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Pallet Strapping Produce

posted 2011 Jul by Tony Sandland

Plastic strapping of produce, fruit,veg, flowers, etc

.. frequently takes the form of filled plastic trays stacked many layers high and secured with three horizontal straps applied by hand at the bottom, mid point and top of the stack. The process of applying the straps is slow as the operator has to pull strap from the reel, walk around the pallet pick up a buckle or strapping tool, apply some tension, insert corner boards, apply final tension - keeping the strap horizontal - and finally sealing it off.


By normal production standards not only is the strapping process very slow but extremely expensive - a point frequently overlooked as it's generally only the cost of the strapping that is focussed on, and yet simple calculations quickly show the true cost of this style of operation.

Assume 50 pallets a day are strapped - each with three straps - and the time taken per pallet is averaging 3 minutes. Assume also that the labour rate is say 13 pence a minute. It follows that the labour cost for each pallet will be 39 pence.

Annual cost could then be calculated as:

50 pallets x 5 days x 50 weeks x £0.39 = £4,875 p.a.  But the cost could be halved, together with the time taken with low cost equipment that offered payback in approx 6 months.

The sketch below shows the type of maintenance free equipment that would meet these objectives.

For more information and advice email or call 0115 9291212


 Strapping produce


Timber Industry starts switch to polyester strapping

posted 2011 Jul by Tony Sandland

Two of the largest Timber Groups in the UK have recently recognised that for years timber packs have been secured with strapping systems not fit for purpose, having been mis-led by suppliers wrongly describing strapping equipment and materials as ' heavy duty' or 'suitable for heavy duty applications' and failing to mention  the safety issues associated with what is frequently very cheap, and sometimes not so cheap strapping tools. In fact many companies are still using sytems fit only for cartons.

 Consequently both Timber Groups have changed their entire network of branches to use polyester strapping and the correct sealing methods i.e serrated safety seals or friction weld tools both of which provide a much stronger joint in the strap and make much greater use of the strapping strength.. 



Row 1 Col 1

Polyester Banding Tool

Polyester Banding Tool

Row 1 Col 2

Friction Weld Banding Tool

Battery Powered Banding Tool


The shortcomings of many strapping systems have been pointed out to Companies over the past years by the specialist Strapping Companies, most of who report that the common response is 'We've had no accident yet and have been using this system for years'

There is now a noticeable trend however for Companies to recognise that it reflects badly on management to continue taking a risk on safety when the ability to demonstrate - in the event of an incident - that best state of the art equipment and materials are being used is so easy, particularly when it costs so little to upgrade.

Email us on or call 0115 9291212 for additional information.



Strapping Timber and Panel Packs the easy cost effective way!

posted 2011 Apr by Tony Sandland

 Strapping timber and panel packs conventionally done in one of two ways -  either manually with strapping hand tools - or with in line automatic and automated strapping machines, expensive to aquire - and to maintain, that generally fail to live up to projected performance levels. Strapping this type of pack manually with plastic strapping tools is also expensive due the time taken and the cost of labour that in UK can easily be 18 -20 pence a minute - it's easy to recognise therefore that 60 -80 - 100 pence/pack or more, depending on how many straps need to be applied, is disappearing out the despatch bay doors with every pack, every day, frequently amounting to thousands of pounds a year.

The Plastic Strapping Company Ltd  Nottingham recognised many years ago that the most expensive part of the plastic strapping cycle was the time taken to get plastic straps around a pack when it introduced it's range of low cost mobile pallet strapping machines known as Strap Pokas, and has now applied the same principles to in line strapping applications such that up to six straps can be simultaneously applied around packs in approx six seconds - that makes this low cost maintenance free strapping equipment as fast as the sophisticated,and expensive automatic strapping machines,  because they only generally apply one or two straps before having to reposition a pack before applying more straps.

The Plastic Strapping Company Ltd is well known for manufacturing bespoke low cost but very cost effective plastic strapping solutions in all Industries


Email us on or call 0115 9291212 to discuss your project and obtain advice.

Strapping Machine Hire and Lease purchase.

posted 2010 Dec by Tony Sandland

 Plastic Strapping Machine and Hand Tool Hire.

