If you are in the packaging and delivery industry, you must know how important it is to deliver a package to a customer’s home with both the item that is packed and the packaging intact. Not only delivering the item in the right state is critical, but the packaging also matters as that’s what creates the faith in your customers’ minds that the package has not been tampered with. Even if they do have faith, it is always exciting to receive a gift with cool packaging! In this article, we have listed a few steps you can take to maintain the best packaging and industry level strapping.
Best Practices for Packaging and Industrial Strapping
While you are running a business and doing your packing and strapping on the industry level, there are certain considerations you need to make.
Choose the right strapping material for your package
A strap that is used in a semi- Automatic strapping machine is a flexible, flat material. The correct strap to use varies for different types of packages.
- Steel: Steel is used for heavy-duty packaging where the requirements are of a strong grip and minimum stretch. Sometimes the steel is provided with a surface finish such as paint, paint and wax, bluing, or zinc and wax – to make it more suitable for certain tasks. Wax is used to balance out the tension effectively among a lot of bundles tied together. It is used for certain types of products like steel coils, bundles of metal, baling wire, bricks and pavers, and roll end-binding.
- Polypropylene: Polypropylene strap (oriented) is designed for light to medium duty strapping. You can find a whole range of width and thickness, as well as polymer types (for example, copolymers) for this kind of strapping. Mostly this material is embossed or printed for the highest quality and precision. The material has high elongation, but less elasticity and breaks down if stretched a lot for a long time. It is important to know that polypropylene loses 50% of its tension within 1 hour of applying it and has the risk of coming loose after a few hours. Especially if there is a bad weather element involved, this breakdown is accelerated. It is also susceptible to UV degradation; so to protect it from the sun, sometimes it is painted with black paint or a UV inhibitor.
- Polyester (PET): Oriented or tensilized polyester is one of the strongest plastic strapping materials and is used as a viable alternative to steel strapping in some industries. It retains tension very well and does not break down easily. For different weather conditions, different types of straps can be used. For example, in cold climates, a strap bonded in hot melt glue is used for being weather-proof.
- Nylon: Nylon strap is the best among plastics for its super strength. Even so, it is rarely used because of its high cost. However, in very cold weather, it is often the only choice as it is the only material that does not get deformed in cold temperatures.
- Corded and woven: This system uses a buckle for a joint, and can have a larger system strength than steel banding. Also, being lighter and softer, they are also a safer alternative to steel. Corded polyester has better elongation properties, so it is often used in sea and rail shipments.
- Paper: Paper strap is used to strap paper products between industrial processes. This allows the bundle to be introduced into the process without the need to cut the straps, which can lead to the product falling apart prematurely.
- Composite: Composite strapping has filaments embedded in it. In the load securing industry it is often referred to as “synthetic steel”. It is highly abrasion resistant and has the least chance of breaking when used with a buckle or in bad weather conditions.
The straps need to be chosen keeping the following factors into consideration:
- the weight, stability, or fragility of the package,
- if the package can get deformed under any condition,
- how often the package will be in the loading-unloading process,
- the place of its storage – inside or outside and the ambient factors of such place,
- how long the package is going to be stored there,
- how the strap will be applied – manually or with the use of a machine,
- the required number of packaging to be done each day, and
- how mobile your packaging station is going to be.
Maintain the appropriate break load for your package
The break load (or break strength) of a strap is the amount of force required to break it. For your package to be secure while transitioning, the break load of your strap should be well above the estimated force that it will be subjected to. However, this estimation should be done as accurately as possible. The precise break load depends on the total weight and size of your load, the number of straps you are using to secure it, and the forces it will be subjected to during transit – may be due to road conditions. Using a stronger strap for a lighter package makes no sense and is also wastage. Stronger straps cost more too, so you need this estimation in order to be economical.
Apply the right tension for your load
Packaging will have to be done under tension, but the amount of tension will be varied based on the strapping material that you will be using since every material has different elongation, recovery and retained tension properties. You need to do a near-exact estimation of this tension as well so that you can use the right material and the right tension. However, you have to keep in mind that all strapping will relax a bit after tensioning, so you should allow room for it in your calculations. Although this will not be an issue if you are using an automatic strapping machine, as it does this calculation all by itself. So if you have a lot of packaging needs, and especially if you need to use a variety of straps and weights, it is a good idea to have at least one auto strapping machine at your disposal.
Use the right sealing for your strap
The appropriate sealing procedure is very important while packing, in order to ensure the security of your package at the time of transportation. However, all the straps require different kinds of seals and sealers. If the seal you use is not compatible with your strap, the seal might come loose later.
Mostly for heavy packages, metal seals are used with steel, polypropylene, and PET straps. Nevertheless, for polypropylene or PET strapping, heat sealing is also used if the package is heavy enough to give it extra security. An electrically heated blade is inserted between the straps to melt the facing sides. Light to medium-duty packages are usually secured with metal or plastic buckles with polypropylene straps.
Using the right sealing with the right strap is one of the biggest hassles in the packaging industry. So if your company has a lot of packaging needs, it is best if you invest in a good automatic strapping machine. Most auto strapping machines come equipped with all different kinds of strapping tools, sealers, and seals; making them compatible with anything. Thus once you have an auto strapping machine, you save a lot of money as well as the hassle of buying all the different tools, seals, and sealers for different straps and seals respectively.
Keep your packages protected
At the time of loading and unloading packages, strapping can tear off; which is not very good news for your package. So it is a good idea to use edge protectors for your packages. These corrugated or plastic devices spread the force of the strapping so that it does not cut into the edges of the boxes. In case you are delivering a fragile item, protect it with multiple straps.
When your packages are delivered with the packaging just the way it was intended, you start gaining a good reputation in your customers’ eyes, and it is obvious that you receive more businesses after that. So if you want to be established in this industry, take care of the best practices of packaging. Nonetheless, whenever you are in doubt, don’t be shy to contact an experienced and professional delivery company like Pack King.