Warehouse trucks: What you need to know to get things moving

Warehouse vehicles are essential for most businesses that handle goods and products. The use of such vehicles allows the safe transport of products and materials from manufacturing to storage, distribution and then onto retail. It’s important to use the correct equipment when handling loads to maintain the health and safety of employees, it also contributes to business efficiency, protecting items from any unnecessary damage.

Warehouse equipment

In this post we’ll be taking a look at a variety of warehouse equipment in detail, from manually operated sack trucks to powered pallet trucks so you can ensure that your business is running efficiently and safely.

What different warehouse trucks are available?

Warehouse trucks come in a wide range of weights, models and dimensions suited to many different tasks. There is so much choice available, from manually operated pallet trucks and sack trucks, to semi-automatic scissor lifting tables, right up to huge hydraulic lifters and even totally self-functioning robots!

If robotics are a bit beyond your current reach, don’t worry! We offer a range of sack, platform and pallet trucks all in different sizes so you can keep your product distribution flowing without a hitch.

What is a sack truck?

Heavy duty and budget sack trucks

Commonly used for lighter loads, a sack truck works by levering the weight of an item, balancing it over the trucks’ wheels allowing it to be transported easily. They were originally used in the 18th century by young harbour workers who were employed to move heavy bags of spices around the docks.

Sack trucks are commonly made from materials such as aluminium, steel tubing or high impact plastic, making them lightweight and versatile for a range of duties. But what is a sack truck used for? The sack truck’s purpose is to transport goods from one place to another. This could be a stack of heavy boxes, machinery or even used by baggage handlers to move heavy luggage.

Sack trucks are extremely versatile, cost effective and easy to use. They allow one warehouse operative to move something that may otherwise take 2 or 3!. Even though they are easy to use, knowing how to use a sack truck safely is very important and to also warehouse errors.

Firstly, check the truck and wheels before use to make sure it’s not damaged, and ensure the load does not exceed the weight limit of the truck. Carefully place the load on top of the toe (this is the flat metal piece that rests on the floor) so it’s ready to be lifted, and make sure it’s secured before gently pulling the top of the sack truck towards you and pushing forward.

As sack trucks require no formal training to operate, it’s important to feel confident and know exactly what to do when operating one. If you have concerns, do speak to your supervisor or the manufacturer of the truck before using it.

What is a pallet truck?

What is a pallet truck

As the name suggests, pallet trucks are machines designed for lifting and moving pallets. They’re a basic form of forklift truck and are mostly used to move pallets and their goods around warehouses. They come in 2 main forms; manual and electric powered. For this post we will be focusing on manual pallet trucks which are commonly used in warehouses and in the retail sector.

If you’re looking at purchasing a pallet truck you may be wondering how much does a pallet truck weigh? The answer entirely depends on the pallet truck you may be considering – we currently offer 7 of the most popular manual pallet trucks but there are countless more available in the marketplace.

A pallet trucks’ weight is not necessarily an indication of how much it can lift. So then, what is a pallet truck’s safe maximum handling limit? This varies depending on the individual piece of machinery. For example, our Extra heavy duty pallet truck weighs in at 80kg with a maximum load capacity of 3,000kg whereas our Economy pallet truck weighs 79kg and has a maximum load capacity of 2,500kg. It all depends on the intended use of the truck, so work out the typical weight to be lifted, where the pallet truck will be stored when not in use, and who will be operating it, before making a final decision on which one to purchase.

Just like sack trucks, using a pallet truck does not require any formal training, so knowing how to use a pallet truck before you start is important!

How to use a pallet truck, step by step guide

  1. Before you begin to use the truck, check the body and wheels are in good condition and not damaged.
  2. Check the maximum load of the pallet truck and ensure the weight of the load you’re intending to move doesn’t exceed this.
  3. Find the release lever, this is a small lever usually near the handles that drops the lifting prongs to the floor. Pull the lever to lower the prongs, then slide the prongs underneath the pallet.
  4. Once in position, repeatedly pull the handles towards you which will start to lift the prongs.
  5. When the prongs and load are at a suitable height, you should be able to smoothly push the pallet truck to move it.

Remember, if you’re unsure then speak to your employer or the manufacturer of the truck before attempting to use it.

How does a pallet truck work?

How should an operator move a pallet truck

Manual pallet trucks are able to lift and carry heavy loads using hydraulics. When the release lever is pulled, it releases the hydraulic fluid, lowering the prongs. The action of repeatedly pulling the handles towards you increases the pressure in the hydraulic fluid, raising the prongs and the load.

So how should an operator move a pallet truck? Manual pallet trucks can be pushed or pulled, although most people are able to push more weight than they can pull, so it’s always safer for the handler to push.  To find out how to use a pallet truck safely always speak to your employer, the manufacturer or read our short guide in the section above.

To reduce the risk of injury from lifting equipment used at work, The Lifting Operations Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) was created under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Main areas covered as part of LOLER are:

  • To ensure lifting equipment is strong enough for safe use and marked to indicate safe working loads.
  • Ensuring that any equipment is positioned and installed to minimise risks.
  • Any work done is planned, organised and performed by a competent person.
  • Lifting equipment is regularly inspected by competent people.

More information can be found about LOLER on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

So are pallet trucks covered by LOLER? The HSE states that pallet trucks are not covered by LOLER where the consequence of the load falling off is very low. However, where the equipment is used in the workplace, it will need to be properly maintained and may be subject to inspection under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER).

We have a core range of essential equipment at Rajapack however if you’re looking for a wider choice visit our sister company Welco.

If you’d like more information about our range of warehouse trucks, or help on selecting the right warehouse equipment for your needs simply get in touch with our team of Packaging Specialists who will be happy to help. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

What is tissue paper? Everything there is to know

With winter upon us, you may find yourself adding tissues to your shopping list to help with a cold. But tissue paper is also an amazing material for gift wrapping, as well as offering exceptional packaging protection for fragile or sensitive items.

In today’s post we’re focusing fully on tissue paper which can be used to protect some less fragile goods in transport and is commonly used to add decoration and colour to gifts. We’ll explore the history, as well as how it’s made and sold across the UK.