...and lease purchase are available on semi automatic and  automatic strapping machines and friction weld battery powered tools. It is the case that these financing options are becoming more and more popular particularly with automatic strapping machines and friction weld tools.  For example a  good quality European manufactured automatic carton strapping machines that can apply straps at the rate of 30 - 40 per minute can be leased over a three year period for approximately £175 per month and the savings in time when compared with strapping items manually will probably pay for the monthly outlay many times over bearing in mind that labour cost  will probably be at least 15 pence / minute so if it takes on average  two minutes to strap a carton that's a 30 pence loss attached to every carton two minutes a strapping machine can strap at least 20 cartons allowing time for putting them into and taking them out of the machine..



Semi Automatic Strapping Machines can also be leased.


For example three semi automatic strapping machines can be leased over a three year period for approximately £65.00/month i.e. approx £5.00 each per week...and they will apply a strap around a carton in approx 2.5 seconds which does raise the question as to who can possibly afford to use strapping hand tools where the cost of applying a strap will cost  approx 30 pence a carton and could on average take   2 minutes each, instead of 5 seconds!.


Check with us for current hire rates

Contact The Plastic Strapping Company Ltd for further advice and information.

Contact information.


Pallet Strapping - Why spend twice as much for a second best pallet strapping solution?

posted 2010 Sep by Tony Sandland

There's a rash of semi automatic pallet strapping machines... 

now appearing on the market that are in effect semi automatic box strapping machines turned on their sides with a probe attached and for which operational descriptions are generally less than helpful in making an informed decision.
Lower cost, faster. easier to use, nil maintenance pallet strapping machines such as the Strap-Poka make alot more sense than this type of equipment....



A typical description states:
Mobile pallet strapping machine is light, portable and easy to use. It is powered by a standard 13amp socket, is manoeuvrable with 4 high quality castors. Features include: high tension, 80 - 90% seal efficiency. 

What it doesn't tell you is.... it's connected by flex to a socket in the wall...that means you've  a restricted area of use've got to fetch each pallet to the strapper... and that costs time and money... as does the machine maintenance contract. Light is not.

        Pallet Strapping Machine 2

A typical description states:
Push strapping unit through one void of pallet and flush with product... Press strap feed button, machine automatically dispenses length of strap suitable for size of parcel.

What it doesn't tell you is... only one strap at a time is being placed thru a pallet void at floor level, so that means the machine has to be inserted and withdrawn from the pallet twice to apply two straps ...and the operator has to walk to the back of the pallet twice to pick up the straps and drag it over the top of the pack... twice.  If a long enough length of strapping has not been fed out... then more has to be fed out... again. another operation.


A typical description states:
Operator takes end of strap, passes it over top of parcel and re-inserts strap into entry guide.

What it doesn't emphasise is....It's not a small parcel that you will be strapping - ( in fact a low part pallet load may cause problems as the sealer head is towards the top of the machine so that the operator can reach it ) - it can be a high pallet and continually pulling strapping over the top - for every strap applied - takes time, and is very tiring  by at the end of a shift..


The description states: Machine automatically backfeeds strap and applies level of tension pre-determined by electric control, heat sealing operation completes the cycle. Total time 15 - 20 seconds apron.

Well yes it does... to an extent but only after the operator puts the strap back into the machine - that's not automatic - and the  tension applied to the strapping is relatively low when compared with other means of tensioning straps and if you have a heavy product,  careful consideration of this aspect of machine performance would be prudent.


Contact The Plastic Strapping Company Ltd for further advice and information.

Plastic Strapping and 'short coiling'

posted 2010 Sep by Tony Sandland

Plastic Strapping Scams

It is not unknown for a plastic strapping extruder to resort to the 'rather questionable practice' of short coiling and although it's not common the reputable members of the trade are aware that from time to time this does happen, particularly in a tough economic climate. 

A similar situation existed with stretch film some years ago where the suppliers recognised that the chance of the 'short measure' being discovered was slim as few users had given consideration as to how the meterage specified on the packaging and invoiced  could be checked... and was actually being delivered.invoiced could be checked... and wasactually being delivered.

