Universal Package Team

Recent Posts

Engineered Solutions Eliminate WIP Costs

Posted by Universal Package Team on Wed, Jun 27, 2018


Providing quality packaging solutions and plastic containers is our job, but our goal is to make sure our WIP clients are also operating as efficiently as possible. By supplying materials, other than containers, clients seen have great improvements in their processes, WIP hurdles, and manufacturing bottlenecks.

Heavy Equipment Remanufacturing Client

This client makes money processing and remanufacturing heavy truck equipment by tearing down air compressors, rebuilding completely and then painting. Universal was originally asked to quote paper paint masking templates for use during the parts painting process. The client’s original process required die cut paper templates and wire attachment ties to cover machined areas so paint would not touch.

Process & Engineered Solution

After learning the client’s process and discussing with paint booth operators, we found the time to tie the masks in place was double that of the actual painting process. Further discussion revealed all parts being painted were made of steel. We suggested switching the paper mask templates to flexible, die cut magnetic sheets, the same material used for refrigerator doors magnets.

Client Efficiencies & Gains

The time to place the magnetic masks on the steel parts versus wiring the paper masks in place was reduced dramatically. The client reported throughput of parts increased 10 times than what they could originally process. An added benefit, the plastic magnets can also be reused a minimum of 8 times. This bonus, coupled with the increased output virtually eliminated the entire previous cost associated with this process.

Contact us to discuss streamlining your processes or design your next custom solution. 

Tags: industrial packaging, custom solutions, work in process

Proof Plastic Industrial Containers Increase Efficiency and Business Growth

Posted by Universal Package Team on Wed, May 30, 2018


Any industry or business can benefit from using fabricated plastic containers and packaging. The key is finding what problem the client is experiencing, listening to their ideas to solve those problems, and offering experience when giving them affordable, workable solutions.

Reusable hand totes and collapsible bulk containers are widely used for industrial purposes and are quite popular in the Automotive Industry. These containers have been developed specifically to reduce packaging costs, while also eliminating damage and contamination of parts during the assembly and transportation process.

While the automotive industry is by far the major user of these products, other industries can benefit too. Aerospace, Pharmaceutical, Medical Equipment, Agriculture, Food, Beverage, Appliance, Construction Heavy Equipment, and Distribution companies are just a few of the industries that face the same packaging difficulties as the auto industry.

The main benefit to using industrial containers and interior packaging is the standardization in the parts supply chain. When we partner with clients to create a packaging system, the benefits are derived from maximizing their packaging dollars by investing in returnable containers. This results in better protection, ease of handling, and reduction of storage space to start. 

How Universal Can Help

Our industrial stackable and collapsible containers not only reduce packaging costs through reuse, but also eliminate costly warehouse rack systems.

Client Problem:

A large manufacturer of high tech oil drilling equipment needed more space to handle their subassemblies, outside purchased components and in-house fabricated parts to support a 20% increase in their business.

They had traditionally used racks to store parts in corrugated boxes or wood crates. The boxes and crates were of various sizes for different parts, as well as various box sizes for similar components.

Universal Packaging Solution:

We systemized and standardized reusable collapsible containers to hold these parts. Bar Code identification labels were placed in cardholders attached to the container, identifying each part inside the containers.

The containers now stack up to 6 high using existing floor space. They actually reduced the amount of space required for storage even while increasing their production by 20%. They have eliminated a large amount of the rack system and are reporting faster “order picking” of line required components.

By offering our unique capabilities and excellent client service, we are confident we can greatly improve efficiencies within your company. Universal Package has invested heavily in specialty equipment and training to become a leader in industrial container fabrication and modification.

Contact us today and tell us more about your business, or give us a call at (866) 875-9918 to further discuss your packaging efficiency needs.

Tags: reusable containers, packaging systems, industrial packaging

Plastic Industrial Packaging Used For Work In Process Solutions

Posted by Universal Package Team on Tue, Apr 17, 2018


Plastic returnable containers were originally developed for the automotive industry in the U.S. The industry recognized the cost savings when shipping parts from vendors to their assembly plants in plastic returnable packaging.

Today, since the majority of incoming shipments come from the same locations and require multiple shipments a day for process, the cost reductions can be seen immediately.

