A peek at new packaging products

May 01, 2010 9:30 PM  By

You may not think there’s much to improve upon when it comes to order packaging materials. After all, what else can you do to make the lowly packing peanut, crinkled kraft paper, foam and air bags better than they are?

As it turns out, plenty. Packaging products manufacturers are constantly looking to improve their offerings.

A big push in recent years has been making packaging greener, particularly since customers are concerned about the effect that dunnage or void-fill materials have on the environment.

These are just a few of the newer, more efficient packaging products that have come onto the market in the past year.

AUTOMATED PACKAGING SYSTEMS, which specializes in high-reliability bag packaging systems, in October introduced a biodegradable, three-layer co-extruded film (EOF3) for mail order fulfillment applications. This line of EarthAware bag film material is made of a unique blend of resins that offers better sealing, strength and security.

EOF3 mailbags contain a proprietary additive that causes biodegradation of the poly in nine months to five years, depending on exposure conditions. Durability and bag shelf life are not affected until the film comes in contact with biodegrading material found in landfills and home or commercial composting operations.

The co-extruded film has a flat white exterior finish that is good for label adhesion or thermal transfer imprinting of address and barcode information directly onto the bag. EOF3 bags have heavy-duty, reinforced side seals that protect against splitting during loading and loss of goods in transit.

EOF3 biodegradable mailbag film is available in 2.5 ml., 3.0 ml. and 3.8 ml. thicknesses. It is produced as Autobag preopened bags-on-a-roll and SidePouch bags-in-a-box in a wide range of sizes; custom-printed bags are also available. Customers have the option to include the EarthAware Biodegradable logo.

“With the addition of our new EarthAware biodegradable co-extruded films, customers have a variety of sustainable packaging options they can use for mail order fulfillment without compromising strength or durability,” says Chris Rempe, senior product manager for Automated Packaging Systems.

What’s more, Automated Packaging Systems recently expanded its manufacturing operations to handle increased demand for its Autobag and AirPouch materials.

The company opened a 72,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing and distribution facility in Keyser, WV, for producing mailbags and void-fill air pillow packing materials. Production will be divided between the Autobag OF3 mailbag materials for the order fulfillment market, and AirPouch void-fill packing materials, made of polyethylene, for protective packaging applications.

SEALED AIR’S BUBBLE WRAP last month introduced recycled grade cushioning with a minimum of 50% preconsumer recycled content. The material incorporates a high level of preconsumer recycled content with the patented Barrier Bubble technology of Bubble Wrap brand products, so the cushioning retains air longer, providing better protection and promoting reusability of the packaging material.

Bubble Wrap brand recycled grade cushioning is available in small and large bubble heights of 3/16″ and 1/2″. No additional color additives or dyes are used for the material, so tints will vary based on available recycled resin color.

STOROPACK, a manufacturer and service provider of in-the-box protective packaging materials, has several new products, including:

Airplus CX Reclaim Film, which combines technology with a commitment to environmental best practices. Storopack introduced Airplus CX Reclaim Film made using zero waste technology (ZWT).

This new technology reintroduces 100% reclaimed manufacturing material into the film while improving its packaging properties. The result is a triple-layer film that provides more reliable product protection and offers substantiated environmental benefits.

For instance, because the film is made of #2 plastic material, it can be picked up by nearly every curbside recycling municipality in the U.S., says Stephen Sobel, internal marketing manager for Storopack.

Product protection benefits include more impact resistance, greater seal strength, better puncture resistance and better elasticity. And a nonslip surface prevents movement in the box.

Paperplus GE incorporates a refined version of Storopack’s patented crimping technique to provide a superior, resilient and versatile paper mattress using less paper. Cost savings include source reduction, freight, protection, labor and versatility.

Foamplus Universal Foam Foamplus Universal Foam product yields a lower density, yet it offers the same strength and reliable cushion properties as materials with much higher densities.

A foam’s strength is determined by its density — usually the higher the density measured in lbs./cubic ft., the more weight it can hold, Sobel explains. The higher the density, the higher the cost on a per-pound basis.

The lower density of Storopack’s Universal Foam allows merchants to use less packing material — providing up to 35% source reduction, according to Sobel. That adds up to a potential savings of at least 10% in-the-box material costs alone.

Plus, the lighter weight foam makes packages lighter, which saves on shipping cost; there are likely other benefits with potential cost savings through less handling.

Pelaspan Bio is certified compostable and 100% biodegradable. Pelaspan Bio is a natural product made from corn and potato starch. It can be safely disposed of domestic waste and leaves no harmful residues as it naturally disintegrates in water without polluting groundwater resources.

Storopack’s proprietary “S” shape design interlocks inside the box to create a strong protective cushion, reduce migration and increase carton stability.

Pad Loc cushioning pads, reusable up to 20 times, let you create instant custom packing protection while saving up to 50% over limited-use, die-cut, preformed packing materials. The company boasts that drop tests have proven Pad Loc’s effective protection and excellent shock and vibration absorption.