50 Years of Innovation: How Mosca continues to change the Strapping Industry
Best known for its high-performing strapping equipment, the Mosca Group’s innovations have also contributed to the market growth of sustainable, lightweight embossed plastic straps for half a century. The result is reduced cost and improved end-of-line and on-package performance of plastic strapping systems across a broad spectrum of industries and applications.
How It Started
In the early 1970s when plastic strapping was becoming established as an important package securement system, the lightest strap manufactured in the US was a ¼” Polypropylene (PP) strap that was slit from extruded sheet. Because it was relatively lightweight and lacked column strength, the equipment it ran in pulled the strap around the package. The system worked but was relatively expensive and highly mechanical. By today’s standards, this vintage strap has low cycle efficiency and high maintenance costs.
Later in the decade, 5mm embossed strap made by the multi-strand extrusion process was imported from Europe to the US. It was even lighter than the ¼” material and was also carried around the product mechanically.
During this period, an innovative Japanese company developed an enclosed feed track that supported the strap better than the spring gate tracks being used at the time. The enclosed track proved superior in pushing the strap around relatively large tracks reliably. However, the standard strap width in Asia was 12mm, and the potential of push-feeding narrow width straps was not immediately established and exploited.
At this time, the young German company, Mosca AG, put the two together. With a precision enclosed track and lightweight 5mm PP strapping, Mosca established itself as a leader in high speed, low cost, lightweight bundling applications. In the US, this was most evident with the TRC bundler series in the corrugated industry and the TR series in the graphics and commercial printing markets. The descendants of these systems continue to be leaders in these areas today.
SoniXs Innovation: Game-Changing Technology!
In the early 2000s, Mosca developed its proprietary SoniXs ultrasonic strap sealing technology. SoniXs advantages over the heat and friction sealing techniques used by most competitors include its low power consumption, low emission sealing process, extremely long component life, and, maybe most importantly, the ability to seal both Polypropylene (PP) and Polyester (PET) strapping.
PET strapping was introduced primarily as a shipping unit strapping material. After its introduction in the early 1970s, it became an economical and high-performing strap for securing palletized and unitized products for shipment. Initially replacing steel strapping, its lower cost, resistance to elongation and clean operation enabled it to grow steadily in volume over the ensuing decades.
More recently, as demands for higher performance on end-of-line packaging systems have evolved and PET strap, made from recycled resin, became an attractive sustainable solution, its application possibilities have broadened. The major obstacle to using PET in bundling applications has been that the heat seals in most bundling equipment create a non-OSHA compliant emission when the seal is made. Enter SoniXs.
Mosca’s very successful Evolution line of bundling equipment, equipped with SoniXs sealing technology, provides a perfect platform for PET strap to move into the bundling realm. EAM-Mosca now offers embossed PET straps, wound on standard 8-inch bundler coils, to run in SoniXs bundlers.
Bundling With PET
PET in bundlers offers the advantages of greater stiffness than comparable size PP, which along with low camber provides even better than the usual feed reliability in Evolution series equipment. In addition, it dusts less than PP, reducing cleaning and maintenance requirements and it retains its tension extremely well, an advantage for products that are stored for a period of time. The fact that PET is the number one recycled plastic worldwide, and that PET strap is made almost exclusively from rPET, is a bonus from a sustainability perspective.
Currently, Evolution-SoniXs strappers are using PET to secure packages in furniture, door/window, cabinet, plastic container, snack food, and other consumer and industrial applications. In most cases, users converted from PP to PET to achieve improvement in operating performance, package integrity, or both. Cost justification, while achieved in different ways, is the universal reason.
There is more development to be done. Strap width and weight will be reduced to optimize economics and minimize plastic use per application, but the path is clear. Mosca SoniXs bundlers and PET strap are destined to grow into many new applications in the coming years, providing solid benefits to users.
This quick review of some strapping industry history makes it clear that Mosca is not only an innovator in equipment technology, but has advanced the application of strap-machine systems and end-of-line packaging technology to the advantage of strapping system users worldwide.