Tag Archives: Business packaging

What is a bag heat sealer?

A bag heat sealer is a packaging machine used to help form a bag, using heat to melt the sides together. Sealing things in their packaging is not only vital to protecting them and keeping them safe in transit, but also makes packaging. Particularly, clear poly bags. And to make that happen, you can use a simple bag heat sealer to close up the open end of a bag – you can even trim the ‘spare’ off to make for an even more professional job.

In this post we shall take a look at how a bag heat sealer works, the different kinds of heat sealers available and what kinds of bags they work on. As well as looking at heat sealing machines that can automate the process for you.

What is a bag heat sealer?

A plastic bag heat sealer is a simple heater that, when pressed and applied to a thermoplastic bag, seals the bag together using a combination of pressure and melting. The two plastic parts are brought together and pressed against one another and heated. This melts the plastic, which co-mingles and, as it cools, sets into a single plastic seam.

A plastic bag heat sealer essentially welds plastic togethe

It is akin to welding, but with plastic. Once cooled the join is essentially one piece of solid, even plastic, contiguous to the rest of the two pieces joined together. In short, it is a water-tight sealed weld between the two.

It can be used to join together two pieces of the same or two similar thermoplastics, such as Polythene of different grades. It Is most commonly found in packaging where it can form a water and dust-tight seal on a bag of pretty much any size.

They typically use a heated element or bar, often covered by a protective Teflon guard, so that the melting plastic doesn’t stick to the element which is pressed onto the plastic at the point where the joint is needed. It takes only a few seconds to seal, but it is a precise process. Too little time and the joint won’t form, too much and the plastic will burn. So most heat sealers feature a light that comes on when the seal is done, or, on more sophisticated heat sealing machines – as we shall see – they lift off when ready.

There are different heat sealing bag devices available . Small, portable/desktop devices for smaller items at low volume; automated devices for sealing many individual items; and continuous heat sealers that seal continually as the item/items run through them.

Some also come with cutters, so that once sealed any excess plastic can be simply trimmed off, or, in the case of continuous sealers, a continuous row of items can be cut individually once sealed.

That’s how they work, but what can they seal?

Can you use a heat sealer on polythene bags?

50 micron layflat tubing, lay-flat tubing is ideal for heat-sealing

You can use a heat sealer on a polythene bag. Most polythene bag heat sealers are used to seal poly bags. The polythene for heat-sealed packaging comes in several forms: it can be supplied as bags, which need just one end sealed; or it can come as a layflat tube, which is like an open ended bag that covers the items and needs then to be heat-sealed shut at both ends.

Low density polyethylene, from which most bags and layflat tubing are made, is ideal for heat sealing as it melts at around 160C. This is hot enough to melt together the two sides and cool enough for it to cool and seal quickly when the heat and pressure is removed.

An added benefit is that, as it cools, the polythene contracts and pulls the seal even tighter. This is one of the key advantages of heat sealers for poly bags.Layflat tubing and dispenser kit

Layflat tubing is available on rolls so that you can continuously package up goods at an industrial scale if needed. It allows the user to create the size of package they need, with the goods simply put inside, the tubing cut to length, then heat sealed. This is ideal if you have a variety of sized objects in your warehouse that need packaging.

125 micron black layflat tubing

It also comes in black, as well as clear and recycled polythene options, with black packaging being ideal for keeping goods not only protected from light when in storage or transit, but also keeping them confidential when sent through the post.

Are there machines for heat sealing plastic bags?

Machines are available for heat sealing plastic bags. One of the easiest ways to package and seal goods using layflat tubing or plastic bags is with a bag heat sealer machine. A heat sealer machine for sealing plastic bags allows you to handle medium to high volumes of goods, making for better and more efficient sealing.

A plastic bag heat sealer machine, such as the Opti-seal industrial heat sealers, offers a simple yet versatile operation with adjustable sealing and cooling times. The compact design of such machines means they can be conveniently placed within reach of workstations, or they can be mounted on an optional stand that also includes a film holder, and afoot pedal for hands free operation.

Opti-sealer heat sealers also has a cutter

Opti-seal industrial heat sealers are impulse sealers, which means the heat is applied via the element wire for only a few seconds to seal the material together. The Opti-seal has a wide range of applications. It can seal a range of films including polythene, polypropylene and PVC with a durable 5mm seal, making this bag sealer the perfect choice for producing and sealing bags, sacks and pouches. Features a safety trimming cutter.

