Ask the BoxMaker: Why Use Strapping on Pallets?

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A common question we get is, “why use strapping on pallets?” This question is an understandable one, because without knowing the full benefits of strapping it can seem like it’s just an extra cost.

We want to make sure our clients understand where every penny goes in the packaging process, and that includes strapping. Let’s take a look at what strapping is, why we use it, and some basic guidelines to get you started.

What is strapping?

Strapping is used to secure bundles of product for shipping and storage. The main types of strapping are polypropylene, polyester, and steel – with each increasing in strength and material cost, respectively. Polypropylene and Steel strapping have been stalwarts in the shipping industry for decades. Polyester strapping is the newest addition, and we’ve seen demand spring up from escalating and unstable steel pricing over the last 15 years. Its properties were developed to have the strength of steel with a price point that’s more economical and stable.

How do you secure strapping?

Securing strapping generally requires specific tools for the job. Polypropylene strapping can be secured using buckles and tightened by hand, or by a tensioner for more tightly secured loads.

Polyester strapping requires a tensioner (for pulling the load tight), in addition to either equipment to crimp a seal around the strapping, or a sealer that welds the material together.

Steel strapping, on the other hand, requires a special tensioner, seals, and sealing tools that are completely different than for poly strapping.

Why use it?

The main benefit of strapping your inventory is that it extends the life of the product by keeping it safe and protected during shipping or storage. Additionally, it frees up space and time by keeping like materials together in organized bundles, making location and retrieval a breeze.

Would you guess strapping is a safety precaution too? If you don’t bundle your material, there’s a chance that one or more pieces could fall and injure a person on the plant floor. Strapping together your material helps eliminate this risk.

How do I know what I need?

You can use the general guidelines below to assist you in choosing the right strapping for your application. Please note, these are only general recommendations. For additional assistance, please contact your BoxMaker sales rep.

Rule of Thumb:

(Weight of Pallet x  1.5) / Number of Straps = Tensile Requirement of Strapping


Maximum pallet weight: 1100#
3 straps applied

(1100 X 1.5) / 3  = minimum 550# tensile strength required*

Although strapping may not be at the forefront of your packaging decision, it is nonetheless an important one. So next time you’re stacking material, consider the time you’ll save, and the risk you’ll reduce by using strapping on your pallets.

If you’d like to learn more, please contact us. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.


*NOTE: The higher the pallet height and/or the heavier the pallet weight, the more important the need becomes for either a higher tensile strapping or more straps.



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