Choosing from over 100 different hand strapping tools to use can be a challenging experience. The job, however, becomes easier if you classify them by steel strapping and plastic strapping first, then break the classifications down further intotensioners, sealers, and combination tools. Funneling down even further, all steel strapping tools are available in manual and powered tool versions.
The tensioner strapping tool tightens a loop of strapping which surrounds the package. Signode sells four types of steel tensioners.
Strapping travels between the feedwheel and the base plate of the tool. The feedwheel has a serrated surface which bites into the strapping surface as it turns. Thus the feedwheel pulls the top overlapping strap, while the bottom strap is held stationery by a toothed gripper.
Because the top strap must slip across the bottom strap during the tensioning process, lubricated strapping must be used to minimize friction. Signode sells four manual tensioner models to cover low, medium, and high tension packaging applications. While these steel strapping tools can pull high tension, break strength is reduced by about 10% because the feedwheel bites into the strap surface as it tensions. All models can pull unlimited slack out of the strap.
Conventional feedwheel tensioners are also available in pneumatic strapping tool versions. Air power is usually more consistent than tension applied under operator control. Thus, power strapping tensioners reduce operator fatigue and ensure that the tension applied to packages remains consistent throughout the day. Power strapping tools are particularly useful on large or compressible loads.
2. Push Type Feedwheel Tensioners
Push-type feedwheel tensioners pull slack with a rotating feedwheel. However, push tensioners operate without a base plate under the strapping. Instead, tensioning is performed by butting the nose of the tensioner against a push-type seal which has been pre-threaded onto the strapping, then pulling the strapping through the seal. The bottom strap end remains stationary because it is bent under the seal and trapped between the strapping and the load surface.
Push-feedwheel steel strapping tensioners are used to strap round or irregular shaped loads where a conventional tool base would become strapped to the load. Signode sells medium tension and high tension push-type feedwheel tensioners (PF & PFH). Both models have unlimited strap take-up.
As with conventional feedwheel tensioners, push-type feedwheel tools are available in pneumatically powered versions.
Rack-and-pinion push-type steel strapping tensioners are almost obsolete, primarily because the amount of strap take-up is limited by the rack length. A gripper attached to the rack pulls the strap while the nose of the tool pushes against the seal.
PH-2 Rack-and-Pinion Tensioner
Rack-and-pinion tools are not available in pneumatically powered versions.
Windlass tensioners use pre-cut strapping. Strap ends are fed around the load, through a thread-on seal, and into the seal, and into the tool. The bottom strap is held in place by a serrated gripper and the top strap is inserted into a slot in the windlass shaft. As the tension handle turns, strapping is wound around the shaft. Because the strap is not marked by a feedwheel, the windlass tensioner can pull higher tension.
4A-1-114 Windlass Tensioner, Manual
Windlass tensioners are used for heavy-duty, high tension applications. The tool's design eliminates friction between strap ends so that dry strap can be tensioned.
Signode also manufactures a powered windlass tensioner for applying 2" wide steel strapping.
WP-2 Windlass Tensioner, Pneumatic
Windlass tensioners are designed for specific strap sizes. For example, Signode does not recommend using strap sizes lighter than 1-1/4" X .029" Magnus with 1-114" model windlass tensioners. Likewise recommends that only 2" X .044" Magnus strapping be used with the Model4A-1-2 or WP-2 windlass tensioners.
Sealers are first categorized by the way they close the strap; either notch or crimp.
Notch sealers mechanically cut the seal and overlapping strap edges, forming pairs of small interlocking tabs at the edges of the seal and the strapping.
Sealers that bend the notches "downward" toward the load, form regular notch points.
Double Regular Notch Joint
Sealers that bend the notches "upward" away from the load, form reverse notch joints. The reverse notch is used whenever the package surface could be damaged by the seal.
Double Reverse Notch Joint
Due to their cutting action, notch sealers are used for steel strapping only. Only one seal is applied to the strap since multiple seals do not improve joint strength.
Crimp sealers deform the edges of the strap and seals, creating a frictional bond between the two.
With two crimp seals, the joint achieves more than 90% of break strength. Because of their high joint strength, crimp seals applied with crimp type sealers are suited for medium and heavy-duty steel strapping applications.
