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.