Strapping is one of the best solutions when it comes to securing goods for both storage and transportation. It can be used for a wide range of applications, from securing cumbersome loads to fragile products that can either be packaged or packed in carboards. It is mainly used for strapping pallets and attaching goods together. While this was a task that was done manually in the past, nowadays, there are strapping machines that make the process much simpler and faster. But before I go into more detail about the process, let’s answer some basic questions first.
What Is a Strapping Machine, and What Is It Used For?
Strapping machines are mainly used for 3 purposes – pallet strapping, providing a stronger bond and joining one parcel with another. They can be used to secure almost anything. Usually, they’re electrically powered to consistently create secured seals on packages and parcels which are guaranteed to hold during transport. These machines do all the leg work, saving energy, time, materials and ultimately, money. They accomplish all of this without the need for manual strapping tools, such as cutters, tensioners and combination tools. The strap’s strength and tension can be predetermined by the operator, providing you with complete control over the entire process.
If you’re regularly strapping shipments and parcels, then you should definitely consider getting a strapping machine to improve your operation’s efficiency. Generally, there are three types: automatic, semi-automatic, and hand-held machines. All of them provide different benefits and are suitable for different applications based on your personal requirements.
Automatic machines are high-performance, and they’re ideal for high-volume lines. Obviously, they’re the most expensive type, but their efficiency is unmatched. They can dispense upwards of 50 straps per minute, which makes them suitable for production lines. They can strap a parcel, seal it and cut the strap to the needed size in one smooth motion, as per the tension level pre-set by the operator. Semi-automatic models are more affordable and better-suited for lower-volume operations. However, they’re still capable of sealing upwards of 20 straps per minute. Similarly to their automatic counterparts, they can seal, cut and tension the strapping in one motion, except the strapping needs to be manually fed, so there is some operator work involved.
Handheld machines are the smallest and most portable type. They are battery-powered, lightweight and easy to handle. These are usually used in places where there’s not much space to install a larger machine, or where strapping is required in multiple locations. These machines tension, seal and cut efficiently and quickly, and they can also be programmed to a specific tensile strength.
How Does a Strapping Machine Work?
Depending on the type of machine you’re using, the operation of the machine can vary slightly. Automatic and semi-automatic models work similarly – they’re upright machines that have a flat surface. The strapping is usually fed from the side or bottom of the machine, where the strapping reel is put and is fed to the machine. To operate, you need to place the parcel in the specific spot so that the position of the strap is properly placed to wrap around the item. Semi-automatic machines have to be fed the strap over the top of the item and into the other side where it goes back into the machine (this part is performed without the need for manual intervention in automatic machines). Pressing the “on” button on the machine will tension and tighten the strap, as well as cut it and seal it around the parcel. Then, it can easily and quickly be removed enabling the next parcel to be placed. This is a very simple process for seamless strapping of parcels.
Handheld machines, on the other hand, as aforementioned, are very convenient due to their portability, and they require some manual work to be operated. However, the flexibility they offer in some applications is second to none. In order to operate them, you’ll need to manually loop the strapping, which is usually plastic (either PET or polypropylene) strapping around the cartons, parcel or pallet. Once you’ve done that, feed both ends of the strapping inside the handheld machine, pull the trigger to tighten and tension the strap, then cut it and seal it. This will provide a secure fit around the item.
There are multiple strapping tapes available, and depending on the application and intended use, the weight and type of load, the weather conditions the packages will need to withstand, and whether you’re using a handheld or automated machine, your choice will vary. The most popular types are the aforementioned PET, propylene and metal. Polypropylene and PET are the most economical solutions, with polypropylene being more suitable for light packages, and PET for heavier packages. Metal strapping, on the other hand, is the strongest and it is most suitable for the heaviest loads (up to 2T).