Reels of plastic strapping

With plastic strapping materials it's a relatively easy check to make. Plastic Strapping is wound on cardboard cores or plastic reels and these can easily be weighed. The strapping yield i.e. its weight per metre will be given on request to all enquirers by the reputable suppliers enabling a user to weigh an unused coil of strap, subtract the weight of the core or reel, and divide the remainder by the yield to obtain the approximate number of metres.  Where the yield figure is withheld by a supplier, perhaps on the pretext that it is information of a confidential nature then alarm bells should ring.

See the picture on the left - one good reel - one short reel.

In general, Packaging Distributers supplying end users do not make these coil capacity checks at all or on any routine basis, and in fact have no inclination to do so as their coils of strapping - on a like for like specification - appear to be competively priced. Short coiling in the region of 15 -20% is not unheard of.


Contact The Plastic Strapping Company Ltd for further advice and information.

Contact information.



Some Companies save pence... others thousand of pounds!!

posted 2010 Aug by Tony Sandland

Plastic Strapping Costs - the real cost reductions

Imagine some one gifted you 30 pence for every plastic strapped pallet despatched from your premises for a year… then if these numbered approx 40 a day you’d be receiving approx £3000 p.a every year.  It could amount to even more if a greater number of pallets were processed, or if 4 straps are applied. 

It’s true and easily achievable! – do the sums: 



Many Companies have already saved thousands of pounds a year. Whilst their competitors were focussing on saving a few pence on the price of plastic strapping, they looked at the biggest cost element first – Labour - and saved thousands!  

Consider - if someone is paid  say £18,000 a year, that equates to approx 15.0 pence per minute, and if it takes on average 3 minutes to strap each pallet over the course of a shift then the cost per pallet strapped will be   45 pence… disappearing with every pallet out the despatch bay doors. If say 40 strapped pallets a day are being despatched, for  a 5 day x 50 week year x 50 pallets/day  that all adds up to approx £5625.   That’s an unnecessary expense particularly when it’s routinely costing their competitors only £1250 p.a. - a saving of £4374 to strap the same volume of pallets. 

They achieve this with a simple piece of mobile pallet strapping equipment that generally pays for itself within the first six months, and if you would like to make the same degree of cost reduction contact us and we’ll show you how its done. Click Here to see details of the complete range of low cost pallet strapping machines and here if you'd like to watch a 40 second video - that's all it takes to strap a pallet.


Call Tony Sandland on 0115 9291212

Contact The Plastic Strapping Company Ltd for further advice and information.

Contact information.



Plastic Strapping V Stretch Wrap

posted 2010 Jul by Tony Sandland

Plastic Strapping V Stretch Wrap - What is the cost comparison per pallet wrapped/strapped?

It's not really that difficult to calculate, and if more people took the trouble it's likely there would be a significant reversion to using plastic strapping. There are of course many variables when it comes to applying stretch wrap so lets make some assumptions on which to establish a good cost per pallet approximation:

Stretch Film Assumptions:

Pallet weighing 500 kgs 1200 x 1000 x 1.0 metres high;

Stretch Film used 500mm wide x 23 micron x 20 revolutions to wrap.

Weight of film used 900 grams ( Take it off the pallet and weigh it).

Cost of film/tonne £1300 approx.

Cost of film used approx 43 pence/Pallet.

Strapping Assumptions:

Same pallet as above.

Strapping with a break strength of 300 Kgs weighing 7 grams/metre

Strap Used = 2 x 4.5 = 9 metres x 7 grams = 63 grams

Cost of strapping the pallet say with strap @ £15.00/per thousand metres i.e 1.5 pence/metre would be 1.5 x 9 = 13.5 pence.


  • Strapping is much more environmetally friendly using only 63 grams of material when compared with 900 grams of stretch film.
  • The difference in the weight of material used is so large that even if the assumptions made for quantity of stretch wrapping used are 50% wrong, or the material is bought for 50% less .... strapping is by far the most economical of the two materials, for load unitisation.
  • Use of stretchfilm is difficult to justify in many instances and particularly where product is already in cardboard boxes offering a good degree of protection to the primary  product, and where the boxes are of reasonable size and can be interlocked layer by layer to provide good inherent load stability.
  • On a more personal level... we ask - would you want a job that involved walking backwards in spirals in a crouched position around pallet after pallet - day after day.



