Important Strapping Terminology

There are multiple terms that help describe different strapping materials and characteristics, as well as the tools used to apply it. We thought a glossary of strapping terminology would be helpful for new industry professionals, so here’s our list of strapping terms you need to know.

Break Strength: Strapping break strength of considered the amount of force required to break the strapping. It’s commonly expressed in pounds.


Camber: The camber of a strap is the side to side curvature exhibited. Machine grade strapping must be camber-free to allow it to move freely through automated strapping equipment.


Cord Strapping: Cord strapping is manufactured from polyester fiber, which is considered one of the strongest synthetic fibers ever created. Cord strapping is frequently used in outdoor applications due to the fiber’s excellent moisture resistance. It can be used only for manual applications, and when closed it can be hand tied, buckled, or sealed with a metal seal.


Creep: Creep is considered the loss of strapping tension that occurs over a given period of time.


Elongation: Elongation of the percentage of stretch that occurs in strapping as force or tension is applied.


Elongation Recovery: This is considered the strapping’s ability to return to its original state after being stretched or tensioned.


Embossing: Strapping that is embossed has a textured pattern that is applied to the strap’s surface. Quality embossing helps increase joint efficiency, enhance split resistance, and improve stiffness characteristics. An overly embossed strap can increase the thickness and lower break strength.


Joint Efficiency: The actual, usable strength of strapping is only as powerful as the joint that closes the two strapping ends together. Joint efficiency is expressed as a percentage of the total breaking strength of the strapping.


Knurling: This is the embossing that’s found on the surface of polypropylene strapping. Feed wheels in strapping machines or tools grab the embossed strapping to carry it through the equipment. Low knurling can cause problems with feeding strap through, which leads to jammed equipment.


Feed Wheel Tensioner: This type of strapping tool tensions painted or waxed steel strapping along a flat surface. This specific design of tensioner has a serrated feed wheel that grips the strapping to pull it tight.


Front-Action Sealer: A front-action sealer features handles that held perpendicular to the strapping in front of the operator. The handles are pushed together to crimp a strapping seal. Generally, front-action sealers are used in light-duty strapping applications.


Hand-Grade Strapping: This is strapping that is designed for use with manual tools. It’s applied by hand and not with a machine. Often, rolls of hand-grade strapping feature shorter lengths to make the rolls easier to carry or transport around a load or warehouse.


High Tensile Steel Strapping: High tensile strapping is a high carbon product that is heat treated to combine high strength and elongation for better shock resistance. Typical applications include unitizing, compressed fiber bales, securing heavy steel coils, and open-top railcar and trailer loading.


Machine-Grade Strapping: This is strapping that is designed for use with automatic or semi-automatic strapping machines and equipment. Machine strapping is designed to run smoothly through a machine without leaving behind much residue or splitting. It also comes in longer length rolls to reduce downtime.


Polyester Strapping: Polyester strapping is considered the most rigid of all poly strapping materials. It offers superior retained tension and low elongation. These characteristics make it the ideal choice for strapping empty bottles and cans, lumber, or heavy, rigid loads.


Polypropylene Strapping: This the most common and least expensive strapping material you can buy. It offers high elongation and recovery, but overtime retains less tension than other strapping materials. This makes polypropylene strapping an excellent choice for light duty unitizing, bundling, and carton closing.


Push Type Tensioner: This strapping tool is used to tension painted or waxed steel strapping on irregular or round bundles. The steel strap is engaged by a serrated feed wheel.


Rack-and-Pinion Tensioner: This strapping tool tensions dry or lubricated steel strap on round or irregular shaped packages. It uses a serrated gripping dog to hold the pulled strap end. It has a limited strapping take-up.


Regular-Duty Steel Strapping: Regular-duty steel strapping is manufactured with low carbon and designed for light to medium-duty applications, such as packaging reinforcements, unitizing, bundling, palletizing, and box closure.


Shock Resistance: Shock resistance refers to the strapping’s ability to stretch and return to its original state upon impact without breaking.


Side-Action Sealer: A side-action sealer offers a lower handle that can be laid on a flat surface, which enables the operator to use both hands to push down on the upper handle. This allows the operator to apply more force on the strapping seal during heavy-duty applications. 


Split Resistance: Split resistance refers to the ability of a strapping material to resist lateral tearing.


Steel Strapping: Steel strapping is the strongest material made for packaging applications. It’s the recommended strapping for applications requiring high strength and low elongation. This type of strapping material is ideal for sharp or extremely hot products, such as metal coils.


Super-Duty Steel Strapping: This is a mid-carbon steel strapping product manufactured for packaging and bundling bricks, concrete blocks, refractory bricks, fabricated metal parts, packaged glass, hardboard, particle board, lumber, and many other products.


Tensile Strength: The tensile strength of strapping is the stress point at which the material breaks or permanently deforms.


Ultimate Strength: The ultimate strength is considered the maximum stress a material can withstand when subjected to tension, compression, or shearing. It’s the maximum stress on the stress-strain curve.


Windlass Tensioner: A windlass tensioner is a special tool used primarily with dry, heavy-duty strapping applications. A windlass tensioner winds one end of the steel strapping around a slotted windlass shaft. The strapping must be pre-cut to desired lengths for use with this tensioner.


Yield Strength: Yield strength is the stress point at which material strain changes from elastic deformation to plastic deformation, causing the strapping to deform permanently.