09 February 2017 //
by Jim Campbell
Requirements set by retail giants like Wal-Mart and Kroger, combined with widespread consumer demand for corporate social responsibility makes sustainability one of the most widely sought-after goals for the packaging industry in 2017. As a result, many industries are shifting away from full corrugated shippers for distribution.
Corrugated in Today’s Supply Chain
Patented in 1871, corrugated has played a significant role in packaging for more than 100 years. Corrugated provides stacking strength, stability and containment of products as they go through the supply chain. However, rising material costs, coupled with its energy consumption to produce and recycle, has packaging engineers and brand managers eager to find new solutions.
Two widely accepted and sustainable secondary packaging alternatives to a full corrugated shipper include tray or pad shrink with overwrap and shrink bundling (no corrugated). However, to be successful, both require the primary packaging be able to support its own weight when palletized. A third option is Tight Wrap U-Board; the combination of a corrugated U-board and a tight wrap of shrink film provides the vertical load bearing strength of corrugated and the containment of shrink film.
Vertical Fluting for Added Stability and Strength of U-Board Packaging
When compared to a full corrugated container, a Tight Wrap U-Board package eliminates the top major and minor flaps, two side vertical panels, and the minor bottom flaps. The fluting in the U-Board corrugated, which runs in a vertical orientation transfers the weight when palletized, replicating that of a full corrugated shipper. The products and U-Board are then securely wrapped together in a tight wrap of low-density polyethylene film (LDPE). The tension from the film holds the U-shaped corrugated material in a vertical orientation ensuring the package maintains its stacking strength throughout the supply chain. The sides of the package without u-board corrugated are secured with either a bull’s eye enclosure, created by passing the packaging through a heat tunnel, or a total enclosure by means of a film tuck and fold mechanism.
Benefits of U-Board Packaging
Tight Wrap U-Board packaging improves product handling through the supply chain. Product wrapped with a clear film can help prevent product damage because handlers can see inside, making them more aware of the contents and their potential fragility. Additional benefits include:
- Material Disposal. When breaking down a corrugated box, retailers must dispose of or recycle the packaging—as bulky and tedious as it may be. The U-Board is a much smaller, single layer of material that is easier to break down and uses less than half of the material as a traditional box. The LDPE enclosure can be recycled and occupies drastically less volume as well.
- Protection. U-Board packaging stabilizes and protects products that cannot support their own weight when palletized.
- Sustainability and lower lifecycle costs. Both paper products and plastics are recyclable, however, LDPE requires much less energy to produce and creates less greenhouse gases compared to other packaging.
- Space savings. The packaging takes up less space on the plant floor and in truck trailers, ultimately contributing to reduced material and transportation costs.
- Cost savings. By replacing traditional corrugated shippers with Tight Wrap U-Board packaging, there is a potential to reduce overall material and costs associated with corrugated by half.
Tight Wrap U-Board Packaging can bring significant benefits to your packaging and supply chain process by saving you time, money, and materials, not to mention doing your part to save the environment. Contact us today to discuss your packaging needs and how Tight Wrap U-Board Packaging may be right for you.