CHOICE OF STRAPPING
I am a warehouse supervisor and have lots of team members.
And I get lots of questions, and I don’t know all the answers.
One subject that has a lot of questions, is STRAPPING and RESTRAINTS.
Some of the questions are as follows:
- How must I strap equipment correctly?
- Which type of strapping is approved by safety standards?
OK wait up; let’s list all the questions and the set about answering each one. Start again:
- Challenge: How must I strap equipment correctly?
- Response: the biggest tip that I can give you is that you need to give a few moments to plan the best method before beginning the strapping process. It is important to thread the strap only under the top boards that have product directly weighing down on them, so that the strapping doesn’t cause the boards to come loose.
- Challenge: Which type of strapping is approved by safety standards?
- Response: Strapping will typically come with a supplier’s test result; however, if you require further testing you can engage a NATA testing laboratory to verify stated ratings. When you start using lifting slings, lashings or transport ratchet straps, this is the area of restraints that require initial and ongoing inspection/testing/certification, depending on application.
- Challenge: Is there an Australian Standard for strapping of goods in storage and in transport?
- Response: No there is not an Australian Standard as such; however there is the Load Restraint Guide, published by NTC, giving comprehensive guidance and Best Practice.
- Challenge: What is the load rating of strapping?
- Response: There is a huge spectrum of load ratings in the full range of strapping, some indication is as follows:
o PP (polypropylene): hand grade 100kg to 150kg; heavy band 250kg to 400kg
o PET: 700kg to 900kg
o Polywoven: 19mm 600kg to 1100kg; 31mm 2300kg
o Composite: 1000kg to 2000kg
o Steel: 700kg to 900kg
- Challenge: Does everything stored on pallets have to be strapped down?
- Response: This depends on your warehouse policies and procedures. Some warehouses direct that all goods must be either strapped to the pallet or must be retained in a cage, timber collar/s with retainer clips, or pallet carton. Certain sites give the option of strapping or stretch film or heat shrink. Particularly where goods are stored at heights, it is absolutely critical to set up strict housekeeping rules and abide by these.
- Challenge: Do we strap gear or do we use stretch film instead?
- Response: Again this depends on the site policies and procedures as to what is the standard for your operation. Bear in mind some packaging policies stipulate primary and secondary restraint. So sometimes this can be met by two straps then heat shrinking the pallet or pallet wrapping the pallet.
- Challenge: Is there any safer strap or any alternative to steel strap?
- Response: yes, there certainly is. Consider PET for higher throughput operations; for heavy equipment applications, consider polywoven or composite.
- Challenge: Some of our steel strapping has stretched over time; is there any strapping that is better at holding tight and not stretching?
- Response: PET has what is called memory – so if there is any elongation that occurs, the composition of the PET is constantly working to ‘pull back’ the strap to original length.
- Challenge: What is the most cost-effective strap that is still strong?
- Response: This is a broad question, as it depends what the application is. As a broad brush answer PET is viewed as a strong and cost-effective strap.
- Challenge: What is the most time efficient strapping? Or, what is the fastest strapping system?
- Response: As a rough rule of thumb, PET (technical name of Polyethylene terephthalate) - otherwise known as polyester strapping - is the fastest strapping system, when using a battery strapper, or a pneumatic strapper.
- Challenge: What is the best strapping if I am exporting product?
- Response: This is a challenge of balance: you need the strapping to be strong and fit for purpose; at the same time you will not see the strap ever again so it would be fairly obvious to choose a one-time use strap such as PET. At times, however, ratchet straps are required to lash product down securely in the shipping container.
- Challenge: What strapping uses cheap tools? Some of the battery strapping tools are too expensive for us as our volume is too low to warrant big investment in tooling.
- Response: Hand tools will always be substantially cheaper than battery- or pneumatic tools. Even within hand tools there are different countries of origin and there is a significant price spectrum.
- Challenge: How do I cut steel strapping safely?
- Response: Omni-tuff has a safety cutter that has rubber-brakes on the jaws so as to slow down the kick-back of the cut steel strap.
- Challenge: Once steel strapping gets cut, it flings out and is so dangerous; what is the solution to the dangers of steel strap?
- Response: There is no solution exactly to the dangers of steel strap other than elimination of the usage of steel strap; many sites have banned or at least discouraged the utilisation of steel strap on site and moved to alternative materials, such as PET or polywoven (woven polyester) or composite strapping
Depending on the demand in your warehouse, PET or polywoven or composite can all be good alternatives to steel strapping.
- Challenge: Who can give us a comparison between price per metre of the different types of strap?
- Response: The Omni-tuff Group can give some indications for your reference, as set out below:
o Polywoven strapping will usually have the metres per roll stated:
Polywoven and steel strapping will be similar price per metre, so while it will not save you a lot of money in the purchase price, it will potentially save huge amounts from a safety perspective
o PET strapping will usually have the meters per roll stated:
PET will usually be much more cost effective than steel strap; it is not unusual that the price per metre will b half the price of steel strapping
- Challenge: I am tired of cutting straps and having to start again – is there a re-usable strapping system that we can use in our warehouse?
- Response: Yes, there are re-usable strapping systems for warehouse storage, as follows:
o Hook and Loop Straps (often known by a popular brand Velcro):
Easy to use
Fast to loosen and tighten (once the initial threading is done)
Only designed for lightweight goods
o CamLock Straps
Easy to use
Fast to loosen and tighten (once the initial threading is done)
Re-usable multiple times – the CamLock system is superior to hook and loop, in that the CamLock strap and buckle are not likely to be clogged up by dust and dirt
Able to be used on multiple weight consignments
Colour coded to specify different lengths
- Challenge: How many widths of strapping are there?
- Response: Ther are a number of widthc of strap; the three most common widths of strap are 12,mm, 16mm and 19mm. In addition, there is also 9mm as well as 25mm, 32mm and 50mm.
- Challenge: What is the correct width of strap to use in my warehouse?
- Response: If you have been using 16mm steel strap, use 16 mm PET; if you have been using 19mm steel strap, use 19mm PET or 19mm Polywoven strapping.
- Challenge: Why are there different colour straps? Do the different colours mean anything?
- Response: On standard warehouse straps, such as PET, composite and polywoven strapping colour is simply used as branding; however, with lashing or lifting straps colour mean specific industry strengths
- Challenge: Is strapping UV stabilised? How long does it last in the weather?
- Response: Polywoven strapping has good UV stability; if the strap has bright colour pigment, the pigment will fade; however, the strap retains its integrity, e.g. when polywoven was used for tying down a tarpaulin in the weather, you can come back months later and the knots are able to be undone and not cut, and they strap has not perished. PET is also good in the weather and even after long periods the strapping still keeps its integrity and memory. Steel strap will last in the weather, but it does tend to rust and therefore lose tension.
- Challenge: How do I know what buckle or seal to use? I have seen plastic and metal and heavy-duty metal; is there a guide to the joining of the straps?
- Response: plastic buckles are suitable for only light gauge applications and for hand tightening; even with hand tightening a plastic buckle can break under human tensioning. Metals buckles are good to use, especially for hand grade polypropylene and polywoven strapping. If the strap is too stiff a buckle can be difficult to thread the strap through; in this case a crimp seal is a better option. From a speed point of view, a seal-less joint is the first choice.
For more information about Strapping, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
1300 662 987