Woods Products Companies Turn to Kubinec Woven Polyester Straps
Doing more with less is a never-ending goal in business. Every component must prove its worth, including the straps and buckles used to bundle finished lumber.
Many lumber businesses now embrace light-weight, high-tenacity woven polyester straps from Kubinec Strapping Solutions Inc. in Howell, Mich., which manufactures its well-known EZ StrapTM.
When Jeff Fletcher, plant manager at Hardwood Solutions in Chelsea, Mich., graduated from high school, he had never logged or worked in a sawmill. That all changed quickly when at age 18 he heard about an opening at a mill-based business, applied for the job and was hired. “I used to run a planer and two rip saws,” he said. After a few years, Jeff went to work for Hardwood Solutions, where he has been employed for nine years.
Hardwood Solutions has two lumber remanufacturing facilities in Michigan — one in Jackson and another in Chelsea. “The Chelsea mill rips to blanks,” said Jeff. “Then we chop rough lumber to length — rough lumber that’s been sliced.”
The Chelsea plant Jeff oversees remanufactures lumber into blanks and other components mainly for cabinet makers. “We have three saws, and they all do the exact same thing — chop,” Jeff explained. Each saw is a Grecon Dimter OptiCut 350, which can cut up to 972 linear feet per minute, including bowed and twisted lumber.
The Chelsea plant has been using Kubinec strapping and buckles for about five years. Jeff liked the straps so much that he recommended to company leaders that they be adopted for widespread use.
“We used steel banding originally,” said Jeff. “The woven polyester strapping is a lot easier to handle, safer and easier to dispose of.” Customers of Hardwood Solutions like the straps for the same reasons.
Kubinec Strapping Solutions has provided consistent, high-level service, said Jeff. “They’ve really bent over backwards to get us what we need.” When production accelerated and Hardwood Solutions needed more strapping in a hurry, Kubinec responded. “They jump in their vehicle and deliver,” said Jeff.
The Chelsea plant uses Kubinec’s ¾-inch straps, and the buckles are fastened with a simple tensioning tool. The heavy-duty buckles also can be re-tensioned. The plant previously used a manual bander with metal strapping, but the Kubinec method “is a lot simpler and safer than that,” said Jeff.
Heritage Manufacturing Inc. in Kingsport, Tenn. manufactures both lumber and glass products and has been bundling them with EZ Strap since 2000. “We use the ¾-inch size strap in the glass cutting and the crating divisions,” said Eric Kerney, owner of Heritage, a company that dates to 1987. (Heritage grew out of a residential floor and truss-making business started by Eric’s father.)
Eric saw the Kubinec strapping and buckles demonstrated at a trade show; he was so impressed that he decided to try them immediately. “We used it just one time, just a sample piece” of strap from the show, he recalled. Eric decided the next day to switch to Kubinec.
Kubinec Strapping Solutions won Eric over for several reasons, but one above all others. “It protects our product,” he said. The polyester bands eliminated staining, gouging and other product damage.
Heritage produces 200 packaging units each day; on some days that may be 200 different crates. “A common size for us is 72 inches by 96 inches,” said Eric. Most crates and containers are made of southern yellow pine.
Eric buys Kubinec 2,600-pound break ¾-inch polyester strapping in 1,650-foot rolls. The rolls weigh only 20 pounds; an equivalent amount of metal banding would weigh 150 pounds per roll.
The weight differential makes Kubinec polyester strapping attractive to many companies. “It’s a lighter product,” noted Josh Groves, assistant manager at a distribution center for Babcock Lumber Co. in Gassaway, W.V., which recently implemented Kubinec EZ Strap and buckles.
Babcock, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a wholesale distributor of building materials. The company supplies engineered roof systems, joist floors, composite lumber and mortar-less brick, among other things. Babcock’s facilities include a sawmill and a truss manufacturing plant.
The Kubinec strapping system is safer and costs less, said Josh. Prices for metal banding with a steel component have increased in recent years as steel supplies tightened.
“My guys that work here every day say Kubinec strapping is easier to handle,” said Josh.
Babcock uses EZ Strap to package lumber, fiber-cement siding, engineered wood components and corrugated roofing. The distribution center uses two sizes, ¾-inch and 1-1/4-inch.
Stock Building Supply in Franklin, Ind. uses Kubinec polyester straps — the same two sizes and corresponding buckles — at its distribution center. The North Carolina-based company is testing another size — the 5/8-inch strap — to determine if its impact strength is sufficient to secure certain loads. So far the results look good, said Chuck Krivulka, the distribution manager for Stock in Franklin.
Stock’s decision to move to Kubinec Strapping Solutions coincided with some changes in deliveries to contractors on job sites, Chuck explained. Strategic placement of loads of goods (instead of ‘hard drops’) was becoming the norm, especially on small sites. With a crane or a forklift being used to offload a delivery truck to a strictly defined area, the ability to maintain the integrity of the load was essential. Kubinec strapping met the challenge, said Chuck.
The Kubinec high-tenacity woven polyester strapping is manufactured to meet or exceed the break strength of steel banding. Light, flexible, resilient and strong, Kubinec strapping is fastened easily with the heavy-duty, phosphate-coated buckles.
“The nice thing…is you don’t need metal tools,” said Chuck. By eliminating metal tools used for metal banding, the distribution center that Chuck manages reduced tool costs and maintenance. “The tools for metal banding cost $800” and up, he said.
“We’ve really gained some efficiencies” with Kubinec, said Chuck. Strapping costs “decreased 35 percent in one year” the first full year of use.
Kubinec polyester strapping is kind to the hands and workers are at less risk of injury, Chuck added.
Each of the 40 forklifts at the facility that Chuck manages carries a coil of Kubinec polyester strapping, buckles and a tensioning tool. Keeping the strapping on the forklifts means there is “no congregating at a banding station,” said Chuck.
To get the employees at Stock Building Supply going, Kubinec representatives came for three days and helped with the implementation. The Kubinec representatives also came back and answered more questions after the staff at Stock had had an opportunity to give the product a try.
By moving forward with Kubinec Strapping Solutions polyester strapping, companies have gained in multiple ways.
“It gave us the opportunity to improve, to take a hard look at the operation” and what could be done better, said Chuck. It’s been a good experience, he said.
Customers Come First at Kubinec
Kubinec Strapping Solutions was founded by Bob Kubinec in 2002 with the objective of eliminating dangerous steel banding in load containment industries.
Bob previously sold steel banding for more than 25 years, and he witnessed horrific injuries from its use and failures.
His goal was to develop a weaving process to produce a woven polyester strapping that could replace and outperform steel bands. The result of his efforts was EZ Strap, the strongest, safest, most reliable strapping for any job, according to the company.
Kubinec Strapping Solutions will help determine the break strength required for a customer’s application. Then Kubinec area representatives will visit the customer site to provide extensive demonstrations, training and education. Customers can be quickly set up to purchase EZ Strap though one of Kubinec’s many distributors.
At Kubinec Strapping Solutions, customer service is top priority. Kubinec strives to build long-term relationships with customers and to accommodate whatever need they may have in order to provide their employees and customers a safer working environment.
Kubinec Strapping Solutions has representatives covering the entire U.S., which enables the company to address customer requests within hours.
For more information, call Kubinec Strapping Solutions at (517) 545-4900 or visit www.kubinecstrapping.com.