Why a Reliable Strapping System Is a Key Part of Successful Automatic Systems
In today’s manufacturing facilities, typically half of production hours rely on the use of manual or physical labor. Reducing your dependency on manual work through automation has the potential to increase your revenue and efficiency. It speeds up repetitive tasks and allows your workers to focus on other things. If you want to optimize your use of equipment, consider which processes are most apt for automation.
Your machines should speed up labor-intensive processes without high maintenance and energy costs. Investing in a high-quality strapping system is one of the best automation decisions you can make because it offers many benefits. Here are seven ways banding equipment will improve your automated system:
1. Greater Efficiency
There are many reasons to automate your equipment — from decreasing labor costs to reducing human error. A reliable strapping system for your manufacturing plant can resolve these inefficiencies while also boosting performance in critical areas.
A reliable strapping machine can improve energy efficiency by eliminating heat from the sealing process. EAM-Mosca Corporation’s SoniXs® ultrasonic sealers do not use continuous heat. Instead, our innovative solution utilizes ultrasonic waves to produce a molecular level seal in the strap. As a result, the machine only requires energy when the seal forms, greatly reducing the energy consumed in the sealing process.
Using an automated strapping system, your facility will use less banding material. When employees strap packages or bundles by hand, they tend to overestimate the strap length. If you band containers of varying sizes, it is harder to gauge the amount of strap needed consistently.
An automated strapping system will self-calibrate for any bundle dimensions and cut and seal the exact amount of strap needed. Plus, it can make this estimation in a split second, much faster than manual banding. As a result, you’ll experience less material waste and a faster process.
The SoniXs® technology can further improve material efficiency because an ultrasonic seal is more consistent than a heat seal. Very often, you can select a narrower, or thinner and thus less expensive strap and get the same or better performance. It can seal both Polypropylene (PP) and Polyester (PET) bands and switch between them with minor adjustments to use the most efficient material for any bundle or load.
We’ve saved some of our customers 100 feet of strapping per coil when they switched to our SoniXs® sealing technology – footage that adds up to significant cost savings.
2. Improved Safety
In general, automation has the power to keep the workplace safer by keeping workers away from dangerous processes. Since 2003, workplace safety incidents have gone from five per 100 full-time employees to around 2.8 in 2019, a figure that has held steady over several years. Many experts point to a correlation between a reduction in workplace injuries to an increase in automation.
Manual strapping presents opportunities for safety hazards. Manual strapping requires a small team engaged in repetitive motions. An automated machine requires just one operator who can stay out of the banding mechanism’s direct line. By removing manual, repetitive motions, you can also create an ergonomically correct environment with fewer muscle-strains. This environment decreases fatigue, allowing your team to stay alert and less likely to get injured. The possibility of tripping hazards is greatly reduced with automatic equipment as well.
The sealing technology can also improve safety over traditional automatic strapping systems. Unlike heat sealing systems, the ultrasonic system produces no smoke, fumes, or odors.
3. Lower Maintenance Costs
The more reliable your automated equipment is, the less often it needs to be maintained. The longer you can stretch the service life of individual parts, the lower their lifetime cost. EAM-Mosca Corporation’s strapping machines reduce your maintenance costs with reliable equipment designed to reduce wear.
Mosca’s strapping systems with SoniXs® sealing technology feature wear-free DC brushless direct drives. Many of the components are designed to create less wear, such as its sealed bearings, which block dust and debris. And ultrasonic sealing creates no residues like heat-sealing does, which also reduces maintenance. The result of all these innovations is an efficient machine that can run longer with fewer repairs.
Another area that contributes to your maintenance costs is the loss of productivity during upkeep or failures. While prolonging the time between repairs helps to lessen these costs, we take things even further. Our system can be disassembled without the use of tools and a head replacement takes only 30 seconds.