Industries such as pharmaceuticals and companies producing medical devices and products are transitioning rapidly to plastic corrugated shipping and WIP containers. The need to eliminate contaminants and gain the cost savings associated with returnable packaging is driving the transition.

Agriculture, Aerospace and Distribution Fulfillment centers are few other industries in which solid growth and demand for plastic corrugated containers can be seen.

Food, fish, poultry, and fresh vegetables, which require cold environments, are where more and more plastic corrugated containers are being used to store, ship and display products. Plastic corrugated heat sealed containers are proving to be a successful solution for keeping these products fresh and safe for buyer consumption.

Plastic Corrugated Boxes for Work In Process Applications

Plastic corrugated boxes and packaging are filling the some needs paper boxes can’t.

A large majority of manufacturing and distribution companies are replacing their paper containers with plastic corrugated containers. The longevity and elimination of contaminants (associated with paper containers) are major factors in why many manufacturers are making the switch to plastic.

Another benefit to plastic corrugated containers is they can be made to for easy visual recognition. Specific colors can be chosen for plastic corrugated containers to reduce mistakes and enhance production within any workflow or industrial process.

Plastic packaging is ideal for many of our industrial manufacturing clients, it lasts for years and when it is worn beyond repair it can be recycled. Give us a call (812) 937-3605, or contact us to discuss your industrial packaging needs.

Tags: reusable containers, packaging systems, engineered packaging, industrial packaging

Popular Corrugated Plastic Boxes For Shipping

Posted by Universal Package Team on Thu, Feb 08, 2018


While the most common packaging material in the shipping and manufacturing industry is corrugated paper, corrugated plastic boxes are becoming a more popular packaging choice.

Plastic Corrugated Containers

Plastic corrugated boxes are similar in styles and purpose to corrugated paper, but by using corrugated plastic the container can be reused multiple times. This is highly beneficial in controlling and reducing costs if the application and distribution cycle allows for the return of containers to the shipper.

The primary material for a corrugated plastic container is fluted polypropylene sheets. This is an extruded sheet in flat form, the thicknesses of these sheets starts at 2mm and goes up to 25mm. The flat sheets can then be used to fabricate various styles of corrugated boxes and custom packaging systems.

Types of Corrugated Plastic Boxes

The most common plastic corrugated boxes used for shipping purposes are the set-up hand totes and the die cut shippers.

Set-up hand totes normally come with stacking frames and are custom made to a required size. These totes can include custom interiors designed specifically for the part being shipped. Generally, the interiors of these totes are made from corrugated plastic, foam or a combination of the two materials.

Die cut shippers are normally fabricated by die cutting plastic corrugated sheets. This type of shipping container is shipped flat to the customer and requires folding at score lines to erect the container. A great benefit of these containers is that they can be folded flat after use and returned to the original shipper.

Both the set-up containers and die cut shippers can be made to any dimension and style. The packaging specifications given by the customer will determine both the style and dimensions of a corrugated plastic container.

Cost Savings Generated

When purchasing packaging containers, keep in mind plastic corrugated containers will require an initial investment. This type of packaging would not be practical if the economics for returning the plastic containers can’t be justified. However, the upside of replacing a paper-shipping box with a plastic corrugated box is the reduction in cost over a period of time.

A standard 12x12x12 box made from paper can cost as little as $.90 each. While a 12x12x12 plastic corrugated box will cost more than paper, they are not affected by moisture, humidity, rough handling or other hazards associated with most distribution environments.

Plastic corrugated containers will last for years and can be recycled at the end of their life. After 5 trips, the plastic corrugated container has paid for itself and the true cost savings begin.

Contact us to discuss your packaging needs or design your next custom packaging solution. 

Tags: returnable containers, reusable containers, corrugated plastic boxes, corrugated shipping containers

Industrial Packaging Solutions Showcase

Posted by Universal Package Team on Thu, Dec 28, 2017


Universal strives to create an experience that streamlines the time you need to spend on packaging by offering products and services all in one place, that other companies will not or cannot provide.

Universal Package is a one-stop shop for reusable packaging.

We are a full manufacturing facility as well as a distributor of standard containers and totes. When you work with us you are not working with a middle-man. We pride ourselves in providing excellent customer service and working with our customers to provide a complete packaging solution.

