What Does the Future Hold for Cardboard?

We can all agree that the economy has not been exactly ideal over the past few years. Many companies have had to close their doors and stop operating due to lower demands and profit margins. Industries from retail to food to transportation have all taken a hit, but circumstances for the future are finally looking up. The transportation industry shows a promising comeback for shipping supplies. Since many consumers are beginning to purchase more and more items online, the US box demand is estimated to hit $36 billion by 2016 (a 2.6% annual increase). Whether shipments are coming from Tokyo or Miami, the products are placed in corrugated boxes, taped and secured, and slapped with labels to be sent on their way.

corrugated boxes miami
Fanfold cardboard

In four years corrugated boxes and solid fiber boxes will post the fastest gain. This is because the corrugated box is the shipping container of choice for a broad array of durable and nondurable goods due to its strength and reliability. As far as markets are concerned, great opportunities lie in the chemical/pharmaceutical and food (carry-out) markets. Food is actually the fastest growing market and was responsible for 50% of the total corrugated box demand in 2011. Another promising factor is the rebound in construction expenditures. Increased appliance purchases for construction will help propel healthy gains for corrugated boxes. Boxes and folding cartons sporting high-quality graphics and printing will also generate great demand, as will retail- or shelf-ready containers, which are also expected to gain ground.

Another material benefiting from this economic comeback is fanfold cardboard. Demand for folding paperboard boxes is expected to increase 1.7% yearly to $9.8 billion in 2016, trailing the corrugated box pace as a result of strong competition from flexible packaging and mini-flute materials. These folding boxes are less expensive than custom size boxes – all you need to do is cut to the desired length and wrap the material around large items.

With time, the US economy will thrive and industry demand struggles will be a thing of the past. Now do your part and start that online ordering!

Sticky Problems, Easy Solutions

packaging tape
Pouch/Pad tape

If you wish to add that extra “umph” to your packaging, consider adding pouch packaging tapes and adhesive pads to your inventory. Both of these adhesives protect paperwork from moisture, tearing, and smudging on the exterior of packages. Whether you need to include work instructions, important documents, or promotional information, these little pouches are ideal to meet all these needs. Pouch packaging tape is made from clear polypropylene with a synthetic rubber adhesive. It can stretch around bulky documents with glue on all four edges, leaving the center adhesive-free to allow room for paperwork. These pouches are extremely efficient because they are linerless and allow for an effortless peel and stick application that will not pop or rub off. Usually, this packaging tape is equipped with a bright-colored (red or orange) border with messages like “Packaging list enclosed” or “Documents enclosed”. Packaging pads are very similar to pouches, just a little thicker. The pads are portable, convenient, and pre-cut with easy peel liner strips. They also feature an adhesive-free center for paperwork and some form of “Documents enclosed” message border. Since they are pre-cut and ready for application, pads require no bulky dispensers or cutting tools.

packaging tape
Business forms tape

Another type of useful packaging tape is business forms tape. The backing on this tape is wider than the adhesive, leaving the tape with a dry edge and making it easier to remove. Business forms tape is also referred to as extended liner tape and can be processed from paper, plastic, or unsupported adhesives for permanent or removable applications. It is perfect for envelopes, bags, lightweight signs, and business forms. Within the category of business forms packaging tape, there are four specific types of adhesives:

1. T-tak tape is tissue paper soaked in an aggressive rubber based adhesive. It sticks well to paper, light plastics, and metal services.

2.Hi-Lo tapes are double coated with a permanent adhesion on the “hi” side and a removable adhesion on the “lo” side. This tape is widely used to make reclosable bags, temporary signs or displays, and removable labels.

3. Unsupported adhesive tapes (or transfer tapes) are made from pure adhesives, almost like rubber cement on a roll. There is no internal structure to support the adhesive so they can be fussy to work with.

4. Last but not least there are bag-making tapes. These tapes have a plastic backing that can be side welded during the bag-making process and are either permanent or removable.

Who ever said packaging tape was a simple industry? The endless variety of tape offers solutions for all your sticky problems while simultaneously adding value to your products and company.

