Industrial Packaging: Functions and Materials

Industrial packaging includes a variety of materials, forms, applications, and equipment. There are multiple facets of industrial packaging, including Primary Packaging, Secondary Packaging, the function of each type of material, and the variety of applications in which you can utilize plastic industrial packaging. 

Industrial-Shrink-Film-on-a-Roll-Photo

Primary Packaging

Industrial packaging can refer to primary packaging – the packaging in which products are brought to market – (a good way to think of this is it’s often the last thing that you toss when the product is consumed, or it’s the packaging that comes directly in contact with the product)

Packaging Product
Bottles Soda, water, juice
Tubing Toothpaste, cosmetics,
Boxes Crackers, household goods, electronics
Jars Candles, Salad Dressing
Clamshells (plastic cases) Hardware (nuts, bolts, etc.), Toys
Shrink film Frozen Pizzas, Apparel

Secondary Packaging

Secondary packaging refers to protective packaging, including strapping, edge protection, stretch film (palletizing), envelopes, etc. This is the packaging that is used to protect the product in transit, storage, and on the shelf. Secondary packaging also includes –

   Air pillows         Air cushions
   AirPouches         Void fill
  Paper void fill         In-the-box-paper packaging
  Foam-in-place         Rolled bubble and foam products
  Corrosion prevention         Bubble wrap
  Paper liners         Air pouches
  Packing peanuts         Corrugated boxes
  Protective sheeting

What it’s made of: Polyethylene Film

One of the most prevalent materials in the flexible packaging industry is polyethylene (PE) film. Polyethylene is made from ethylene gas and is versatile, tough, has good clarity, and there are several variations with distinct and specific characteristics that make it a preferred material for industrial packaging applications.

There are several variations of PE film that are regularly used; three of the more popular types are LDPE, LLDPE, and HDPE. PE film is a popular flexible packaging material because of its relatively low cost, sealability, moisture barrier, and tear resistance. Its applications are versatile, ranging from uses within the agriculture, construction, and manufacturing industries. There are several different types of PE, three of the most common are:

  • LDPE – Low Density Polyethylene film
    • LDPE film is known for its toughness, flexibility, and fair transparency.
  • LLDPE – Linear-Low Density Polyethylene Film
    • Characteristics of LLDPE film include its high tensile strength, high impact and puncture resistance, flexibility, and resistance to chemicals and UV radiation.
  • HDPE – High Density Polyethylene Film
    • HDPE film is known for its high clarity and scratch resistance. HDPE film is harder, stiffer, and stronger when compared to LDPE film.

Applications for LDPE, LLDPE, HDPE films

LDPE film is often used to produce

  • Bags:
    • dry cleaning bags
    • newspaper bags
    • bread bags
    • frozen food bags
    • household garbage bags
  • Other uses include:
    • shrink wrapping
    • stretch wrapping
      • Stretch wrap is available in “hand wrap” or for “machine use”
    • bags on a roll
    • bubble packaging
    • industrial liners
    • container lids
    • toys
    • squeezable bottles

LLDPE film is used in the same applications as LDPE along with applications that require more toughness and sealability.

  • Hardware
  • Automotive parts
  • Food
  • Craft items
  • Medical devices
  • Electronic components
  • Retail applications

HDPE film is used in similar applications as LDPE and LLDPE films. HDPE is stiffer than other PE films, which is beneficial when packaging needs to retain its shape

  • medical
  • food
  • sporting goods
  • any application that might result in chemical contact with the film

These types of films are used for protective packaging, satisfying the needs of small operations (with 5 to 10 packages per day) and large operations packaging product around the clock. Different forms everyone is familiar with are bags, sheeting, tubing, casing, and liners. When you purchase anything that needs to be assembled at home, the hardware is in a PE film bag. When you see a home renovation or remodel, the plastic sheeting that is often protecting the floor or furniture is PE film. Trucks hauling equipment or pallets that are covered by plastic sheeting – polyethylene film! Garbage liners and mattress bags are also made from polyethylene films.

When it comes to industrial packaging and uses, PE film is one of the most common. You’ll find it in primary packaging, secondary and protective packaging. You’ll also find PE film in several different variations, serving multiple purposes because of its versatility and affordability.

Contact one of R.V. Evans’ sales professionals to discuss the material you’re currently using and the potential in your industrial packaging processes at 1-800-252-5894 or visit our website at www.rvevans.com

You can also email us at sales@rvevans.com or connect with us through our social sites.

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When is a label the best solution?

Even with improvements in the inkjet world on printing consistency, resolution, and bar code readability, these newer solutions are not always on par with some classic methods of labeling.

Below are 4 instances where a printer/applicator and label is the best option; saving time, money, and preventing a lot of headaches.

