Although steel strapping is traditional in many industries, especially in heavy industry, polyester (PET) strapping is becoming more popular. It offers advantages over steel strapping in many applications.
Polyester strapping: can plastic be as strong as steel?
Highly engineered, tensilized polyester is the strongest plastic material developed, much stronger than polypropylene (PP). Made of polypropylene and polyethylene, it can be as strong as steel. In addition, it can be engineered for specific applications as required by industries or in various climates: extremes of heat, cold and moisture, for example.
But what are the main advantages of polyester (PET) strapping over steel strapping?
The advantages include:
- Sharp-edged steel strapping can be dangerous when under tension, causing injury. Polyester strapping on the other hand, has no sharp edges so it’s easier and safer for untrained personnel to handle.
- Polyester strapping not only has a high tensile strength, it also has high elongation. Unlike steel, polyester easily absorbs shocks in handling and shipping.
- Polyester strapping is light weight; it’s lighter than steel so reduces transportation costs.
- In some operations, such as in the timber industry, steel strapping offers challenges because loads contract over time. They become loose and dangerous. In similar situations, polyester strapping elongates and contracts as needed with the load. Since it’s also weather resistant, polyester has a definite advantage over steel.
- Environmental benefits. Although steel can be recycled efficiently, and most steel is recycled, it nevertheless uses a lot of energy in smelting. Polyester uses much less energy in its manufacturing, and can also be reused, or recycled, as needed.
Let’s look at the advantages of polyester strapping in more detail.
1. Polyester strapping causes fewer injuries than steel strapping
Steel’s sharp edges make it dangerous not only for operators, but also for bystanders. When steel strapping snaps under tension, the recoil whips the strap through the air—it’s as dangerous as a thrown blade.
Training in the use of steel strapping is essential for safe operation. Unfortunately, training can’t prevent all accidents. When operators tire they’re slower and less wary, resulting in accidents.
By contrast, polyester strapping, because it has no sharp edges, presents fewer dangers. It poses less risk not only to operators, but also to the goods it secures, as well as to equipment. Fork lift wheels, for example, are often cut when they roll over steel strapping.
2. PET strapping tape offers the strength of steel and other advantages
Hard as it may be to believe, polyester strapping can not only be as strong as steel, but it can also be specially engineered to be stronger.
It also has a primary advantage over steel: it absorbs shocks. Unlike steel strapping, which tends to shift or snap when a load is dropped or smashed, PET strapping tape smoothly absorbs shocks. Not only are goods undamaged, they can’t shift, because the polyester retains memory, so it adjusts as needed to sudden impacts.
When goods need to be stored in the environment for lengthy periods, unlike steel, polyester strapping won’t corrode and degrade. It remains strong, unaffected by the elements.
3. Enhanced profits with fewer costs: PET strapping tape is lighter in weight
Polyester strapping offers significant savings over steel: it’s lighter. This affects transportation costs, which can mount up, when goods are moved across the country or across the globe.
When buying strapping tape, it can also cost less than steel strapping, depending on the grade of material you buy. In some instances, polyester strapping can be half the price of steel strapping.
(If you’re unsure of the steel versus polyester strapping costs for your applications, get advice from your trusted packaging experts.)
4. High performance polyester strapping can be the best choice
In many industries PET strapping tape has become the preferred option over steel, because of its performance combined with the safety issues.
In performance, polyester offers a high tensile strength, combined with elongation properties. If break strength is a concern, your trusted packaging supplier can advise you of the best choice in polyester strapping for your applications.
If you’ve suffered damages from steel corroding, polyester strapping can be the better choice. When goods need to be transported or stored in the open, steel strapping inevitably corrodes over time, causing damages and increased costs.
5. Polyester strapping may be better for the environment
Steel requires energy to produce. It undergoes various manufacturing processes, and is often transported long distances during manufacturing. Balancing that however, is the fact that most steel strapping is recycled; it’s rarely dumped because it has value.
Although many factors are involved in estimating a product’s sustainability and environmental impact, polyester strapping has an advantage over steel in that it can not only be recycled, but it can also be reclaimed and reused.
Which form of strapping is best for your applications?
It can be challenging to choose. However, polyester strapping has definite advantages over steel. The choice is yours.
Company bio – Gateway Packaging sources the most innovative packaging supplies from across the world to give excellent packaging supplies and solutions that are both cost-effective and efficient to Australian manufacturers.