Can Shrink Bundling Really Beat Corrugate for Stability?

Posted on January 22 2016 by Jarlath Harkin

iStock_000035032658_blog.jpgWhile it may seem counterintuitive, there are many circumstances where shrink bundling with LDPE delivers increased stability compared to corrugate shipping containers — while also delivering material cost savings and environmental benefits.

The biggest stability challenge with corrugate shipping containers arises when excess headspace within the box—along with external factors such as moisture or overtight pallet stretch wrap—cause the container to become compromised. While one way to overcome this issue would be to increase the container’s board strength and/or corrugate style, doing so will add even more cost to the secondary packaging.

By using the shrink-bundled product itself for structural support, there is no headspace that can collapse and compromise the integrity of the pallet load. Additionally, bundling can self-compensate for product height variations, as can be seen with products that are subject to bulk-density changes.

How to Determine if Shrink Bundling is a Feasible Option

The primary factors that must be determined when analyzing whether a product is suitable for bundling are, if the product can support its own weight through the distribution channel and if the packaging can hold up to shrink bundling.

For example, consider the differences between bags of dry pet food versus bags of potato chips.

When shrink bundled and stacked on a pallet, bags of dry pet food will support their own weight. Bags of potato chips won’t stand up to shrink bundling, because the bag and product aren’t sturdy enough to withstand being shrink bundled – the product will be crushed and/or the bag seals will burst. And even if the product weren’t damaged, the bundled product wouldn’t be dense enough to stack on a pallet and be stable.  

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Other factors to consider when determine whether shrink bundling may be a better option than corrugate containers for your product include:

  1. Does the product completely fill the corrugated shipper every time, including changes in bulk density? If not, the corrugated shipper must be sufficiently strong to carry the entire load of the maximum dynamic load the product will ever be subject to.
  2. Will the secondary package be subject to environmental conditions that may compromise the strength of the corrugated shipper? The most typical example of this would be humidity/moisture throughout the distribution channel, but another example is the potential for a liquid spill from one secondary package to migrate and compromise several other secondary packages or even an entire pallet.

Don’t assume that secondary packaging with corrugated shipping containers is always going to result in the most stable load. Oftentimes, if the product is suitable for bundling there is a good possibility the completed bundle will meet or exceed the stability of a corrugated shipping container.

Want to learn more about the benefits of bundling your product? Contact us today.

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This entry was posted in LDPE, Shrink Bundling Systems