Monthly Archives: August 2018

Your Guide to Strapping Machines

One of the most secure ways to fix a pallet or join parcels together is with strapping.  It’s a topic we’ve recently covered, detailing what is strapping and how to choose the right strapping. In this post we’re focusing purely on strapping machines, which can help speed up and simplify the strapping process. We’ll be detailing what they are, the different types available and how to use them, with a final focus on polypropylene strapping.

Strapping machines and strapping tools

What is a Strapping Machine?

There are 3 main uses of strapping; pallet strapping, to join one parcel to another, and to offer more strength.  It can be used to secure almost anything, from fragile products to bulky loads. A strapping machine is electrically powered and uses strapping to consistently create a secure seal on parcels and packages that is guaranteed to hold.

These machines do all the hard work, saving time, energy and materials in a typical packaging process.  They do this without the need of manual strapping tools such as tensioners, cutters, or combination tools.  The tension and strap strength can all be set by the operator, giving total control over the entire process of strapping.  If you’re regularly strapping parcels and shipments, then consider one to speed up your operation and improve efficiency.

There are three types of strap machines; an automatic strapping machine, semi-automatic strapping machine, and handheld strapping tools – all with different benefits and applications depending on your requirements

A semi-automatic, handheld and automatic strapping machine

1 – A semi-automatic, handheld and automatic strapping machine.

Automatic strapping machines are high performance, work best on high volume lines and are a bigger investment. Completely automated, they’re able to dispense up to 65 straps per minute making them ideal for production lines.  In one smooth motion they strap a parcel, sealing and cutting the strap to size as per the tension level set by the operator. Watch the automatic strapping machine in action!

Watch the Rajapack automatic strapping machine video

Semi-automatic strapping machines are lower cost and are more suited to lower volume operations, though still able to seal up to 24 straps per minute.  They tension, seal and cut the strapping in one motion, though with these machines the strapping has to be fed in manually so some operator work is required.

Handheld strapping machines are the smallest and most portable. These battery powered machines are lightweight and easy to handle. They’re ideal if you don’t have the space for a large machine or need to strap items in different locations.  These small machines tension, seal and cut quickly and efficiently and can be pre-programmed to set the tension strength.

How does a Strapping Machine work?

Depending on what type of strapping machine you’re using, it will work in one of three different ways. Below we’ve outlined each type of machine and detailed how they work so you can be fully informed before committing to a new packaging machine for your business.

Automatic strapping machines

These fully automatic machines are the quickest and simplest to use once they have been prepared and setup.  With the tension set, simply place a parcel on the machine and begin the strapping process with the touch of a button.  The items are fully strapped automatically, with the strap tensioned and cut by the machine.  The parcel can then simply be removed, ready for the next shipment.

Semi-automatic strapping machines

These machines require a little more operator involvement than automatic machines, as the user feeds in the strapping manually around each parcel they wish to strap.  This is a simple operation but takes slightly longer than using an automatic machine.  Once the parcel has been placed onto the machine in the correct orientation, the user simply has to feed the strapping through, engage the machine, and the strapping is tightened to the set tension automatically and cut in one smooth simple action.

Handheld strapping

These small, portable devices work quite differently to the larger machines above. A small handheld device, they are simple to operate, lightweight and easy to handle.  The strapping has to be wrapped around the item and placed in the machine where it then automatically tightens, tensions and seals the strap in one smooth action.  Being handheld, they can be used vertically or horizontally and the tension strength can be set on the machine.

They’re powered by a rechargeable Li-Ion battery that typically take 30 – 40 minutes to fully charge and is capable of applying up to 440 strapping cycles per charge, depending on which device you use – plenty to get through a good amount of parcels in between charges.

How to use a Strapping Machine

Depending on which type of strapping machine you’re using, the operation will vary slightly.  Below we’ve outlined the basic steps in how to operate the different types of machine.

Automatic & semi-automatic strapping machines

These two types of machines work in a similar manner, being an upright machine with a flat surface to work from.  For both, the strapping is typically fed from the bottom or the side of the machine, where the strapping reel is placed and feeds into the machine.