Coloured tissue paper for craft or gift wrap

So, what exactly is tissue paper?

Simply, it is a super lightweight paper type usually made from recycled paper pulp. The term ‘tissue paper’ covers a wide range of different products including paper towels, toilet tissue, facial tissues, wrapping tissue, and many more.

So let’s start at the beginning – when was tissue paper invented? This isn’t a straightforward question to answer as it isn’t well documented. The earliest known use of paper as a wrapping and padding material was in China 2nd century BC. Over time, product wrapping and transportation of goods became crucial to business and the global economy, so the thick paper originally used to wrap and protect evolved into the tissue paper we know and use today. There are many other materials suitable for protecting items in transport, take a look at our protective packaging range for more.

It’s not known exactly who invented tissue paper, but the evolution of this material could be linked to Joseph Gayetty’s invention of toilet tissue in 1857, which uses a similar production process to tissue paper.

How is tissue paper made?

How tissue paper is made

Source: http://processengineering.co.uk/article/2011773/saica-starts-new-rec

To understand how it is made we need to start at the beginning and ask what is tissue paper made of? Tissue paper is made using paper pulp (wood fibre) or recycled paper materials such as cardboard, newspapers, or certain types of juice carton. The wet pulp is then rolled on a paper machine until the desired thickness is achieved. It’s dried in a large steam heated section of the machine and rolled onto huge cylinders called logs ready to be cut to size.

Sometimes as tissue paper ages it can become acidic and brittle. This acidity could cause damage to sensitive items being stored within it, such as clothes and books. This has led to the creation of acid free tissue paper.

But exactly what is acid free tissue paper and how does it differ from standard tissue?

Acid free tissue paper is specifically processed to remove the agents from standard tissue that turn acidic over time. This makes it ideal for storage of products or items such as jewellery, fabric, crockery, ornaments and antiques.

You may wonder is all tissue paper acid free? Put simply no – both types of tissue are available and are used for different purposes. Acid free tissue paper has a wide range of uses with more fragile or delicate items, however standard tissue paper can be used for many things including general wrapping, bottle wrapping, as a filler for gift boxes and gift bags as well as countless uses in crafts.

Tissue paper is a relatively inexpensive way to brighten the unboxing experience, adding another layer of excitement to the theatre of receiving a gift. The huge range of colours and finishes available make it suitable for any occasion from Weddings to Birthdays, Christmas and beyond!

What is the difference between crepe paper and tissue paper?

Crepe paper is similar to tissue paper but difference between the two starts in the manufacturing process. Crepe paper starts life as tissue paper, then a thin layer of adhesive is applied over the tissue paper and scraped with a blade. This creates a gathered, crinkled effect. Crepe paper is often used in crafts and is also the backing for various types of tape, including masking tape and electrical tape.

What is a ream of tissue paper?

You’ll have no doubt heard the term – a “ream” which is one unit of paper in which the sheets are all the same size and quality. Reams are regulated in the UK by the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) to ensure manufacturers and retailers sell the same quantity of paper in a single ream. But how many sheets are there in a ream of tissue paper? The international standard quantity for a ream of tissue paper is 480 sheets.

A pile of coloured tissue paper reams

With 480 sheets in a ream, you may be wondering how much does tissue paper weigh? One ream of tissue paper which about the same as 3x 1 litre bottles of water. We also sell our shredded tissue paper in 3kg boxes, however you can buy this in a variety of weights according to your selected retailer.

All paper types come in a variety of thicknesses which is measured in Grams per Square Metre (GSM). GSM is a numerical scale, the lower the number, the thinner the paper. Generally tissue paper ranges from 10 to 35 GSM. For comparison, office printer paper is typically 70 to 100 GSM and greeting cards are 250+ GSM.

If you’d like more information about tissue paper, our range of protective packaging products, or help on selecting the right packaging for your business simply get in touch with our team of Packaging Specialists who will be happy to help. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

How to recycle gift packaging

Christmas is coming and it’s a busy time for everyone making sure we’re organised for the big day. One thing that can be overlooked is what to do with all the used gift wrapping and boxes once those presents have been opened. As a nation we’re very aware of the importance of recycling, however at Christmas with so much packaging and wrapping around it’s not always clear what we can recycle.

Kraft paper gift packaging

In this post we will be looking at how to recycle gift bags, gift boxes, tissue paper and gift wrap so you can ensure that you’re recycling the right items this Christmas.

We’ve got your gift wrap recycling questions all wrapped up

One of the most common leftovers we all have after Christmas is a mountain of gift wrap, so it’s no surprise that we’re often asked “is gift wrap recyclable?” This isn’t a straightforward question to answer as there are a few factors to consider, but in short – if you can scrunch the paper into a ball and it stays scrunched, then it should be ok to recycle it (remember to remove any plastic tape first!).

Not all gift wrap is recyclable though as it can often contain materials other than paper, such as plastic or glitter. We’ve covered this in more detail below, so read on for more information on what can and can’t be recycled.

Gift bags are a great way to give a present without having to wrap them first, and they also come in a huge range of colours, designs and finishes. A common way to recycle gift bags is to reuse them when giving a gift to a friend or relative, but once they wear out can you recycle gift bags in your normal paper recycling collection? If the bag is made from paper or thin cardboard then you should be able to remove any non-recyclable extras such as ribbon handles, plastic tags or decorations before you recycle. Remember though, this does depend on your local council recycling restrictions, as they vary across the UK. To make things easier, we have included useful links below on where to find this information online.

Over 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are used in the UK per year* and they’re widely recycled, but can gift boxes be recycled as easily? Luckily, recycling gift boxes is straightforward. Simply remove any non-recyclable items such as plastic packaging from inside the box, metal embellishments and glittered areas. Then flatten the box before disposing of it, to save on space in your recycling bin.

Are gift bags recyclable?