Pallet Strapping Made Difficult - Learn How!

posted 2010 Jun by Tony Sandland

Pallet Strapping - The Slow and Expensive Way! 

 An unbelieveable but a surprisingly common statement frequently made by people  - who themselves do not strap pallets - but when told there is a low cost pallet strapping machine that can simultaneously place two plastic straps around a pallet in just six seconds reply.... "We can do it quicker with a 'threader stick'.. a piece of wood akin to a broom handle with a 'V' notch in the end in which a length of strap is jammed.




Give the statement  consideration and first consider the effort involved implementing this 'system' of strapping pallets, prior to placing the strap in the strapping tool..

1. Pull strapping trolley to pallet.

2. Pick up threader rod.

3. Pick up end of strapping from trolley.

4. Place strapping into threader rod.

5. Stoop and place threader rod into pallet void.

6. Walk to other side of pallet.

7. Stoop to pick up threader rod and strap.

8. Remove strap from threader rod.

9. Put down threader rod.

 10. Pick up strapping tool.

It is apparent that there are 10 actions required prior to one strap being put into a strapping tool - all allegedly in 6 seconds..

It is also apparent that the same number of actions will be required for the second strap i.e  a minimum of 20 operations for each and every subsequent pallet strapped, and.... and twice as many if the pallets are cross strapped. 

Could you do this in 6 seconds?    it's doubtful but allegedly it can be done, although with little regard for the welfare of the employee or the cost/ pallet strapped  to the employer.

For those Companies that recognise reality however the good news is that it is possible to place two straps around a pallet in 6 seconds - from beginning to end of shift  - very easily with minimum effort - using the unique Strap-Poka pallet strapping machines manufactured by the Plastic Strapping Company Ltd. Nottingham. UK

The cost justification for using Strap Poka Pallet Strapping Machines  is easy and simple...

Assumptions: Assume an employee is paid just £5.70 per hour( Min Wage) and he has  40 pallets a day to strap – each with two straps – and takes on average 4 minutes per pallet. The cost of applying the straps will be  38 pence/ pallet. 

Extend this to : 40 pallets/day x 5 days x 50 weeks x £0.38 and the cost per annum would be £3800p.a …. Much more if the salary is higher or the time taken/pallet  is longer. 

Now assume a Strap PokaPallet Strapping Machine  is used and the timing reduces dramatically to just 40 seconds i.e. just 6.30 pence/pallet. Do the same extension and the cost p.a. becomes: 

40 pallets/day x 5 days x 50 weeks x £0.063 pence and the cost per annum would be just £630 p.a. 


Now watch the 40 second video. Click the link Pallet Strapping Made Fast and Easy

You will understand why most of these Strap-Poka Pallet Strapping machines pay for themselves in under six months and are so popular, as they reduce both time, effort and cost taken to strap pallets dramatically - by more than 50%.

If you would like us to do a cost analysis for your strapping operation call us on: 0115 9291212 or email



Semi and Automatic Strapping Machine Service Scams

posted 2010 Jun by Tony Sandland

Semi Automatic and Automatic Strapping Machine repairs and servicing...

Every user grumbles about about the cost but in particular the fact that all too frequently the cost is greatly inflated inflated by 'travelling time' ... so much so that these particular 'add ons' often far exceed the cost of the repair itself. ... and the strapping machine user pays them despite the fact that he hasn't a chance of proving if the cost is justified as he has no means of establishing if the engineer was already in the area servicing someone else's strapping machine or was in fact miles away! 

Strapping machine users generally have many priorities and locating other Service Engineers in their immediate vicinity is one of those things that seldom gets done, consequently the inflated invoices are paid again and again. The difficulty being there is not currently one location that lists them all, offering a choice and with this in mind The PSCL Strapping Machine Service  Repair Hub is being established so that strapping machine users can be put in touch with  strapping machine engineers located withing 50 miles max. The situation has now got so bad that many users are now questioning if its worthwhile getting the machines repaired at all as the cost of these units has dropped dramatically over the last five years and excellent deals on new machines with strapping, can be found at for example:

In the event any end user is particularly happy with his Strapping Machine Machine servicing support  and costs...

 then please email  with their details so that we can include them on the Strapping Machine Service Hub for others to benefit.