To operate, one must place the parcel in the specified spot on the machine, so that the position of the strap is in the correct place to wrap around the item.  For semi-automatic machines, you’ll then need to feed the strap over the top of the item and into the other side where it is fed back into the machine (automatic machines do this part without the need of manual intervention.)

Engaging the machine with the on button will then tighten and tension the strap, cut and seal it securely around the parcel. It can then quickly and easily be removed and the next one placed on.  This simple and seamless process makes it ideal for quickly strapping parcels.

Handheld strapping machines

Otherwise known as handheld strapping tools, are convenient as they are portable, these small machines require a little more manual work to operate but the flexibility they offer for strapping is second to none.  To operate, manually loop the plastic strapping, either PET strapping (also known as poly strapping) or polypropylene strapping all the way around the pallet, parcel or cartons.   Once looped, feed both ends of the strapping into the handheld machine.  With a pull of the trigger, it will then tighten and tension the strap, cut and fully seal it, giving a secure fit all around the item.

How to use Polypropylene Strapping

Polypropylene strapping (also known as PP) is one of the lightest and most versatile materials, making it ideal for sealing, reinforcing and securing lighter loads.

How to use polypropylene strapping

When using PP strapping with a machine, polypropylene machine strapping must be used – this is specifically designed for use in machines with regular embossing and straight parallel edges.  This strapping is easier to work with and handle than heavier duty materials such as steel or polyester strapping, but gloves should still be worn when handling and loading this strapping onto a machine for use.

A popular question asked is how to use a polypropylene strapping machine, however there is no specific strapping machine for PP strapping, you can use an automatic, semi-automatic strapping machine or handheld strapping tools. 

If you are strapping a pallet or strapping boxes, then make sure you use the right material for the job.  Take a look at our guide to choosing the right strapping to help you decide.

If you’d like more information about strapping machines, systems or advice on which may be best suited for your packaging operation, simply get in touch with our team of packaging machine experts who are on hand to help.  Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 142 26 46, or machines@rajapack.co.uk.

New Product Launch: Potato Based Packaging Protection

Following Earth Over Shoot Day earlier this month, we’re continuing with our environmental theme to help you go green. Take a look at the AirWave Void Fill Pillow System, one of the most revolutionary and eco-friendly packaging machines we’ve seen. This environmentally friendly packaging product uses left over potato peelings to make void fill packaging that can easily be composted at home!  To find out more about this innovative product and what it could offer your packaging operation, read on.

The AirWave - Eco-friendly packaging made from potato
Capturing air to protect packages
 

Air cushion packaging is very effective void fill, with a range of machines and cushion sizes available.  Rather than using physical void fill material such as packing peanuts, Kraft paper or tissue, air pillows are lightweight (being 98% air and 2% cushion), small and easy to store and can be made up in seconds with the right equipment.  Not only that, the abundance of air makes the contents of the pillow filling very easy to source!  The use of plastic which all pillows are made from, has been the only environmental concern to date…that is until now.

Turning potato waste into protective packaging with the AirWave

You may already be using air cushions in your packaging operation with a Mini Pak’r or a similar machine.  Small, compact and highly efficient, these machines are only slightly larger than a standard laptop so even a small packaging operation could easily support them.  They quickly produce air cushions for filling space in parcels and cartons, preventing items moving during shipping and keeping the contents safe and secure.

Operationally, this efficient AirWave works in a similar way to other air cushion machines; quick, quiet and compact, it can produce enough cushions for four packing stations with up to 8 – 10 metres of cushion per minute – a lot of volume from such a small machine!  It’s able to produce both air filled cushions or quilts which are inflated and sealed in one smooth process through the machine, running at ≤60dB it keeps things nice and quiet.

