plastic strapping kits

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I select the right strap for my application?

  1. It depends, on a lot of factors. However, some general guidelines are:
    • Steel strap is usually reserved for very heavy loads, greater than 5,000 lbs., for strapping high temperature loads, where plastic would melt, for loads with sharp edges, and for some round objects.
    • Polypropylene is used for lighter loads, lots of bundling (think newspapers), and carton closing.
    • Polyester is used for heavier pallets, tight non-compressible loads, like bricks, and as a replacement for steel.
    • Cord strapping is used in agricultural applications and as a manual way to unitize some heavy loads.
  2. Always work with your local distributor or a qualified expert before deciding what is best for your application.

Plastic & Steel Strapping Application Guide

STRAP TYPE APPLIED BY CLOSURE USED LOAD CHARACTERISTICS TYPICAL APPLICATIONS
POLYPROPYLENE STRAPPING
Standard Hand Grade Hand
Manual Tools
Power Tools
Buckles
Buckles/Seals
Friction Weld
Compressible
Expandable
Palletizing
Lightweight
Package
Reinforcement
Low Elongation Manual Tools
Semi Auto/Arch
Machines
Seal
Friction Weld
Heat Welds
Rigid
Expanding
As a Substitute for
Steel or Polyester
Semi Automatic Machine
Grade
Semi Automatic
Machines
Heat Seal Compressible
Expanding
Bundling
Carton Closing
Carton Reinforcement
UPS Unitizing
Machine Grade Automatic
Machines
Heat Seal
Friction Weld
Compressible
Expandable
Similar to Semi-Automatic
with Higher Volumes
POLYESTER STRAPPING
Hand Grade Manual Tools
Power Tools
Seals
Friction Weld
Rigid Heavy Duty
Palletizing
As a Substitute
for Steel
Machine Grade Automatic
Machines
Fully Automatic
Strapping Systems
Friction Weld
Heat Welds
Rigid Fine Paper
Beverage
Cans/Bottles
Bricks/Blocks
Lumber/Timber
CORD STRAPPING
Polyester Cord Hand
Manual Tools
Tied/Buckles
Buckle/Seals
Combination Agricultural
Building Trades
Boat Industry
Rayon Cord Hand
Manual Tools
Tied/Buckles
Buckle/Seals
Tying
Applications
STEEL STRAPPING
Manually Applied
Steel*
Manual Tools
Power Tools
Seals
Sealless Joints
Rigid Steel
Services Centers
Heated Product
Product with
Sharp Edges

*Polyester and steel strap are frequently recommended on compressible loads where the loads cannot be allowed to return to their pre-compression dimensions.

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Polyester Cord vs. Steel Strapping

PAC Cord offers several advantages over steel strapping:

  • Easy to apply: PAC Cord can be manually applied with a wired buckle and hand tensioner. Complex, high maintenance tools are not required.
  • Easy to re-tension: PAC Cord stays tight on application. When loads settle, re-tensioning is simple.
  • Safety: Eliminates cutting injuries, minimizes spring back when cut, and weighs 75% less than steel. Back injuries from handling 100 pound coils are virtually eliminated.
  • Rust free and UV Resistant: PAC Cord holds up well for outside storage applications.
  • Cost Effective: Comparable product costs less than steel strapping.
  • The “Composite Solution”: For pallet threading applications, composite’s coating facilitates easy threading.

How do I tension and seal strap?

  1. Again, not an easy question, but here are some general guidelines:
    • Steel is usually applied with hand tools, either a tensioner and sealer or a combination “sealless” tool, either manual or pneumatic.
    • Polypropylene is applied with buckles, which do not require tools, with various hand tool, either manual or powered, or by a machine.
    • Polyester is applied with hand tools, either manual or powered or with an automatic strapping machine.
    • Cord strapping is sealed with a wire buckle. Cord can be tensioned either by hand or with a manual tensioner.
  2. Again, work with your local distributor or a qualified expert before deciding what is best for your application. Usually, the more your spend up front on application, the less you’ll spend on waste, material, and the greater your productivity and “joint efficiency”.

What’s joint efficiency?

Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The weakest part of the strap is where it is joined together. At the low end of the spectrum are buckles, which require no tools, but only yield a joint equal to less than half the break strength of the strap. At the higher end of the spectrum, friction weld power tools can produce joints over 80%. Spend the money on the right tool and you can use a lower break strength strap and save money in the long run.

What if I need a machine, which is best?

The choice of what machine is right for your application depends on what material you specify, how fast you need to strap your product, and how automated you want the operation to be. Range of choices go from semi-automatic “Table Top “machines, perfect for UPS bundling, to machines that strap full pallets.

For a more complete discussion on selecting the right machine, review the article “Selecting the Right Strapping Machine for Your Application” in the resources section of this website.

Can I automate the strapping function?

Absolutely. PAC systems specialists can provide “turnkey’ solutions that will automatically strap your bundle, package, or pallet,
with no operator needed.

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I’d like to get rid of steel strapping. It’s dangerous, can I use something else?

For the last few years many strap users have replaced steel strapping with PAC High Strength Polyester. While not every application can be switched, many can. Benefits of changing from steel to polyester may include:
  • Substantial Cost Savings
  • A much safer material
  • Rust free and virtually impervious to normal conditions
  • It actually works better

How does polyester work better than steel?

If applied properly, polyester acts like a very heavy duty rubber band. It is stretched upon application, and that stretch serves as a “shock reserve” against a settling load, which many are.

Can I use the same tools with polyester as with steel?

Unfortunately, no. With the exception of your dispensers the sealing system is different with polyester, so you’ll have to switch to new tools. Keep in mind that for most applications, savings in the cost of polyester versus steel will make up for the cost of new tools in a few months.

I already wrap my pallets. Why do I need to strap them?

Stretch wrapping offers good protection for your product and side retention, but has little impact on keeping your product firmly on the pallet, where it belongs. Strapping provides vertical retention and keeps your load firmly on the pallet.   

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To read more technical articles of Strapping Products click here