Gift bags have excellent durability meaning that they can be used many times before they start to look worn and become unusable. Eventually they will start to wear out, look tired and will need to be disposed of, but can gift bags be recycled? This is not a clear answer and does depend on what the bag is made from as gift bags can be made from paper or lightweight cardboard, sometimes with a plastic coating. There are also countless decorations from ribbons to plastic jewels, metal, feathers… the list is endless! Though if the bag is made from paper or thin cardboard then once you have removed the decorations, gift tags and handles it should be safe to recycle.

Add coloured tissue paper to gift bags

Because there are so many different materials a gift bag can be made from, it’s best to check with your local authority as some will accept gift bags and some may not. To find out what’s recyclable in your area click these links for England & Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Select one of the three options to find out what can be recycled in your local area then type in your post code for the results.

Are gift boxes recyclable?

When giving multiple gifts or those of an unusual shape that are difficult to wrap, it can be simpler to use a gift box. Decorated gift boxes can have different textures, coatings and finishes on the cardboard box material which can make it tricky to know if they can be recycled. With so much potential confusion it’s no surprise that we are often asked by our customers “can you recycle gift boxes?”

Jewellery gift boxes

Most of the time you can, just check what material the box is made from, if it’s cardboard then you can recycle! It’s important to remove any plastic coated gift tags, bows, ribbons or glitter covered areas as these can’t be recycled. Remove any items from inside the box, this could be plastic packaging or even a forgotten gift! You’ll also want to flatten the box to save on space in your recycling.

Alternatively, instead of throwing gift boxes away, don’t forget you can reuse them for gifting! Also they can make a great stylish storage solution around your home or office for paperwork, shoes, toys… anything that will fit inside!

Can gift wrap be recycled?

Most of us are used to seeing the mountains of used gift wrap on Christmas Day morning once those presents have been opened, and you may ask yourself can gift wrapping paper be recycled? It’s not a simple answer, even though we know it as ‘wrapping paper’ it often contains more materials than just paper. Gift wrap that contains foil or glitter is not recyclable, nor is plastic sticky tape or decorations such as bows and ribbons. If you bought recycled wrapping paper though, it should be safe to recycle again.

If you’re still asking can you recycle gift wrapping paper, there is an easy way to find out with the scrunch test. Squash the paper into a ball and if it stays in a ball shape then you can probably recycle it.

Scrunch test

Is gift wrapping paper recyclable by your local authority? Some councils will take away your wrapping paper with your roadside collection, while others may want you to take it to a recycling centre. To find out about your area click for England & Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Select one of the three options to find out what can be recycled in your local area.

Can you recycle tissue paper?

A brilliant addition to any gift is tissue paper to add elegance and style to a present, but is tissue paper recyclable? As with most recycling, it depends on the type of tissue paper so it’s best to check with the retailer first. Our range of tissue paper are recyclable, these include coloured tissue paper, white tissue paper and metallic tissue paper – this is because we use soluble ink to achieve the metallic effect rather than using synthetic coatings. If in doubt, check with the retailer or your local council before you recycle.

Gift box with colourful tissue paper

There are other ways to recycle used tissue paper as it can easily be crafted for a variety of uses. You can create countless decorations or even shred ripped tissue paper to use again in future.

So, is tissue paper compostable? Mostly, yes – tissue is made from recycled materials and is constructed of short fibres so it does break down in a composter, you can wet it first to start the process. So then ? As with most recycling there are some exceptions to the rule, if the tissue paper has a coated metallic finish then it’s probably not going to breakdown easily so you may want to try some of our ideas for reusing it above.

Before attempting to recycle any gift packaging, check first with your local authority if they will take it away or if you need to take it to the recycling centre. Remember to remove any glitter, decorations and plastic coated areas. Don’t forget that you can upcycle your old gift packaging into something new or reuse it for another gift.

You can find our full range of gift packaging on our website but if you need help and advice then do get in touch with our who will be happy to help you find the right gift packaging for your needs. Simply contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

* https://www.recyclingbins.co.uk/recycling-facts/

 

Our favourite Cardboard Crafts for Halloween

It’s almost that time of year – when the ghouls and ghosts come out to haunt us and trick or treaters visit.  With Halloween fast approaching, we’ve been exploring some of our favourite cardboard craft projects with used packaging to make spooky decorations, creepy costumes and petrifying haunted houses.  We’ve selected some of our favourites and detailed them below, so round up any leftover packaging and get crafting!

Halloween craft ideas

Source: https://pixabay.com/en/halloween-witch-s-house-the-witch-2893710/

All Hallows’ Eve? 

You don’t have long to get your decorations up, pumpkins carved and costumes crafted!  This ancient day dates back over 2,000 years, where it was celebrated as a Celtic festival called Samhain to mark the end of Summer.  It was believed that it was at this time of year when the space between the world of the living and the dead blurred, and spirits would crossover at this supernatural time.  Originally known as ‘All Hallows Eve’, over time the name evolved into ‘Halloween’ as we know today.

It’s more popular than ever too, with an estimated 25%* of us carving pumpkins and spending over £25million on them across the UK.  But if you have any leftover packaging around, we know the value of a good cardboard box and after use they are great for craft projects.  You can make some impressive Halloween decorations (even a cardboard pumpkin!) with some basic craft materials and a bit of creativity to save money and reuse materials.

Spooky decorations for your home

With a few cardboard boxes, some tape, glue and cutters there are no end of creations you can craft to add a spooky feel to your home.  We’ve selected a few of our favourites below and listed the instruction videos so you’ve got everything you need to get started!

Cardboard Pumpkin Head

If you want a spooky pumpkin but don’t want to carve up a fresh one then take a look at this brilliant cardboard alternative.  Taking a couple of cardboard boxes, you can cut out the entire shape from cardboard with a knife and then glue these together to make the impressive pumpkin head shape.  Once you have it constructed, you can decorate with a bright orange paint and any other creepy decorations. Place a sheet of crinkled foil inside and you can illuminate it with an electric candle light for your very own jack-o’-lantern made from packaging!

