Fortunately, continued advances in packaging materials and systems are making high-quality, reliable packaging achievable for today's brick and block manufacturers.
More recently, polyester strapping materials have been reformulated for the brick industry to include proprietary additives that provide a number of improvements. For example, improved strapping provides higher ultraviolet (UV) protection to minimize UV degradation for packages exposed to long-term outdoor storage, and it retains its original gauge when tensioned to decrease breaking and splitting. The improved strapping also decreases strap debris during the tensioning and welding process to reduce equipment wear, improves weld strengths, and provides less deviation between welds to increase overall reliability.
The latest strapping system designs have fewer wear parts and use modular strapping heads, which can dramatically reduce the maintenance time on brick packaging equipment. The modular strapping system breaks the traditional strapping head into two components-a sealing module and a tensioning module. These two components, which weigh less than 60 lbs each, are easier to access within the strapping system and can be removed in seconds. By keeping spare tensioning and sealing modules on hand for routine maintenance, plant operators can reduce production downtime for each change-out to less than a few minutes, which can significantly improve productivity.
The modular concept also makes maintenance easier and safer for employees. Conventional top-mounted strapping heads, which often weighed in excess of 300 lbs, required several men and special handling equipment for extraction. Operators had to climb on top of the machine to access the strapping head, which caused safety concerns in addition to lost production time. With the new system, operators can now access all of the necessary strapping head components without the use of heavy equipment and without having to climb on top of the machine.
The latest strapping machines also feature a narrower design, which allows for the heads to be mounted side-by-side. Up to five straps can be applied simultaneously to reduce the cycle time for each brick cube. New systems can also accommodate special production runs without strapping head adjustments, allowing manufacturers to interchange regular brick packs and half packs during production runs without changing or adjusting the packaging system. Some machines also put the strap joint on the side of the cube to prevent joint breakage when sliding one cube across the top of another.
For more information about strapping materials and equipment, contact Signode Brick Industry Systems, 604 Green Valley Rd., Ste. 300, Greensboro, NC 27408; (877) 744-2742; fax (336) 632-8726; e-mail email@example.com; or visit www.signode.com.