Category Archives: Packaging Industry News

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/

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

New Product Launch: Potato Based Packaging Protection

Following Earth Over Shoot Day earlier this month, we’re continuing with our environmental theme to help you go green. Take a look at the AirWave Void Fill Pillow System, one of the most revolutionary and eco-friendly packaging machines we’ve seen. This environmentally friendly packaging product uses left over potato peelings to make void fill packaging that can easily be composted at home!  To find out more about this innovative product and what it could offer your packaging operation, read on.

The AirWave - Eco-friendly packaging made from potato
Capturing air to protect packages
 

Air cushion packaging is very effective void fill, with a range of machines and cushion sizes available.  Rather than using physical void fill material such as packing peanuts, Kraft paper or tissue, air pillows are lightweight (being 98% air and 2% cushion), small and easy to store and can be made up in seconds with the right equipment.  Not only that, the abundance of air makes the contents of the pillow filling very easy to source!  The use of plastic which all pillows are made from, has been the only environmental concern to date…that is until now.

Turning potato waste into protective packaging with the AirWave

You may already be using air cushions in your packaging operation with a Mini Pak’r or a similar machine.  Small, compact and highly efficient, these machines are only slightly larger than a standard laptop so even a small packaging operation could easily support them.  They quickly produce air cushions for filling space in parcels and cartons, preventing items moving during shipping and keeping the contents safe and secure.

Operationally, this efficient AirWave works in a similar way to other air cushion machines; quick, quiet and compact, it can produce enough cushions for four packing stations with up to 8 – 10 metres of cushion per minute – a lot of volume from such a small machine!  It’s able to produce both air filled cushions or quilts which are inflated and sealed in one smooth process through the machine, running at ≤60dB it keeps things nice and quiet.

Giving potatoes a new lease of life

Air pillows have been historically made from plastic which can be difficult to recycle depending on the facilities and services you have locally.  The AirWave is an industry first which uses a biocompostable biopolymer material as its air cushions – with no plastic in sight! The AirWave void fill biocompostable pillow film is 100% plastic free, meaning it’s naturally sourced material will fully break down in a normal compost environment.

Giving potatoes a new lease of life into protective packaging

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/doyland/4985322023/

The fun part is that these biopolymers are made from potato! They’re completely formed from natural potato peelings and other waste by products of the potato processing industry – it’s this source of material which means they are able to completely break down in the environment.

Potato peelings can be given a new lease of life once their work is done providing protection to parcels and products all around the world.  After they have been disposed of and made into compost, they can then be used to help grow new potatoes in the garden!

The science behind potato air pillows

AirWave pillows are household-biodegradable, meaning they can be disposed of in your normal compost that you’ll find in a residential property. No special disposal method is needed at all and they won’t have any negative impact on the quality of compost, making them ideal for home recycling. Finally, the pillows fully comply with standards for compostability (EN 13432) which means they’ll degrade by 90% physically within 12 weeks, and biologically within 6 months.

Eco-friendly protective packaging made from potato wasteSustainable packaging - Pototo waste can be made into protective packaging

Images sources: https://morguefile.com/p/1058151
https://www.flickr.com/photos/facilitybikeclub/3321732096/

We’re very impressed with the environmental innovation that AirWave has brought to the protective packaging industry, it perfectly aligns with our strong stance on environmental protection and helps our customers go green. For August we’re offering a discount of 10% off all orders of bio pillow film rolls, so hurry to take advantage of this limited time offer.

If you’d like more information about void fill packaging, air cushion machines or are interested in being one of the first to try out our new AirWave pillows on your packaging line, simply get in touch with our team of packaging machine experts who are on hand to help.  Visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 142 26 46, or machines@rajapack.co.uk.

How to Recycle Packaging Materials

Protective packaging is usually made from strong and resilient materials, so it can absorb knocks and bumps, but this can make it more difficult to dispose of and recycle packaging materials correctly.  In this post we’re focusing on how you can recycle and dispose of protective packaging correctly in a safe and eco-friendly way.  We’ll be focusing on bubble wrap, foam and paper packaging.

Protecting your products is at the heart of everything we do here at Rajapack, it’s what makes protective packaging one of our most important and popular ranges.  These items have been designed and constructed to offer ultimate protection during shipping and transport whether it’s in the form of rigid blocks, soft cushioning, water resistance or protection from electricity.

How to recycle packaging materials

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-pile-of-ripped-carton-1055712/

Is bubble wrap recyclable?

As one of the most widely used packaging materials available, a common question we get asked from our customers is “can bubble wrap be recycled?” The good news is that yes, bubble wrap can be recycled.  Some local councils can collect it in along with other plastics in their normal recycling collection, including items such as milk cartons, drinks bottles and carrier bags.

