Securing Heavy Loads: The Most Popular Strapping Solutions

If you’re the owner of an agricultural business, a construction firm, or a timber sales company, chances are your products need to be transported from point A to point B on a regular basis. This means that choosing a strapping solution for your loads is an immensely important business decision. In order to make an informed one, read on to find out which are the most recommended strapping solutions and the benefits that they provide.

Steel Strapping

Steel Strapping

Being introduced in the late 19th century, steel strapping (also known as steel banding) is possibly the oldest strapping option on the market. This product is made by rolling the metal until it’s flattened. Hot rolling and cold rolling are the two metal rolling techniques used in the production of steel strapping. When the temperature of the metal is above its recrystallization point, the process is called hot rolling. Cold rolling, on the other hand, is the process during which the temperature of the metal is below its recrystallization point.

“Regular duty” and “high tensile” are the two most common strengths of steel strapping products. “Regular duty” strapping is made for low to medium duty applications, including box closure, bundling palletizing, unitizing, and package reinforcement. This strapping solution can be used in both manual tools and automatic steel strapping heads. “High tensile” steel strapping is heat-treated in order to produce a strapping solution that combines elongation (stretch) for shock resistance and high strength. It’s typically used in securing heavy steel coils, open-top rail car and trailer loading, and unitizing compressed fibre bales. Regular duty steel strapping is usually low carbon, whereas high tensile is high carbon.

In addition to the different strengths, steel banding can also come in a variety of thicknesses, widths, and surface finishes. Some of the most popular ones involve paint, paint and wax, bluing, or zinc and wax. Hot-dipping the steel in molten zinc results in galvanized steel which is unlikely to corrode.

Yes, steel strapping offers strength – a great quality when it comes to securing heavy loads. However, steel banding has its flaws. If left untreated, this strapping option can rust and, subsequently, stain the items it holds together. Furthermore, steel banding can scratch and/or tear the cargo. A carelessly cut steel band can lash and cause deep bounds as well as injure your staff members. Last but definitely not least, compared to its counterparts, steel strapping can be a bit costly.

If your loads weigh 1 ton or more, have sharp edges, are non-compressed, and you need the straps to hold them in place securely, then steel banding might be the perfect choice for you.

Plastic Strapping

Plastic strapping is used as a generic term for polyester strapping, polypropylene strapping, and nylon strapping. Polyester strapping, particularly woven polyester strapping, is in high demand at the moment. Let me tell you why.

woven polyester strapping

Polyester Strapping

As the name suggests, woven polyester strapping is made by weaving polyester filaments together. This plastic strapping option is an amazing alternative to steel banding thanks to its strength. Logically, it’s stronger than non-woven poly strapping (also referred to as composite straps). It can be applied with the help of a ratcheting tensioner and a high joint efficient buckle.

Besides being very strong, quality woven polyester strapping is also lightweight and extremely safe. Compared to steel strapping, poly woven strapping lacks the sharp edges that steel straps are “famous” for. This makes it much safer to handle. Aside from reducing the risk of serious injury and product damage, this strapping solution’s dull edges are easier on forklift tires as well.

Poly woven straps are also known for their performance and durability. Their superb elongation and memory retention properties help them stay tight when the cargo expands and contracts. These plastic strapping products are made to absorb impact without breaking or compromising their ability to hold palletized and unitized loads. All of this makes poly woven straps ideal for lumber sales businesses.

Since polyester strapping is resistant to high temperatures, ultraviolet rays, and moisture, it won’t weaken when stored outdoors nor stain your products. Both woven and non-woven poly straps are able to maintain their shape and strength even when exposed to extreme weather conditions.

Another great reason to opt for woven polyester straps is their eco-friendliness. If you’re doing your best to turn your business into an environmentally conscious one, you’ll be glad to learn that the overall impact of polyester strapping on the planet is low. As you may already know, polyester is extruded from raw resin materials, whereas the manufacturing of steel banding products requires high amounts of energy. Additionally, the use of polyester strapping leads to reduced general cargo weights which creates space and saves both time and fuel.

Both woven and non-woven poly straps can be recycled. All you need to do is simply toss the polyester strapping in a recycle bin. It’s easy, it’s practical, it’s green. This will reduce your disposal costs which, along with the fuel savings mentioned above, can increase your company’s profits.

Polypropylene Strapping

Polypropylene Strapping

Polypropylene strapping is an economical strapping solution suitable for light duty palletizing, unitizing, bundling, and carton closing. All semi-automatic strappers and almost all standalone arch machines can be used for its application. Polypropylene straps can come in a number of different thicknesses, widths, and polymer variations. They are light, recyclable, and have high elongation and stretch recovery.

The marketing department of a company can benefit greatly from polypropylene strapping products because they can be printed. This offers security as well. Polypropylene strapping can be sealed with buckles, seals, heat seals, or friction welds.

Even though polypropylene strapping is one of the most commonly used strapping solutions, it’s important to know that it’s far from perfect. Polypropylene straps are not resistant to the elements and ultraviolet degradation, which means they’ll degrade if left outside in the sun. Fortunately, this can be prevented if the polypropylene straps are treated with UV inhibitors.

Moreover, polypropylene strapping products have low retained tension. They will most likely lose around 50% of the applied tension within 60 minutes. This can worsen if the ambient temperature increases. This proves that polypropylene strapping isn’t a very versatile strapping option.

Nylon Strapping

Nylon Strapping

Nylon strapping is the champion when it comes to a specific strength, beating both polyester and polypropylene straps. Specific strength is defined as a material’s strength divided by its density. You may have encountered it as the ‘strength-to-weight ratio’. On top of this, nylon straps exhibit great impact strength and abrasion resistance. Although nylon straps are incredibly strong, many business owners avoid them because they can be quite expensive.

Furthermore, nylon strapping has high tension recovery rate and is extremely versatile. Nylon straps can stretch up to 6-7% depending on the load properties and can retain this extra tension over time. If the cargo falls, additional elongation will occur momentarily, preventing strap breakage.

Food, paper, and lumber processing are only a few of the many areas this strapping option is suitable for. Nylon strapping can be used in numerous different applications, including unitizing, bundling, palletizing, skidding, closure, securement, reinforcement, baling, and car loading. Nylon straps can be heat sealed, friction welded or joined with grit seals or scored metal.