It’s Just Cardboard…Right?

cardboard shipping containers
These multi-depth boxes are scored so you can easily cut them to the height you need

Like many inventions, cardboard shipping containers were born by sheer accident. In the 1870s an American printer named Robert Gair cut a paper seed bag by mistake with a metal ruler. He quickly realized he could create a sturdier container with paperboard. Fast forward 140 years later – cardboard boxes are produced from a variety of materials in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. There are three main materials cardboard shipping containers are made with today: corrugated fiberboard, paperboard, and recycled items. Corrugated fiberboard consists of a folded flute corrugated sheet encased in one or two flat linerboards. (The linerboards are generally from containerboards, which are paper-thick.) Fiberboard was first used in the mid 19th century to bundle pottery and glass containers and is now widely used to produce containers and corrugated boxes for shipping and storage. Another option when manufacturing cardboard shipping containers is paperboard. Paperboard is thicker and stronger than paper and is either singled stuffed or multi-ply. It is extremely lightweight and can be transformed into containerboard, folding boxboard, bleached/unbleached board, or chipboard. Finally, there is the increasingly popular recycled cardboard shipping container. Solid wood pulp manufacturers usually make recycled products by turning old boxes and sheets into useable materials. These alone result in a 24% power savings and thus less space occupied at your local landfill.

cardboard shipping containers
This easy fold mailer has an efficient adhesive strip to secure your package

These three materials are usually transformed into your standard square shipping or storage box; however, multi-depth boxes and easy-fold mailers are two other options. Multi-depth cardboard shipping containers have sides creased at intervals, so all you need to do is cut to the desired height and you have a custom-sized carton with a perfect fit. These boxes are strong, durable, and are usually produced from corrugated fiberboard. By using these adjustable containers, you can save money and warehouse space.

Easy-fold cardboard mailers can either be corrugated or not, and when first impressions matter, they are an excellent product to consider. Mailers offer protection for mailing, storing, shipping, and displaying products. They are crush resistant and require no glue, tape, or staples. Instead, they are equipped with an adhesive strip for sealing and an easy-open tear tab for quick access. These cardboard shipping containers can be custom printed to provide that extra detail that will distinguish your company from the rest.

Metal Adhesive Tapes

Paper, cloth, polyester, and metal – tapes are made of many different materials to meet the demands in a variety of industries. Particularly used in the industrial, appliance, marine, and aerospace industries, foil adhesive tapes offer economical solutions for a number of tasks. Foil tapes are mainly desired because they offer extreme malleability and conform well to irregular and curved surfaces. The three most common foil tapes are aluminum, lead, and copper.

adhesive tapeAluminum adhesive tape can either be manufactured with rubber or acrylic glues, with or without a liner. A rubber adhesive is efficient for moderate demand applications. The tape is soft aluminum foil coated with an aggressive hot melt synthetic rubber paste and has a removable release liner. More aggressive versions are used for fiberglass duct board systems on seams and joints to maintain the integrity of the vapor barrier. Acrylic adhesive tapes are also used for vapor barrier protection, as well as for waterproof sealing, heat reflection & dissipation, and masking in paint stripping & electroplating. If the tape is processed without a liner it is self-wound, making it an excellent harness wrap tape. Utilized for non-critical applications (sealing out dust and moisture), the non-lined foil adhesive tape saves time and labor in stripping of release liners and produces much less waste. Since it is widely used in refrigerated appliances and microwave ovens, the high reflectivity assures effective heat, light interference, and electrical insulation shielding. Overall, aluminum foil tape is an aggressive, long-lasting, pressure-sensitive adhesive that demonstrates superior bonding when exposed to both sub-zero and elevated temperatures.

Copper foil adhesive tape is the second type of foil tape. It has excellent solderability and creates a superior bond. Preferred in the telecommunications industry, copper foil tape can be conductive and has a very low rate of electrical resistance. It is also used for electro-static shielding, cable wrapping, stained glass work, and other arts and crafts. Many users also choose this tape because it is annealed and non-tarnishing.

Last, we have lead foil adhesive tape. This is made of 100% pure lead foil and is highly pliable for the most intricate patterns. It can be applied to metal, glass, films, foils, or paper as a mask to eliminate the chemical impacts of electroplating or chemical milling. Like the other two types, lead foil tape can be applied as a moisture barrier or for thermo pane window sealing and has a weather, solvent, and heat resistant coating.

All in all, the shiny, UV resistant foil backing on these adhesive tapes offers unlimited benefits. An enhanced appearance, excellent reflective and flame retardant properties, and resistance to cracking and lifting around irregular surfaces are just a few advantages that come to mind. Purchase your first roll and find out for yourself!