If any Strapping Machine Service Companies are able to offer concessionary strapping machine service rates...

 for users located within 50 miles of their base ( no travelling time costs) please advise us as we shall be pleased to publiscise your rates and location.

Semi Automatic Strapping Machine Cost versus Cost of Hand Tools

posted 2010 Jun by Tony Sandland

Semi-Automatic Strapping Machines

It's not uncommon for enquirers with a carton strapping application to initially give an 'adverse'  knee jerk reaction to the cost of semi automatic strapping machines when compared with  that of a handtool, frequently the subject of the initial enquiry. What is generally overlooked however is the hourly labour cost cost ( There's a man behind a strapping tool) and slow speed at which handtools for carton strapping are operated. The man costs at least 10 - 15 pence per minute...and if he takes two minutes per carton.....

The initially perceived belief that handtools present an economical solution to carton strapping is certainly untrue if say more than 30 cartons a day are to be double strapped. and can not only quickly be disproved , but are shown to be a rather expensive solution.

Click here to see a semi automatic strapping machine being used, and then compare it with the marathon efforts required using the 'quicker method'

The maths are not complicated......


An application required 50 cartons to be double strapped per day. Using a  'low cost' hand tool, tensioner and crimper the procedure is:

1 Pick up end of strap

2 Lift carton to get strap underneath and around.

3 Thread strap around carton

4 Place strap into strapping tool

5  Operate strapping tensioner

6 Place clip over joint

7 Pick up and use seal crimpers

8 Take tools off carton

= 8 operations per strap!

And then do the same again for every strap applied to every carton.  Average time per strap applied will be approximately one minute, so 50 cartons x 2 straps x 1 minute average = 1.6 hours per day minimum.

At a minimum wage of £7.50/hour cost would be £3000 per annum at least - every year.  Much more if salary is higher...

Alternatively, and using a Semi Automatic Strapping Machine time taken would be just 4-5 minutes a day x £7.50 x 5 days x 50 weeks = £156.00 per annum

Conclusion?   It's a No Brainer!... A Semi Automatic Strapping machine pays for itself in just three months!

Watch those timber lorries on the motorway

posted 2010 Jun by Daniel OBrien

 It’s like this….who would go mountain climbing with a frayed rope… well of course no sensible person would do this because …well, the danger of falling off a rock face is a bit personal isn’t it. But different criteria frequently appear to rule in the Timber Industry where packs of wood are secured with a good grade of polypropylene strapping….but joined with a thin metal clip which cannot stop straps slipping through if subjected to minor shock loading.

The clip is the ‘weakest link’ Although the strap may have a break strength of say 300 Kgs so often the clip lets the strap slide through with as little as 60 kgs applied load….because they also frequently buy and use the least effective tooling too, and the plastic strap therefore is only as strong as the weakest link!

So what? It appears that other peoples lives are devalued… as the response frequently encountered when we point this out is ’ We’ve not had an accident yet’…

Pallet Strapping Machines

posted 2010 Apr by Tony Sandland

Low Cost Mobile Pallet Strapping Machines

We find it amazing that Companies are still paying employees to apply plastic strapping to pallets in the slowest and most tiring way possible, such that the labour cost is at least twice what it should be. A mobile low cost device called a Strap Poka Pallet Strapping Machine will simultaneously place two or more plastic straps around a pallet in just 6 seconds, so what are these Companies thinking when they equip employees with ‘brush handles’ and the like to get plastic straps thru pallet voids.

Lets qualify low cost… For just £1380 a Strap Poka will halve the time taken to apply plastic strapping around  pallets, make the job less tiring and safer.

Lets qualify cost again…even if an employees salary is only £12000 p.a then the strapping machine will pay for itself in less than two months…. It’s a ‘no brainer’, particularly when Companies worldwide are looking to decrease costs and increase productivity.

To see one of these unique pallet strapping machines in use watch the 40 second video - that's how long it takes to strap a pallet using one of these unique strapping machines Click here



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