Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Bubble: Benefits & Strength

Bubble comes in two primary categories:

1.VOID FILL – filling in excess space around products in a box or container, protecting them against damage.

Typical applications:
– Shipping giftware
– Shipping books
– Shipping small appliances
– Shipping multiple items in the same container

2.BLOCKING & BRACING – securing products in a box or container to prevent them from shifting, sliding, moving, or colliding.

Typical applications:
– Shipping books
– Shipping jewelry
– Shipping fragile Items
– Shipping computer monitors
– Shipping precision gears
– Shipping sculptures
– Shipping Un-assembled furniture

These two categories go hand-in-hand as all empty space should be filled in order to block and brace effectively.

Pack station using Polyair AirSpace G6 machine and bubble-on-demand

Pros of Bubble

✔ Comes in different sizes and film thicknesses.
✔ Comes in different forms like bags, sheets, and rolls.
✔ Offers protection against shock and vibration.
✔ Easy-to-use, reusable.
✔ Versatile: interleaving, wrapping, and cushioning.

Cons of Bubble

✘ Designed for short periods of use (days or weeks).
✘ Can be difficult to recycle (explained below).

The Use of Nylon Vs. 100% Polyethylene

Some bubble film companies use Nylon in their bubble manufacturing process. Nylon lowers the recycle number from a #4 to a #7 recycled product (where facilities exist), and also makes the bubble much less pliable. This lack of pliability, particularly evident when wrapping around corners or other sharp edges, causes some bubble products to puncture and tear much easier than products that are 100% polyethylene. With consumers becoming ever more aware of their environmental impact, but not wanting to sacrifice performance, a bubble product made with 100% polyethylene is the smartest choice.

How Do I Know Which Bubble is Best/Strongest?

Below is a graph detailing Polyair 1/2" Bubble against two Nationwide competitors. The bubble burst strengths were measured by observing the pounds of force needed to break the bubble.

5-10 tests were completed for each product. The averages are charted here:

Friday, July 19, 2019

Protective Packaging Guide

How Do I Know If I Need Protective Packaging?

If you have a product that is fragile or has a surface that needs to be protected during transit, then protective packaging may be the answer. It can help ensure that products remain damage-free and quality is kept uncompromised during the shipping and transporting process.

Protective packaging can also be useful when shipping a product in an oversized box. It can fill the void between the product and the box. This is especially useful when shipping heavier items that could get damaged with too much shifting around during the shipping processes.

Some companies use protective packaging to create a unique unboxing and brand-centric experience for their consumers. Presentation is a very important part of the un-packaging process in the minds of consumers. Some protective packaging solutions serve a dual purpose, of functionality and visual appeal. This can help create brand loyalty and return customers.

Protective packaging offers the flexibility needed to protect any shape, size, or strength of products. It comes in a range of different types so you can find right protection for your products and shipping needs.

What Kind of Protection Do I Need?

Void fill is a term that can refer to any cushioning, paper, or protection added to a package. Specifically, it fills an empty space inside a package and, in doing so, restricts movement of the product(s) which prevents damage.

The purpose of protective packaging that blocks and braces is to prevent products from shifting, sliding, or moving and protect the product(s) and the vulnerable corners and edges of the secondary package (carton) from damage. In order to block and brace effectively, all empty space should be filled as well.

This is normally something that is wrapped around more fragile objects to prevent damage during transit. Cushioning can prevent scratches or scuffs on products.

Often the protective packaging solutions that provide cushioning, also provide surface protection. This protective packaging keeps the products from getting scratched, scuffed, or the exterior surface of the product from being damaged.

Types of Protective Packaging

Paper void fill & cushioning
Paper is normally used as to cushion products, but is versatile. Paper can also be used to block and brace and as a void fill solution. Paper is normally crumpled, either by hand or machine, which provides void fill and cushioning solutions. Some machines apply stitching to the paper to provide stronger block and brace protection as well as cushioning.

There are a variety of bubble solutions. There are, of course, the standard and anti-static bubble that come in rolls and pouches. Bubble also comes in cohesive and adhesive forms as well. The cohesive bubble bonds to itself and not the product, while the adhesive bubble bonds directly to the product. Bubble solutions are used for cushioning and surface protection.

