The difficulty when buying strapping machines arises from the fact that they all look similar…
on the outside and perhaps on the inside too. The same manufacturer can rebadge, slightly reposition components and present the machine in different livery as is often the case with strapping machines imported from the Far East, and although this might be at the request of a Distributer it is also the means of making lower specification and component strapping machines appear very similar to high specification strapping machines, so how do you tell the difference?
It’s not easy and too often only becomes apparent 6 -12 months after the purchase ...
is made because ‘on demonstration’ they all strap boxes with no discernable difference. When the strapping machines have been worked over a period it's only then that the durabilty of the components become apparent and that percieved ‘bargain buy’ starts to get very expensive to keep operational. Bear in mind also that even if machine service facilties do exist, every service call requested is likely to cost in the region of £120 – £150 and this can quickly amount to substantial expenditure that rapidly cancels out the percieved saving made on the purchase price... and nowadays if you are calling for a service engineer more than twice a year it's probably better to buy a new strapping machine, as prices have collapsed in recent years.
The lower spec strapping machines can be landed in UK for £200- £250 from China/ Korea and are eagerly sought by the non specialist strapping machine merchants as they offer the prospect of good margins, particularly as in many cases no or inadequate service backup is given, leaving the specialist strapping Companies to try and pick up the pieces.
So how do you avoid making an ‘ egg on face' decision when buying a Strapping Machine?
Don’t be tempted by offers indicating typical savings of say £200 on a semi automatic box strapper unless its offered by a specialist strapping company (not catalogue or general packaging merchant.) as this is a good indicator of the difficulties that could arise and increase, particularly if the machines were automatic, because then you would be more dependent on them working reliably.
What is an Automatic Strapping Machine?
An automatic strapping machine has an arch or strap track as it's sometimes called under which the item that is to be strapped is manually placed for strapping. The strap cycle is actuated either by means of a push button, a foot switch or a switch located in the top worksuface of the machine. These machines can function at speeds varying from 27 -70 straps per minute but in reality seldom do so as the speed is directly governed by the rate the parcels etc can be manually presented and positioned in/to the strapping machine. To see a video demonstrating how these machines operate click this link - Automatic Strapping Machine
What is an Automated Strapping Machine?
Operatorless - Click this link to see a video of an Automated Strapping Machine
In many cases automated strapping machines look identical to automatic strapping machines, but they are used differently and more efficiently insofar as they are placed in conveyor lines to enable the items to be strapped to enter the machines at a much faster rate than can be achieved with a manually fed automatic strapping machine. These strapping machines also have more sophisticated programable control systems such that allied with the conveyor system they automatically sense the location of packs, required strap positions on the pack and the number of straps to be applied. They can also incorporate carton closure, straightening, compression , rotating devices.
What is a Semi Automatic Strapping machine?
A semi automatic strapping machine is the most common type of strapping machine - hundreds of thousands have been sold worldwide. They are basically an automatic strapping machine without an arch or strap track and therefore present with a flat working surface - usually stainless steel - that has a groove running centrally from left to right into which the a length of strap is prefed prior to a strapping operation commencing. To apply a strap the carton is placed onto the machine top and over the groove, the leading end of the strap lifted from the groove -taken over the carton and placed into a slot into the machine, which automatically grips the strap, tensions to a preset value, makes a heat seal welded joint, cuts the strap to release the carton from the strapping machine, and immediately feeds another length of strap into the groove ready for the next strap to be applied. Complete cycle time averages 2.3 seconds which is must faster than using handtools.
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