Strapping Tapes in the Packaging Industry: What They Are and What They Do

Are you looking for the best type of strapping tape for your packaging? With so many alternatives, choosing the best tape can be a challenge.  

Firstly, what are “strapping tapes?” Are they the same as packaging tapes? 

What are strapping tapes? 

You’re familiar with everyday, standard packaging tapes.

They’re used for product protection and security. They seal products into packages, and seal cartons too. These tapes come in many different varieties, grades, and tensile strengths. (Tensile strength is the amount of resistance a material offers before it snaps under tension.)

Strapping tapes, on the other hand, are pressure-sensitive tapes which are stronger than standard packaging tapes. They can be used not only to seal products and cartons, but they can also bundle cartons together, and strap those cartons onto pallets. Many strapping tapes are manufactured with filaments—reinforcing yarns of polyester or fibreglass—to make them even stronger. These are known as “filament” strapping tapes.

Like packaging tapes, strapping tapes are available from strapping tape suppliers in a range of material types, as well as widths, grades, and tensile strengths. Composed of a backing material and an adhesive, strapping tapes ensure your products’ protection during shipping and storage, so that they arrive at their destination safely.

Let’s look at some popular types of strapping tapes.

Polypropylene (PP) strapping tapes—a secure and elastic solution 

Strapping tapes with a polypropylene backing offer both elasticity and flexibility. Available from strapping tape suppliers in a variety of widths, colours, and grades, polypropylene strapping tapes are used in many industries. These tapes are used to secure individual packages, as well as bundle large loads of products onto pallets.

Often, polypropylene strapping tapes are a low-cost alternative to stretch film when securing loads to pallets. Like stretch film, polypropylene strapping tape stretches when it’s applied, then shrinks back, holding the hold securely.

Polypropylene not only offers high tensile strength, but also saves time, when compared with stretch film. Not only is it faster in application than stretch film, it’s faster in removal too: it won’t leave an adhesive residue behind.

Polypropylene strapping can be safely used in temperatures ranging from minus 20°C to over 60°C.

Polyester (PET) strapping tapes: secure strapping for heavy loads  

Polyester (PET) strapping is more expensive than polypropylene strapping and is used for heavier and more valuable loads. Considered a safe alternative to steel strapping, it’s lighter than steel strapping tools.

Unlike polypropylene strapping, polyester strapping has limited elongation as well as high tensile strength. It’s often used in the construction industry to secure heavy loads such as bricks, tiles, timber and other materials.

Since it’s soft, without sharp edges, polyester strapping doesn’t rust, and it’s also ultraviolet resistant, making it suitable to strap products and materials which will be stored in the open.

Polyester strapping has a big advantage when transporting fragile materials too: it absorbs shocks and protects from impact damages.

Often manufactured from recycled materials, polyester strapping is offered in both smooth and embossed varieties, in various widths to suit different loads.

Filament strapping tapes: high tensile strength for many applications

Industrial-strength filament strapping tapes are manufactured with a polypropylene backing strengthened by a wide range of yarn fibres. They can also be manufactured with a paper or cotton backing to suit specific applications.

Depending on their filaments, these tapes offer high tensile strength, as well as the ability to withstand abrasion, splitting, and shocks. The filaments used in manufacturing this type of strapping tape include fibreglass, polyester and other materials.

Your strapping tape supplier may also offer directional filament tape, which is manufactured with one-way or two-way filaments. The two-way filaments offer enhanced tensile strength, which is useful in many industries.

The adhesive used in filament tapes also varies. Natural rubber-based, or synthetic rubber-based adhesives are popular because they can usually be removed without leaving a residue. Most suppliers offer several grades of adhesive for different applications.

What can strapping tapes do for you? 

Strapping tapes can cut costs and enhance profitability. However, choosing the best strapping tapes for your applications can be a challenge. It’s best to be advised by your strapping tape supplier. Cost is important. You want strapping tapes with high tensile strength, but not more than you need.

When considering costs, polypropylene strapping is least expensive. It’s low-cost, but effective. If you need a higher tensile and break strength, polyester strapping costs more. (“Break strength” is the force needed to break a strap; it’s often measured in pounds per inch.)

The big benefit of strapping tapes is that they can save costs when compared to steel strapping and stretch film. They’re used in many industries, including the electronics, automotive, construction, and paper and printing industries.

When choosing strapping tapes, explain your needs, and take advice from your packaging supplier.