Your Guide to Choosing the Right Strapping

There is a wide variety of pallet strapping options to choose from. As a result choosing the right strapping type can be quite confusing.

At Ace Packaging we have an extensive knowledge of the best strapping solutions and can therefore try to arm you with as much relevant information as possible. This will help to make the decision of which strapping to choose a little easier.

What is Pallet Strapping?

Pallet strapping, also known as “banding”, is the process in which plastic or steel strapping is used to secure, palletise and bundle items or products together. This ensures that goods are safely transported from origin to destination.

Strapping is used in many different industries, such as:

  • Building industry, bundling and securing hardware products: timber, plumbing pipes, bricks, tiles and concrete blocks.
  • Warehouse Distribution of goods.
  • Securing agricultural products. 
  • Import and Export transportation.
  • General Packaging industry
Manual Pallet stapping

Strapping can also be used to secure a single cardboard carton. This is used as a back-up measure so that, if the packaging tape breaks or comes off the carton, the strapping will continue to secure the carton. The strapping used wraps around both ends of the carton or parcel and then is joined, bonded or welded together.

Pallet strapped boxes

Strapping can easily be applied to any size package including large export cardboard cartons. When you have a number of small cartons or packages that are to be shipped to one address, strapping can be useful to bundle those items together therefore enabling you to despatch one item which in turn reduces your shipping costs.

How to choose the right strapping for your job?

There are many variations of strapping material available. To ensure you achieve the correct results you will need to choose the correct type of strapping that suits your particular application.

There are a few questions you should consider before you purchase your strapping or any associated tooling.

  1. Weight of Goods: Firstly you will need to assess the weight of the items you need to secure, are they being transported on pallets or are they loose?
  2. Transportation Method: You will need to evaluate how your goods will be sent. In certain situations, if you feel your goods won’t be handled in a correct manner, you will need to use a heavier grade of strap.
  3. Strapping Capabilities of your Organisation: Finally you will need to determine whether you will be strapping manually using tools or is your packaging environment more suited to an automatic strapping solution.

What types of Strapping are available?

We have summarised the types of strapping available so you can ascertain the advantages and disadvantages of each of the different materials. This should help you make the right decision when choosing the right strapping to purchase.

The Most common types of strapping are:

Polypropylene (PP) Strapping

Polypropylene strapping is a light and versatile option which makes it ideal for strapping and securing light loads. This type of strapping is ideal if you are bundling multiple items together, reinforcing single cartons or palletising light loads. It is an economical option designed for light to medium duty bundling and palletizing. It is available in various widths and thicknesses in either boxed manual method strapping or larger length rolls which are suitable for semi automatic machines. The most common widths are 12mm, 15mm and a heavy duty 19mm strap.

This strapping offers breaking strains of up to 400kg and, with its light elastic properties, it does not deform or rust. Being a light grade option it is less likely to damage your products if used correctly.

Polypropylene strapping can be applied manually by using either plastic or wire buckles. However, this method relies on the strength of the person strapping. Alternatively, it can be applied using hand tools or automatically by using a strapping machine. Polypropylene strapping is the most common type of plastic strapping so it is often referred to as “poly strapping”. It is typically embossed and has a matte like finish.

Polyester (PET) Strapping

PET, or Extruded Polyester Strapping, is the strongest type of plastic strapping available. This makes PET strapping ideal for securing heavy loads onto pallets without the need to use steel strapping. The breaking strains of PET are relatively high compared to PP strap. The 16mm PET strap has a breaking strain of up to 520kg and 25mm wide strap has a breaking strain of up to 960kg. 

This type of strap has excellent elongation and recovery characteristics which helps the strap to stay tight and absorb impacts without snapping.

Key Features and Benefits of PET Strapping

  • Strong as Steel Strapping
  • Light weight and portable
  • High tension
  • Will not rust and is weather resistant
  • Strong UV resistance, ideal for long term storage applications
  • Cost effective option for heavy load strapping jobs
  • Safe to use

Use polyester strapping in conjunction with hand tensioner and sealer tools with specific PET seals or with a batter operated friction sealer/tensioner all in one tool where no seals are required.