Is bubble wrap recycable

Do check with your local council though to see if they accept bubble wrap, as not all are able to.  If they don’t then there’s sure to be a recycling site local to you which does accept bubble wrap.  Simply store it and you can take it along to your local recycling site for proper disposal.  It’s easy to find out about local recycling collections through the ‘Recycling Collections’ section of the government website, simply enter your postcode.

Can Bubble Wrap Envelopes be recycled?

Bubble envelopes are made from a combination of polythene and paper, with cushioning air bubbles inside and a paper outer with soft surface that can easily be written on.  Because they’re made from two separate materials, bubble envelopes can’t be recycled whole.

Can bubble envelopes be recycled

The paper outer and plastic inner are usually bonded together and can’t be processed together for recycling.  If you can separate the paper outer from the polythene inner, then the paper can be recycled along with standard paper and card, while the bubble wrap inner can be recycled with standard bubble wrap at a recycling site.  These are offered by local councils and you can find your closest by visiting the ‘Recycling Collections’ link above.

Is packaging foam recyclable?

Foam packaging is a protective product which offers great stability and cushioning, while being lightweight, easy to handle, cut and use.  It excels at protecting a wide range of products and parcels whether wrapping, blocking, bracing or cushioning.

Is packaging foam recyclable

Unfortunately, it’s not simple nor straightforward to recycle foam packaging.  The lightweight, low density properties which make it so good to use do however make it difficult to recycle easily.  In some areas options can be very limited, as not all recycling centres can handle or process this material – but there are some centres that do, so check in your local area to find out what options are available to you.

Our Packaging Specialists always get asked, how to dispose of foam packaging? Find out where your closet recycling site is that will accept polystyrene and foam packaging.  You can easily do this through the Recycling Locator on the Recycle now website. Select ‘Recycle a specific item’ then select Plastic packaging and Polystyrene in the ‘Which type of material’ menu.  If there isn’t a centre close to you, then consider re-use of foam packaging instead of disposing.  Because of the strength and reliance of foam it can be used time and time again to securely pack items so doesn’t need to be disposed of after just one use. 

Are foam packing peanuts recyclable?

One of the most popular loose fill packaging solutions and one you’ve no doubt encountered before are packing peanuts.  These small but strong chips provide great protection while being incredibly lightweight.  But can foam packaging peanuts be recycled? Historically, they have been made from similar materials to standard foam packaging (polystyrene) making them difficult to recycle and dispose of in an eco-friendly way.

Are foam packing peanuts recyclable

Recently manufacturers of packing peanuts have developed more eco-friendly alternatives with the creation of biodegradable packing peanuts.  These break down naturally in the environment over time and can be made from renewable resources, lessening their impact on the environment and making them simple and straightforward to dispose of.

Can you recycle packing paper?

Paper packaging is one of our favourite protective materials.  It’s lightweight, easy to store and can be used for all manner of packaging applications, for packing, wrapping, protecting or presenting. It’s great for the environment too, with all paper packaging being fully recyclable.  From strong and resilient Kraft paper for packing and protecting items, crinkle cut shredded paper for soft cushioning and presentation, through to soft tissue paper for wrapping delicate and fragile items, there’s a suitable type of paper for almost any packaging need.

Can you recycle packing paper

Disposal of paper packing is simple and straightforward too. Many of the paper packaging that we sell is made from 100% recycled paper (the entire product is made from old paper products) and is fully recyclable, so it can be used time and time again and easily recycled along with your standard paper and cardboard collections.

If you’d like more information about the range of environmental protective packaging that we offer, any help or advice on recycling packaging materials or the best way to dispose of it, then simply get in touch with our team of packaging experts who are on hand to help.

Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

Earth Over Shoot Day, the Day Humanity Needs to Change

Earth Over Shoot Day and Rajapack

In 2017 the UK’s Earth Over Shoot Day fell on August 2nd, this year it will be 1st August. Our Ecological Footprint has moved forward by one day as we consume more of the Earth’s resources and services faster than it can be generated, the day that marks the over consumption is called Earth Over Shoot Day.

To help put the rate of consumption into a tangible perspective, last year we commissioned James Lake, a sculptor who works with the medium of cardboard, to depict humanity’s depletion of the Earth’s natural resources highlighting the seriousness of this environmental concern.

The Art of Recycling with Rajapack

Pictured: James Lake for The Art of Recycling

The Art of Recycling campaign highlights the change needed, the rate of consumption and the necessity to recycle and find more sustainable solutions to waste management. With James’ creativity and skill he is able to craft sculptures into something with a much greater value, all from a simple and unassuming item such as a low cost cardboard box and most importantly, from recyclable material.

