What Is Dunnage?

Posted by Universal Package Team on Wed, Sep 20, 2017


Dunnage is a common term used by automotive and industrial packaging technicians.

Depending on who you talk to, an entire container could be considered “dunnage”. But, at Universal, we primarily use the term to describe interior packaging components such as: boards, blocks, planks, metal or plastic bracing used in supporting and securing packages for shipping and handling.

We can construct dunnage from any number of materials, depending on the final packaging’s primary function.

Specifically, the types of dunnage we supply include:

  • foam
  • plastic corrugated
  • solid plastics
  • flexible foams
  • aluminum
  • steel
  • corrugated paper
  • wood
  • anti-stat materials
  • or any combination of these (and other) materials

Wood and steel are mainly used for blocking and bracing heavy industrial parts, motors, transmissions and similar products.

If recyclability is a priority, corrugated paper can be glued together to make a ‘build-up block’ with some of the characteristics of metal and wood, but with the ability to be recycled back into paper.

Foams lend themselves to cushioning and securing parts in place inside a container. The type of foam we use is determined by the amount of vibration, shock, and abrasion the product might experience in transit.

Our company’s strong suit is designing and manufacturing product-specific custom dunnage. When engineering a package – that is, when determining the design and material used for the specific product – one must take into account the product’s distribution cycle, product value, and fragility.

Ultimately, dunnage is responsible for protecting your parts and products, ensuring they don’t take on damage during transit. Here at Universal Package, we take pride in our work, and ensure the dunnage we create fulfills that responsibility. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions about how we can accommodate your dunnage material needs.

Tags: Dunnage, packaging materials

Resin Surcharge Resulting from Hurricane Harvey

Posted by Mike Brandes on Wed, Sep 13, 2017

To our valued customers:

We have been notified by all our suppliers of both polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (HDPE, XLPE, PE, and other oil-based plastics), foam, plastic sheet, and containers, that we are in a Force Majeure situation resulting from Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. All suppliers of these products and materials made from these resins have been put on allocation by their resin suppliers.

At this time, we have not been told how severely this will affect our lead times and pricing. We currently have a healthy supply of containers, solid sheet HDPE, and fluted plastic PP sheets in our warehouse inventory. As we receive additional information from our suppliers, we will pass it along to you.

A surcharge on resin has been implemented. This will affect prices immediately. We will pass through only additional costs affecting us. Hopefully the surcharges will be short-term and resin prices will return to normal quickly. Again, we'll keep you informed of the situation as we receive information.

Universal Package is committed to serving you, our valued customer, with all possible expediency. By utilizing our extensive Supply Chain Partners Network, we will do our very best to lessen the impact of this National Disaster.

Thank you for your business, we look forward to continue serving you in the future.


Kind regards,

Mike Brandes

CEO, Universal Package, LLC

Tags: Press Release, News, Industry News

5 Must Knows When Creating Protective Packaging

Posted by Universal Package Team on Tue, Sep 05, 2017


“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: contain, protect, store, transport, preserve 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.

Tags: custom container, Dunnage, protective packaging