Giving potatoes a new lease of life

Air pillows have been historically made from plastic which can be difficult to recycle depending on the facilities and services you have locally.  The AirWave is an industry first which uses a biocompostable biopolymer material as its air cushions – with no plastic in sight! The AirWave void fill biocompostable pillow film is 100% plastic free, meaning it’s naturally sourced material will fully break down in a normal compost environment.

Giving potatoes a new lease of life into protective packaging

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/doyland/4985322023/

The fun part is that these biopolymers are made from potato! They’re completely formed from natural potato peelings and other waste by products of the potato processing industry – it’s this source of material which means they are able to completely break down in the environment.

Potato peelings can be given a new lease of life once their work is done providing protection to parcels and products all around the world.  After they have been disposed of and made into compost, they can then be used to help grow new potatoes in the garden!

The science behind potato air pillows

AirWave pillows are household-biodegradable, meaning they can be disposed of in your normal compost that you’ll find in a residential property. No special disposal method is needed at all and they won’t have any negative impact on the quality of compost, making them ideal for home recycling. Finally, the pillows fully comply with standards for compostability (EN 13432) which means they’ll degrade by 90% physically within 12 weeks, and biologically within 6 months.

Eco-friendly protective packaging made from potato wasteSustainable packaging - Pototo waste can be made into protective packaging

Images sources: https://morguefile.com/p/1058151
https://www.flickr.com/photos/facilitybikeclub/3321732096/

We’re very impressed with the environmental innovation that AirWave has brought to the protective packaging industry, it perfectly aligns with our strong stance on environmental protection and helps our customers go green. For August we’re offering a discount of 10% off all orders of bio pillow film rolls, so hurry to take advantage of this limited time offer.

If you’d like more information about void fill packaging, air cushion machines or are interested in being one of the first to try out our new AirWave pillows on your packaging line, simply get in touch with our team of packaging machine experts who are on hand to help.  Visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 142 26 46, or machines@rajapack.co.uk.

How to Recycle Packaging Materials

Protective packaging is usually made from strong and resilient materials, so it can absorb knocks and bumps, but this can make it more difficult to dispose of and recycle packaging materials correctly.  In this post we’re focusing on how you can recycle and dispose of protective packaging correctly in a safe and eco-friendly way.  We’ll be focusing on bubble wrap, foam and paper packaging.

Protecting your products is at the heart of everything we do here at Rajapack, it’s what makes protective packaging one of our most important and popular ranges.  These items have been designed and constructed to offer ultimate protection during shipping and transport whether it’s in the form of rigid blocks, soft cushioning, water resistance or protection from electricity.

How to recycle packaging materials

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-pile-of-ripped-carton-1055712/

Is bubble wrap recyclable?

As one of the most widely used packaging materials available, a common question we get asked from our customers is “can bubble wrap be recycled?” The good news is that yes, bubble wrap can be recycled.  Some local councils can collect it in along with other plastics in their normal recycling collection, including items such as milk cartons, drinks bottles and carrier bags.

Is bubble wrap recycable

Do check with your local council though to see if they accept bubble wrap, as not all are able to.  If they don’t then there’s sure to be a recycling site local to you which does accept bubble wrap.  Simply store it and you can take it along to your local recycling site for proper disposal.  It’s easy to find out about local recycling collections through the ‘Recycling Collections’ section of the government website, simply enter your postcode.

Can Bubble Wrap Envelopes be recycled?

Bubble envelopes are made from a combination of polythene and paper, with cushioning air bubbles inside and a paper outer with soft surface that can easily be written on.  Because they’re made from two separate materials, bubble envelopes can’t be recycled whole.

Can bubble envelopes be recycled

The paper outer and plastic inner are usually bonded together and can’t be processed together for recycling.  If you can separate the paper outer from the polythene inner, then the paper can be recycled along with standard paper and card, while the bubble wrap inner can be recycled with standard bubble wrap at a recycling site.  These are offered by local councils and you can find your closest by visiting the ‘Recycling Collections’ link above.

Is packaging foam recyclable?