We are constantly growing and improving our equipment and processes to allow for more packaging options and efficient production time. Through all of our growth we still maintain a “job shop” mentality which allows us to react quickly to our customer’s needs and allow for a greater flexibility with our scheduling to take care of our customers.

Package Engineering and Production

Our designers are able to take a customer’s existing CAD part file and integrate it into our software to create a truly custom engineered packaging solution. We are able to illustrate part fit and get a better “nest” of parts to maximize part density and therefore reduce cost for our customers.

This also allows us to visualize potential problems without having to create multiple samples, which cuts cost and time for our customers.

Our goal is the right fit the first time and our design department and sales staff work closely to make sure the packaging we engineer meet or exceed the customer’s expectations. Even if that means using multiple materials and trying various design combinations to create the perfect packaging system.

Universal Package is about creating a complete packaging solution, not just a box.

Contact us to discuss your packaging needs or design your next custom packaging solution. 

Tags: returnable containers, reusable containers, packaging systems, engineered packaging, industrial packaging

Container Repair or New Replacement Containers?

Posted by Universal Package Team on Wed, Dec 13, 2017


We understand reusable plastic packaging containers and steel racks take a beating while in transit and at your facility. After months and years of daily wear and tear, you and your customers know these containers need attention.

Before you place another order for new replacement containers, you should have your material handling systems evaluated for repair.

With our understanding of container and steel rack functionality, there’s a good chance repairs can be made to existing containers and racks. Using the proper equipment and expertise, we get your units back in your system at a much lower cost than buying new units.

Why consider taking advantage of container repair services?

Increased cost savings, help the environment, and keep your lot cleaned up, organized and away from the attention of the Fire Marshall. Perception of a facility goes a long way.

Repair Process

When your containers arrive in our facility they are put through a rigorous inspection process. The containers are sorted and during inspection, usable parts begin to be matched with other usable parts.

For instance, a solid or repairable base goes with a wall from a unit that has a base that cannot be repaired. This is the least costly repair method and will quickly save you money. 

Units having minor cracks and non-structural damage are sent to our plastic welding facility. All holes and cracks are welded and reinforced. Any unit with less than 3 runners (fork truck safety straps) missing is considered repairable. 

While evaluating steel racks and containers, we mainly look at the interior dunnage, curtains and frames. Typically we don’t repair container frames that are completely bent, however we will cut and reinsert a frame post if possible. It all depends on the complexity of the rack we receive.

Steel rack and plastic bulk container interior dunnage part replacement is our specialty. We have the capability to die cut plastic corrugated replacement parts, water jet foam parts and can machine any plastic component replacement part.

For low volume replacements we have the ability to eliminate die costs and use our CAD table to cut plastic corrugated and foam components. For any job we can’t reproduce the part, we reach out to the previous vendor for replacement parts, this helps keep all repairs in one place and eliminates the customers’ management time.

Once the inspection process is complete and inventoried (repairable or rejected), along with parts required, a quote is submitted to our customer to show the evaluation of each item and cost to get the units back in working condition. 

Cost Savings

Based on workload and number of containers to be repaired, container repair services greatly reduce the lead-time to get the units back in the system, versus purchasing new units. Usually new units are needed at a lower volume than original purchased quantity. That factor drives the cost of new replacement units to a much higher level than the original build.

In this instance, container repair not only reduces cost, but also gets containers back in action where you need them most.

Another opportunity for cost savings is when a product run is over and racks or containers need to be eliminated. In this scenario, we try and retrofit the racks for future projects so there is a greater cost savings to the customer by repurposing existing containers.

Eco Friendly

Repair services provide you with the opportunity to get the most out of any Returnable Packaging System. Recycling containers to be put back in your system and recycling non-repairable parts and container materials greatly benefits the environment. 

All plastic bulk containers that are not repairable are recycled. There is a return to the customer for materials that get recycled. The return is usually lower for these materials because of the costs incurred during container inspection. For example, if we receive 100 units and can repair 60% of them, the recycled value is set at a rate about 1/3 of what a recycler might pay. The value gained is in the repaired units.

Any unit that is very complex and needs to be disassembled before recycling has little value in recycled materials. In some cases, to eliminate these units, we charge labor to break them down and get them to a recyclable point. 