Bubble-on-demand systems
Inflatable air solutions, including air pillows and bubble films, are one of the most common protective packaging solutions today. They are stored un-inflated and flat, but can quickly be inflated with the use of a machine. Air pillows can provide void fill, blocking and bracing, or cushioning to products. They can also help keep the weight of a package down, which is important for shipping. Bubble film is meant more for cushioning products. Like other bubble products, it is often wrapped around individual products or it can be placed on the bottom, top, and sides of a carton to protect multiple/larger items.

Often the protective packaging solutions that provide cushioning, also provide surface protection. This protective packaging keeps the product from getting scratched, scuffed, or the exterior surface of the product from being damaged.

HexcelWrap fragile wrap
Fragile wrap is a paper-based cushioning material. This material is wrapped around products to reduce damage. It can assist businesses in using less packaging material for fragile products and is curbside recyclable. Fragile wrap is used on products like glassware, ceramics, cosmetics, electronics, and more.

Foam protective packaging solutions are normally used on more expensive products to provide surface protection. You will see foam on products such as furniture, appliances, and more. Foam can come in sheets or pouches and in a variety of colors. It can also be cohesive or adhesive. Cohesive foam forms a bond to itself and not the product, while adhesive foam sticks to the product. Foam products can also be laminated with a film to provide added strength. This is known as lamifoam.

Polyair Mailers
Mailers can be made of paper or plastic. They are durable, lightweight, customizable, and are available in a wide range of sizes. Mailers normally contain bubble to protect products from damage during shipping. These are best for smaller products and can help decrease shipping costs compared to cartons.

There is a wide variety of protective packaging that offers
anti-corrosion VCI (Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor) protection. Some of these forms include poly and foam bags and films, paper, powders, and emitters. These solutions offer protection against corrosion and eliminate the use of oils rust removal, industrial degreasers, sandblasting, and more. It is important to one’s health and the environment that you choose a VCI that doesn’t include sodium nitrite. These solutions can be used in a large range of industries – automotive, heavy equipment, aerospace, electronics, precision metal, and more.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Summer has arrived and the weather is right for a bike ride. Consequently, bicycle retailers are seeing an increase in orders. That’s the good news. However, shipping bicycles poses some unique challenges.

For example, bikes are fairly expensive and easy to steal, which makes them a favorite target of thieves. They are also oddly shaped and subject to damage. These factors and others make it important that they be properly packaged. Unfortunately, as the number of orders that retailers are handling climbs, it is not uncommon for packers to start taking shortcuts.
And, the challenges are magnified for businesses that are new to shipping bikes. They want to do it right, but like all companies, want to save money where they can.

Safety & Security: What’s at Stake When Shipping Bicycles and Bike Parts?

It is important for businesses to carefully consider how they ship bicycles and bike parts. Why? There are a number of reasons. One is that many bike components — wheel spokes, shift mechanisms, etc. — are subject to damage in transit. Another, as noted above, is that bikes are attractive to thieves, and those in poorly sealed packages that make it easy for criminals to “tear and go” are even more so.

Also, if damage or theft occurs, a company can lose more than just the cost of the bicycle. Unhappy customers may be quick to share their displeasure through social media, which can do long-term damage to a business’s reputation.  

3 Ways to Protect Your Bike Shipments

Here are three proven tactics for helping ensure that the bicycles you ship reach their destination safely and damage-free:
  1. Use a strong shipping carton and proper padding. Corrugated cardboard containers work well for most shipments. Inside, ample bubble wrap or an eco-friendly alternative can ensure the bike doesn’t shift during shipping.
  2. Use the right packing tape. Water-activated tape (WAT) creates an extremely strong seal, is effective with just one strip, and shows signs of tampering, which makes thieves think twice. Plus, WAT can be branded, which makes for a better overall buyer experience. Like Amazon’s logo tape, it can create a powerful sense of anticipation and excitement in the recipient.
  3. Understand your options with shipping insurance. By one estimate, 30 percent of Americans say they have experienced package theft, and it is reasonable to expect that number to grow as the trend toward online shopping continues. Consequently, every business should look into shipping insurance. Other smart strategies include taking advantage of package tracking options and requiring a signature upon delivery.

The True Cost of Shipping a Bike

While it may cost a little more to ship a bicycle the right way, the cost of failing to do so can be much higher. You can help control the “right way” cost by making it fast and efficient for packers to prepare a bike for shipment. For example, if you use WAT, you should be sure that you are using the right dispenser for your needs. (Use our flowchart to help with your decision.) You should also take steps to maximize packing station safety and efficiency.
Finding the right carrier for your shipments is crucial as well. Bulk shipping through a major carrier may be the best option in some cases, while working with a niche carrier may make more sense in others.

