Packaging containers are used within the packaging process to store and ship products. They differ in terms of features and applications. Most packaging containers are made of paper, plastic, metal, wood or composite materials. Paper and cardboard packaging containers are made of wood pulp and vary in terms of thickness. Plastic packaging containers are made of thermoplastic or thermosetting polymers such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), foam, and Styrofoam (Dow Chemical). Packaging containers made of acrylics and acrylic sheets are also available. Metal packaging containers are made of aluminum, steel, stainless steel, or steel wire. Containers made with metalized film use a plastic film that has been coated on one side with a very thin layer of metal. Choices for composite materials include both fiberglass and fiberglass fabrics. Packaging containers that are made from cotton, canvas, and synthetic fabrics are also available.
Types of Packaging Containers
There are many different types of packaging containers. Examples include: bags, barrels, basins, baskets, bins, blister packs, bottles, boxes, buckets, cans, cartons, carrying cases, coolers, crates, cylinders, drums, envelopes, and folders. Types of packaging containers also include: pouches, totes, trays, tubes, and vials, as well as ATA cases, Ibis, ISO containers, and Gaylord containers (Gaylord Brothers, Inc). ATA cases and ATA containers are manufactured to meet requirements from the Air Transportation Association (ATA), a trade organization for major airlines. Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) have a capacity of not more than three cubic meters and are designed for mechanical handling. They include flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs) such as bulk bags or super sacks. ISO containers are used for the intermodal transport of freight. They are manufactured according to specifications from the International Standards Organization (ISO) and are suitable for multiple transportation methods such as truck and rail, or rail and ship. Gaylord containers are large storage or transportation containers for bulk materials. They are typically sized to match the length and width of a pallet.
Features and Applications
Packaging containers differ in terms of features and applications. Some products are molded, moisture resistant, temperature-controlled, vented, insulated, fireproof, or moisture-resistant. Others provide corrosion protection, static shielding, or electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection. Double-walled, heavy-duty, and shielded packaging containers are also available. In terms of applications, some packaging containers are designed for consumer packaging, air handling, chemical, computer, pharmaceutical, electronic, tool storage, or trade show applications. Other are designed to transport food and beverages, hazardous materials, water or other fluids, or recyclable materials. MIL-SPEC packaging containers meet U.S. military specifications (MIL-SPEC).
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