We also make it easy to change out the strap coil. The machine senses the empty coil and ejects any leftover strap from the feed. The equipment is then ready for a new coil to be loaded, saving time and material. We were able to reduce one of our client’s coil change time from four minutes to two minutes when we installed SoniXs® machines. With fast, user-friendly maintenance features, your plant can get back to production in record time.
4. Enhanced Productivity
An efficient, automated system improves your plant’s productivity in many vital ways. By using equipment that can do rote tasks faster and more affordably, your team can focus on more skill-intensive tasks. That benefit is undoubtedly the case for automatic strapping machines, which have the functionality to band up to 50 items per minute, depending on the application.
Manual strapping requires a small team to keep pace with your production lines. An automatic strapping machine needs just one worker to feed packages or bundles for banding. You can even combine it with a conveyor belt system, which can strap items one after the next at a faster rate. Choose from strapping system conveyors and turners built for high volume or adjustable speeds.
With so much of the strapping process happening by machine, your workers are freed up for other jobs. What you do with that extra labor can further enhance your productivity. Use that spare time to upskill your workers to form an elite team. Or, move them to delicate aspects of the process that still require a personal touch and critical thinking. When your workers get to focus on more diverse tasks, they are more engaged and productive in their work. You also get the benefit of putting talented workers where they’ll be most effective. With fewer repetitive tasks, they’ll be less fatigued, less likely to get hurt, and more effective.
Another benefit of our SoniXs® technology is that it can handle varying strapping tensile strengths and load sizes. Some bundles, such as soft cloth or thin stacks of paper, need a looser band to prevent damage to the product. Others, like heavy pallets and boxes ready for shipping, need a tighter, heavier duty strap to keep items in place. The SoniXs® system can handle all these jobs on the same machine. All you have to do is set the tension required.
Furthermore, many facilities need reliable strapping for different sized packages. Our strapping systems self-calibrates to the size of the bundle or load passing through. By tracking the parameters, it automatically cuts the amount of strap needed to secure it. You can send items of varying sizes through the conveyor without having to adjust the settings.
5. Fewer Errors
There are three key errors common with the strapping process. Those errors include material waste, and straps that are too loose or too tight. First, material waste results from inaccurate strapping estimations. Even the best human assessments will likely need to have an inch or two cut off.
Straps that are too loose present many problems. They can slip off the product as it settles and may allow more shifting during shipment. Loose straps don’t protect packages or pallets as intended. Also, a strap that is loose enough to remove invites tampering. While many manufacturers use strapping as a tamper-evident seal, they don’t work if they are loose. They can be removed and replaced in one piece, leaving no evidence of the compromised contents.
On the other side, straps that are too tight can damage the packaging or bundle. This error causes lost inventory and presents another cost to your company. Items that are particularly susceptible to damage from tight straps include display materials and printed publications. A tight band will cause paper to crumple and partially-hollow boxes to cave.
All these mistakes are compounded when using a manual strapping system. In general, humans are more likely to make mistakes than machines. Combine that with fatigue caused by repetitive manual strapping, and errors are imminent. When your quality control team catches a mistake, the item needs to be re-strapped. This fix uses twice the material and time. If mistakes leave your facility, they can damage your reputation with customers.
Reliable strapping machines create consistent tension. With our SoniXs® sealing equipment, the tension is adjustable. Workers can quickly set a new tension for a more delicate item and create tight straps in all conditions. The machines also reduce material waste by cutting only the exact amount of banding needed.
6. Reduced Carbon Footprint
Adopting sustainable business practices has a host of benefits for any company. Green business practices can save you money through reduced water and energy consumption. Various tax benefits are available to companies that take a comprehensive approach to reduce environmental impact. Between your B2B customers with sustainability missions or eco-conscious consumers, you can even earn more business. Along the way, you can also create a healthier workplace for your employees.
