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What is the difference between steel strapping and plastic strapping?

Shipping and transporting large and unwieldy loads can be made easier, safer and more secure by using plastic or steel strapping. Which kind of strapping you choose depends on a couple of variables, so read on for our quick overview of the differences and benefits of each.

Plastic (polypropylene and polyester) Strapping

Plastic strapping

Plastic strapping is typically used for lighter tasks — so keeping lids on cartons, bundling newspapers and baling loose items, for example. This is because it is less expensive than steel strapping and easier to work with.

Plastic strapping is much more flexible than steel and is more pliable, meaning that it can withstand knocks, shocks and bumps without snapping. This kind of strapping is also waterproof and resistant to corrosives.

On the negative side, the pliability of plastic strapping can cause deformations over sustained periods. This kind of material is also more vulnerable to the effects of UV light and temperature changes.

Lastly, polypropylene strapping in particular is simply not as strong as steel and so cannot be relied on to hold extremely heavy loads.


Steel Strapping

steel strapping

Steel strapping has a very high tensile strength, so it is commonly used for extremely heavy loads like timber, construction materials and heavy equipment.

Steel also has great resistance to temperature changes and to UV light, and the material can be supplemented with a wax coating for increased rust protection.

The downside of using steel strapping is that it is significantly more expensive than plastic and can be difficult to work with — you’ll need a heavy-duty tensioner to get the right fit.

If steel strapping snaps under tension, it can cause injuries to personnel and, if it is over-tensioned, the load can be damaged very easily.

Finally, if the strapping is left in place for too long rusting can occur which can transfer unsightly markings to your goods.