Foam packaging is a protective product which offers great stability and cushioning, while being lightweight, easy to handle, cut and use.  It excels at protecting a wide range of products and parcels whether wrapping, blocking, bracing or cushioning.

Is packaging foam recyclable

Unfortunately, it’s not simple nor straightforward to recycle foam packaging.  The lightweight, low density properties which make it so good to use do however make it difficult to recycle easily.  In some areas options can be very limited, as not all recycling centres can handle or process this material – but there are some centres that do, so check in your local area to find out what options are available to you.

Our Packaging Specialists always get asked, how to dispose of foam packaging? Find out where your closet recycling site is that will accept polystyrene and foam packaging.  You can easily do this through the Recycling Locator on the Recycle now website. Select ‘Recycle a specific item’ then select Plastic packaging and Polystyrene in the ‘Which type of material’ menu.  If there isn’t a centre close to you, then consider re-use of foam packaging instead of disposing.  Because of the strength and reliance of foam it can be used time and time again to securely pack items so doesn’t need to be disposed of after just one use. 

Are foam packing peanuts recyclable?

One of the most popular loose fill packaging solutions and one you’ve no doubt encountered before are packing peanuts.  These small but strong chips provide great protection while being incredibly lightweight.  But can foam packaging peanuts be recycled? Historically, they have been made from similar materials to standard foam packaging (polystyrene) making them difficult to recycle and dispose of in an eco-friendly way.

Are foam packing peanuts recyclable

Recently manufacturers of packing peanuts have developed more eco-friendly alternatives with the creation of biodegradable packing peanuts.  These break down naturally in the environment over time and can be made from renewable resources, lessening their impact on the environment and making them simple and straightforward to dispose of.

Can you recycle packing paper?

Paper packaging is one of our favourite protective materials.  It’s lightweight, easy to store and can be used for all manner of packaging applications, for packing, wrapping, protecting or presenting. It’s great for the environment too, with all paper packaging being fully recyclable.  From strong and resilient Kraft paper for packing and protecting items, crinkle cut shredded paper for soft cushioning and presentation, through to soft tissue paper for wrapping delicate and fragile items, there’s a suitable type of paper for almost any packaging need.

Can you recycle packing paper

Disposal of paper packing is simple and straightforward too. Many of the paper packaging that we sell is made from 100% recycled paper (the entire product is made from old paper products) and is fully recyclable, so it can be used time and time again and easily recycled along with your standard paper and cardboard collections.

If you’d like more information about the range of environmental protective packaging that we offer, any help or advice on recycling packaging materials or the best way to dispose of it, then simply get in touch with our team of packaging experts who are on hand to help.

Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

Earth Over Shoot Day, the Day Humanity Needs to Change

Earth Over Shoot Day and Rajapack

In 2017 the UK’s Earth Over Shoot Day fell on August 2nd, this year it will be 1st August. Our Ecological Footprint has moved forward by one day as we consume more of the Earth’s resources and services faster than it can be generated, the day that marks the over consumption is called Earth Over Shoot Day.

To help put the rate of consumption into a tangible perspective, last year we commissioned James Lake, a sculptor who works with the medium of cardboard, to depict humanity’s depletion of the Earth’s natural resources highlighting the seriousness of this environmental concern.

The Art of Recycling with Rajapack

Pictured: James Lake for The Art of Recycling

The Art of Recycling campaign highlights the change needed, the rate of consumption and the necessity to recycle and find more sustainable solutions to waste management. With James’ creativity and skill he is able to craft sculptures into something with a much greater value, all from a simple and unassuming item such as a low cost cardboard box and most importantly, from recyclable material.

In today’s society consumption and waste is higher than ever before. A perfect example is the growth of ecommerce and online shopping which has led to an increase of packaging used for parcels and the resulting waste created, and also the increase in petrol and diesel usage.  However, some changes can be made to help offset the damaging effects, such as electric or hybrid eco-friendly delivery vans or even cycle couriers, and online retailers choosing environmentally friendly packaging alternatives made from recycled materials.

Steps can be taken to #MoveTheDate, what will you do?