1. Requirement of a high bar code grade.

Some end-users require an “A” or “B” grade on all bar codes that enter their building or warehouse. If a bar codes need to be on a brown corrugate box, and requires an “A” or “B” grade, then a label is the only solution for that prospect. Inkjet bar codes on brown or kraft cases will only scan at a grade “C” level at best due to the contrast (dark to light) between the corrugate surface and the ink. The final grade for a bar code is only as high as its lowest variable. Therefore, it could have all grade “A” variables except for one, and it would still receive a “C” grade. A label, being white, produces a high contrast bar code at a higher resolution, eliminating poor bar code grades.

2. Dense bar codes.

A bar code that requires very narrow bars and spaces is difficult for an inkjet system to produce consistently. Since the inkjet system is printing directly on the carton, a mishandled product can lead to an unreadable code. Thermal transfer printers, however, can produce 300dpi bar codes and produce much denser bars than most inkjet systems. Since the labels are printed inside the printer and then applied to the case, product handling plays a smaller role in the ultimate readability of the code.

3. Glossy, Decorative Cases or Clay-Coated Chipboard

Most hi res, large-character inkjet systems do not use inks that will dry on these types of surfaces. There are some that do, but the capital is more and the consumable difference between ink and labels is less. These substrates are best suited for a printer/applicator.

4. Code location.

Needing a code on the top, bottom, front, or back of a case is another instance of needing a printer/applicator and label. Some inkjet systems can print in a downward or upward orientation, but usually with significant limitations. Having to print on the front or back of a case as it moves down a conveyor rules out an inkjet system without the process requiring additional product handling. Printer/applicators have no problem applying labels to the front, side, front and side, side and back, back, top, or any other part of a box. The more complex the application, line speeds, and label size, the more placement accuracy and other factors will need to be addressed to make sure it will be a successful fit.

Technology has had a significant impact in the marking and coding world, but a good ol’ printer/applicator and label will always have its necessary place. To learn about all the great printing solutions R.V. Evans has, visit our website or contact our printing product manager Craig Fox at cfox@rvevans.com.

3 Things You Should Know About Carton Closing

Carton Closing Stapler

Carton Closing Stapler

There are a variety of ways to close and seal a carton. The method that you choose to close the cartons in your packaging process can greatly affect the condition of the product when it arrives to your customer. If the product arrives in poor condition, it not only runs the risk of being returned with a complaint, but it hurts your company’s brand. Using the correct method to close and seal cartons can reduce material costs as well as increase shipping conditions.

There are a variety of methods for closing your cartons including staples, tape, and plastic strap. All are designed for different applications. Some of the most common use of staples and plastic strap is to keep cartons sealed that may contain heavier items that would normally rip tape, whereas tape may be used in applications where higher volume production is present.

These are very basic examples of applications where these carton closing methods would be used, in all truth, each application is unique. There are a variety of factors that must be taken into consideration in order to achieve the optimal carton closing method. 3 important factors are:

1)   Storage and Shipping

One factor that comes into play is; what is happening to the product after it is packaged and the carton is closed? If it is immediately going into ground shipment and it is a heavier item, then staples may be required to ensure that the product stays in the carton. If the product is going off of the packaging line and being placed on a skid to be stacked, you may be able to get away with tape to close the carton.

2)  Production Volume

Another factor is the volume of packaging that is occurring in the application. If you are operating with very low volume, using stick staples in a carton closing stapler may be adequate. As packaging volume increases, your method needs to change to meet the demand. Staples can also come in roll format; these are collated rolls of up to 5,000 on most Bostitch rolls. If volume increases even more, tape systems can meet the demand of higher throughput. Systems like the Wexxar BEL250 are designed to seal up to 25 cases per minute.

3)  Environmental Factors

Another factor to take into consideration is the environment in which the carton is being closed. Dirty and dusty environments can leave residue on the corrugated container making it more difficult for tape to seal, but does not affect carton closing staples. Also, if there is a void around the product, you may risk damaging the product with staples.

There are a plethora of factors that come into play when deciding whether to use tape or staples. Using the correct method will provide better results, reduce wasted material and cut down on costs. Take time to identify some of the factors that may affect your end product to ensure that you are using the correct carton closing method.

Happy Packaging!

For more information you can contact us at 1-800-252-5894 or by visiting our website at www.rvevans.com

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Carton Forming and Corrugated

There are many different options that the corrugated industry provides to meet the needs of a business. However, factors that can negatively affect corrugated are often times overlooked by companies, but it is vital that companies are aware of these factors and take steps to overcome them. The environment that corrugated is in will play a huge part in how it acts and handles during the forming process. In very dry conditions corrugated will become hard and coarse, whereas with wet conditions can often times make the corrugated soft and flimsy. Those are just the obvious ones, other factors adversely affecting the quality and behavior of corrugated as well, including:

  • The type of scoring applied by the manufacturer
  • The type of corrugated material used
  • The age of the corrugated material
  • The design of the box

The number one problem a manufacturer can face is overcoming variables that disrupt the case forming process. In order to do this, there are two very simple, yet very important steps.

