THE first genuine revolution in heavy-duty strapping systems in many years has been introduced to Australia by Gerrard Signode, one of the long-time suppliers to this specialist packaging sector.
Signode has introduced a modular system which makes strapping systems for bricks, steel and other heavy goods, much easier, quicker and safer to use, as well as more economic.
As described by Gerrard Signode national industry manager Geoff Upton these industrial strapping systems have traditionally consisted of a large frame into which the bricks or other items to be strapped are conveyed.
At the top of the frame is a massive strapping head, often weighing around 150kg, which feeds the strap around the load, tensions and seals it. Naturally, it only places on strap at a time, even though a load may require five or more.
To move these strapping heads, a special crane was required, involving operators, time and, sometimes, the risk of strain or injury.
Apart from these disadvantages, such systems also make it difficult to ensure even tension all around the load, especially at the bottom.
This, Upton said, is vitally important when strapping bricks without a pallet as the tension at the bottom of the load has to be perfect to hold in place the gaps left in the bricks for forklift tines.
The new system, developed by Signode’s parent ITW, replaces the massive head on the top oft eh frame with up to five smaller heads, each weighing in the order of 20kg compared with the 150kg of the previous heads.
These modular units have the feed mechanism at the top and the tensioning unit on the side, to better ensure even tensioning all round the load. With up to five heads on the frame, five straps can be placed around the load at once, meaning a massive increase in speed and productivity.
Even with single strapping the new system offers major improvements in productivity.
Upton said the modular system has a cycle time of about 6.5 seconds compared with 8 seconds for the older systems. While this might not sound like much, an analysis at a major brickworks had shown that this could mean strapping an additional 21,000 bricks a day.
It is understood the first installation of this breakthrough modular strapping system is at the Austral brick plant in Sydney’s western suburbs.