Cardboard pumpkin head

Spooky Sweet Dispenser

For something a little simpler, this sweet dispenser made from a cardboard box by Box Yourself is a great little craft project to add a creepy vibe to your treats this Halloween.  It’s easy to do and you only need a cardboard box, some paints, glue and a cutter to craft some facial features.  It’ll be a great addition to any house this Halloween.

Cardboard spooky sweet dispenser

Cardboard Tombstones

For a haunting outdoor decoration take a look at these striking cardboard tombstones. So simple to make by taping a few sheets of cardboard and newspaper.  Once you have the structure made, you can paint and decorate, adding creepy fun messages on the front for all to see when they approach your door.

Cardboard tombstones

PET-rifying Haunted Houses

Finally for the pet lovers out there (and we have quite a few in the office!) we love these cardboard haunted pet houses.  We’ve listed a couple of our favourites below, whether you have a dog or a cat you can make a great little home for your furry friend with a spooky feel.

The DIY haunted dog house simply takes a few cardboard boxes, a bit of crafting and sticking to bring together a single or multi story haunted pet house.  For decoration, you can be as creative as you like with pens and paints – they’ve even added cobwebs in the video below.

Cardboard dog house

If you’re a cat lover, then this PET-rifyingly cute house takes a large and a medium sized cardboard box and turns them into an impressive structure.  In the video they add roof tiles, shutters, gnarled trees and fencing with extra pieces of cardboard and paper which really enhances the spooky feel.

Cardboard cat house

Please do let us know of any favourite Halloween craft projects of your own, post them in the comments below and we’ll be sure to take a look.  If you’re a regular user of packaging and cardboard boxes and need any advice selecting and purchasing packaging, then our team of Packaging Specialists will be happy to help and answer and questions you might have. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

*https://www.finder.com/uk/cost-of-pumpkins

How to use Packaging Tape

Packaging tape is an essential for anyone who intends to post cartons or boxes and seal them securely.  It’s the glue that holds packaging together; strong, versatile, easy to work with and apply.  But how can it best be used? Is it recyclable? What exactly is a pistol grip dispenser?

These are some of the questions we answer in today’s post, with a focus purely on packaging tape.  We’ll be covering everything you need to know, including how it’s used , how to apply to boxes and remove it safely, as well as how to use tape dispensers to save time and effort in sealing.

How to use packaging tape

So, how exactly do you use packing tape?

Packaging tape is one of the simplest and easiest packaging items to use but must be handled correctly – you could quickly end up in a mess with a lot of tape wasted if you’re not careful! We’ve included some tips below on how to use packing tape to ensure you get the most from it.

Firstly, make sure it’s packaging tape that you’re using – not cellophane tape (Sellotape), paper masking tape or craft tape.  Packaging tape has been designed for sealing boxes and cartons with a strong and long lasting stick and is made from a strong, bonded material.  This strong bond will ensure the tape won’t peel off during shipping or storage nor will your parcel pop open which could have disastrous consequences.  Always make sure you’re using the right tape for the job.

In most cases the packaging should be applied using a tape dispenser. This doesn’t just make it a lot faster and easier it actually makes sure that the tape has been applied properly without any crinkles or the tape sticking to itself. The pressure of the tape dispenser helps seal with the tape to the box or surface.

There are many different types of packaging tape available, ranging from heavy duty to low noise, cross filament, vinyl, polypropylene and more.  It’s a topic we have touched on before though we do understand it can be overwhelming due to the different properties that each tape offers.

Evaluate what you are going to need the tape for, considering factors like where it will be used (indoor or outdoor), the weight of the contents, the materials to be bonded together and the range of items to be sealed.  You can find our full range of tape online but if you need help and advice then do get in touch with our Packaging Specialists who will be happy to help you find the right tape for your needs. Simply contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

Packaging tape at Rajapack

If you’re regularly sealing boxes, cartons or parcels with tape then a dispenser can make this process a lot faster and easier.  It can affix tape in one smooth action, saving time and energy, minimising wastage and improving efficiency.

Packaging tape dispensers come in many different types. The most common is the pistol grip dispenser and that will be the one we are focusing on today.  With an easy to grip, comfortable pistol-like handle, they offer everything you need to dispense, stick and cut tape in one small, robust tool.

To operate, first load the roll of tape onto the dispenser reel.  Ensure the tape fits snugly over the reel and stays in place.  You’ll need to make sure that the sticky side of the tape is facing the floor, downwards, as this will be how the tape is dispensed and sticks to the surface you’re taping. 

Once it’s loaded, feed the start of the tape reel into the dispenser. Take the sticky end of the tape and pull this through the narrow dispensing slit.  This will be a thin channel that leads to the front of the dispenser and into the cutting teeth where the tape is fed through as it’s operated.  There may be a lever clip present to pull down and secure the tape in place.

Many dispensers feature a small adjustable screw in the centre of the reel which will allow you to adjust the resistance and tightness of the reel, so make sure this is adjusted as required to allow the tape to spin freely with some resistance.

With the tape fed through, you are ready to seal your first box and set up the dispenser for continuous use.  Ensure the surfaces you wish to tape are clean and free from dust and dirt.  Stick the end of the tape to the surface where you wish the tape to start, and then pull the pistol grip along the length of the area to be taped.  The tape should run off the reel and give you a nice, clean and straight seal.

To cut and finish, simply tilt the pistol grip handle towards the surface, front first.  This will engage the cutting teeth across the tape, slicing the tape and leaving the next section of tape ready to stick on the front of the reel.   We’ve included a useful video below which demonstrates this process clearly .

How to use a packing tape dispenser

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ6MOm9xDHE

All you need to know about packaging tape 

With many different types of tape available to buy, customers have many questions about the safety, use and environmental impact of tape.  Below we’ve answered a few of the more common questions we regularly receive about our range of packaging tapes.

Is packing tape recyclable?

The good news is that yes, packing tape is recyclable.  Even better is that it can be recycled along with the cardboard boxes that it’s usually found on.  Many recycling sites remove the tape from the cardboard and recycle these separately, but you can help them by separating these yourself prior to disposal – we’ve included some information about that below.

Is packaging tape recyclable

What temperatures can packaging tapes be used at?

