How to Select Protective Packaging
Image Credit: All-Spec Industries | Polar Tech Industries, Inc.
Protective packaging products are designed and constructed to protect the goods from atmospheric, magnetic, electrostatic, vibration or shock damage. Products include types of boxes or storage containers, packing materials, liners, and spacers.
Protective packaging products are intended to protect packaging from one or more types of damage. Protection factors can include:
- Electrical insulation - used to form a barrier or isolator between electrical or electrical components.
- Thermal insulation - prevents the passage of extreme heat from one location to another.
- Fireproofing - prevents flame ignition or mitigates the spread of flames.
- Moisture or vaporprotection - materials can block the transmission or permeation of moisture or vapor.
- Shock or vibration dampening - products are designed for minimizing the impact of shock and vibration on packaged products.
- UV or weather resistance - products are suitable for outdoor use and are resistant to ultraviolet (UV) light, cold, heat, water, or other weather conditions.
Proper selection of protective packaging products depends primarily on the type of product being packaged and the environmental conditions from which the product must be protected. Selection factors stemming from this include product types, materials, specifications, and features.
Protective packaging can include a number of specific types of products. These include:
- Air pillows or bags are inflated air packets used to cushion and/or secure fragile products and materials. They may include special valves and inflators to ensure proper inflation.
Air bag. Image Credit: Logistick
- Angle or edge boards are channel-like products designed to protect the corners and edges of products and materials during transport.
Angle board. Image Credit: Alibaba
- Bubble wrap sheets contain rows of inflated air bubbles used to cushion and cover fragile products and materials.
- Corner blocks are similar to edge boards, designed to protect the corners of products and materials during transport.
- Corrugated wrap is a sponge-like, paperboard product used to secure and cushion fragile or delicate products and materials during transport.
Corrugated wrap. Image Credit: Bargain Container Co.
- Packaging inserts are products used to fill empty space, complete the package housing, and secure the product and material during transport.
Packaging Insert. Image Credit: Pointe Products Inc.
- Molded packaging products are specifically molded to fit the contour or shape of the product or material being transported.
Molded packaging. Image Credit: Packaging Dynamics Inc.
- Packing peanuts or loose fill products are designed to surround, cushion, and protect products and materials during transport.
Packing peants. Image Credit: TopMailers.com
- Panels or sheeting can be used as dividers or as a way to segregate a load and dampen collisions.
- Void fillers are products usually made of corrugated paper materials which areusedto fill empty space and prevent products in transport from colliding with each other.
Void filler in a packed container. Image Credit: Logistick
A number of materials can be used to manufacture protective packaging products. These include:
- Foam - lightweight material resulting from the introduction of gas bubbles into a polymer. From this a cellular product is formed that has good insulation and impact resistance.
- Paperboard - high basis weight and a high density. It is produced in multiple layers on a cylindrical machine.
- Paper - lightweight material made of cellulose pulp.
- Plastic - includes any of numerous organic, synthetic, or processed materials used in packaging as films and liners to products from harsh environments.
Customers may provide manufacturers with different specifications for a particular protective packaging product. These include:
- Volume - the space occupied by a packaging protection product. Particularly important for air pillows and void fillers.
- Dimensions - the maximum or set dimensions of a product, most prevalently width and length.
- Strength - a measure of the product's ability to support a load. This can include ply, strength level (for polywoven materials), tearing strength, or tensile strength.
- Weight - the mass or heaviness of a material. For shipments paid on per weight basis, the weight of the packing protection is an important factor.
When selecting protective packaging, an industrial buyer may choose from a range of features. These include:
- Biodegradable - products are typically organic in nature and by definition are broken down or decomposed by other living organisms
- Disposable - products are inexpensive consumables designed for one time or limited use.
- Recyclable - after its intended use, the protective packaging is suitable for repulping, material processing, or use in making new product.
- Returnable or reusable - designed for wear resistance and may be reused or returned to the supplier.
- Air Pillow
- Angle / Edge Board
- Bubble Wrap / Foam Packaging
- Corner Block
- Corrugated Wrap
- Electrical Insulation / Dielectric
- Moisture / Vapor Barrier
- Molded Packaging
- Packaging Insert
- Packing Peanuts / Loose Fill
- Panel / Sheeting