Once You Get Rolling with Your Bike Shipping Practices...

The great thing about the time and effort you put into updating your bicycle shipping practices is that those processes will continue to pay dividends for years to come. Interested in learning more about water-activated tape, water-activated tape dispensers, and other products to meet your shipping needs? Contact us today!

Check out our new guide below to ensure that your business is using the proper shipping and packaging tape for your needs. 
Packaging Tape Online Guide

[This post republished from the 
Better Packages Blog]

Friday, May 24, 2019

A company’s shipping practices can have a significant impact on its success. From customer satisfaction to how shipping costs impact your bottom line, there are many factors to consider. This includes your choice of shipping materials.

At a glance, purchasing bulk shipping supplies can appear to be a cost-effective approach, especially if your company has high shipping volumes. However, as many organizations quickly learn, skimping on the way goods are packaged can have negative consequences. Not only are there costs associated with providing refunds or replacing damaged items, there are also the long-term effects of developing a reputation for “cutting corners” on shipping.

While having shipping insurance provides a measure of security in the event that something goes wrong, safeguarding your packages with top-tier shipping materials can be well worth the investment. In particular, the protective packaging, tape, and tape dispensers you use can support better overall results for your business.

Packing and Shipping Supplies:
Protective Packaging

Paper Packaging - Polyair PaperSpace Void Fill
The material used to surround an item within a carton is, of course, critical to ensuring that it arrives undamaged. Inflatable packaging, also known as bubble wrap, provides many benefits, including that it absorbs shock and is lightweight. Inflatable packaging can also be custom printed and color tinted for brand recognition.
Paper packaging is another option. It is an easy-to-use and cost-effective way to fill voids within shipping cartons and provide exceptional cushioning. Plus, it is eco-friendly and 100 percent curbside recyclable.
Yet another popular cushioning material is a product called HexcelWrap. It is an innovative paper-based wrap whose segmented design provides outstanding protection of goods such as glassware, ceramics, and generally anything fragile.  It also provides excellent packing efficiency. It is curbside recyclable and repulpable.
When temperature control is a need, products like Chill-R™ Insulated Packaging are a cold chain (i.e., temperature-controlled supply chain) solution that protects sensitive products. Chill-R is recyclable in collaboration with Goodwill® and cost-effective.

Packing and Shipping Supplies: Tape

Ensuring that shipping cartons stay securely sealed from one end of the shipping stream to the other is essential. Consequently, your choice in tape is very important. Plastic pressure-sensitive tape (PST) is one option and may be appropriate for some uses. However, water-activated tape (WAT) can be a better choice for a number of reasons. This includes preventing theft, which is an issue for many companies.
WAT creates a permanent bond with the surface of a carton and can produce a strong, tamper-evident seal with just one strip. If you are not familiar with WAT, you can learn more in A Guide for Tape Dispensing Performance Solutions.

Packing and Shipping Supplies: Tape Dispensers

IPG Water-Activated Tape and Better Pack Dispenser
A second factor in the sealing of shipping cartons is the type of dispenser you use. Your selection affects everything from safety to productivity. The hand-held tape guns commonly used with PST pose a few different risks. One is the potential for injury from the tape-cutting blade as the device is used. Another is risk of repetitive use injuries that can cause shipping team members to miss work and potentially require treatment.
If WAT is chosen for package sealing, there are two types of dispensers: manual and electric. Both support high productivity and can improve packing station safety. As a result, they can help improve your financial results.
Wondering which type of dispenser is right for your organization? Our tape dispenser selection flowchart can help you make the right choice.

A Ready Resource for Your Packaging Material Decisions

Investing in the right packing materials for shipping has many benefits. There is, of course, much to consider as you make your choice, including a variety of resources like our How to Exceed eCommerce Shipping Expectations guide. If you need guidance from one of our product experts, we’re happy to help! Contact us today.

A Guide For Tape Dispensing Performance Solutions

[This post republished from the 
Better Packages Blog]

Monday, May 6, 2019

Polyair has partnered with How2Recycle®

What is How2Recycle?

How2Recycle is a project of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. How2Recycle is a voluntary, standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public.

How2Recycle's goals are to:

Reduce confusion by creating a clear, well-understood, and nationally harmonized label that enables industries to convey to consumers how to recycle a package.
Improve the reliability, completeness, and transparency of recyclability claims.
Provide a labeling system that follows Federal Trade Commission Green Guides.
Increase the availability and quality of recycled material.  See more at: www.how2recycle.info.