In today’s society consumption and waste is higher than ever before. A perfect example is the growth of ecommerce and online shopping which has led to an increase of packaging used for parcels and the resulting waste created, and also the increase in petrol and diesel usage.  However, some changes can be made to help offset the damaging effects, such as electric or hybrid eco-friendly delivery vans or even cycle couriers, and online retailers choosing environmentally friendly packaging alternatives made from recycled materials.

Steps can be taken to #MoveTheDate, what will you do?

How to dispose of your used cardboard boxes

With over 600 different sizes of cardboard boxes to choose from, we’re confident that we can supply a box to fit any size or shape of product. But once something has been successfully shipped the cardboard then must be properly disposed of.

Everyday at Rajapack we get asked questions about how to recycle cardboard boxes or how to recycle cardboard boxes at home.  These questions are so popular that we’ve decided to focus this post on exactly that, including useful info on where to recycle cardboard boxes.

How to dispose of your used cardboard boxes

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/fyaTq-fIlro

 A beginner’s lesson in corrugate cardboard and cardboard

If you’re not familiar with cardboard boxes and what they’re made from then we’ve put together some brief info to get you up to speed.

Firstly, what does corrugate cardboard mean? This is the structure of the board and the combined inner layers of liner and fluting which gives boxes their rigidity and strength. All boxes we sell at Rajapack are made from corrugate cardboard.

The layers of liner in a box are usually made from test paper which is a lower grade of Kraft and Kraft paper which is made from virgin fibres and is a higher grade. These liners provide strength and support to the fluting which runs between them and can offer some resistance from water and the elements. The material used here means you can write or print on the box for easy identification.

Finally, what is fluting? Fluting is the word used to describe the wavey cardboard that is between the two liners.  It’s wavey shape gives strength to the liners that surround it and the direction and distance between the flutes can vary depending on the strength of the cardboard box. More waves means a box has more strength.

Can corrugated cardboard be recycled?

Corrugate board is one of the most popular types of cardboard we use, found in corrugated cardboard boxes and packaging where it offers excellent strength and resistance to knocks and bumps.  The inner layer of corrugate, sandwiched between two layers of Kraft paper, make it strong and resilient.

The big question we get asked is “Can you recycle corrugated cardboard?” Absolutely! The great thing about corrugated cardboard is that it can be completely recycled and used to make other cardboard boxes and cardboard products.  Recycling your used cardboard boxes saves the trees, energy and materials used in the manufacture of new boxes.

At Rajapack we have a range of eco-friendly packaging, including our boxes which are made from 75% recycled fibres on average, and the ‘recycling loop’ for corrugate is so efficient that used boxes can be recycled, remade and reused in just two weeks!

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/qph7tJfcDys

So, our Sales team is frequently asked, where to take cardboard boxes to recycle them? Many councils now offer recycling boxes for homes (usually coloured green or blue) where you can place items such as paper, aluminium and cardboard including corrugated cardboard for regular collection.  There are also local recycling sites across the country which accept corrugated cardboard for free.

You can check your recycling collections and find local recycling sites in the ‘Recycling Collections’ section of the government website, an easy to use page where you only need to enter your postcode. Other sites such as the Recycling Locator on recyclenow also make it easy to find information on where you can recycle locally.

Is cardboard biodegradable?

If a material is biodegradable then it naturally breaks down and decomposes in the environment in a way that doesn’t harm it. Food waste, for example is highly biodegradable usually breaking down naturally and safely in a short amount of time.

Cardboard is a biodegradable material – corrugated cardboard will break down and decompose naturally, though it can take a long time depending on the environment that it’s in.

It breaks down quicker if it’s wet and broken up into small pieces, and so is great for home composting if you have a compost bin.  If you are disposing of it at home, then make sure to cut it into small squares and wet it through thoroughly. There’s lots of useful information online about how to prepare it for composting.

How to break down cardboard boxes

Once you’ve finished with a cardboard box, it’s quick and easy to break it down so that it can be properly stored, ready for recycling or prepared for compost.

The first thing to do is to remove all plastic or vinyl packaging tape from the box.  This will have been used to seal it shut, and usually runs along the top and bottom flaps to keep it secure. This should easily pull off and can be disposed along with your normal rubbish.

If paper tape has been used to seal the box then you can leave this on as it can be recycled along with the cardboard box. If you’re composting then it will biodegrade along with the cardboard, so it’s safe to leave on. It’s what makes paper tape more eco-friendly than vinyl or plastic tape.

Once the non-recyclable tape has been removed, then you can easily flatten the box out. Ensure the top and bottom flaps are straight (not at right angles to the box) and push the opposite corners together.  The box should close up and you should then have a flat box which is much easier to store or transport.  If you are recycling it, be sure to keep it in a dry place ready for collection as it can be very difficult to recycle and handle when wet.