Composite Strapping

Composite Strapping

Composite strapping draws on innovative co-extrusion technologies to combine strength, shock absorbency, abrasion resistance and high joint efficiency into a single user friendly product. Also known as ‘synthetic steel’ or “corded polyester strapping” it is the latest development in strapping technology.

This type of strapping is light, flexible, contains no sharp edges and can be applied in limitless number of applications. It is ideal for fixing and sealing delicate or fragile products. Composite strapping is a light textile material which means it’s easy to work with and won’t rust , rot or mark surfaces. It offers high levels of resistance, has a breaking strain of up to 1500kg and is best used manually with tensioners and sealers.

Key Features and Benefits of Composite Strapping

  • Cost effective
  • Soft and pliable
  • Cannot rust or rot
  • Strong as steel
  • High cross directional strength
  • High capacity to absorb shocks

Woven Strapping

Woven Strapping

If you are after a safer strapping material to use than steel strapping then soft, pliable woven strap is an ideal choice.

There is no chance of ever cutting yourself using woven strap yet it still offers an extremely high level of tension. Woven strapping equals the breaking strain of steel strapping but is a light weight product when compared. In fact, woven strap is only 15% of the weight for similar specification strapping. It is unaffected by extremes of temperature, humidity or chemical substances and is easy to handle.

Woven strapping is stronger than any other alternative because it has more filaments that are woven together for extra strength. It also has an added stiffening agent in the strap to make it rigid enough for any industrial uses.

Key Features and Benefits of Woven Strapping

  • Cost effective
  • Does not damage your products
  • Weather and chemical resistant
  • Strong as steel
  • Weighs 85% less than steel
  • Cannot rust or rot
  • Can be re-used and re-tensioned

Steel Strapping

Steel Strapping

Steel strapping is the strongest, toughest and has the highest tensile strength of all the available strapping types. It’s perfect for heavy and rigid loads with that have sharp or rough edges. Building materials like timber, tiles or concrete are often secured to pallets using steel strapping. Steel strapping does not flex like the other strapping types mentioned allowing solid bulky loads to be transported with the knowledge that the load will not move on the pallet because of strapping flex.

What is the difference between ribbon wound steel strapping and rope wound steel strapping? 

Basically it’s down the size of the coil. Ribbon wound is a lot smaller roll and is only wound in one coil width. For example a 19mm wide ribbon wound steel strap coil is 19mm wide. Ribbon wound rolls vary in weight depending on the size of the strap, the most common size straps are 12mm, 15mm and 19mm wide. These rolls weigh in the range 10 to 15kg therefore making them easy to transport and be carried by hand or used with an A-Frame mobile steel strapping dispenser.

Rope wound coils are a lot larger in size and can be as heavy as 50kg. The strap is wound onto a large metal ring which is 2 inches wide and resembles a coil of rope. The coil is fitted onto a large dispenser that has wheels. Because ribbon wound is so easily transported it is the most commonly used type of steel strapping.

Safety is paramount when using steel strapping due to its sharp edges. We highly recommend using industrial type gloves, ie riggers gloves when using steel strapping. Too many users are injured in the workplace by not using sufficient safety equipment, such as gloves and eye protection.

The Benefits of Using Steel Strapping

  • High break strength.
  • Heaviest loads are kept in place without any flex.
  • Made from quality Bluescope Steel

Steel Strapping is Best Used For

  • Transporting large, heavy and stable loads
  • Loads that have sharp edges that could cut softer strap materials.
  • Loads that are being shipped far distances.
  • Loads that are not sensitive to damage from contact with steel.

Strapping Summary

At Ace Packaging we hope that we have made your decisions about choosing the right strapping a little easier with this brief outline of the available options. As you can see, there are many factors to consider, each load deserves its own unique analysis.

If you require any assistance in evaluating your best strapping option please reach out to us at Ace Packaging and we will be more than happy to help in any way we can.

In the meantime … Happy Strapping !