The Amazing Toppclip

As one of the distribution leaders for shipping supplies in Miami, TOTALPACK has explored various products to help companies reduce operational costs and increase their overall efficiency. One tool that has caught the eye of many is the amazing Toppclip. Toppclips are designed to secure a pallet by indicating evidence of tampering with banding or strapping. Thieves can easily access pallets with conventional banding and remove or replace it with little skill or effort. Once this banding is removed, the contents can be removed or contraband can be added. By adding Toppclip to your inventory of shipping supplies, these pilferage problems will diminish. Once applied on crates, totes, or slip trays, this handy tool makes tampering or replacement of the banding extremely difficult without leaving signs of meddling.

The Toppclip is comprised of a metal clip for banding, a plastic adjustable seal, and a tamper evident warning label. The combination of these shipping supplies provides an armored seal to keep thieves out. The great thing about this tool is each component has a unique serial number. If the shipper records the number before sending the package and the receiver verifies it upon arrival, both individuals are assured that no one has tampered with the package, decreasing stress and concern on both ends. The Toppclip meets the chain of custody specifications of the TSA for sealing CCSF (Certified Cargo Screening Facilities) containers.

shipping supplies miamiAdding the Toppclip to your shipping supplies portfolio, whether you operate in Miami or not, will greatly benefit your company. If your shipments are damaged or stolen, your company has to resend the package all over again (this entails labor, shipping, and insurance expenditures). So why not initially avoid all the hassle and invest in a Toppclip? Here is a step-by-step installation guide to show you how easy this one-of-a-kind instrument is to apply:

1) Prepare the pallet – use cardboard or wood panels

2) Tension the strapping – continuous with no crimps (any other crimping devices would be a sign of tampering)

3) Crimp metal clip to secure banding

4) Crimp adjacent clip

5) Tension cross strapping

6) Crimp second metal clip

7) Crimp second adjacent clip

8 ) Punch hole in strapping – position punch over the hole in the metal Toppclip. Punch 1/8” diameter hole in the strapping through the Toppclip hole.

9) Affix the plastic seal – thread through the hole and into the plastic seal and cinch tight

10) Affix the wire seal – through the hole, rotate the tab to cinch tight. Break off the tab to minimize meddling

11) Affix the tamper evident label

12) Record serial numbers

13) Send your shipment!

Stretch Netting

stretch wrapStretch wrap is most commonly used to wrap pallets and secure items together as one bulk shipment. However, many different industries use various types of stretch wrap to meet their needs. One popular kind of film is stretch netting, which is lightweight stretch wrap manufactured with little holes for ventilation. This is widely used to protect flowers, produce, dairy, meat, lumber, and many other products across an array of industries. Stretch netting is made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and has a standard strength of 140lbs. Companies use this type of stretch wrap primarily if they face problems with condensation causing the product(s) to spoil. For instance, some products are boxed and palletized while they are still warm, so this gives moisture time to collect on the inside of the cling film and eventually deteriorates the boxes and sometimes damages the goods themselves. Condensation also causes other problems such as rust on tins and caps, discoloration of packaging and labels, and impaired performance of glues. Due to its well-vented makeup, this stretch wrap also shortens freezing and defreezing time because the moisture can escape faster and products are subject to an even cooling process. In addition to eliminating condensation and allowing frozen products to evenly thaw, stretch netting maintains the freshness of perishable products by providing optimal air circulation (mainly for plants and produce).

stretch wrapVery similar to netting is a specific type of stretch wrap called Air Flow. Air flow is a die cut pallet wrap that services the agricultural, industrial, and manufacturing industries. Just like the stretch netting, Air Flow releases condensation from the pallet, reduces spoilage, and evenly cools products wrapped in the film. This wrapping is recyclable and requires less landfill space, reducing your company’s waste output. Air Flow is practical for any business, saving labor time and effort by its quick and easy installation. The film works on conventional stretch wrap machines, never has to be tied off, and only requires one person to apply.

The next time you need to ship an item that requires air ventilation to either preserve its freshness or prevent it from spoiling, consider stretch netting as an alternative. This stretch wrap netting is extremely efficient, cost effective, and ensures that no internal heat will materialize. This product is available upon request at a competitive price at TOTALPACK. Just call 305-597-9955 today!