If you’d like more information about the range of cardboard boxes that we offer, any help or advice on purchasing packaging or the best way to dispose of it, then simply get in touch with our team of packaging experts who are on hand 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 choosing the right Strapping

Strapping is an excellent solution for securing shipments during transport or for medium or long-term storage. There are 3 main uses of strapping; to fix to a pallet, 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.

But with so many different types of strapping available, how can you make sure you’re using the right type?  This post will explain exactly how, offering advice and tips on selecting the right strapping for you.

What is strapping?

After a cardboard box has been sealed with tape, even if it is a sturdy cardboard box, strapping can be applied to secure it fully.  It wraps all the way around the parcel, and the join is bonded or welded together to provide a tight, strong seal that can’t easily be broken.

It can easily be applied no matter the package size, on everything from standard size cartons to large export boxes and pallets.  It’s particularly useful when fixing a couple of cartons together – it’s then considered as one parcel so reduces shipping costs.  It’s also ideal for bulky and heavy items, where something stronger than normal packaging tape is needed for a secure fit.

Strapping machines and tools

Strapping can be applied manually using strapping tools or with the use of a strapping machine for a fast and efficient process.  Top tip! If you use a strapping machine no additional tools or seals are required to fasten the strapping, the machine will automatically friction weld the strapping to the seal.

For manual strapping, equipment is required to create tension in the strapping and seal it securely.  For businesses shipping varied products ranging in shape and size, a tensioning tool combined with sealer tool and seal will complete the packing process, and the handy feature of using it vertically means you can reposition yourself for awkward loads.  Combination strapping tools are available which simplify the process combine both a tensioner and sealer into a single tool, to only be used horizontally it makes packing straightforward for securing same-size and shape products, seals are also required.

Hand strapping machines are ideal for a variety of packages; they’re highly versatile for different size and product variations, mobile and can be used vertically and horizontally.

For packaging lines that need to strap large volumes of packages then a strapping machine is highly recommended.  Semi-automatic strapping machines and automatic strapping machines are available, with the high performance automatic machine able to produce up to 65 straps per minute.  They greatly speed up the strapping process by automatically tensioning and sealing the strapping, reducing the time it takes to seal boxes.

How to choose the right strapping for your product

There are several types of strapping available and to get the best results you need to ensure you choose the correct type that offers the benefits needed for your packaging operation.

Here are just a few questions to ask yourself before starting to buy strapping are listed below – these should give you a good idea of the strength and properties of strapping that you’ll need to ensure they support your shipments:

  • What is the application and how do you intend using it?
  • What is the weight, and is it a static or dynamic load?
  • Will the strapped shipments have to withstand any particular weather conditions?
  • Will the strapping be done manually with tools or will it be done automatically with a machine?
  • How far is it going and will long will it be strapped for?

The different kinds of strapping available

We’ve summarised the different types of strapping below, so you can learn the properties and advantages of the different materials, listed in increasing order of resistance.  This should help you make the right decision when buying strapping – and if you’re still not sure, then please do give our team a call on 0800 542 44 28 and we’ll be happy to help.

Polypropylene Strapping

PP or polypropylene strapping is very light and versatile, making it ideal for sealing, reinforcing and securing lighter loads.  With elastic properties, it does not deform or corrode and resists bumps and scrapes making it ideal for use on pallets that will be stored for long periods of time or shipped long distances.

PP or polypropylene strapping

It offers a resistance of up to 250kg and its light, plastic properties make it easy to work with. It can be sealed with self-locking plastic buckles and security seals. Top tip! If you are using a manual, automatic or semi-automatic strapping machine, only polypropylene machine strapping can be used.

Extruded Polyester Strapping

PET or Extruded Polyester Strapping is the strongest type of plastic strapping available, making it ideal for fixing heavier loads and pallets.  Because it’s made from polyester it can be secured very tightly, with a small flex in the material that can be tightened when sealing.

Extruded Polyester Strapping

It has strong resistance to moisture and UV rays which make it ideal for long-term storage where high strength is required for long periods of time.  It offers a resistance of up to 340kg and can be used to replace steel strapping in many situations.   Made from a minimum of 80% recycled materials, it’s more eco-friendly than other strapping materials, and can be sealed using tensioners and sealers.

Extruded polyester strapping kit and dispensers

Steel Strapping

Among the strongest strapping available, steel strapping is tough and perfect for heavy, rigid loads with sharp or rough edges like iron or concrete that won’t compress.  The properties of steel strapping mean that it won’t flex like other materials can do – this is why it’s ideal for solid, bulky loads.  Top tip! Recommended that the person packing wear industrial gloves for protection.

Steel strapping

This super-resistant strapping is ideal for very heavy loads of up to 740kg can be sealed securely with or without seals. This industrial strapping can only be used with steel strapping tensioners, sealers and combination tools.

