Have you ever visited (or maybe even worked in) a factory where large boxes or other large packages are strapped up and wrapped prior to being shipped?
It’s actually quite a fascinating process. The strapping machinery and wrapping systems that are used in factories these days are remarkably complex, even though they look quite simple in operation and can be easily managed with push-button simplicity.
In the old days of course, things were completely different. Manual workers would be responsible for packing, strapping and wrapping items due for consignment to distributors or end-customers. But now, everything is taken care of by machines. Most factories still have manual workers, but not as many as they used to, as increasingly robots are doing the work that could in the past only be done by humans.
Strapping and wrapping of large boxes is a prime example of this. Typically, the way things work these days is that a pallet containing the large box is place on a conveyer belt, which first passes through a dedicated strapping machine. This machine places thin straps of heavy-duty nylon around the box, pulls them tight and seals them. These straps do a great job of securing the package, because the only way they can be removed is by being cut with scissors or a sharp knife (a Stanley Knife for example).
Once the strapping is done, the box moves along the conveyor to the strapping machine, which is basically a rotating platform alongside a box that feeds out clear plastic. As the box rotates, the plastic covers it and wraps it.
If you’re unfamiliar with a factory environment, it can be quite fascinating to see this process in action. It might not be rocket science, but it is pretty clever how all this stuff works in practice. And this sort of machinery allows the human operators to do jobs other than wrapping and strapping and therefore be more productive.