Are you looking to evaluate your current strapping materials move to a lighter, safer, and more cost-effective option? We’re here to shed light on the different options of strapping materials that exist and help you make the right choice for your packaging needs.
How to Select the Best Strapping Material for Your Industrial Packaging Needs
Strapping Materials in Shipping: Then and Now
Anyone who has ever ordered items to be delivered to either their home or workplace has undoubtedly noticed the many variations of packaging styles and materials that exist. Smaller packages may arrive in cardboard boxes or even plastic bags. But larger shipments that arrive on pallets are often sealed in stretch wrap and banded with strapping material. Years ago, there was only steel strapping to choose from. It’s strong and reliable, but it does have its limitations. While steel strapping materials are still useful in many heavy-duty shipping applications today, science and technology have paved the way for lighter, stronger and safer strapping options.
The Differences in 4 Common Types of Strapping Materials
Steel Strapping Materials
Steel is the oldest type of strapping on the market. You may recall seeing it on flatbeds traveling down the highways, often carrying very heavy and large loads. It has high tensile strength and is available in many widths and thicknesses to accommodate almost any application. Steel strapping material is most often used when high strength and minimal stretch are required.
Steel strapping materials are ideal in applications such as transporting extremely heavy and stable loads like sheet metals.
Polypropylene Strapping Materials
Polypropylene is economical and is made from a plastic resin blend and does not offer the same strength as steel or polyester. Like other strapping materials, it is available in many widths, thicknesses, and polymer variations and often used in arch strappers or tabletop strapping applications. Polypropylene strapping material has some level of elongation, meaning the material can stretch some, but has irrecoverable dead stretch and does not recover as well as polyester.
Polypropylene strapping materials are ideal in light to medium applications such as unitizing, palletizing, and bundling.
Polyester Strapping Materials
Polyester is more rigid than polypropylene and is often used in place of steel. It has excellent retained tension and has recovery properties that allow loads to absorb impact without breaking the straps. Polyester is often preferred because it’s made from recycled plastics. Polyester is commonly marked by its green color though it can come in other colors as well. In addition to being environmentally friendly, polyester strapping material is safer than steel.
Polyester strapping materials are ideal in applications that require the hardiness and durability of steel, but users prefer a lighter, safer and more cost-effective option with even greater tensile strength. Additionally, polyester strapping can be applied with battery-operated, cordless tools that not only reduce the time spent applying the straps but minimize exposure to safety hazards common with steel strapping.
Woven Strapping Materials
Woven strapping material is a great alternative to steel and can often handle larger and heavier loads than polyester. Woven strapping materials are made from polyester cording that’s woven together to provide superior tensile strength while remaining lightweight and safe.
Woven strapping materials are ideal in applications involving large and heavy loads or in situations where the company prefers to not use steel due to the possibility of injury during application or removal. Examples of common loads that use woven strapping materials include the transport of large heavy equipment or bundles of wood straight from the lumberyard.
Lightweight Strapping Material Means Better Ergonomics and Safety
Choosing the appropriate strapping material impacts more than just shipment quality. Worker safety is another concern when using strapping materials such as steel. Steel strapping remains a strong and durable option for many users, especially with bulky or heavy loads, but steel can also increase the risk of worker injury. Let’s explore why lightweight strapping material like polyester strapping or woven strapping may be a better fit.
One coil of steel strap can weigh between 105 and 110 pounds. A coil of polyester strap weighs between 50-55 pounds and often contains 50%-70% more feet per coil. When applying polyester strapping to a load, the worker not only has to handle fewer coils, but the coils he does handle are lighter and easier to maneuver.
Not only is steel strapping heavy, but it can also be dangerous. When workers remove metal strapping from a load, they face an increased risk of injury due to the tension of the tightened steel. As a worker cuts or snips the metal strap to release it, the newly cut and sharpened edge often springs upward and back, creating hazards to anyone in its path.
Is It Time to Rethink Your Strapping Material?
All strapping materials are not created equal. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right strapping material for your packaging needs:
- Load weight
- Load size
- Load dimensions
- Strap gauge and width requirements
- Annual strap and seal costs
- Safety hazards
- Shipping requirements
- Load value
LINC Systems Services
LINC Systems is committed to helping companies get the most out of their operations by increasing equipment up-time while maximizing productivity and safety. It’s why we offer a variety of programs that can be tailored to your individual needs.
Whether you’re a new customer or an existing one, we offer on-site evaluations of your current equipment, tools and processes and offer recommendations on ways you can operate more efficiently and profitably.
We believe the key to your operational success is regular preventative maintenance on your equipment and tools. Routine maintenance visits enable us to identify potential equipment failure before it becomes an issue and offer recommendations on how to avoid costly repairs and machine downtime.
We offer technical assistance from factory-trained service technicians to all LINC Systems customers whether it’s as simple as tool repair or more complicated service on arch strapping equipment or tabletop machines.
Learn more about LINC Systems On-Site Evaluations, Preventative Maintenance Plans and Service Programs that include:
- Replacement parts
- Complete repair and maintenance
- Service hotline to answer your battery-operated strapping tool questions
- Authorized manufacturer service container for select brands
- Tool schematics
- Safety resources
LINC Systems is proud to carry a variety of industrial packaging products and strapping materials from top-rated brands. If you need help selecting the right strapping material for your industrial packaging needs, contact us today by calling 800-513-9918 or visit LINCsystems.com.
Ed Moss is the Vice President of Packaging Sales for LINC Systems.
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