About The Steel and Plastic Strapping Industry
There have been many changes in recent years.
The Strapping Company that made most of the running in the early days when the slumbering international strapping companies were content to sell only steel strap, and had no interest in devaluing their customer base by selling the new plastic straps were P.P.Payne based in Nottingham. This company grew rapidly due to the intertia of their competitors and quickly became UK market leaders. The introduction of plastic straps to the UK also presented new opportunities for smaller Companies such as Pakseal, who became particularly successful at selling semi and automatic box strapping machines, and a host of smaller independent Companies, many of which were set up by ex employees of the major strapping Companies. The industry became much more competitive and as a result the
stranglehold that the major companies had been able to exert on British Industry by means of what are now judged to be unfair trading practices began to break down.
For the two or three major strapping companies unused to widespread competition the new competitive conditions began to compel them to sell plastic strapping materials and equipment, and exclusive deals with strapping machinery manufacturers were rapidly sort to protect them from each other, and just as seriously to prevent the ever increasing number of smaller specialist strapping companies from obtaining them and competing against them. At least one instance is known where a major strapping company attempted to force a UK trade strapping extruder to cease supplying those smaller strapping Companies, such was their anxiety and percieved vulnerability to competition.
The competitive situation got worse however as European Strapping Companies such as Fromm, Cyklop, Sorsa, Mosca, Titan,
Mailiss became interested in the UK market to provide even more serious competition, and most of these companies were happy to work with the small strapping companies to obtain and accelerate their share of the UK market. Maillis, based in Greece eventually bought Gerrard Samuels PP Payne Pakseal whilst Signode/ITW aquired Orgapack and Strapex. Gordian Strapping Systems were aquired by a Japanese Company.
The UK market for strapping materials and equipment however was declining during this period and volumes were seriously affected by the introduction of stretch wrap films. Such was the seriousness of the decline it not only prompted the takeover activity referred to above but the further contraction of the key players in the market. Most of the major strapping companies now no longer manufacture in the UK and bring in materials and equipment manufactured elsewhere in Europe and the Far East. There has been serious slimming of administration and sales functions resulting in significant loss of expertise, to try and control their costs.
Remnants of the old restrictive practices such as tying the supply of strapping machines service and backup, to the supply of the strapping materials still persist in the UK however, particularly with the larger in line strapping systems where the supplier recognises the importance to the user of keeping the machines running.
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