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Research & Development

custom straps & work in progress

Bespoke Rapstraps

As well as our standard range of products, we like to push our designs in new directions. Below are a few examples of the bespoke projects we've worked on over the last few years. Some of these projects are now complete, some are still ongoing, and others are just sitting on the shelf.

If you have a particular rapstrap application in mind, let us know!

We're always open to working on new ideas, and if you need something specific, please get in touch as we may be able to help out.

Custom super heavy duty rapstraps for a Tom Cruise movie

Super HD Camouflage

These super heavy duty rapstraps (50mm x 600mm) were originally made for the National Grid for temporarily fastening earthing coils on substations.

But the UK production company for a Tom Cruise movie thought they looked a bit futuristic, and wanted a load for set dressing!

Sadly, we weren't able to achieve a proper mottled camouflage effect because the injection moulding process is designed to homogenise the material. So instead we experimented with mixing several different colourants to get as close as we could.

Self-Releasing Tree Ties - Now Available

This modified rapstrap was designed to a specification with advice from the Forestry Commission. We were asked to develop a "fit & forget" tree tie solution that would safely secure a growing tree without constricting it

It therefore needed to expand as the tree grew; it needed to allow the tree to move around in the wind (which strengthens the stem); and once the tree reached a certain size, it also needed to automatically come undone and safely release the tree.

On top of that, it needed to be made from biodegradable material with special "deer-repellent" additives to stop them from eating it!
(Aparently, they don't like blue...)

Self-releasing tree ties
Biodegradable rapstrap cable ties

Biodegradable Cable Ties - Now Available

Developed for a marine restoration programme, we were asked to come up with a biodegradable alternative to the nylon cable ties they were currently using. Obviously, nylon won't degrade in the oceans, and many biodegradable polymers we looked at also proved unsuitable (for a variety of reasons).

So, we developed a whole new cable tie made from polycaprolactone, a material that is known to be degradable in the deep oceans. It took around 30 attempts to get it to work because PCL is quite soft, and the latches kept getting chewed up!

But we finally solved the problem and our PCL Cable Ties are now available.

UV-Resistant Solar Ties

Apparently there's an issue with standard nylon cable ties failing over time in hot, sunny conditions - such as on solar farm installations.

The standard solution is to use nylon 11 or a fluoropolymer such as PVDF. However, these are both quite expensive materials, and cable ties made from them generate a lot of equally expensive waste portions.

So, rapstrap were asked by a South African company to look at developing a waste-free alternative that would lower the overall cost.

We have therefore been working on a modified i-Tie to make use of polyamide 11 for long-duration outdoor applications. We expect trials to begin this summer.

UV-resistant solar rapstraps
Metal detectable rapstraps

Metal Detectable

The food and pharmaceutical industries don't use normal nylon cable ties. They use versions made from special grades of nylon with metallic additives so they can be detected if they fall into the processing lines. (X-ray detection is also a thing.)

But these materials are quite expensive, and rapstrap have been working with a leading supplier of detectable products to develop a waste-saving rapstrap alternative.

This has proved a lot harder than it sounds, since we needed a custom material that contained about 20% metal powder - and that makes it extremely tricky to mould. But we think we're close to a solution, so these should be available very soon.

Xmas Tree Ties

To make the trees bush-out, it's common practice to pinch the top shoot. This is commonly achieved by carefully cutting into the bark, but it's not ideal.

Another way is to put a band around the top to constrict its growth, forcing the lower branches to grow outward and form a nicer, bushier tree.

But getting a tight elastic band into the required location isn't easy, so we were asked to develop a mini rapstrap to do the job.

By using an extra-stretchy form of polyurethane we were able to make something with similar properties to an elastic band, but much easier to fit, and much safer for the tree.

Mini rapstraps for Xmas tree growing
Retail hanger rapstrap i-Ties

Hanger Straps

These prototypes were made for a retail display board. They were a slightly wider 7mm design, which made them a little easier to fit & remove for domestic applications.

The design also included a euro-slot through the rapstrap logo so they could be easily placed on standard retail hangers. Unfortunately, we needed to add a barcode somehow, but the labels we tried wouldn't stick - they kept falling off!

So we ended up packing the straps into bags instead, which defeated the whole point of having the integrated euro-slot. But it was a nice idea.