When addressing potential shipping damage to your product, one needs to consider all the sources of damage to ensure that you have adequately addressed packaging protection. Different packaging systems may address one type of damage, but be woefully inadequate for others. The following are common issues that cause damage during shipping, storage and transport.
Impact: this is probably the most common issue that we think of when we worry about damage during shipment. This would include crates or packages dropped, flipped or sliding into another object. Impacts can occur while cargo is jostling around in shipping or cargo containers during transport or being dropped during loading or unloading. Custom foam packaging is probably the most common and effective method for mitigating impact. It is designed to absorb impact force thereby deadening or distributing the force and preventing it from acting directly on the product you are trying to protect. Handling monitoring and measurement systems can be used to directly assess the type of impact that a package may have experienced.
Crushing/ Compaction: Packages can undergo compression forces when heavy items are stacked on top or when other crates are pushed against it by a loading mechanism such as a fork lift. Compression is different than impact which is momentary. Foam, which works great for absorbing impact, is less effective for compression over a period of time. Some of the compression may be absorbed by foam, but eventually the foam will transfer the compression force to the product. Sturdy container walls are the best defense against compression.
Corrosion: It is surprising how frequently manufactures dismiss the risk of corrosion during shipment. Containers can traverse through a variety of uncontrolled environments that can promote corrosion. Moisture is a cause, salts are an accelerator. Even during domestic shipping, a product can see enough moisture and ionic elements to cause corrosion in a very short time frame. Corrosion inhibiting systems such as Cortec’s VpCI products have proven extremely effective at preventing corrosion during shipments.
Temperature: Temperature extremes can damage perishable products, delicate electronic products or products with sensitive plastics. A crate sitting out in a hot sun can reach temperatures in excess of 140 degrees F, even if the ambient temperature is relatively mild. Objects absorb the radiant energy from the sun and will reach temperatures far greater than the air temperature. Generally wood crates are not very efficient transmitters of energy so they don’t get as hot, but packaging and crating can have metal straps or plates the will absorb and transmit energy. Shipping during extreme cold conditions can also have an adverse effect on your products. Packaging containers can have some temperature control, and there are shipping companies that will ensure that your product stays within a certain temperature range during transport. Maintaining temperature control may be challenging throughout the transport life of the package. It is highly recommended that temperature monitoring products such as ShockWatch® environmental monitoring is used to assure that a product did not experience temperatures beyond the recommended limits.
Humidity: Humidity is another extremely difficult aspect to control. Long term humidity exposure can promote corrosion, but humidity can directly affect some products such as electronic equipment or sophisticated test equipment. There are a number of strategies that can be used for controlling humidity such as shrink wrapping with desiccant bags, and or using Cortec products to inhibit the corrosion effects of moisture.
Packnet has the experience and engineering expertise to address all types of damage risk to your product, using a variety of different materials and processes to create and test a custom packaging solution to meet your exact needs.