Most packaging tapes can be used across a broad range of temperatures, up to higher heat levels of between 35 and 45°C.  Below, we’ve detailed the recommended temperature limits across a range of tape types, provided they are applied correctly to clean cartons and are kept out of direct sunlight:

What temperatures can packaging tape be used at

Once tape has been applied to a carton, lab tests have shown that the sealed cartons can stay closed across a temperature range from –10°C up to 100°C, provided that the tapes have been applied by hand or machine, under normal conditions to clean cartons free from dust and moisture.  These are wider limits that tape can be used at, but we don’t recommend you rely on them and stick to the recommended temperature ranges above.

How to remove packing tape

Once you’re finished with a carton, as we learnt earlier that it can be recycled along with the tape in one piece, but it’s better to separate the two before disposal if you are able to.

If you can peel off a short length of the tape, then the rest of it should easily separate from the carton.  With the loose end of the tape in one hand, securely hold the carton in the other and pull the tape off along the direction that it is stuck.

It should separate in one smooth motion, though be careful of other lengths of tape that may cross over it.  Sometimes two or three lengths may be stuck over one another at joins or over corners, so make sure you’re removing the top length of tape so it will separate easily.

If you need to know how to remove packing tape residue from surfaces that have been secured with tape, then there are a few solutions that can help.  First, we recommend treating with warm, soapy water.  If the residue is not too firm then usually this can work as a quick and simple solution.

If the tape residue is tougher or has been stuck for some time, then try something stronger.  We recommend rubbing alcohol, methylated spirits or spraying with WD40.  Applying to a cloth and then rubbing the residue should lift it easily – do take care though and ensure that the surface won’t be damaged by using one of these formulas.

How to tape packing boxes

Finally, we’re going to wrap up with some information on how to tape packing boxes.  There is a tried and tested method to seal a box that will ensure it’s secure and safe, with all seals covered and reinforced.

The method that we use is called the ‘H’ seal method – when it’s complete, as you can see from the picture below, the tape spells out a letter H.

This method ensures that all seals are securely taped over with no risk of opening.  It also helps to make the box tamper-resistant, as any removal of tape will leave a lasting mark on the box and be clear to see.

Once your items and contents are contained, close all flaps of the box fully.  Once closed, tape up the long centre seal first along the length of the box, ensuring that there is some tape running down the sides of the box to secure it firmly.  Make sure the flaps are shut tight for a strong seal.

With the long flap secured, tape along the two outer edges where the flaps seal finishing the letter H and securely taping the box closed, folding it around the corners and down the sides.

How to tape packing boxes

If you’d like more information about packaging tape, our range of tape dispensers or the many different type of tape that we offer simply get in touch with our team of Packaging Specialists who will be happy to help. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

 

The problem with plastic

Every bit of plastic ever made still exists

Our reliance on plastic is at an all-time high, and a lot of the plastic we encounter on a daily basis is single-use. From drinks bottles, straws, stickers on fruit, our clothing and even tea bags, plastic is all around us.

What’s the problem?

Plastic is very durable and does not biodegrade – which is what makes it a great material for making so many things. But, because plastic doesn’t biodegrade it will remain in our environment forever.

Swimming in plastic: What's the harm?

Every year, up to 12.8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans.[i] Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose and, even then, it will still be present in our environment in the form of microplastics. Microplastics are an ever-growing problem; because of their small size they are difficult to clean up, and marine wildlife accidentally consumes them. In turn, fish and seafood that ends up on our dinner tables have been found to contain microplastics.[ii] This poses a danger to our health as plastic absorbs contaminants from the surroundings which could pose a significant risk to our health.

What can we do?

On a more local scale, we can all make small changes to curb our plastic consumption. Buying a reusable cup for your morning coffee or saying no to a plastic straw in your drink might seem insignificant, but if everyone makes the effort it can make a difference.

What we can do to reduce plastic consumption

Globally, protective packaging materials make up almost half of all plastic waste. Our Eco Flo loose fill is completely biodegradable and is an easy swap which will help to curb your plastic consumption.

Find out exactly how long some of the most common plastics take to biodegrade, and the alternatives that are better for the environment in Swimming in Plastic: what’s the harm?

[i] https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/7/3/17514172/how-much-plastic-is-in-the-ocean-2018

[ii] http://www.fao.org/in-action/globefish/fishery-information/resource-detail/en/c/1046435/

How is bubble wrap made?

Protective packaging has one of the most important roles to play in any packaging operation – keeping an item safe from knocks, bumps and shocks, so that it gets to its destination intact and undamaged.

An essential material in this range has always been bubble wrap packaging, ever since it’s invention way back in 1957.  It’s lightweight, strong, soft, easy to work with and offers amazing protection for almost anything – on top of that it’s great fun to pop and an ultimate stress reliver!

In this post we’re focusing on bubble wrap in detail; looking at how it’s made, how it was invented, how it can be used for packaging and how to recycle bubble wrap too!

Bubble wrap packagingImage source: https://pixabay.com/en/bubble-wrap-blow-packaging-1183728/ 

So, how is bubble wrap made?

You might be surprised to learn that bubble wrap begins life as tiny beads of resin, almost like grains of rice.  Several different resins are used for their different properties and these are combined into the material that we know and use as bubble wrap.

The tiny resin beads are melted down together at over 450 degrees Celsius, where they combine and form into a thin film which is the base material for making bubble wrap. This film is then flattened to the required thickness before being fed through rollers with small holes in.

As the film travels over these rollers, air is vacuumed onto it, pushing it into the small holes which create the air bubbles that give it such good protective qualities.

With the air bubbles blown into the film, it’s then run across more rollers which seal it with another layer of film, trapping the air inside and ensuring that the small air bubbles stay contained.

Finally, it’s cut to width and perforated so it can be rolled up into large, industrial sized rolls.  After passing quality checks, it’s then shipped out to be used all around the world.

Transparent bubble wrapImage source: https://pixabay.com/en/bubble-wrap-bubble-wrap-transparent-316133/

Who invented bubble wrap?