Look at the back lots at your facilities. We can help clean these up and improve the overall safety, quality and perception of your business and facilities. Perception and cost savings is everything! Let’s get the containers back in working order and keep your products moving.

Contact us to evaluate your packaging units, get them repaired and back in your system saving you money.

 Learn More About Container Repair

Tags: returnable containers, reusable containers, container repair

Key Features & Benefits of Returnable Packaging

Posted by Universal Package Team on Wed, Nov 15, 2017

returnable packaging.jpg

Wikipedia defines returnable packaging as manufactured, durable materials specifically designed for multiple trips and extended life. A reusable package or container is “designed for reuse without impairment of its protective function.” 

While this definition is accurate, there are few more qualities and benefits of reusable packaging that we would like to expand upon.


The reusability of packaging is an important feature when considering the environmental credo of “reduce, reuse, and recycle”. It is also important to the forward movement of sustainable packaging, since most all regulators encourage returnable packaging today.

Our products are typically designed for 3-5 year programs.  The reusability of these items reduces waste and disposal costs for our customers. Not only does this benefit our customers, but the environment as well considering 90% of the materials we use for our products are recyclable, and can be reprocessed into raw materials for reuse.

Returnable Packaging Engineering

The main function of returnable packaging is to safely transport products from vendor to end user, as well as move product from one area of a plant to another.

One of the greatest things about the packaging industry is that we see new products from all over the world that need to be packed and moved safely.  Because of this, we are constantly learning about new packaging technologies and engineering.

The process for developing returnable packaging starts with an in-depth discussion about the customer’s requirements. Designing a returnable package system can take time, but it is essential to get all of the necessary details to provide a quality product.

Sales reps are the point of contact for gathering the information needed by management for packaging review and design. Our management team then determines if all the needed information has been collected to successfully engineer a product.

For example, a sales rep might ask questions like:

  • Do the parts need to be protected using protective packaging?
  • Can the parts be bulk packed in a steel or plastic container to safely transport the product from A to B?
  • What type of environment will the product be stored in?

And so on. These questions may seem excessive, but are key when developing a returnable packaging system for a client.

As soon as we compile all of the product information –size and weight, shipping and handling, and storage environment, our engineering team will start to conceptualize and mock-up a design.   

During the packaging design phase, durability, function, and ergonomics are all taken into consideration to develop the best product for the supplier and customer.

Money & Time Savings

The long-term savings generated by returnable packaging alone is tremendous. Time spent on written orders and the constant stream of money going out for single-use packaging is greatly reduced, if not eliminated.

The customer’s time is also reduced when purchasing reusable containers. Instead of buying monthly expendable packaging systems, the returnable units are usually a one-time capital expenditure.

These cost and time savings can be proven for any packaging design we offer, including our returnable packaging systems.

To learn more about our returnable packaging products and how they can create efficiencies in your business give us a call or send us an email with any questions.

Request A Quote

Tags: custom plastic containers, returnable containers, reusable containers, packaging materials

How Custom Trade Show Cases Save Time (and Money)

Posted by Universal Package Team on Wed, Nov 01, 2017


To those of you working long hours at trade shows (sometimes by yourself), we’d like to ask a few questions ...

When you're setting up your booth, wouldn’t it be nice to have all your components readily available, neatly packed, and easy to reach? 

Are you tired of rummaging for missing items like an extension cord, your lights, and that little gizmo that attaches to your framework and holds it all together? 

If you’ve previously relied on cardboard boxes, have they ever been rained on before making it into the convention hall?

You see, we understand that actually working a trade show is hard enough, even without all the mishaps resulting from inconsistent preparation and organization.

Now, imagine if everything you needed to pull off a successful trade show could be neatly organized, easily transported, and even shipped? How much time and money would you save at your next show? The surprisingly simple answer to most people’s trade show woes are custom-built trade show cases. They promise simplified exhibit shipment, installation, and teardown. 

The Benefits of Custom Trade Show Cases

Easier Set-up & Tear-Down

When you tear down a conventional trade show booth, you typically need to store all the components separately; but the custom containers we design here at Universal Package have internal places built for each individual component, which can even be numbered — so nothing is ever misplaced. This has the added benefit of making it easy to do visual checks for all your ‘must-have’ pieces before the whole container is shipped!

