Advantages of automatic strapping systems for the ceramic industry
Strapping is one of the preferred packaging systems for securing heavy loads. In the ceramic industry, where the product is fragile, high value but heavy, it is indispensable to secure boxes and pallets instead of other holding systems such as tape-sealing or wrapping.
As manufacturers of strapping systems specialized in the ceramic industry, today we will analyze the keys and factors to be taken into account when choosing an automatic strapping system for a Tile factory.
Ceramic loads and types of packaging
The ceramic product has some particular characteristics compared to other boxed goods. Due to the fragility and high value of the tile pieces, there is a need for packaging systems capable of holding and protecting the load as much as possible while at the same time being respectful to the product and not damaging it.
Ceramic loads require three types of packaging to suit requirements at different levels:
- Primary packaging: This is the packing of ceramic tiles, which bundles and packs the product in batches of boxes.
- Secondary packaging: Box strapping or sealing is used to unify and close boxes to ensure that they do not break open, as well as to create batches of boxes. This type of secondary packaging is essential before palletizing ceramic boxes.
- Tertiary packaging: Finally, the securing and protection of the load on the pallet is done using tertiary packaging systems such as a pallet Strapping machine, a pallet Wrapping machine, Stretch Hood, etc. The main mission will be to secure the fragile ceramic cargo for transport, handling, and storage.
Ceramic strapping solutions
Pallet strapping is one of the preferred systems for securing ceramic products because it offers compaction, stability, and long-lasting containment over time. As it is not a perishable product, ceramics can be stored for months or even years in a long distribution chain.
The following strapping systems are commonly used in ceramics:
Box strapping machine:
The automatic box strapping system is an essential part of the packaging and palletizing line for ceramic products since it ensures that the boxes do not open or break during transport.
When choosing a box strapping machine, it is important to consider aspects such as:
- Automatic strapping machine structure with a steady strapping frame to ensure safer and faster strapping.
- The adaptability of the strapping machine to various box formats.
- Adjustable strapping tension to avoid damaging the box.
- Maximum precision to avoid protruding strapping or obstructions between boxes.
Pallet strapping systems
In tertiary packaging, strapping plays a fundamental role in securing and bundling the heavy ceramic load to the pallet. Therefore, we recommend the use of automatic pallet strappers for greater precision and safety, which are widely used in ceramic end-of-line packaging.
Differences between the two automatic strapping systems:
- Horizontal strapping: Compacts and stabilizes the load by applying the strapping horizontally at different heights. This type of strapping is used to prevent the load from shifting or slipping during transport.
- Vertical strapping: Used to vertically join the load to the pallet and guarantee its stability during handling and transport. To obtain maximum vertical support on all 4 sides of the pallet, it is advisable to use a strapping machine that can strap on both sides.
Usually, the two strapping systems are combined for the total ceramic securing, but there are occasions in which only one of them is necessary, or it is substituted by other systems such as the pallet wrapping machine that also provides containment on the load.
For more information on these two systems, we recommend our Technical Comparison article on vertical and horizontal strapping.
Pallet strapping: Comparison between vertical and horizontal strapping systems
When choosing an automatic pallet strapping system, we recommend taking into account:
- Robustness and stability of the strapping machine, for greater safety during the process.
- Strapping head with greater precision and strap tension control
- Accessories to complement the strapping, such as the edge protection applicator
Accessories for Ceramic Strapping
When choosing one strapping machine model or another, strapping accessories can be decisive for a ceramics company.
The most common strapping accessories that we also offer at Innova:
- Edge protector applicator system: To protect the ceramic boxes from the application of the strap, a cardboard edge band can be included between the load and the strapping. Such an accessory, which automatically applies the vertical or horizontal edge protector depending on the model, is very common in ceramic lines, which constantly look for a perfect presentation of the product.
- Horizontal strapping compaction system: This accessory is essential for securing horizontal pallet strapping as it pre-compacts the load before applying edge protectors or strapping.
- Rotation conveyor for Vertical Strapping: To facilitate 4-sided pallet strapping, many strapping systems incorporate a 90º rotation system that ensures vertical strapping on all sides of the load.
- Vertical Strapping Shift System: In the case of unstable loads or special ceramic formats, a strapping frameshift is also usually integrated, providing greater safety in the process.
Latest innovations in Strapping for Ceramics
The packaging systems market is in full evolution to meet the requirements of ceramic companies, which in turn are facing a highly competitive market, influenced by international circumstances. Manufacturers of automatic strapping systems are therefore incorporating technological innovations and connectivity 4.0. Some of these innovations, which Innova has also incorporated or is working on are:
High-performance strapping machines:
Ceramic lines usually have less fast productions than other industries such as food, but they do need equipment that offers them higher performance, without downtime due to breakdowns. Due to the productive work shifts in the ceramic industry, a strapping machine may be working 24 hours a day non-stop. So the trend is to have robust strapping machines with more modular components and decentralized electronics.
Strapping heads with higher precision:
Strapping heads are the key to strapping with higher precision and higher performance. There is also a trend toward new strapping heads with fewer components, without sensors, and with more electrical than mechanical elements. For example, Innova’s new ODEN strapping head offers these and many other features to reduce downtime and maintenance.
Sustainability in strapping
New boxes and pallet strapping systems are being designed with much more energy-efficient components. In addition, compared to other strapping solutions such as stretch wrapping machines, strapping consume a lower percentage of plastic. Innova’s strapping systems are not only designed to be more energy efficient but also to use fewer consumables, thanks to systems such as torque control technology.
Customization and finishing of the strapping:
Many ceramics also require customization of the strapping, not only in the actual number and orientation of the straps but also in the consumables used. One of the trends is to use white or transparent strapping to improve product presentation.
Strapping in the 4.0 industry:
Finally, connectivity and the 4.0 Industry are increasingly present in all end-of-line systems. In the case of Innova’s strapping machines, they offer worldwide remote access service, machine performance reports, maintenance alerts, etc.
In summary, the ceramics industry needs packaging solutions that offer maximum safety and protection for its products, in a context of high demands and logistic challenges. Pallet strapping systems are evolving and adapting more and more to the requirements of an industry that is also growing steadily and that is committed to 4.0 technology and sustainability.