Bubble wrap was invented in 1957, not by a single person but by two inventors named Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes. If you’re wondering where was bubble wrap invented, it was first created in Hawthorne, New Jersey in the United States.

Alfred and Marc were not trying to create a packaging material at all but were in fact working to invent a three-dimensional tactile wallpaper by sealing two shower curtains together!

Unfortunately, their invention failed to sell as a wallpaper so they tried marketing it as a greenhouse insulator, also with limited success.  It wasn’t until several years later in 1961 when the packaging and protection offered by their invention was fully realised.

The name ‘Bubble Wrap’ was branded by Sealed Air corporation (which was founded by Alfred and Marc) and IBM became their first large customer, who used it to protect their sensitive computers during shipment.  Over 50 years later it’s used all over the world and is one of the most common packaging materials in use today.

Rajapack Bubble wrap rolls

Is bubble wrap recyclable?

This amazing material not only excels at offering great protection but surprisingly it can be recycled too.  If you are wondering “is bubble wrap eco-friendly?”  then the answer is yes, absolutely.

There are several ways you can recycle it; some local councils are able to collect it along with their standard recycling collections, others offer recycling facilities at local sites which you can take it to.  You’ll need to check with your local council to find out if they accept bubble wrap.  You can easily find out about local recycling collections through the ‘Recycling Collections’ section of the government website, by simply entering your postcode.

For a more eco-friendly packaging alternative to standard bubble wrap, take a look at recycled green bubble wrap. This is made from at least 15% recycled polythene for less impact on the environment and is fully recyclable after use.  It’s green colouring makes it identifiable to customers that it’s not your standard bubble wrap and can help to display your businesses’ green credentials. 

Rajapack recycled green bubble wrap

How to use bubble wrap for packaging

As a lightweight and strong material, bubble wrap can be used in many ways for packaging and protection.  To find out how to use bubble wrap, we’ve included some information below.

Bubble wrap features a flat side and a side with the cushioning bubbles.  A common question we get asked is, “which way round should you wrap items for the best protection?” We always recommend to wrap the bubbles next to the item you wish to protect, so usually that means the bubbles are on the inside.  This gives the best protection by placing the cushioning directly against the item.

For protecting individual items in cartons from bumps and knocks, prewrap bubble wrap around each one before placing into a carton or box.  This will provide a layer of air cushioning, offering excellent protection in combination with the strength of the item.

Use packaging tape to fully secure bubble wrap, tightly sealing the item inside.  This will ensure you get the most protection from the cushioning material.  If it’s only loosely wrapped, then it is likely to slip during transit and won’t be protected..

If you are shipping parcels with several items inside, bubble wrap can be used to layer and separate them, providing a soft layer of air cushioning while preventing products from moving around loosely during shipping.  Divide your bubble wrap into squares, and these can then be placed inside the parcel to cushion and protect between items.

How to use bubble wrap for packaging
https://pixabay.com/en/scissors-tape-blister-foil-1986599/

There are also other bubble wrap packaging items available which can be used to protect smaller, fragile or sensitive items in the post or while in storage.  Bubble wrap bags offer excellent protection for sensitive items, providing all round cushioning and protection.  They’re great for use with an envelope or carton to offer an extra layer of protection.

Rajapack bubble wrap bags

For fragile or sensitive items such as electronics, anti-static bubble wrap bags offer a layer of air cushioning and prevent antistatic discharge.  Finally, for envelopes with extra cushioning take a look at bubble envelopes which offer a simple way to seal and protect mailed items in one complete protective package using bubble wrap.

If you’d like more information about bubble wrap, our range of protective packaging products, or help on selecting the right packaging for your business simply get in touch with our team of Packaging Specialists. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

When does a cardboard box become more than an essential packaging supply?

Cardboard boxes are all around us in many different shapes and forms. Businesses big and small need them for storing, transporting, and protecting goods. But, separate from this, unassuming cardboard boxes can be found in homes around the country – maybe tucked away at the back of wardrobes or hiding under beds. These boxes contain hidden treasures, the mementoes of past times we want to, quite literally, hold on to.

The science of memory

Curating our past in the form of a memory box can help us keep it alive. We remember things because our brain makes new connections between the neurons in our brain when we learn something new. The more times we’re exposed to something the stronger the connection becomes; these connections can also become weaker the less we’re exposed.[i]

It’s because of this memory boxes can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia, exposing them to objects from their past can help them recall their memories of people and places. The same is true for each of us, the act of physically opening a box of memories and holding them in our hands helps us feel closer to our past.

How do we remember?

But, how does keeping a memory box actually help us to remember? Today we have cameras on hand to capture every moment, but it isn’t often we delve back into these digital memories. And is the act of looking at past moments on a screen the same as actually holding onto something physical?

We wanted to find out if keeping a physical memory box makes a difference to the way we remember our past, so we asked the experts. We spoke to a Clinical Psychologist, a Therapist, and a Research Professor to discover what they think about how our memories are shaped. Find out what they said and see how much you can remember in our look into Making Memories.

[i] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_mind/inside-the-science-of-memory

Corrugated cardboard boxes 101: What you need to know

Cardboard is the one of the most popular packaging materials in use today, and we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.  It’s lightweight, strong and resilient, offering excellent protection for almost any item.  But did you know that it’s corrugated cardboard that gives boxes their strength?

Today we’re focusing on precisely that – the material that gives corrugated cardboard boxes their superior strength and resilience.  In this post we’ll be covering everything corrugate related, including how cardboard boxes are made, when corrugated cardboard was invented and how it works, as well as tips on recycling; how to shred, cut and dispose of corrugate.

Corrugated cardboard boxes - What you need to knowImage source: https://pixabay.com/en/cardboard-perspective-texture-467819

How is corrugated cardboard made?

First we’ll start with the basics – just what is corrugated cardboard?  Put simply, it’s the thick, strong arrangement of card that makes up the walls of a cardboard box.  It’s this combination of materials that gives cardboard their high strength and resistance to bumps, knocks and crushing.

