16 March 2016 //
by Matt Rose
Secondary packaging is ever evolving, which makes it easy to lose sight of some of the basics. We’ve compiled a list of key facts to help those newer to the industry learn more about secondary packaging, and to give packaging veterans a quick refresher.
1. Let’s start with the definition. Secondary packaging groups, contains and protects the primary packaging and product during shipping and distribution.
2. Like primary packaging, secondary packaging has two core packaging formats: flexible and rigid. Flexible packaging uses films. Rigid packaging uses chipboard or corrugate. The two packaging formats can be combined to leverage the benefits of a rigid pack and the cost savings of the film, as in a shrink-wrapped corrugate tray.
3. Many times secondary packaging must endure multiple rounds of shipping and handling. From initial product packaging to warehousing and re-palletizing at distribution center(s), secondary packaging must withstand varying degrees of handling in order to arrive at a retail/end-user location in perfect condition.
4.Some secondary packaging is used as shelf display units instead of being discarded. For example, shrink wrap film is removed from a shelf-ready tray printed with company and product information, and the entire tray is placed on the store shelf. This simplifies shelf re-stocking, maintains critical shelf space for the store and may improve the product appearance to the consumer.
5. End-consumers will interact with secondary packaging at club stores since they’re buying the complete multicount unit, or are exposed to larger shelf-ready trays.
6. Secondary packaging is not intended for ultra-high aesthetics as it tends to be made from inexpensive, reusable materials such as LDPE shrink film.
7. After secondary packaging is removed at the store, it is commonly recycled both for financial and sustainability reasons.
8. Many factors are considered in determining the correct secondary packaging materials and packaging methods including primary packaging needs; material costs; environmental impact; distribution center processes, and retail/end-user best practices.
9. Secondary packaging is commonly completed in the same facility where the primary packaging is created in order to streamline production and packaging processes. This can significantly reduce labor time and costs.
10. Secondary packaging can be completed using manual, semi-automated, or fully automated processes depending on the product/application and line speed.
11. Secondary packaging equipment can be designed for and operated in a variety of environments including clean rooms, dusty environments, wash down applications and refrigerated areas.
12. LDPE shrink film used in secondary packaging provides benefits beyond shipping. It can act as a tamper-evident packaging layer on a shipping unit of medical or food product; allow for easy product identification without the need for opening an outer package; or, colored to conceal product contents if an application requires it.
If you’re looking at upgrading your current secondary shrink packaging equipment, planning for a new or expanded line, or would like to review a challenging application contact EDL today. We’re happy to help!