The labels tell consumers:

How to prepare material for recycling.
If the product falls into one of How2Recycle’s four categories – widely recycled, check locally, not yet recycled, or store drop-off.
The type of material the product is made of.
The specific packaging component that the label is referring too.

Polyair and How2Recycle

The following Polyair product lines have been approved to use the How2Recycle labeling system. These products are typically not accepted through curbside recycling or community recycling centers. All these products are recyclable at store drop off locations (where applicable) for plastic bags:
  • Polyair Fastpak courier envelopes feature polyethylene with superior tear and puncture resistance. The silver/grey inner layer provides contents privacy and the white outer surface is ideal for high quality printing. Fastpak envelopes are made from 100% polyethylene and are store drop off recyclable.
  • Polyair Xpak bubble mailers combine the tear, weather and puncture resistance of a courier envelope with the cushioning of a Duraliner bubble lined mailer. XPAKs are also made from 100% polyethylene. The white outer surface is ideal for high-quality printing.
  • Polyair Durabubble RP has been engineered to stretch beyond its original size. This unique feature provides Durabubble RP an unmatched ability to be tightly wrapped around the contours of products, regardless of shape and size; protecting edges and sharp corners from damage. Available in both standard and anti-static form, Durabubble RP is highly puncture resistant, and is made with non-slip polyethylene film.
  • The exclusive high-performance line of Polyair AirSpace™ air pillows are user-friendly and cost-effective void fill packaging material. They can also be printed on for a customized “inside-the-box” solution. Our AirSpace G-Series machines produce air pillows for low- to high-volume e-commerce packaging operations with a small footprint and light weight for portability.

Polyair also offers protective packaging products that are curbside recyclable and have been approved to use the How2Recycle labeling system:

  • Polyair PaperSpace systems offer paper protective packaging solutions that are versatile, cost effective, easy-to-use, and eco-friendly. PaperSpace products can be used for blocking, bracing, cushioning and void fill. PaperSpace products are made with 70-100% post-consumer recycled content and are 100% curbside recyclable!

Polyair is proud to partner with How2Recycle to make it easier for consumers to understand how to recycle our products!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Protect Your Shipments

Some of the nation’s largest transportation companies have recommendations that are tried and true when it comes to surface protection and large bulky shipments. Many products, such as home furnishings, are now made overseas. So, they need to be packaged to withstand ocean transit.  Transportation can have extensive effects on the level of product damage, this includes everything from travel distance to road conditions. Shock and vibration can affect trailers, which combined with rough roads, can magnify the compressive stress on boxes by a factor of ten. Polyethylene (PE) foam can dampen the effects of vibration. This makes it an excellent protective packaging solution for products that may receive indelicate handling or involve long distance transportation.

At least 30% of all products ordered online are returned. Of those, 20% are returned because they were received with damage. - TWEET THIS


Polyair Laminated Foam - Lamifoam diagram
Polyair Lamifoam combines the cushioning properties
of foam with a film for greater resistance to punctures

A Fully Customizable Solution

PE foam is used in a variety of industries including the electronics, furniture, cabinetry, appliance, and automotive industries. This is because, like corrugate packaging, foam is easily customizable and
non-abrasive. Laminated Foam Solutions come in different film thicknesses, offering customized strength, combined with different foam thicknesses for a fully customizable solution. It is also reusable, which can cut costs for products that are created and assembled in different locations. This makes PE foam an affordable solution for many businesses.

Customer Peace of Mind

Foam is one of the best ways to secure products for shipping, but it’s not all about protection. It adds a professional aspect to the packaging that can create a positive, trusting image in the consumers’ minds. Consumers will have future peace of mind knowing that their items will arrive safely and undamaged.

Laminated Foam Goes a Step Further

At least 30% of all products ordered online are returned. Of those, 20% are returned because they were received with damage. Foam and Laminated Foam solutions (including Cohesive and Adhesive alternatives) exist to help reduce shipment damage. Your company won’t need to worry about your products getting scratched, dented, or damaged. It combines the cushioning of foam with a film laminated to the back side for strength. This imparts greater resistance to puncture and enhances ability to withstand tearing and scraping, which will allow the use of thinner foams. Thinner foams mean less foam is needed and a smaller warehouse footprint overall. One roll of Polyair 1/32” Lamifoam has the ability to replace multiple rolls of standard foam. It provides affordability and strength, while offering peace of mind and a positive image to consumers.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Padded envelopes vs. boxes: Which is the better choice for your operation?