When to Use a Crate

packaging shipping suppliesIf you’re shipping smaller mundane objects long distances, there is a standard protocol when it comes to packaging and shipping supplies. You locate a box or envelope, place the product(s) inside, fill any empty space if necessary, address the package, and send it on its way. However, what do you do if you need to send large, heavy, or awkward items? Whether you’re moving to a different state or just sending a gift, you wouldn’t leave your new Harley Davidson behind simply because you can’t find an appropriate box. Lucky for you and your new motorcycle, there are shipping supplies designed specifically for this purpose.

Crates are widely used as a solution to this problem. They are large shipping containers often made of wood, steel, or aluminum. (Wood is usually preferred due to its light weight). There are also smaller plastic crates available that are used largely in the food and beverage industry for the delivery of bottles and other fragile items. The main benefit of crates is that they have a self-supporting structure, with or without a cover. The three main types of crates are closed, open, or framed. Closed crates are made with plywood or lumber boards. If made with lumber, gaps are often left between the boards to allow for expansion. Open crates typically use lumber for sheathing (covering), which is usually gapped at various distances. With larger gaps, boards are considered cleats. Cleats are shipping supplies that provide support to a panel when that panel has reached a size that may require added support based on the method of transportation. (They can be placed anywhere between the edges of a given panel). Last there are framed crates, which are not covered at all. Framed crates only contain a skeletal structure and no material is added for surface or pilferage protection.

Crating is a great alternative if you’re sending unique items and are in need of packaging and shipping supplies. Depending on your preference, they can either be custom made or reusable. It is important to know that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) only allows closed crates on airplanes because they are 100% safe unlike open or framed crates, so keep this in mind when ordering your shipping supplies. Some companies provide their customers with extra shipping supplies when you purchase a crate (bags, tapes, etc.) to distinguish themselves as a “one-stop shop”.

The next time you need to ship artwork or large machinery, consider crating as your number one choice for packaging supplies.

Stretch Film 101

stretch film
Workers unloading rolls of stretch film

Using stretch film to wrap your pallets is the most popular packaging method. Stretch filmoffers protection from weather and debris and is cost effective, recyclable, and adaptable to almost any load. Previously we have discussed the simple differences between stretch film and shrink wrap, but there is more than meets the eye to this highly stretchable plastic film. As mentioned before, stretch film is used to tightly wrap products as one on pallets for shipment or storage. We will be discussing three very common types of this film along with how to successfully secure and wrap a pallet.

The first and most cost effective stretch film is cast film. It is manufactured using a cast extrusion process; the thermoplastic material is melted and extruded through a flat die onto a chill roll, where it is quenched and re-solidified. Cast stretch film offers excellent clarity, reduces the force required to stretch, and increases tear resistance. Great advantages of this film are its low cost and superior cling (the double-sided cling provides additional security). However, it does not offer the load or holding power of other films nor the same amount of memory. The bottom line: if you’re looking for a low-cost stretch film that still ensures security and keeps your items tightly bound, cast film is the perfect fit.

Next is blown stretch film, which is manufactured using a blown extrusion process. Plastic melt is extruded through an annular slit die (usually vertically) to form a thin-walled tube. Air is then added via a hole in the center to blow up like a balloon while and air ring blows onto the film to cool it. Blown stretch film offers many benefits cast film does not. It is a higher quality film and it is equipped with a higher load capacity, stretch capacity, and degree of memory. Due to all its perks, the cost of blown stretch film is higher than other films. This film does have poor clarity due to crystallization in the manufacturing process.

stretch film
Blown stretch film in the manufacturing process

The third film we will compare is opaque stretch film. This is more of a specialty film used with valuable shipments to detour pilferage by completely masking the products. Since it offers a sturdier security shield, it helps protect packages from UV rays and prevents potential rain, dew, and dust damage. Opaque stretch film is available in a variety of colors and outlasts regular clear film during extended outdoor storage. Whether you need to protect expensive shipments or color-code a number of packages, opaque stretch film will do the job.

Once you’ve decided on which stretch film you will need, it is imperative to know how to secure the items on the pallet properly. Follow these steps and you will have a beautifully wrapped pallet so tight your packages won’t even dream of escaping!

