What works better for packaging, plastic strapping or steel strapping?

When nearly everything is available to buy on the internet, online shopping has become the norm in this day and age. And anyone who has ever ordered products to their home (or office) knows just how many shapes, forms, and packing variations there are.

But if you are thinking of starting up an online shop or re-evaluating your current packing and shipping methods, you have come to the right place. Keep reading as we break down the differences between plastic and steel strapping and which ultimately works better for packaging.

Steel strapping

Traditionally, strapping has been made from steel. It has an extremely high tensile strength and is available in many widths and thicknesses to fit a wide variety of different purposes. Also resistant to stretching, steel strapping is ideal when securing heavy loads, such as construction materials. It is commonly used for long-haul shipping thanks to its resistance to the elements.

Steel strapping is widely used in applications such as transporting heavy and stable loads like sheet metals and in the construction and installation sectors for insulation, pipework, and signage.

Pros

  • Very high tensile strength
  • Resistant to extreme temperatures
  • Retains tension and is resistant to stretching
  • Can secure heavy industrial materials
  • Holds parts with sharp edges and hard corners, such as steel plates and beams

Cons

  • Can be more expensive than other types of strapping
  • Hazardous and risky to work with if the correct precautions are not taken

Plastic strapping

Plastic strapping is increasing in popularity for some applications, as it is much more flexible than steel, and it can withstand knocks, shocks, and bumps without snapping. Furthermore, this strapping does not rust or corrode when exposed to a wide variety of chemicals.

Plastic strapping is widely used for commercial purposes, including packing magazines, meat, produce, kitchen appliances, cardboard boxes, cartons, and other paper products.

Pros

  • Economical
  • Very flexible to suit different applications
  • Highly resistant to water and chemicals
  • Absorbs shock from impacts well
  • Unlikely to abrade the product

Cons

  • Low tensile strength
  • Can change shape in extreme weather conditions
  • Deforms with heavy loads
  • May snap if used on heavy or sharp items
  • Prone to decomposition from ultraviolet rays

Which material is better for my type of work?

One of the most important things that you need to consider when choosing between steel and plastic strapping is the risk of damage to the load for safe and efficient delivery. Using the wrong kind of strapping for the job can lead to damaged goods, excess scrap, and the need to remanufacture goods.

Generally speaking, plastic bands are easy to place and remove and have less risk of severe injury to users. However, they don’t provide the same strength as steel bands do.

If your workplace requires loads to be shipped for long distances, has sharp edges that could cut softer options, or endure multiple loading/unloading operations, then steel strapping may be the best option.

However, if your load is sensitive to abrasion, may expand or contract during shipment, or might be handled by less experienced staff, then plastic strapping is the right way to go.