ASTM versus AAR Steel Strapping


If you purchase the steel strapping for your organization then I am sure you are aware of these terms but for those that are not, ASTM stands for American Standard for Testing and Materials and AAR stands for American Association of Railroads.


What is the difference you ask and should I care????

Both are accredited organizations that are putting “their” stamp of approval “per say” on steel strapping products.  This means that if something is ASTM approved that it meets their guidelines for recognizing quality, safety and reliability.  If something is AAR approved then it has been tested and approved by the American Association of Railroads.

This is all fine to say but if you aren’t shipping products on a rail car then do you need AAR? Well it is true that some manufacturers of steel strapping products imply that an AAR designation is somehow a superior standard to ASTM D3953, and therefore should apply to all strap applications; but this in fact is completely false. The rules governing shipments by rail represent a totally different set of realities.  Rail shipments are much more susceptible to handling damage than truck or ship and as such the railroads have devised their own set of rules, procedures and standards for products and their application in order to minimize shipping problems, customer claims and complaints and more specifically to clearly identify the source of problems.  In the case of steel strapping,  an approved AAR supplier is given a number which clearly identifies the manufacturer.  It also can help isolate a manufacturing defect, if a load failure is suspected due to strap failure. If your application or product is intended for rail shipment then we strongly urge you to consult with a qualified representative of the rail company of your choice for the procedures and components they require under the Association of American Railroads standards.

Clute Packaging Systems Ltd. offers a complete range of both ASTM and AAR approved strapping products for your applications.  ASTM or AAR?  Your choice!

Go to our web site to find out more about steel strapping –

Contact us for more information at 1-888-402-5883 or email us at




The Effect of U.S. Currency Rate on the Canadian Economy


The falling Canadian currency and a stable US currency has had an immeasurable impact over several business sectors domestically. As the value of the Canadian dollar is at its lowest value in over 12 years and the American dollar has increased in value throughout the past four years, not many Canadians are aware of how far-reaching an impact the low Canadian dollar has had. This is nowhere more evident than in packaging. The effect of the US currency rate’s impact on importing American manufactured goods into Canada has created a situation where many industrial and agriculture packing machinery businesses have struggled to adapt.

Many industrial and agriculture packing businesses and commodity businesses use manufacturing facilities based out of the United States. They are therefore subject to any change in US currency rate. When the Canadian dollar deflates as it has, it creates a situation where consumers are often charged extra fees and/or see price hikes. While multi-national corporations can handle these types of changes in US currency rates, small-to-medium sized business are hit even harder. With industrial and agriculture packing businesses having to pay more according to the US currency rate, these commodity businesses do not dig into their profits to cover the cost and instead defers this cost to customers. The passing along of cost to the customer only serves to create a situation where customer resources are stressed and consumers can no longer trust these same companies to deliver at the price advertised.

If the US currency rate continues to stabilize while the Canadian dollar continues to fall, this could companies having to increase their prices yet again. Some businesses have even held off on raising prices for now, either hoping that the US currency rate will improve or planning to roll-out price increases in the next year.

Passing on these costs to customers is the harsh reality. Businesses are having to pay more than they have in the past decade and a half for imports thanks to the US currency rate, and customers are being hit hard. The consumers that want to buy from Canadian based businesses in commodities for the industrial and agricultural sector need to know that the prices advertised are not going to change and that there will be no extra fees.

How a business adapts to the US currency rate is by planning ahead. Any industrial packaging machinery or commodity business in the industrial and agricultural markets must plan ahead in order to keep prices in check and to ensure that consumers are not going to be hit with a higher-than-expected price. As a customer that is purchasing industrial or agriculture equipment in Canada, sometimes a customer isn’t aware that this equipment is manufactured in the US and is subject to the US currency rate. If a customer chooses a business that is not planning ahead, they could be hit with a huge fee that they didn’t expect in this case. Clute Packaging Systems Ltd. has planned ahead however and does their best to protect their customers from changes in the US currency rate. Industrial and agriculture markets are getting what they paid for at the price advertised with Clute Packaging Systems Ltd.