Our units are built to individual exhibit specifications, and we pack them in a manner that prioritizes ease of loading and unloading. Ergonomics are key, especially when your maintenance team isn’t available. Custom designs mean setup and tear down are a lot faster.

Plus, the containers themselves can be utilized as a table and/or work-surface, making them an actual part of your exhibit!

The end result? Everything has its place. No extra boxes. No forgotten items.

Heavy-Duty Construction & Materials

Our containers are durable and more than capable of withstanding anything the exhibit hall (or LTL employees) can dish out. Made from either heavy-duty structural foam, plastic, or plastic sheet sleeve packs, these custom trade show cases will last forever since the interiors can be converted for when you update your booth components.

It goes without saying each of our crates are built to protect the exhibit and its pieces so that when you’re all set up, your booth looks like it came straight from the manufacturers facility. Additionally, any of the surfaces visible to the consumer can be manufactured with Class A surface finishes (painted, chromed, plastic, etc.), resistant to damage from rubbing, smudging, or scratching.

Versatile Transport Options

Universal Trade Show Containers are custom-made to be moved by fork truck or pallet jack.

Custom dollies can even be added to your container so you can move it on your own without getting the union lift operator to move it for you.

Working with Our Customers

We like to work with our customers one-on-one throughout the build process to get their feedback on design and materials.

Before we build the unit(s), all case concepts are first generated in our CAD 3D modeling process to show how the container will function.

So, if you want to save money in shipping costs and (more importantly) time setting up, dismantling, and storing your booth exhibit, Universal Package’s customized trade show containers are the perfect solution.

See more information on our trade show cases in our product catalog. Or if you need to quote a custom project, our sales team can help. 

Request A Quote

Tags: custom plastic containers, reusable containers, trade show cases

Not All Clients Need Custom Packaging

Posted by Universal Package Team on Wed, Oct 04, 2017


Custom Packaging is not necessary for shipping all products.

You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel.

Non-custom packaging buyers are typically mail order and “.com” companies who provide a wide variety of products and ship products via mail and package services.

Usually a standard corrugated carton “stock box”, with either paper wadding, flexible foam sheet, plastic peanuts, air bags, or other internal filler and cushioning materials are sufficient for most of the “pick orders” online companies ship.

However, highly fragile items such as electronic devices, hand tools and other high-value items are typically by the manufacturer in product-specific containers with custom interiors.

Who Requires Custom Packaging?

Custom packaging is primarily required by original equipment manufacturer’s to insure their product arrives to their customer with no damage, and is often sent directly to an assembly or finishing line.

To be clear, custom packaging doesn’t necessarily mean “more protection for a product”. In most cases custom packaging helps to create uniformity and a standard for shipping among production and manufacturing companies.

Benefits of Custom Packaging

Besides protecting a product during the distribution cycle, line presentation is a major consideration when designing a custom pack. For example, a container with a 60 x 48 foot print won’t work for a work station set up to accept a footprint of 48 x 40, which is why orientation of the parts in the container (for ease of packing and unpacking) is another consideration of line presentation.

Cost of Custom vs. Off-the-Shelf Packaging

Custom packaging typically “costs” more than off-the-shelf packs – at least in terms of initial cash outlay.

But the initial cost of a custom container is eventually offset by reductions in damage, labor, replacements, storage, and more efficient handling.

Is Custom Packaging Your Solution?

All industry segments use custom packaging at one time or another, but it’s important to know the needs of a client before we recommend a custom packaging solution.

So, before you start vetting out packaging manufacturers and gathering quotes for custom packs, ask yourself three questions:

  • Does the product being shipped require a custom packaging solution?
  • At any point, will the product be unpacked on a production line or used in some other type of production process?
  • Will the added protection of custom packaging be worth the cost of engineering a custom solution?

If you answered no to all of these questions, then there is good chance custom packaging is not required for your product.

And while we admittedly design and manufacture custom packaging, you mostly likely require a standard dunnage solution, which will provide the necessary protection to your product without the extra cost of a custom design.

To see our standard dunnage solutions, check out our product catalog, or contact us to help you solve your packaging needs.

Tags: custom container, Dunnage

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.

Tags: Dunnage, packaging materials