Step 1: Identify and understand. Having a firm understanding of what factors can affect the case forming and closing process, along with how you can overcome these issues is the first step.

Step 2: Find a solution that meets the needs of corrugated rather than forcing the corrugated to meet the features of the machine. Whether customers require an automatic or manual process, a solution can be found. One mistake that manufacturers will make is that they will try to alter the corrugated in order to work with the machine when it should be the other way around. The R.V. Evans Company is equipped to handle cases such as Regular Slotted Cases (RSC), Half Slotted Cases (HSC), and Centre Special Slotted Cases (CSSC) / All Flaps Meet (AFM) boxes.

The process of case forming is a series of small steps that come together to form an effective and efficient process.
Wexxar/BEL has designed and manufactured a series of machines to help overcome these issues. With Servo driven machines, sensors at each step of the process ensure that the step is completed successfully before moving the box onto the next step. This prevents boxes from becoming jammed and holding up operations.
A key step in the beginning of the case forming process is known as First Case Separation. This is done first and foremost followed by the four steps involved with the actual forming of the case.
Wexxar/BEL has outlined the four steps involved in the case forming and erecting process here:

  • Step 1: Prior to separation the cases are pushed through the magazine to the separator head and against the injector blade.
  • Step 2: The separator pushes the first case downward into the caliper slot, which ensures only one box can be separated from the next.
  • Step 3: The separator retracts, releasing the case. This frees the box from the rest of the magazine. The box tilts forward and is available to be injected onto the pins.
  • Step 4: The mechanical jaw closes on the case, which is injected upward on to the pins. The outer surface of the case is metered by domes and onto the pins.

The Pin and Dome concept was originated by Wexxar/BEL. It is used after the injection system to open the box. It uses pins onto which the major and minor flaps of the case are injected. The pins slide into the flutes of the corrugated which is guided into place by domes against which the outer liner slides when the case is pushed upward. The pins and domes are situated along a mechanical jaw, which uses a hinge mechanism to open the box. This system is very successful based on the fact that it can identify and compensate for external factors that are affecting the corrugated. As mentioned earlier, it can erect cases that are dusty, wet, or have irregular surfaces.

Hot Melt Systems
Hot Melt Systems use hot glue and compression to create a strong bond. One much stronger than can be achieved using a mandrel. There are two types of Hot Melt Systems.

  • Internal compression module: It presses the end flaps into place on all four corners.
  • Swinging compression module: It swings into the case and uses active compression to compress the box closed by compressing the corners in.

Tray Formers
There are two main types of Tray Formers.

1) Vertical
2) Horizontal

These two types are exactly opposite, performing the same process in the reverse direction. Vertical Tray Formers use vertical magazines in which blanks are placed. These blanks are driven down at which time hot melt glue is applied. A mandrel strikes the box horizontally, driving the box through the machine and forming it. Horizontal Tray formers use horizontal magazines in which blanks are placed. These blanks are driven down at which time hot melt glue is applied. A mandrel strikes the box vertically, driving the box down and forming it.

Automatic Tray Locker
The Automatic Tray Locker is another type of Tray Former that forms a tray using a die-cut blank by sequentially folding the corner flaps and folding the two sides in using the tab lock feature. The tab lock feature is where the sides tuck over the other flaps and hold them into position using tabs and slots. The nice thing about this function is that it has an easy-to-load magazine that begins down near the bottom of the machine (easy to reach for employees), and travels upward to where they are dispensed at the top of the machine. The boxes then move into the case forming processes being delivered downward in front of the mandrel. The mandrel is equipped with a Servo sensor in order to either decrease or increase your production speed based on whatever speed suits your packaging process the best.

Self-locking tray former
The Self-locking tray former does exactly what it is supposed to do, lock self-locking trays. For most businesses, this is a manual process done by an employee at a table who is repeatedly locking these cases into place. As production and demand increase, automation can be introduced into the process through this machine, saving plenty of time and manual labor.

Summary
There are many different options out there for case forming and erecting. There are also many different factors that can negatively affect your production process costing you valuable time, money, and resources. Be sure to find the appropriate machine to overcome the environmental and potential issues in your process.
For more information on how you can improve your packaging process, contact the R.V. Evans Company at 1-800-252-5894 or visit our website at www.rvevans.com
You can also email us at sales@rvevans.com or connect with us through our social sites.

Happy Packaging!

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Source: http://www.rvevans.com/Packaging-Solutions/PDF/wexxar-case-tray-forming-101.pdf