The cardboard that makes it up is arranged in a concertina, zig-zag like like pattern which gives strength to both sides of the box. This is held in place and secured with a layer of paper on either side which is called the fluting.  Fixed in place firmly with strong adhesive, it can be made of different types of paper such as Kraft or Test, and it’s these outer layers that keeps the corrugate securely contained inside.  For more information about the inner liners and fluting, take a look at our beginner’s lesson in corrugate cardboard and cardboard in a recent post about cardboard box disposal.

How is corrugated cardboard madeImage source: https://pixabay.com/en/corrugated-cardboard-boxes-flutes-2225141/

So, exactly when was corrugated cardboard invented?  Its history goes back a long way – the earliest reports of it being patented were in England in 1856. Although it was not thought of as a packaging material at the time and was mainly used for other things such as hat lining!

The first recorded packaging and shipping patent for corrugate was in the United States and issued on December the 19th, 1871, where it was used for wrapping bottles and glass lantern chimneys.   In the years that followed it became a popular packaging material, with wooden crates and boxes replaced by corrugated paper shipping cartons from the early 1900s.

With the development of this resourceful material, cardboard boxes could be readily made for reliable shipping and storage, but how are cardboard boxes made?  The process begins by making the inner corrugated board – this is done by a large machine called a corrugator.  Board is fed into the corrugator, heated and pressed into the concertina form that we see above – this forms the central filling of the cardboard box wall.  Two outer liners, the fluting, are then fed through and securely glued to the corrugate using very strong adhesive.  Once the glue is set using steam, the flat complete board can be cut into large sheets of various sizes which are used to form the flat packed cardboard boxes that you receive from your packaging supplier. At Rajapack we stock over 600 different sizes and types of cardboard boxes , so you can imagine the cutting and loading process can become quite complicated!

What is corrugated cardboard used for?

So, just how does corrugated cardboard work?  This innovative construction features three separate materials and gets its super strength from the combination of all 3 working together.  In the centre, the concertina card is tightly but firmly packed within two layers of fluting and this gives strength across the width of the card to both sides of the material. It’s this concertina structure that makes the card super strong.

With many different types of cardboard box available, we often get asked which is the right one to use, and how thick is corrugated cardboard?  The great thing about how it’s made means that many different types and strengths can be produced.

Some use thinner, more lightweight materials with a single layer of corrugate for a light and strong box – these are called single wall boxes.  Others can use several layers of corrugate made from much thicker card.  For these boxes, the material can feel as strong as steel! Our ultimate strength triple wall boxes can support up to an impressive 500Kg in weight, all from a few layers of cardboard!

Corrugated cardboard 101 - Single double and triple wall boxes

Why is corrugated cardboard so strong?

We already know that corrugated board was patented for use as a shipping material in 1871, and this was for single side, single face corrugated board with one layer of paper on one layer of corrugate.  But who invented corrugated cardboard? The patent was registered in New York City by Albert Jones – you can actually see the first patent for corrugate as this is hosted online, along with the description and technical information registered – a fascinating piece of packaging history!

But just why is corrugated cardboard a good insulator and why is it so strong? The main strength of corrugate comes from it’s concertina like zig zag shape.  Being contained within fluting by strong adhesive, cardboard is strongest along the length of the material and it’s this structure that gives it strength to support both sides.

Is corrugated cardboard recyclable?

As Rajapack is number 1 in Europe for packaging, we must be mindful of how our products can be disposed of safely and in an environmentally responsible way. So, is corrugated cardboard biodegradable?

The good news is that yes, it is biodegradable. It will break down in the environment over time, though it can take a long time depending on the environment that it’s in.  If it’s wet and broken up into small pieces then it will degrade much faster, so if you have a compost bin at your home or business then cardboard can be a great addition to your compost.

Boxes can be quite large once broken down (a topic we’ve covered on the blog recently – ‘How to break down cardboard boxes’) particularly if they’re pallet or export boxes.  If you don’t have a great deal of space to store them on site in between recycling collections, then you may wish to shred your cardboard.

If you want to know how to shred corrugated cardboard, it’s simple and straightforward.  You could use an automatic cardboard shredder which perforates and converts corrugated cardboard into a strong, shock absorbent netting material which can be used as packaging.  Alternatively, you can shred it manually by soaking it in water which makes it very easy to tear and cut through with normal scissors if it’s single or double wall.  For triple wall, you might need something a little stronger like a box cutter detailed below, or some industrial scissors that offer more strength.

Even though it does break down, it’s always our preference to recycle cardboard when you can – all our boxes are made from 75% recycled fibres on average.  Local recycling collections for paper and card are usually frequent and the recycling loop for corrugate is so efficient that used boxes can be recycled, remade and reused in just two weeks!  Cardboard recycles very well, without loss of strength or rigidity so it’s an excellent material to recycle.

Crushed corrugated cardboard boxes ready to be recycledImage source: https://unsplash.com/photos/1PxGp8kkQyk

Corrugated cardboard is also great to use for packing – placing in boxes to separate items to hold them securely in place.  The fact that it’s lightweight, easy to handle and cut means it’s perfect for many different uses.  If you’re wondering how to cut corrugated cardboard then don’t worry, it’s easy.  A small cutting knife, called a box cutter will do the job with ease and glide through corrugate easily.

Open a corrugated cardboard box with box cutters

What is non-corrugated cardboard?

Finally we’re looking at non-corrugated cardboard as an alternative.  This is exactly the opposite of corrugate as you would expect! In this material, cardboard is simply layered on top of each other, in the similar way to how puff pastry is made.  This can make the cardboard material smoother, so it’s good for printing striking visuals or designs onto.

It’s mainly used for lightweight products, presentation boxes and you may have encountered it in things like iPhone boxes or for other gadgets.  Generally, it’s not recommended to be used as a serious packaging material, though can be cheaper than corrugate due to its simpler and more lightweight construction.

