, you will need a tensioner, sealer, and seals. It allows for secure strapping and offers a superior working range. It works for polypropylene, polyester, cord, and steel.
- Battery operated tools can offer all operations (tensioning, sealing, and cutting) in one tool. This makes it portable and efficient. You also don’t need seals. Used for polypropylene and polyester.
- Pneumatic tools can achieve tensioning, sealing, and cutting in varying strengths using no seals. Good for polypropylene, polyester, and steel strapping.
Now, discover what you need to know about strapping machines
- Semi-automatic arch and table-top machines are best for low volumes.
- If you are handling high volumes the advantages are numerous. It is fast and efficient, can be automatic or semi-automatic, and require no seals.
- You can integrate into an existing assembly line or conveyor system.
- You can achieve the desired amount of tension.
- Certain issues can occur. They require power and a pressurised air source.
- It can be used with polypropylene or polyester, for larger machines.
4 things to check before you buy strapping
- What is the break strength? This is the force (measured in pounds) it takes to break the strapping.
- What is the core size? This is the diameter and depth of one coil and need to be the same as the dispenser or machine.
- What is the thickness? This is measured in fractions of an inch and needs to be as same as the machine or tools.
- What is the embossing? A diamond-shaped pattern with texture can be found on most polypropylene strapping. Benefits include higher split resistance, better stiffness and joint efficiency.