Strapping tools come in many forms. They comprise:
- TENSIONER. To pull the two strap together, with an overlap to accommodate a clip (seal). Light or heavy duty, dependent upon the gauge of the strap. Available also for tensioning strap for use with plastic and wire buckles. Manual, battery and pneumatic options. Tensioners for steel and stainless steel can be used with metal seals (clips) or the steel can be crimped on both sides to interlock.
- CRIMPER / SEALER. To crimp the metal seal to both straps, after tensioning.
- COMBINATION TOOL. Tensions and seals using just the one tool. With clips for poly, or crimp for steel. Available in manual and battery - where the straps can be heat welded together, negating the use of seals.
- STRAP CUTTER. Cuts strap using long handles for leverage. The Safety Cutter style holds the strap on both sides to prevent 'bursting'.
More companies are leaning towards the use of the battery operated combination tensioner / heat weld / cut operation as it is time saving and no seals are required. The price for this electronic marvel is between $4,000.00 and $12,000.00. You set the various parameters before using, according to how tight you need the strap; how much dwell time is required to heat and weld the two straps, with limitations between the number of straps the unit can handle without overheating.
Pack King is currently championing a Pneumatic Combo Strapping Tool. Model PFW-19 is a Tensioner / Friction Welder / Strap Cutter, and comparing the cost – less than half price of the popular battery brands, it is fair to say that this unit is very impressive.
Where compressed air is available, this tool is very, very handy. There are no batteries to run down or charge. No electric motor. No cables. Simply connect to any reasonable compressor. Connect up and simply press the left lever to tension the two straps together, then push the right lever for friction welding (short burst for thin strap, longer for thick) then auto cutting. Pull the small lever at the rear for releasing the tool from the strap.
There is no setting any parameters electronically (which can take an age, and requires understanding of the functions and modes). There is no set dwell time. There is no limit on the number of welds per hour.
For smooth running of the tool, put a single drop of oil into the tool every five uses, before connecting the air, or connect to an air line that has automatic in line water filtration and oiling.
Interestingly, the welding is by friction. No heat input is required, as it makes its own. The resultant weld is solid. The unit caters for all polypropylene (PP) and polyester (PET) strap between 13 – 19mm wide and .5mm – 1.2mm thickness. It offers a strain force of up to 3500N (357 Kgs), so for all those posts, sleepers, logs, metal bundles, cotton bales, crates and much more, the Pack King PFW-19 Air Strapping Tool is one of the most rugged machines on the market. The test results on all strap types were first class.
You can also use the tool for tensioning virtually any strap, after a buckle has been placed on it.
I LOVE the idea of getting back to basics. Computers, chips and electronics are fine when they work, and after you have mastered the programming, but is it necessary for strapping, where every job may be different, and re-setting can become a pain? Give me just two levers, and the job is done. Oh, the price is right too.