5 Must Knows When Creating Protective Packaging

Foam part separator in a container

“Protective Packaging” predates recorded history — some of the earliest examples being carved wooden bowls, clay pots, and various types of wineskins. 

Even though today’s packaging needs are slightly more elaborate, the primary goals of Protective Packaging have always been to: containprotectstoretransportpreserve and eventually sell various products.

Basic protective packaging is comprised of the following elements:

  • Containment
  • Blocking and bracing
  • Cushioning
  • Various environmental factors, including but not limited to: temperature, electrostatic discharge, compression, moisture, vapor barriers, atmospheric, sterility, and pilferage.

Foam sheets, “bubble wrap”, wadded up newsprint, foam and “starch” peanuts, cardboard (corrugated fiberboard) boxes, plastic boxes, metal and wood crates, plastic crates, foams, and more than a thousand other materials can be used to develop protective packaging.

The term “Protective Packaging” includes any materials or devices that protect a specific item in transport or storage. So anything from an over-the-road trailer, to a plastic or paper bag can technically be considered ‘protective packaging.

Protective Packaging For Industrial Products

As a basic rule, the level of protection in any protective package is determined by the value of the product and the distribution environment.

And, when determining the type, amount, and materials required to ensure a product is properly packaged and protected, the following 5 items are the minimum amount of information required to make the determination:

5 Need-To-Knows For Proper Product Protection:

  1. 1. Distribution Environment/Cycle – This includes product type, weight of the item, fragility of the product, value of the product, whether the package is to be a returnable-reusable package or a one-way expendable shipment.
  2. 2. Product Movement – Palletized unit by pallet jack, fork truck, or other conveyance and type and size of conveyance. Small packages by conveyor or other means of transfer.
  3. 3. Product Shipping – Small ground shipment via UPS, Fed Ex, full truckload, LTL, air or sea shipment.
  4. 4. Warehousing Length – How long the product will be stored at the customer’s distribution center or the end user’s. Is the warehouse climate controlled or ambient? This is critical to most one-way shippers, since corrugated paper containers are subject to degradation caused by humidity and prolonged storage time.
  5. 5. Packaging Disposal – What is the disposal plan for the packaging after it has served its purpose? For expendable packaging, developing total recyclable components of the package, or Green Packaging, can be highly challenging.  Certain foams and plastics cannot be easily recycled and a plan for disposal can become time consuming and costly.

In a perfect world, every package designed or sold would be unique to the clients’ needs. Whether that specific need is a foam interior tote for machinery, or a plastic fruit container for produce, they each serve the purpose of protecting the client’s product.

And while all packaging provides some level of protection, it’s the expertise at Universal Package that can help you determine the right level of protection needed to successfully ship and store your product.