What You Need to Know
By: Paul Gertin
Secure transportation is essential when shipping inventory and materials, which is why a strapping machine can be an excellent investment for your warehouse. Whether you need to manage oversized loads or protect fragile items, the straps maintain product groupings and hold pallets or items together.
This equipment can be designed as a fixed machine or portable device to place either metal or plastic straps around shipping loads. It’s common for manufacturing facilities or industrial warehouses to have multiple needs, which is why you might choose to have various strapping options to handle all situations.
Type of Strapping Machines
When you are ready to invest in a strapping machine, the first step is to learn about the different types of equipment. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for every warehouse. So, consider how you will be using the machine and what features will best suit your needs. Here’s an overview to help you compare the most popular types of strapping machines:
Automatic Strapping Machines
The benefit of automation is that you can place straps quickly and securely without requiring manual labour through all packing stages. Does your packaging line need to strap a large volume of packages each day? Then an automatic strapping machine can be the perfect solution to speed up this process.
These automated features are most useful when you have similar volumes, weights, and loads moving through the machine. The settings are custom-designed to ensure ideal automation, with automatic tightening and strap fixing during the process.
On a fully-automated strapping machine that also includes a conveyor, the equipment detects the packages as they move down the conveyor line. The machine can run without an operator managing each load and can move through products quickly. For example, some automatic strapping machines can place as many as 60 straps per minute. Even though this is the most expensive type of strapping machine, it’s worth the investment when moving large volumes of product as your ROI increases as time goes on.
Semi-Automatic Strapping Machines
Semi-automatic strapping machines often come in the form of smaller units and include either a flat tabletop or an arch-like overhead structure. A strapping table relies on operators the most. A person is required to position the goods, pressing a button to engage the strapping machine, then removing the items when the cycle finishes.
In comparison, an arch strapping machine has a limited size function. You need to know the maximum load size to ensure you are buying a machine that will be sufficient for your products.
The benefit of a tabletop strapping machine is that it can accommodate products of varying sizes. Arch strapping machines are better if you are moving the same size and types of products through the machine regularly. Regardless of which semi-automatic strapping machine you’re considering, remember that these machines are really designed for small to mid-volume operations. If you’re moving large pallets or groups of products at a high volume, you don’t want to rely on an operator to load and position the items every time you need to strap.
Handheld or Manual Strappers
If you need mobility on the work floor, consider portable strapping tools instead of a fixed strapping machine. These handheld devices are ideal when you are working with a variety of packaging. Since they are mobile, manual strappers can be used for both vertical and horizontal strapping.
Manual strappers are recommended for companies that require less than 50 strapping jobs per hour per employee. They also work well when mobile workstations are located throughout the warehouse. Another benefit of a manual strapping machine is that it is a fraction of the cost compared to larger strapping equipment.
Types of Strapping
In addition to choosing the right equipment for your line, it’s just as essential to pick the best strapping tape materials. Consider these factors when selecting strapping materials:
The benefit of using polypropylene (PP) with your strapping machine is the low price of this material. It is often used with both automatic and manual strapping machines.
The material is easy to use because of the flexible nature of the straps. Plus, it is resistant to temperature variations and rust, making it ideal in a variety of climates. PP is best for lightweight or fragile packages. This strapping material works great for short periods but isn’t recommended for long-term storage.
If you are looking for a durable and resistant material, then spun polyester is an ideal option. The textile material is light, making it an effective solution for securing delicate products. At the same time, the polyester is tear-resistant and offers extreme strength for large, heavy loads.
The drawback to polyester is that it doesn’t work great in automated machines. These straps work most effectively when paired with hand tensioners. Once the load is secured, polyester strapping can be tied one more time to tighten the load a bit more.
When you need to secure rigid and heavy loads, metal offers one of the strongest durability and performance options. Metal straps are also recommended if the load is firm (doesn’t compress) or if there are rough or sharp edges – such as concrete, iron, or bulk lumber.
Metal straps aren’t bendable, so you need to be sure the straps are sized to fit each load. They can be sealed with or without joints, depending on the type of equipment you are using. While metal is recommended for sturdy materials, it’s too harsh if you are dealing with products that are easily damaged. Also, the cost of metal strapping can be high, so it might be out of your price range if you have a tight budget.
Selecting the Right Strapping Machine for Your Business
At Gertex Solutions, we offer full-service support to help you select the optimal equipment for your business. Not only will we guide you through the purchase, but our team also provides ongoing support to ensure you know how to how to use strapping machine equipment. Our goal is to support your packaging automation, which can improve productivity and save you money.
What questions do you have about strapping machines? If you’d like more information about the right equipment for your business, then contact us to schedule a free assessment.