09 Nov 2010 Green Solutions for Interior, Protective and Retention Packaging
No matter what you call it, it is the packaging that is inside the box being shipped. Its usual purpose is to immobilize and/or separate the product(s) being packed to prevent shipping damage.
Today, we all have a wide variety of eco friendly material options including molded pulp, biodegradable air inflatable plastic products, a fast growing selection of renewable bio foams, paperboard and corrugated partitions, as well as die cut corrugated solutions. Over the course of the next few weeks I will be spotlighting some of the newest and most innovative ideas available to the green minded shipper.
The Application Still Determines the Best Solution
As you have probably heard me say before, in almost any possible area of packaging, it all begins with a good application review and analysis. Beware of any supplier that has only one solution to offer because they are obviously forced to make their one and only solution work, whether or not it is truly the best for your needs. An application review is typically fairly basic and usually begins with these five important questions:
1. What is being shipped? Are we talking about one heavy retail display unit per box or a dozen glass bottles of an expensive health supplement?
2. How is it being shipped? A case shipping individually via UPS, FedEx or USPS, or cases stacked on a wooden pallet shipping to major retailer’s DC?
3. How many are being shipped? Is this a onetime need to pack 300 units for a promotion or are a million packages being shipped over the course of the next few months?
4. Where and how is the product currently being damaged in shipment? Usually we are called in to fix a design that has already being proven deficient.
5. How important is the green factor to you and your customers? Will they accept a plastic or foam solution, or do we have to work with paper based products?
Die Cut Corrugated Inserts
Corrugated board is a marvelous material that is incredibly flexible in terms of how it can be cut and manufactured into a wide variety of shapes and configurations. Versatile pads or dividers can be quickly and inexpensively cut to provide product separation or to reinforce potential damage areas on the shipping box.
Sophisticated, application specific, die cut designs can be created to solve more challenging applications. An example of this is manufacturing cavities out of die cut corrugated bi-folds and tri-fold inserts to hold product similar to the way a molded pulp tray would function. Corrugated board ranks just below molded pulp on most people’s “eco obvious” scale; plus it offers several other advantages, including the fact that it ships and stores flat, taking up minimal space in your warehouse, pack station or on a truck. Also, depending on the design, the tooling cost can be much less expensive compared to other custom fit options.
Eco Friendly, Contact Free Product Retention/Separation Application
The product shown in the photo above is made by our good friend and customer, www.Pasolivo.com. It is a delicious, award-winning olive oil packaged in an attractive, eco friendly, new metal tin design. The cans are heavy enough that they can damage each other in shipment, so separating and immobilizing them was an absolute requirement. Unfortunately, the beautiful matte finish is also easily marred, so any packaging product and design utilized also had to be abrasion free.
We created a bi-fold die cut design that immobilizes the tins but only makes contact with them at the chime. The same insert can be used at the top and bottom, reinforcing the corners where most damage is likely to occur. As an added benefit, because the two tin sizes they chose have the same footprint, the corrugated insert we provide can be used on their 500 ML and 375 ML tins resulting in minimal inventory and maximum packaging efficiency.
Green “Hybrid” Packaging Solutions
In the case of the Pasolivo application we made the outer shipper box as well as the internal packaging, but in some cases we are able to satisfy unique requirements by combining our stock RSC or die cut shipping boxes with custom made inserts. Check out this previous ISP post to see how we satisfied a onetime custom need for a customer, with minimal tooling costs. Also, for more about custom corrugated partitions, this ISP post may be of interest.
Please let us know if you have a packaging challenge you would like to solve in a low cost and eco friendly manner.