If you’d like more information about corrugated cardboard, our range of cardboard boxes and packaging supplies, or help on selecting the right cardboard packaging for your business, get in touch with our team of packaging experts who will be happy to help. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

Your Guide to Strapping Machines

One of the most secure ways to fix a pallet or join parcels together is with strapping.  It’s a topic we’ve recently covered, detailing what is strapping and how to choose the right strapping. In this post we’re focusing purely on strapping machines, which can help speed up and simplify the strapping process. We’ll be detailing what they are, the different types available and how to use them, with a final focus on polypropylene strapping.

Strapping machines and strapping tools

What is a Strapping Machine?

There are 3 main uses of strapping; pallet strapping, to join one parcel to another, and to offer more strength.  It can be used to secure almost anything, from fragile products to bulky loads. A strapping machine is electrically powered and uses strapping to consistently create a secure seal on parcels and packages that is guaranteed to hold.

These machines do all the hard work, saving time, energy and materials in a typical packaging process.  They do this without the need of manual strapping tools such as tensioners, cutters, or combination tools.  The tension and strap strength can all be set by the operator, giving total control over the entire process of strapping.  If you’re regularly strapping parcels and shipments, then consider one to speed up your operation and improve efficiency.

There are three types of strap machines; an automatic strapping machine, semi-automatic strapping machine, and handheld strapping tools – all with different benefits and applications depending on your requirements

A semi-automatic, handheld and automatic strapping machine

1 – A semi-automatic, handheld and automatic strapping machine.

Automatic strapping machines are high performance, work best on high volume lines and are a bigger investment. Completely automated, they’re able to dispense up to 65 straps per minute making them ideal for production lines.  In one smooth motion they strap a parcel, sealing and cutting the strap to size as per the tension level set by the operator. Watch the automatic strapping machine in action!

Watch the Rajapack automatic strapping machine video

Semi-automatic strapping machines are lower cost and are more suited to lower volume operations, though still able to seal up to 24 straps per minute.  They tension, seal and cut the strapping in one motion, though with these machines the strapping has to be fed in manually so some operator work is required.

Handheld strapping machines are the smallest and most portable. These battery powered machines are lightweight and easy to handle. They’re ideal if you don’t have the space for a large machine or need to strap items in different locations.  These small machines tension, seal and cut quickly and efficiently and can be pre-programmed to set the tension strength.

How does a Strapping Machine work?

Depending on what type of strapping machine you’re using, it will work in one of three different ways. Below we’ve outlined each type of machine and detailed how they work so you can be fully informed before committing to a new packaging machine for your business.

Automatic strapping machines

These fully automatic machines are the quickest and simplest to use once they have been prepared and setup.  With the tension set, simply place a parcel on the machine and begin the strapping process with the touch of a button.  The items are fully strapped automatically, with the strap tensioned and cut by the machine.  The parcel can then simply be removed, ready for the next shipment.

Semi-automatic strapping machines

These machines require a little more operator involvement than automatic machines, as the user feeds in the strapping manually around each parcel they wish to strap.  This is a simple operation but takes slightly longer than using an automatic machine.  Once the parcel has been placed onto the machine in the correct orientation, the user simply has to feed the strapping through, engage the machine, and the strapping is tightened to the set tension automatically and cut in one smooth simple action.

Handheld strapping

These small, portable devices work quite differently to the larger machines above. A small handheld device, they are simple to operate, lightweight and easy to handle.  The strapping has to be wrapped around the item and placed in the machine where it then automatically tightens, tensions and seals the strap in one smooth action.  Being handheld, they can be used vertically or horizontally and the tension strength can be set on the machine.

They’re powered by a rechargeable Li-Ion battery that typically take 30 – 40 minutes to fully charge and is capable of applying up to 440 strapping cycles per charge, depending on which device you use – plenty to get through a good amount of parcels in between charges.

How to use a Strapping Machine

Depending on which type of strapping machine you’re using, the operation will vary slightly.  Below we’ve outlined the basic steps in how to operate the different types of machine.

Automatic & semi-automatic strapping machines

These two types of machines work in a similar manner, being an upright machine with a flat surface to work from.  For both, the strapping is typically fed from the bottom or the side of the machine, where the strapping reel is placed and feeds into the machine.

To operate, one must place the parcel in the specified spot on the machine, so that the position of the strap is in the correct place to wrap around the item.  For semi-automatic machines, you’ll then need to feed the strap over the top of the item and into the other side where it is fed back into the machine (automatic machines do this part without the need of manual intervention.)

Engaging the machine with the on button will then tighten and tension the strap, cut and seal it securely around the parcel. It can then quickly and easily be removed and the next one placed on.  This simple and seamless process makes it ideal for quickly strapping parcels.

Handheld strapping machines

Otherwise known as handheld strapping tools, are convenient as they are portable, these small machines require a little more manual work to operate but the flexibility they offer for strapping is second to none.  To operate, manually loop the plastic strapping, either PET strapping (also known as poly strapping) or polypropylene strapping all the way around the pallet, parcel or cartons.   Once looped, feed both ends of the strapping into the handheld machine.  With a pull of the trigger, it will then tighten and tension the strap, cut and fully seal it, giving a secure fit all around the item.

How to use Polypropylene Strapping

Polypropylene strapping (also known as PP) is one of the lightest and most versatile materials, making it ideal for sealing, reinforcing and securing lighter loads.

How to use polypropylene strapping

When using PP strapping with a machine, polypropylene machine strapping must be used – this is specifically designed for use in machines with regular embossing and straight parallel edges.  This strapping is easier to work with and handle than heavier duty materials such as steel or polyester strapping, but gloves should still be worn when handling and loading this strapping onto a machine for use.

A popular question asked is how to use a polypropylene strapping machine, however there is no specific strapping machine for PP strapping, you can use an automatic, semi-automatic strapping machine or handheld strapping tools. 

If you are strapping a pallet or strapping boxes, then make sure you use the right material for the job.  Take a look at our guide to choosing the right strapping to help you decide.

If you’d like more information about strapping machines, systems or advice on which may be best suited for your packaging operation, simply get in touch with our team of packaging machine experts who are on hand to help.  Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 142 26 46, or machines@rajapack.co.uk.