Corded Polyester Strapping

The most resistant of strapping materials, corded polyester strapping is ideal for fixing and sealing delicate or fragile products.  Its light, textile material means it’s easy to work with, it won’t rust, rot or mark surfaces, and is best used manually with tensioners and sealers.

 

Corded polyester strapping

It offers extreme resistance for loads of up to 950kg and is highly resistant to tearing making it ideal for heavy loads.  Also, by dividing it over the length, a knot can be made in the strapping to further increase the security of an item after it’s been sealed.

Corded polyester strapping kit and systerms

If you’d like more information about the strapping we have to offer, manual tools, machines, systems or advice on which strapping is right for your operation, simply get in touch with our team of packaging experts who are on hand to help.

Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk

Custom Print and Bespoke Packaging Products

EXPERT PACKAGING GUIDE

Since we launched RAJAPrint tapes, our online custom packaging tape tool back in 2015, we’ve been continually developing our range of custom packaging products.  We know it’s an area that’s important for businesses up and down the UK, so we’ve decided to focus on custom print in detail.

We’ll be looking at what benefits it can offer businesses, covering everything from how to get set-up, to a full breakdown of the process, with expert opinion and real customer stories of how it can be adopted.  Finally, we’ll be rounding off with five of our favourite custom packaging products to give you a taste of what’s available.

What benefits can custom print packaging offer a business?

In the past we’ve covered how custom packaging can increase profits by encouraging repeat purchases.  With more custom packaging items available than ever before, the positive impact it can have on the customer experience, satisfaction and brand feeling has continued to grow.

As markets become more competitive, ensuring your brand stands out and makes customers feel connected and engaged has become increasingly important.  Custom packaging offers a key channel through which to do this, with the opportunity to increase company awareness and instil confidence at the point of delivery.

From the moment a customer begins their journey by landing on your website, your values are conveyed through the tone of voice, creative design, and messaging.  By using custom and bespoke packaging, these values are continued from the moment they checkout and pay, across packaging including branded shipping boxes, packaging tape and sealed bags.  The consistency that this brings to the journey can make customers feel engaged and connected at every touchpoint, enhancing their experience and loyalty.

While in transit, being handled or carried by customers, clear branding can mean your items are instantly recognisable with noticeable colours and design.  Many businesses now use their brand colours across all packaging, from cardboard boxes and tape that seal and ship their items, to the polythene bags that protect them.

The opportunity to personalise through your custom print packaging is greater than ever, allowing businesses to be unique and communicate their brand values as soon as a parcel is received, before it has even been opened.  This helps to establish a sense of identity and makes a purchase feel more personal and inclusive, increasing loyalty.

What barriers are there to adoption?

As with most new technologies, when custom print packaging was first developed it could be a lengthy process for companies to adopt.  Today, this is far from the case.  Over the past few years we’ve worked closely to develop a streamlined process in partnership with our suppliers, printers and customers that makes it simple, quick and easy for any business to adopt high quality custom print packaging across a wide range of items.

As technology has evolved and efficiencies have improved, the costs of custom print have also come down.  To help more businesses get started in this area, we have free artwork and print promotions across both custom RAJAprint bags and RAJAPrint tapes, offers expire 31st August 2018.

Later in this post we’ll outline the custom print process in detail, so you can understand the bespoke process. For RAJAprint tapes, customisation can be applied and uploaded directly from your web browser making things even easier. Almost all our custom print products are turned around in 10 working days, depending on product, once artwork has been approved, so you won’t be waiting long for your packaging.


Bespoke Made to Measure Packaging and how it helps our customers

Bespoke made to measure packaging is something that we offer to all our customers. Moving from standard packaging to a tailor-made solution that’s been created with specific requirements in mind can offer a range of benefits across the full packaging process.

Just a few of the ways we have helped customers include cutting down on the total packaging needed while improving packaging process efficiency, enhancing product presentation and better securing items in transit.

Through a consultation we discuss specific packaging requirements as every business is different. These can be around things such as securely packaging awkwardly shaped items, quick and easy ways to pack large amounts of similar shaped products, or ways we can enhance the strength and simplicity of their packaging while reducing waste.  It’s always created with our customer’s requirements first and is a standard service that is available to everyone.

We caught up with two of our customers, to hear their experiences of bespoke packaging with a made-to-measure product, what was involved and what it had to offer.

Customer A

Original packing process: Corrugate postal mug boxes were used for most of their product lines, packing with protective packaging such as void fill that fitted neatly around the product, then closing with tape to seal.  The mug box offered rigid corner and side protection, and the addition of void-fill ensured the product remained safe against knocks during shipping.

As our customer sends between 1 and 4 of the products at a time, they found they were using excessive void-fill particularly for smaller orders, the overuse of protective packaging resulted in poor presentation and they wanted to improve their customer’s experience. They came to Rajapack with the idea of getting three more sizes of mug box to limit the void-fill used.

