void fill

The benefits of a foam-in-place system

Getting packaging decisions right is crucial for any company that has a need to ship products. If an order arrives broken at the buyer's door – whether the buyer is a consumer or another business – that relationship will also be damaged.

Depending on what a company regularly ships, packaging decisions can be relatively simple or complex. Shipping fairly durable items, such as books or clothing, minimizes the risk of damage. Boxes or even bags with minimal void fill should do the trick. In these instances, it's important to contain and protect, but there is little chance of breakage.

Other items are more sensitive to shock and motion during transport. Expensive electronic items, anything made of glass or ceramics and other delicate items require more forethought into the packaging decisions. If they have a unique shape, this could cause even more difficulty in deciding which protective packaging solution is best.

An all-inclusive solution
One popular type of packaging for these instances is foam-in-place. This is for good reason: Foam is incredibly shock-absorbent, and foam-in-place systems are highly versatile.

Foam-in-place systems involve two chemicals combining in real time to form a unique foam mold around the product itself. The mixture is collected in a polyethylene bag to protect the item itself, then rapidly expands, encapsulating the product in its own custom shell.

DoItYourself noted that the item is typically placed in the box or container in which it will be shipped first. Once the foam is applied, the package is ready to go. However, a company can also create a wooden mold for an item so the foam protection can be created without the item actually being present.

Storage ease
When making packaging decisions, there are more factors at play than effectiveness and consumer satisfaction, though these are two of the most important ones. Beyond them, however, businesses must think about ease of use, the ability to stock up on an item and cost-effectiveness.

In each of these aspects, foam-in-place systems have an advantage.

When the two chemicals come in contact, they rapidly expand as much as 200 times in size. This makes for thick and sturdy packaging around the item, but it also demonstrates how little room the pre-combined liquids take up. They can be stored away easily without getting in the way of other tasks that need to be accomplished or other materials and goods that need to be stored in the same location.

A foam-in-place system can keep motors safe during transport.
It's important to keep motors safe during transport. A foam-in-place system can absorb shock and vibrations during transport.

Learning curve
Using foam-in-place systems can also be very easy to learn for packers. According to Packaging World, Pregis' foam-in-place system, Maxwell, accomplishes this effectively. The system comes complete with an interface that allows the owner to provide instructional videos or photos to help packers understand how to operate the device. This is important considering the versatility of foam-in-place systems typically leads to many different items being packaged with it.

"In packaging operations which rely on FIP, workers are typically asked to package many different types of products," John Gee, IntelliPack Systems' national sales manager, explained. "Maxwell is capable of providing specific instructions regarding both material usage and bag placement for optimum protection. The operator can look at the screen to follow easy-to-understand photos or videos. These are also ideal for training and troubleshooting. Maxwell takes the guesswork out of the FIP packaging operation."

This also allows for a package to have great protection without excess packaging materials. In today's world where dimensional weight is a concern for businesses trying to keep shipping costs down, this is essential. Packers can also control how much foam is used for an item, giving them the ability to ensure the result isn't wasteful yet the package arrives perfectly intact.

Custom casing
Since the product forms the protective casing around the item quickly, production can be sped up. Packers won't need to strategize wrapping techniques or carefully-placed void fill materials because the foam creates a shell as unique as the shape and size of the item.

For those businesses shipping delicate or irregularly-shaped items, a foam-in-place system could be the best way to ensure packages are delivered with care.

PAPERplus Shooter

PAPERplus Shooter

Shooter mechanically creates multi-layer void-fill, automatically cuts the paper and “shoots” the pad directly into the box. The system increases productivity, saving time and reducing worker fatigue by replacing slow manual crumpling and packing. In addition the enhanced crimping system yields a bulkier paper cushion that maximizes one-ply paper to save on material costs. Enhanced crimping system creates multi-layer void-fill that provides greater yield from one-ply paper Very fast — variable speed output of 306 - 576 fpm automatically dispenses void-fill into the carton — virtually eliminates manual folding and crumpling Cuts paper automatically to reduce worker fatigue and increase productivity Tabletop and floor stand models to suit any packing environment Reduce, reuse, recylable Floor Model Specifications Size: 69" H x 24" W x 24" D Weight: 63 Ibs Power: 110 v Speed: 306 - 576 fpm Tabletop Model Specifications Size: 40" H x 18" W x 24" D Weight: 39 Ibs Power: 110 v Speed: 306 - 576 fpm High-speed paper void-fill dispensing system PAPERplus ® Shooter — Fast filler and flexible features With lightening speed of up to 576 fpm, the PAPERplus ® Shooter boosts packing production by combining high-speed equipment with a unique pulling system that unwinds paper from the inside of the roll to quickly and easily create filler as needed. Plus, this well constructed, high-tech machine offers ergonomics and flexible features for working comfort and improved productivity. Variable speed capability allows fit-for-purpose application and helps control cost Enhanced crimping system traps air to create better void-fill yield using less paper Automatic cutting and hands-free foot pedal operation provide better ergonomics and faster throughput On-demand option allows for cost-control in batch packaging applications. Paper roll comes in specially designed dispensing carton for fast and easy roll change Ergonomic height adjustment for operator benefit Free rotating head for packing flexibility [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE4ZII35vBA&w=560&h=315]