Strapping is an integral part of the final stage of the production process, where products packed in cartons, wooden boxes or pallets are strapped together tightly using polymer or steel bands. A strapping firmly encircles a box and its contents. Using professional tools to strap boxes together is a far better way than simply doing it by hand where the necessary tension may not be achieved. Strapping Machines
There are two categories of strapping equipment. Manual tools are low cost and work fine where volumes are low and speed of throughput is not an important factor. It is also ideal when handling large crates where automatic machines will simply not work. The simplest tool has a tensioning mechanism to pull the strap tight, and a crimping mechanism. The crimp is put on before the strap is tensioned and once optimum tension is achieved the crimp is applied. One can use polyester, steel or polypropylene straps in hand-held strapping tools.
Powered equipment are better suited to higher volume production environments. These may be fully automatic or semi-automatic and these may work off batteries, mains power or pneumatics. Pneumatic powered strapping tools are semi-portable and integrate all functionalities in a single unit to achieve the desired level of tension and sealing without the use of seals. The downside is that one may need to attach air hoses and the production unit must have an air compressor available. Powered machines attached to a production line are best for high volume production. The machine sits at the end of the packaging line and it will automatically take care of strapping, tensioning and sealing. The drawback is that it may not accommodate boxes over a certain size and the equipment may require power and pneumatic lines. Here, one has a choice of fully automatic or semi-automatic machine according to the speed required. The strapping machine price depends on the quality as well as the number of features provided for high speed and ease of use, or both. One factor to consider is the speed at which strapping must be achieved. How Fast Do You Need To Go?
The strapping process should keep in step with the rest of the packaging line. If it is slow then it becomes a bottleneck and necessitates use of additional labour. Semi automatic equipment may have speeds of about 15 straps per minute. A more sophisticated and more expensive arch machine may achieve speeds of about 70 straps per minute depending on the skill of operator and size of the box to be strapped. Where production proceeds at high speed, the fully automatic machine is best since it matches the conveyor rate of the packaging line and avoids bottlenecks. Features And Price
Price directly relates to features available in arch type or fully automatic equipment. The desirable features one must have are discussed below: Arch size is an important aspect. At the very least, it must accommodate the largest package but a balance needs to be struck since larger sizes add to cost of equipment. Strap width is just as important. The equipment should be able to accommodate the widest 12mm straps. A machine that allows operators to change the settings easily is the one to choose if there is variation in the sizes of boxes to be strapped. Inclusion of automatic feed and dispensing system for the straps, especially recommended for high volume production units. Similarly, high volume production units will appreciate inclusion of loop ejection features. The machine that automatically resets should it be activated without a package and the cycle proceeds with minimal disruption. Auto re-feed is a useful feature, especially if it is jam-free. If a jam occurs, as it does happen frequently, this feature automatically takes care of the problem and the strapping process continues without human intervention. Maintenance is important too. It should be easy to access parts, dismantle the equipment and put it together again speedily. Parts should be available at a low cost. Some sellers will offer equipment at low prices but will charge a high price for parts and this should be checked beforehand. Financing is the final step. One can buy a brand new machine of better quality and with better features if a dealer provides financing facility. Alternative, reconditioned machines offered by dealers are just as good.