Of all the different types of strapping materials, two broad groups are most common.
They are: varieties of plastic strapping, either polypropylene or polyester, or combinations of these. Varieties of steel strapping are also common.
So, how do you choose the most suitable strapping for your products?
Strapping Materials: how to Choose the Right Strapping for your Products
When selecting pallet strapping, your biggest concern will be tensile strength, that is, breaking strength. You don’t want your strapping to come undone, causing damage not only to your products, but also causing accidents.
In addition, while you need strapping which will protect your products, you don’t want to pay more than you need.
Environmental concerns are a challenge too. Ideally, you want your strapping to be recyclable. Perhaps you’ve heard that buying recycled strapping can be cost-effective too.
Let’s start by looking the two most common forms of plastic strapping: polypropylene and polyester.
1. When to Consider Polypropylene Strapping
Not only is polypropylene strapping reasonably priced, it’s also versatile and recyclable. It comes in a big variety of strengths and widths, so it’s suitable for many different products. It can be applied with manual devices as well as automated machines on production lines.
Commonly used in the food industry, polypropylene is used in the construction and paper industries too. One thing these industries have in common: they need to store and move packaged goods, which are usually on pallets and are of moderate weights.
One of the major benefits and challenges of polypropylene strapping is its stretchability—it can stretch up to 25% in application. However, it tightens quickly. Once stretched however, it can’t be re-tensioned.
Two other challenges with untreated polypropylene:
- Sensitivity to ultraviolet light, and
- Sensitivity to high temperatures.
Discuss these challenges with your supplier, if they are of concern.
2. Perhaps you Need Polyester Strapping
If you feel that polypropylene has too many limitations to suit your products, consider polyester strapping. Not only is it strong, it’s also lightweight, and maintains its tension. Like polypropylene, it’s recyclable.
Although it’s comparable to steel strapping, it’s less expensive. And in many industries, polyester is used in preference to steel. It’s lighter, its breaking strength is not only comparable to steel; it’s often stronger. Because it’s soft, polyester is less likely to cause damage to fragile goods. It’s also safer than steel strapping when it’s under tension.
It’s used in many different industries, including construction—anywhere you need to transport heavy rigid loads. Indeed, polyester strapping is often used when stability is vital for super-heavy loads and shipments.
You may opt for polyester when moving goods around the country, or across the world. It will protect your goods from hard impacts and dings and will retain its tension.
Polyester strapping comes in a wide selection of different forms, so check with your supplier about breaking strain, and other features which concern you.
3. Steel Strapping: Tough and Traditional
When dealing with heavy loads, steel strapping remains the traditional choice. It’s the right choice for the car, steel and construction industries for example, as well as for transporting any goods where heat is a concern.
Steel strapping has a high tensile strength and maintains its tension. If you know that goods will be stored out in the open, steel will protect them.
Challenges with steel strapping:
- It’s heavier than plastics;
- Can be dangerous and requires special tools;
- It’s not as easily recycled as plastics.
4. Composite Strapping: it’s Expensive, but Strong
Composite strapping, made of polyester yarns in polymer coatings, is sometimes called “synthetic steel.” It has all the benefits of steel, but is a lighter weight, can be re-tensioned, absorbs shocks well, and is weather-resistant.
When considering composite strapping, be aware that linear breaking strength varies widely, depending on the number of fibres and the materials which have been used in the fibre-coating.
Also consider, the system breaking strength: this is the strength of the strap in combination with its buckle. Here’s why: the forms of closures for composite straps vary. Closures include: heat seals, crimpers and wire buckles.
Be advised by your supplier when you’re choosing the best composite strapping for your products, and keep the system breaking strength in mind.
5. When you’re on a Tight Budget: Considering Recycled Strapping
If you’re on a tight budget, you may be considering recycled strapping, which is often available at a lower price than virgin strapping.
As with composite strapping, varieties of recycled strapping vary widely. Generally, it’s recycled from plastic bottles. These bottles are collected and sorted, then chopped into PET flakes and finally used to create strapping.
However, there’s a challenge… If you’re using recycled strapping with semi-automatic or automatic strapping machines, be aware of camber.
Camber is irregularities which are found in recycled materials; they can affect machinery, causing hazards during production and accidents.
With Such a Wide Variety of Strapping Materials: Consider Your Choices
There’s such a wide variety in strapping materials that you’re sure to find a suitable strap for your products at a reasonable price.