Bespoke team solution: After a consultation with the customer, we were able to advise that increasing the range of mug-boxes wasn’t the most efficient solution. They would lose the economies of scale by switching from one to multiple lines and our focus is all about value added to our customers. We worked with our bespoke manufacturer to design a new self-seal box with made-to-measure fittings to hold their products in place.

The redesign included a self-seal closure to replace the use of packing tape and an integral fitting, cut to size that secured the products which eliminated the requirement for any void-fill.  We designed two new packaging options; one to hold 1 or 2 products, and the other to hold up to 4, to consolidate the types of packaging they needed to use and get them the best value for money.  The redesign improved efficiency in their process, making it quicker and easier to package and post their items whilst reducing resources and overall costs.

Customer B

Original packing process: An ecommerce business selling  items online, they already had bespoke boxes to send their products but were experiencing an increase in returns from damages in transit. The plastic lids of the aromatherapy bottles are particularly fragile which made them susceptible to breaking and leaking in transit, so our customer approached us to discuss a redesign.

Bespoke team solution: We worked with our partner to design a solution which suspended the bottles within the box by supporting the lid and the base. This internal support holds the bottles in place with additional support around the lid to improve the protection and reduce the chance of damages during transit. It was very important for our customer that this new solution didn’t increase the packing time of these, so we ensured the additional support became part of the box design keeping it as one unit. We also added a self-seal closure to reduce packing time and to save the customer on tape costs.

The Custom Print and Bespoke Process Explained

Below we’ve outlined all steps of the custom print process, so you can see the exact process of bringing branded packaging into your business.  We’ve streamlined this process to make it as quick and easy for you as possible!

Custom print and bespoke packaging process at Rajapack

Our top picks of Bespoke Packaging

We’ve been working with our suppliers and customers to develop our range over the past few years, extending out from bags and tape into new packaging types such as tubing, labels and even bottle boxes.

1.    Self-adhesive Paper Tape

Custom Tape was our first range of custom print products, and we’ve been extending the range out ever since.  Our newest addition is this self-adhesive paper tape, which we love because it can add great stand out to parcels and packages, while being 100% recyclable and great for lowering your business’ impact on the environment.  This high-performance tape quickly adheres to all surfaces and is made from 57 gsm silicone free paper which easily tears by hand.

2.    Custom Printed Labels

One of the simplest and easiest way to add branding or messaging to any item is through the use of a label.  Our varied options of custom print labels guarantees excellent print quality to get your message noticed instantly.  Whether it’s communicating special offers, brand messaging or business details, we offer a wide range of materials and finishes, from metallic labels and digital prints, catered for all industries with strong adhesion for any surface.  Perfect to add some personality to your packaging.

Custom printed labels

3.    Gloss Laminated Gift Bags

Custom printed bags have been part of our core range since we launched RAJAPrint in 2015, but the newest addition to our range are these stylish gloss laminated bags. Made from 150 gsm laminated gloss paper, they feature a reinforced base for support with self-coloured rope handles.  The laminated gloss gives a premium feel, and with your logo or business names printed on both sides, they’re perfect when you need to add a little luxury to your customer packaging.  As an alternative option, matt laminated are also available for a softer feel, while maintaining the premium look.

4.    Custom Printed Beer Boxes

Custom printed boxes in made to measure sizes have been a core part of our range for a while now, but this latest addition is something we’re particularly proud of.  Perfect for micro or craft breweries, our new bottle presentation boxes can hold 330ml or 500ml bottles, and feature a strong carry handle, robust construction and protective integral dividers.  The 4 colour print process on these boxes can add your business logo, brand or message combined with cut out panels so the bottles can be seen, making them perfect as gift boxes too.

Custom printed beer boxes

5.    Custom Layflat Tubing

Our final custom print packaging pick is layflat tubing.  This polythene material allows you to quickly and easily make your own bags on site, simply with the use of a heat sealer.  By adding a business logo or message to the tubing, you can create your own branded bags, perfect for sealing products prior to shipping, for storage or giving to customers at the point of sale.   Bag size can be customised to your requirements and these polythene bags offer excellent protection from dust and water, giving ultimate protection for items.

Custom layflat tubing

Custom Print Packaging – The Expert Opinion

Finally, we spoke to Sara Savage from the Bespoke team here at Rajapack UK, to get her thoughts on custom print and bespoke packaging.

“There are many types of customers with different needs that approach us, firstly clients that would like to improve their brand experience by creating exclusivity and quality with custom print customisations.

We also have clients needing made-to-measure solutions to house products that offer both robust protection and are aesthetically designed. We work to the clients requirements in terms of cost and other KPI’s, such as eco-friendly factors that might be considered, and provide suitable options.