For e-commerce businesses, packaging is a significant expense. Consequently, the choices you make regarding the materials you use can have a big impact on profitability. Two popular options are padded envelopes and boxes. Which is the better choice for your operation? That depends on a number of factors.

Padded Mailers vs. Boxes: The Advantages and Disadvantages

In order to decide whether you get greater ROI from padded mailers or boxes when it comes to shipping your merchandise, you must first consider the pros and cons of each. From there you can determine which characteristics will have the biggest impact on your shipping process and make your choice.New Call-to-action
However, before you decide which form fits your specific need you must take into account what you are shipping in the first place. If you find that your operation is shipping more textiles, then the option toward mailers is a smart and logical one. If, on the other hand, your operation is shipping breakable merchandise, then the option for box packaging with the proper internal void fill is critical to the customer experience and the likelihood that you may win the next purchase from that customer.


The advantages of padded mailers include that they are:
  • ✔ Lightweight. This means that generally they cost less to ship.
  • ✔ Inexpensive. Padded mailers tend to be competitively priced.
  • ✔ Produced with built-in item protection. Because they are padded, these mailers may not need any additional structural support.
  • ✔ Speed of packaging – In a business that counts on every second to get as many packages mailed, padded mailers pack out very quickly.
  • ✔ Small. Padded mailers take up less space when they are shipped to you by the manufacturer, which can result in cost savings. Plus, they take up less space in your warehouse or packing station. 
Like all types of packaging materials, padded mailers have disadvantages as well, including that they are:
  • ✔ Susceptible to crushing. While the padding provides a certain level of protection, padded mailers and their contents can be crushed if they wind up under a heavy box or pressed between boxes.
  • ✔ Easily torn or punctured. Padding does not prevent padded mailers from being torn or punctured and having their contents damaged. They also provide little protection from liquids.
  • ✔ Not recyclable. For companies focused on sustainability, that fact that padded mailers can’t be recycled can be an issue.
  • ✔ Unable to accommodate large items. While you can buy fairly large padded envelopes, there are still many types of items that are too large to fit into even the biggest size.
  • ✔ Not designed to handle heavy items. Padded mailers that contain heavy items are prone to tearing.
  • ✔ Best at holding one item at a time. Shipping more than one item in a padded mailer increases the risk that one or both will be damaged.


The advantages of boxes include that they are:
  • ✔ Strong. Corrugated cardboard boxes in particular are very sturdy.
  • ✔ Designed to hold heavy items. Especially when sealed with water-activated tape (WAT), boxes can be used to safely ship weighty merchandise, such as automotive aftermarket parts
  • ✔ Reusable and recyclable. Cardboard boxes can be used multiple times and then ultimately recycled.
  • ✔ Available in many sizes. From very small to very large, there is a box to meet most shipping needs.
  • ✔ Ideal for shipments that include multiple items. With the right padding, many items can be shipped in one box.
The disadvantages of boxes include that they:
  • ✔ Typically cost more than padded mailers. Boxes tend to be more expensive.
  • ✔ Typically cost more to ship than padded mailers. This is especially true when dimensional weight pricing is used.
  • ✔ Require padding. To ensure merchandise is protected when you ship it in boxes you must wrap items and fill voids.
  • ✔ Take up more space. Boxes are rigid, bulkier, and harder to store.

Choose Wisely

There are many instances when either a padded mailer or a box will work equally well. However, in others, it clearly makes sense to use one or the other. Taking the time to make these determinations will pay off in the long run. Remember as you do your assessment to consider the cost of handling returns and providing refunds when merchandise is damaged.
In situations that call for a box, WAT is the right choice for sealing the carton. Strong, tamper-resistant, and brandable, it provides the functionality e-commerce retailers need and creates a polished, professional look.
Likewise, in situations where mailers or padded mailers are the right choice, finding a reliable source of well-designed and secure mailers is critical. The rate of use is increasing daily and your operation cannot afford to be slowed or stalled for lack of packaging materials and suppliers.
To learn more about our water-activated tape, water-activated tape dispensers, and other products, please contact us at your convenience.

A Guide For Tape Dispensing Performance Solutions

[This post republished from the 
Better Packages Blog]