Composite strapping or steel strapping? Choosing the right strapping solution for your application can be a challenge. Both types of strapping can handle the heaviest and bulkiest loads.
When considering strength, steel strapping, once considered the strongest form of strapping, has now been overtaken by composite strapping, often called “synthetic steel.” Indeed, today composite strapping can be considered a great alternative to steel.
But what about pricing? In the past, composite strapping was more expensive, but now composite and steel strapping are comparable in price.
However, it can be hard to make the change from traditional steel strapping to composite strapping. In situations where steel has long been the only choice, companies and entire industries resist change.
Steel has always had safety issues, however. Worker injuries are common. In some warehouses, companies are encouraging other forms of straps than steel because of injuries.
Let’s look at both forms of strapping.
Composite strapping: safe and strong
Composite strapping, as the name suggests, is a composite material. It’s made of various types of polyester yarn, surrounded by a polymer coating. The strength of the composite depends on the amounts and types of polyester yarn used.
Before choosing any composite strapping, check on its linear breaking strength, and its system break strength. The latter, “system strength” is vitally important; the strap is only as strong as its joints. In composite strapping, wire buckles are used as joints. The thicker the buckle’s wire and how the buckle is made determine the system strength of the composite strapping.
Assessing the benefits of composite strapping for your application
Strength is of primary importance when you’re comparing composite strapping to steel for your applications, but composite is comparable to steel.
So let’s look at some of the benefits of composite strapping.
- The safety of composite strapping, when compared to steel, is a major benefit. The Composite is soft, with no recoil or sharp edges to cause injury. In addition, composite is some five times lighter than steel; this means fewer worker injuries when they work with the coils.
- Since it’s basically soft plastic, composite strapping moulds and conforms itself to the items it’s strapping, making tensioning easier. There’s less chance of damage or abrasion than there might be with steel.
- Composite strapping stands up to challenging environments and applications. It’s both heat and chemical-resistant.
- If a load expands or contracts, you can apply tension again; composite strapping recovers and won’t stretch so badly that it can’t be tightened.
- Can be re-used, so you can save on costs. Although you’ll need to cut your strap to remove it, it can be used again.
Steel strapping: strong and available in different types and grades
Let’s look at steel strapping.
Steel strapping is made from various steel alloys. It’s tough and durable and is available in the form of stainless steel too. It’s widely used in heavy industry and construction because there’s a wide range of strap widths and steel grades to suit challenging applications. The two common steel grades are standard grade, and heat-treated, high tensile strength grade.
Surface finishes can also be applied to steel, including paint, wax, and bluing. Finishes make steel strapping weatherproof and suitable for strapping goods which are susceptible to damage.
You can choose from many different kinds of fasteners for steel strapping. However, be aware that you need to match the grade of steel to the grade of the fastener.
Assessing the benefits of steel strapping for your application
Is steel strapping the best for your application?
Let’s look at some of the benefits.
- Steel is durable, strong, and reliable when used for heavy loads, especially if those loads will be transported for long distances. It maintains its tension when moving loads around the country or across the world.
- It easily bundles and secures heavy items like bricks, paving stones, and packaged glass. It also bundles different items together to secure them for transport in containers and in boxcars, as well as on semi-trailers.
- Time-tested in challenging environments, steel strapping is resistant to damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays.
- When transporting timber or concrete, steel strapping has the rigidity and high tensile strength to secure bulky loads and prevent any dangerous shifting of a load.
- It’s weatherproof, especially if coated, so steel strapping allows materials to be transported and stored in many different environments without damage.
Composite strapping vs. steel strapping: the choice is up to you
Which form of strapping will you choose? Both have many benefits and both forms of strapping are available in various forms to suit your application.
It’s well worth investigating both types. Check out the supplier’s testing results for the type of strapping in which you’re interested.