Managing suppliers and meeting our client demands can be challenging but having a product that is fit for purpose that we have crafted together with our customers is ultimately a successful achievement, from conception, through to design and creation.”

If you’d like further information on custom print or bespoke made to measure packaging and how it can elevate your business, simply get in touch with our team of packaging experts who are on hand to help.  Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 630 06 21, or specials@rajapack.co.uk.

Corrugate and Plastic, Eco-friendly Packaging

EXPERT PACKAGING GUIDE

Welcome to the second post in our series of Expert Packaging Guides where we take a close look at packaging products and materials, and offer expert guidance on how to select the right packaging to keep your process efficient.

Following our piece on Bubble Vs. Foam, we’re moving the focus to two eco-friendly packaging materials; corrugated cardboard and plastic, their properties, suitability for use and impact on the environment.

Eco-friendly packaging from Rajapack

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/MGaFENpDCsw

Packaging and disposal: a growing concern

In February we held our annual Supplier Day where eco-friendly ecommerce packaging and the disposal of plastic waste was a popular topic of discussion for suppliers, in response to customer feedback.

With the growth of the ecommerce industry we’ve seen a massive rise in demand for suitable packaging which is lightweight, low cost, strong and simple to use. With this growth comes increased waste, which is why we provide eco-friendly choices, to minimise any potential damage to the environment and maximise recycling.

Our recent ‘Art of Recycling’ campaign focused on recycling in an effort to communicate key messages about this important topic in a unique and captivating way. Combined with the popularity of the Blue Planet II series earlier this year, consumer concern has grown making this a very important subject for customers.

Ecommerce Packaging Materials: Corrugate and Plastic

When it comes to Ecommerce Packaging, these two materials are most commonly used by customers. They both offer very different properties as a packaging material, and offer different recycling and disposal options. We’re going to cover both in detail later in the article.

Corrugated & Cardboard Packaging

Corrugated cardboard is no doubt a material you’re familiar with, a strong cardboard box that’s one of the most common packaging materials in use today due to its excellent protection, handling and storage properties. Recently it has experienced price rises as demand has grown from ecommerce businesses, and this is expected to continue into 2019. In the US, demand has continued to outstrip supply as its popularity has continued to grow.

Corrugate is made up of a fluting surrounded by an outer and an inner liner, with another layer of fluting and liners used in double walled corrugate for extra strength. This gives it shockproof protection and crushing resistance due to its rigid properties, making it a great choice for postal boxes, in particular book, CD and media boxes.

Stored as flat packed boxes, it won’t take up much space in your warehouse and can easily be folded out and assembled when needed making it very space efficient. Widely available, corrugate across our ecommerce range is lightweight too, saving on delivery costs when ordering and posting to customers.

Corrugate is 100% recyclable, and has the highest recycling rates of any packaging in the UK. It can easily be recycled at most homes and businesses along with all paper and card. The recycling loop is widely recognised as used boxes can be recycled, remade and reused in just two weeks.

Martyn Clarke, Reedbut eco-friendly quote

Corrugate: The Expert Opinion

We caught up with Reedbut Group, manufacturer and designer of corrugated and cardboard packaging for over 40 years, Martyn Clarke, the Group Sales Director provided his views on this popular material:

Q: What changes have you seen in your industry to corrugated?

A: Our industry has undergone significant changes over the last 5 years as it is challenged to produce more environmentally friendly products. The need for a box to be able to be used on numerous occasions is beneficial for customers from both a cost and carbon footprint standpoint and having them made from already recycled materials adds to the environmental credibility of corrugate.

Q: How have the materials and products improved in use and cost?

A: Eco friendly recycled materials are becoming increasingly common in today’s market. The ability to offer the customer a box that is ‘fit for purpose’ using a recycled performance grade offers the ability to challenge historically used board grades and flute profiles. Potential cost savings are therefore achievable through both unit price reduction, larger pallet quantities and material availability.

Q: What do you see in the future for corrugate?

A: Sustainability is the latest buzz word in the industry and accreditation to FSC or other such governance is essential. Corrugate has a bright future due to the commitment and willingness to develop recycled products. This means that corrugated cases can be made from 100% recycled materials and be 100% recyclable with the aid of a completely closed loop recycling system. Very few direct alternatives to corrugated can offer this facility. We are in the process of developing our core range of performance boards as well as bringing a competitive edge and design focus into the largest growing sector of Ecommerce Packaging.

Plastic Packaging

Plastic has had a lot of publicity recently due to the large amount of waste found in some of the world’s beauty spots and its effect on the environment. The critics argue that this is mainly due to poor disposal rather than the properties of the material itself.