1. Cut about 1 yard off the roll and squeeze 8-10” of the end together to form a rope.

2. Thread the rope through one corner of the pallet.

3. Begin around the base, wrapping the stretch film around approximately 5 times while keeping the film tight.

4. Slowly work your way up the box, focusing on keeping the wrap snug.

5. Once you have reached the top, push the top boxes to see if they move. If they shift at all, wrap your way down to the bottom of the pallet.

6. If your package does not move at all, you have successfully wrapped your pallet and do not have to worry about your shipment shifting in transit!

Stretch Film vs. Shrink Wrap

These two terms are often used interchangeably for packaging purposes. Yes, both are used to wrap and secure items that are being packed, stored, or transported. However, stretch film and shrink wrap are two entirely different materials with distinctive properties and uses.

shrink wrap
Stretch film is used to bundle objects together and clings to itself

First, we have stretch film. Stretch film is typically bigger and longer than shrink wrap and has the ability to expand. It is usually a clear plastic material (similar to saran wrap) that is made out of polyethylene plastics. The film is designed to bundle multiple products together or to provide stability to a package of items (usually on a pallet). Stretch film tends to cling together as it is wrapped over itself, creating an easy seal, and tension is required for strength and security.

Stretch film is applied two different ways: manually or with a machine. Manual application of the film simply involves an individual holding the spool of film and walking around the package to secure it. Application with a machine can be done with either a semi-automatic or automatic mechanism. Typically, a company would want to invest in one of these machines if they were wrapping more than 15 loads a day. They not only increase efficiency but also reduce the total amount of waste produced. In addition to the clear stretch film, there are many other varieties available. Here are a few: UV stretch wrap, vented pallet wrap, anti-static film, colored stretch film, and pre-stretched stretch film.

shrink wrap
A heat gun seals and tightens shrink wrap around a bundle of items

In contrast, shrink wrap does not have the same stretchy or clingy saran wrap properties. Instead, it is made from polymer plastic films and is designed to package a single product or hold items together. Shrink wrap is placed loosely around the item once and cut around the product using a heat sealer or shrink wrap bar. This film provides a tamper-proof barrier and protection from moisture and dust during transportation or storage. If shrink wrapping has been properly applied, you should have no issues with chafing or damage and the package should represent a professional wrapping job. Some advantages of this film include fewer odors when sealed, a stronger overall seal, and more flexible storage. Also, shrink wrap has the option of being ventilated, therefore reducing any damage that can occur from moisture.

Multiple industries use shrink wrap for a number of different tasks. For instance, it can be used to wrap buildings or roof parts especially after some disasters (such as hurricanes and tornadoes). It can also facilitate safer removal of asbestos and other hazardous materials. This film is especially popular when it comes to CD/DVD manufacturers and food items such as cheese and meats.

Shrink wrap and stretch film are certainly intended for different purposes. Nonetheless, it is good to know that both of them are recyclable and have numerous uses. Now that you are familiar with the distinctions between these two, it is easier for you to determine what type to order from your service provider.

What is a Gaylord Box?

moving boxesOften called a “bulk box” or “tote box,” a recent trend in the utilization of moving boxes has caused industries to adopt Gaylord boxes into their daily routines. Manufactured differently than basic moving boxes, Gaylord boxes are built for storage. If you have multiple products that do not conform neatly into a stackable, modular load, these boxes are the perfect fit. They are designed to hold up to 1,800 pounds and work flawlessly when moving large shipments.

Gaylord boxes are made from corrugated fiberboard, which is either double or triple wall for added strength. Some have flaps on the bottom of the main body to attach to the base while others have a separate base (similar to the cover) and a sleeve for the sidewalls. Different types of Gaylord boxes also come with an optional lid to completely seal the container.

The great advantage of these large moving boxes is the ability to store and transport large, bulk quantities. Also, most are constructed to fit pallets to ensure easy vertical loading. Industries might use Gaylord boxes for loose parts, mixed small containers, granular materials, powders, liquids, and sometimes to collect and ship materials for recycling and waste. Due to the large capacity of these moving boxes, transporting hazardous bulk items is not entirely safe, so extra measures must be enforced. For instance, when companies are shipping hazardous waste or dangerous goods, the construction and use of the Gaylord boxes are highly regulated.

All in all, Gaylord moving boxes are extremely durable and their secure construction outlasts standard corrugated boxes. They reduce handling time, discourage pilferage, and decrease the risk of damage or loss during storage and transit. If you need to consolidate smaller moving boxes into a single container, Gaylord boxes are definitely the way to go.