Crimp seals hold best with dry steel strapping because of the friction created between the strap and the seal.
Crimp and notch sealers are further segmented into front-action and side-action. These terms refer to the manner in which the tool is used.
Front-action sealers operate with handles perpendicular to the strap. To gain leverage, the handles are pulled together while positioned close to the operator's chest.
Front-action sealers are suited for light-duty applications. Front-action sealers are made in double notch and single reverse notch versions. They are not available in crimp versions.
The side-action sealer's lower handle rests directly on the load. This allows the operator to transfer his/her body weight through the arms onto the upper handle.
Generally, side-action sealers are used for heavier duty strapping applications, such as lumber, plywood panels, particleboard, steel sheets, steel angles and aluminum sheet. They are available in single notch, double notch, double reverse notch, and single crimp versions. When an application requires the seal to be double crimped, the operator applies two single crimps next to each other. Some models are equipped with a Sure-Seal device which prevents removal of the tool unless the seals completely formed.
Pneumatic sealers are available primarily to reduce operator fatigue on heavier strapping sizes. Some of the tools are equipped with Signode's unique Sure-Seal device. Power sealers are available in Pistol Grip and Diaphragm versions.
Pistol grip sealers require only a single hand for operation. They will seal steel strapping up to size 1-1/4" X .035"
RCNS2 Pistol Grip Sealer
Diaphragm sealers are heavier duty tools that require two hands to operate. They will seal strapping through 2" X .057."
Combination tools function as tensioner, sealer, and cutter, thus eliminating separate tools.
Steel combination strapping tools are available in three different series: A-Series, S-Series, and P-Series. Every tool in each series has a similar design and its letter-number combination begins with the series letter. For example the AL-38 and AL-12 are both members of the A-Series. The AL-38 is for 3/8" strap, while the AL-12 is for 1/2" strap.
A-Series tools automatically feed seals from the seal chamber to the sealer jaws. These tools tension, seal, and cut off the strapping.
The manual steel tools in the A-Series include the AL, AM, and AH. The "L" is for light duty, and the "M" is for medium duty, and the "H"I iis for heavy duty applications. The AL uses Apex Plus strap only, the AM uses both Apex Plus and Magnus, and the AH uses only Magnus strapping.
AM Double Regular Notch Joint
A-Series pneumatic combination tools perform the same function as their manual cousins, but are easier to operate. The tools in the series include the AMP, and AHP, with "P" designating "pneumatic" power.
The only manual tool in the S-5eriesis the SCM. This tool is designed for steel strapping sizes ranging from 1/2" X .01r Apex Plus to 3/4" X .025" Magnus.
The SCM is a cousin of the AM, but substitutes a three-key punch for a seal magazine.
SCM Sealless Combination Tool, Manual
Models SLP, SPC-3431 AND 5PC-113 are the pneumatic members of the S-Series family. They 5LP is used on heavy duty loads and works with 3/4" and 1-1/4" heavy-duty steel strapping.
SLP Sealless Combination Tool, Pneumatic
The SPC-3431 and SPC-114, cousins to the AMP and AHP, have been modified to apply a sealless joint. They work on 1/2" X .020" Apex Plus to 3/4" X .025" Magnus. The 5PC incorporates a reverse lock sealless joint. The third key of four faces in the opposite direction, thus preventing the joint from opening if the load settles and tension is released. The 5PC is among the lightest weight sealless tools in its range.
SPC Sealless Combination Tool, Pneumatic
P-Series tools ("P" is for push) tension, seal and cut off strapping on round or irregular shaped loads (i.e., fence posts, PVC pipe, steel rods and angles). These pneumatically powered tools integrate a push-type tensioner with a notch sealer. The only limitation is that seals must be pre-threaded onto the strapping before tension is applied. The P-Series tools include the PNSC-2, PRHM, and PRHR.
The PNSC-2 Is used for lighter duty applications which require Apex Plus and Magnus strapping ranging from 1/2" X .017" to 3/4" X .025." The PNSC applies a single reverse notch joint.
PRHR Push-Type Combination Tool, Pneumatic