As a packaging material plastic is lighter and thinner than paper and card alternatives, resulting in reduced fuel consumption when transporting, reducing greenhouse gas emissions versus bulkier paper and card. Many plastics are now recyclable too, meaning they can be remade into future packaging efficiently, maintaining their excellent properties time and time again.
Plastic offers many benefits as a material; it’s weatherproof, tearproof and lightweight, with some offering puncture resistance as well as protection from extreme hot and cold temperatures. This level of protection can mean less spoiled parcels, reducing waste and returns.

Plastic is lighter and stronger than paper and card packaging, and plastics and polyurethane foams usually provide better protection for the least resource used, making them a sustainable option.

It’s a material that is seeing continual development in manufacturing and innovation too with increased uses of recycled plastic, more reuse, and a reduction in energy consumption during manufacturing as technology improves.

Ed Roberts, Sealed Air eco-friendly quote

Plastic: The Expert Opinion

We spoke to Sealed Air, a world leader in the manufacture and design of plastic packaging, Ed Roberts, the Sustainability Director gave his thoughts on plastic and its future:

“Given all the recent publicity, it is not surprising that people are looking at alternatives to plastic packaging, with paper and pulp as the most common considered. Sealed Air has a broad range of paper solutions so we understand the environmental benefits and limitations of both paper and plastic. Paper is usually considered to be environmentally friendly but you may be surprised to learn that it has its concerns.

According to the International Energy Agency, paper and pulp production in 2014 consumed 5.6% of the world’s industrial energy requirements. The IEA have also said that the paper and pulp industry must cut direct non-biomass CO2 emissions by 17% by 2025 from 2014 levels to meet the requirement of the Paris COP-21 agreement to limit global warming.

There will be many situations in which paper for void fill and/or cushioning will be perfectly adequate and sustainable. But even the most basic of mobile phones produces about 60 kilograms of greenhouse gas during its manufacture, non-paper solutions such as plastics and polyurethane foams can usually provide better protection with less resources used, being the most sustainable option.

Eliminating plastic would likely increase your material, warehousing and logistics costs, could increase damage rates and potentially be more detrimental to the environment.
The majority of Sealed Air products are already recyclable. We are continually innovating and collaborating with other organisations to develop the infrastructure and technologies required to make all plastics recyclable. As well, most Sealed Air products can be reused and many customers keep the packaging for future use. It is necessary to dispose of the material, polyethylene materials (such as Bubble Wrap™, Fill-Air® Air Bags and Cell-Aire®) can be put into the shopping bag recycling bins found at many supermarkets and recycling centres.

In Summary – Which Material is Right for You?

Making the right choice between which material is best for your needs is something that should be considered across a range of factors; what type of item you’re packaging, what protection it will need, where it will be stored, how it will be shipped, and what storage space you have are just a few things to think about.

Corrugated offers medium and heavyweight protection thanks to the properties of the material, which excels as protecting from shocks, knocks and crushing. Heavier than plastic, it can be slightly more expensive to ship but is straightforward to recycle, and most of what you can buy is 100% recycled already, so it won’t go to landfill and has an excellent recycling loop here in the UK.

Plastic offers excellent all-round protection in the form of puncture, tear and shock resistance. It’s more weatherproof than corrugated solutions too, meaning there’s little concern about moisture, damp, or hot and cold temperatures. Recycling for plastics isn’t generally as efficient as paper and card, though it’s lightweight properties mean less impact on the environment when transporting and delivering.

Some products combine the strengths of both materials and are still fully recyclable, such as padded paper mailing bags (a favourite of ours) so you can get the benefits of both while keeping things eco-friendly.

Joe Wille, Rajapack eco-friendly quote

Finally, we spoke to Joe Wille, Field Sales Manager here at Rajapack UK, to get his thoughts on making the choice between corrugate and plastic for ecommerce packaging.
“We’ve been seeing a fundamental shift away from plastic with customers looking for other packaging solutions. Being able to provide our customers with alternatives to traditional packaging methods, such as packaging machines that supply biodegradable packaging alternatives is an ongoing aim for us here at Rajapack. Going green shouldn’t cost your business more, and we’re here to make customers aware of the choices available, providing them the knowledge to make the right choice for their business.

Some customers are not necessarily looking for eco-friendly products but are drawn to what looks eco-friendly. Part of what we do is to educate buyers on what is eco-friendly and why it is, ensuring that the packaging they use will have a real, positive impact on the environment, moving customers to biodegradable options where possible.

The quality and integrity of our packaging is paramount across all our products. All suppliers are quality assessed before we work with them, and then on an on-going basis to ensure they meet our high standards. We also carry out a bi-annual on-site audit with each supplier at their premises.”

If you’d like further information on ecommerce packaging, or help choosing the right eco-friendly packaging for your business, simply get in touch with our team of packaging experts who are on hand to help. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28.