Your strapping machine can contribute to your overall efforts to go green. First, a tool that needs no warm-up period, like the SoniXs® system, will reduce electricity consumption. Further, the sealing process produces no smoke or fumes, reducing air pollution. Of course, the machines also reduce your strap waste, meaning less scrapped material ends up in a landfill.
In many cases the most sustainable strapping material choice is PET. Because it is made from pre- and post-consumer recycled PET material, PET straps are 100% recyclable. They’re also very cost-effective, so you can do good and save money at the same time. Our SoniXs® system can handle either PET or PP straps, allowing you to use PET where possible and PP when needed.
7. Improved Customer Satisfaction
Automatic systems attempt to deliver products to their destination with as few humans involved as possible. In the manufacturing facility, automatic machines limit human error significantly. However, once items are in transit, they are in the hands of the delivery personnel. Both improper handling and shifting in delivery vehicles can lead to product damage. Meanwhile, cargo theft and tampering present additional concerns. One tactic thieves use is to open sealed boxes, take the expensive items, and reseal the packaging. Any of these scenarios cost you because you have to replace the stolen or broken items for customers. The customer is unhappy and expects you to make things right.
In the case of damage, you might pay for customers’ return shipping. Even under the most convenient and customer-friendly returns process, your reputation gets damaged whenever a replacement becomes necessary. It costs the customer more time, which can be a major concern if the original shipment had a deadline. Many of these issues can be prevented with better strapping, so you can preserve your customers’ trust in you.
High-quality industrial strapping systems can create a distinctive imprint that reveals tampering and a secure seal that is hard to remove. By banding boxes to their pallets during transport, they prevent shifting in-route.
Straps sealed with the SoniXs® sealing system are less likely to come apart thanks to the molecular bond created during the sealing process. By strapping at the right tensile strength with a more durable seal, your business might be able to switch to thinner, lower gauge straps without sacrificing security and reliability. As a result, you’ll improve customer satisfaction and prevent returns while also increasing your margins.
Which Strapping System Is Right for Me?
Choosing the right strapping system will depend on the level of automation you want and the speed and features you require. You can choose from four strapping machine options:
- Manual: There are many different types of manual strapping tools. First, a worker loops the strap around the package by hand and lines up the two ends. A handheld strapping tool tensions the straps using a manual lever or pneumatic or electric power. Sealing can be achieved with crimping a metal or plastic seal, or automatic tools with friction or heat seal capabilities.
- Table-Top strappers: Best for low-volume strapping requirements and coils of products, table-tops are an affordable step up from a manual system. They automate the process by feeding strap to the operator, who pulls it around the package and pushes it into the sealing head. The machine tensions the strap and seals it. They’re also an excellent backup to an automatic system and can be used to strap the occasional larger package that won’t fit through an arch. Depending on the skill of the operator, these machines can handle 10-15 straps per minute.
- Operator Assisted Machine (aka Walk-Up machine): With an arch machine, a bundle is positioned beneath an arch manually or via conveyor, and the strapping cycle is activated with a foot pedal or pushbutton start. Strap is automatically applied, tensioned and sealed. It also pre-feeds the band for the next package. For the increased investment, you gain speed and labor efficiency, with the ability to handle 20-50 straps per minute.
- Fully automatic: A fully-automated strapping system feeds bundles into the arch via a conveyor belt. Instead of a foot pedal, a photo eye senses each package and activates the strapping and sealing process. These systems do not require an operator.
Automate Your Strapping System With EAM-Mosca Corporation
An automated factory creates a safer, more efficient work environment that saves you money. Finding the most reliable machines is crucial because they can reduce your maintenance and energy costs as you transition to automation. For companies with a high volume of packages requiring strapping, a strapping system from EAM-Mosca Corporation can help speed up operations and provide all the benefits of an automatic production process. We strive to offer the best performance at the lowest lifetime cost.
Find strapping machine options for all your facility’s needs. Browse our strapping machines, materials and conveyors to see how we can give your plant that extra edge.