Other heat sealer machines, such as the RAJA Impulse Sealer, offer reliable performance and are ideal for low volume bag sealing. Suitable for layflat tubing or bag widths up to 400 mm wide, these are also impulse sealers that apply heat via the element wire for only a second before the mechanism begins to cool the seal.

Impulse sealer with lay-flat tube roll makes easy work of packagingMost heat sealers have an adjustable timer and a cutter on the sealing arm for leaving a neat finish to your bagged product. There are three sizes of heat sealer available: 200, 300 and 400mm sealing widths which produce a 2mm wide seal. Recommended for two layers of polythene film (PE film), each up to 150 micron (600 gauge) thick.

There are also a broad range of spare Teflon coated heating elements and cutters to make sure that your heat sealing machine stays in tip-top working condition.

Want to know more about our wide range of heat sealers, heat sealer machines, heat sealing bags and layflat tubing?

For additional advice on heat sealers, heat sealer machines, heat sealing bags and layflat tubing, our Packaging Experts are here to help you find the right solutions and arrange next day delivery. Simply contact 0800 542 44 28 or visit www.rajapack.co.uk.

 

Types of foam packaging

There are many types of foam packaging, this material is ideal for protecting delicate items from vibration, abrasion and when something needs some extra cushioning. Available in blocks, which can hold items in place, foam wrap rolls or sheets, which can interleave and cover. Also, foam profiles for edges and corners – and, it can also line the inside of a mailing bag, for postal protection. This lightweight material is versatile and can help to protect all manner of glass, ceramic, and items with a shiny finish, providing a superior shield for scratches and smears.

For added protection and padding, foam is also available as void fill, moulding directly around what is being packaged.

Foam packaging is often overlooked with other popular packaging supplies, such as bubble wrap and bubble bags. Why don’t you take a read of Bubble vs Foam and compare the difference yourself.

So what type of foam protective packaging do you need? Read on…

Why use foam packaging?

There are many reasons to use foam packaging; to protect products from scratches and abrasions when in transit or storage, foam packaging offers an ideal protective packaging solution. Available in rolls, ‘packaging peanuts’, in blocks, in sheets or even as foam bags. Foam packaging rolls can be easily cut to size, and the sheets wrapped around products, or interleaved between products acting as a layered buffer. This flexible material provides ideal cushioning and protection. It is indeed a very versatile packaging material.

Foam is known for protecting glass, polished wood, ceramics – this list goes on! It doesn’t leave any marks, lint or residue. The smooth appearance is clean and professional and can provide a quality presentation to product packaging along with protection.

This spongy foam material is multipurpose and comes in a variety of forms, each suited to a number of jobs. Foam bends and can be shaped – for corners and edges use foam profiles. Also pre-made foam liners are available, with preformed contours ready to insert into the outer packaging, such as a cardboard box, filling the voids. Some blocks and sheets are also available with a self-adhesive backing to stick onto the packaging or goods, making sure to remain where placed. Foam bags on the other hand, once activated, is rigid and instantly moulds, conforming to your product. The Instapak Quick® foam cushion packaging is like a foam bag that encases around your product providing customised foam protection, ideal for packing awkward shaped products.


Recommendation: Have you tried foam postal boxes?

View the range>>


Foam eco-friendly alternatives

An eco-friendly option of foam packaging is biodegradeable loose fill. Loose fill can also be referred to as “packaging peanuts”, resembling little chips. Foam protection doesn’t have to just mean sheets or blocks, it also comes as loose fill; and can be used to place around non-uniform objects in boxes and storage containers filling any voids. While many storage options rely on non-biodegradable polystyrene there is today an eco-friendly protective packaging option called Eco Flo.

Foam packaging, Eco-flo biodegradable loose fill

Eco Flo offers all the protection of other packing fillers and is 100% biodegradable. It is also created from totally renewable sources. As a packaging material it is designed to mould around products and settle immediately when placed in the box preventing the goods from dropping to the bottom of the carton.

Eco Flo is light, clean and odour free, and is 5 times more antistatic than polystyrene chips and it can be used for all products, delicate china, electronic equipment and heavy mechanical goods.

Eco Flo is supplied in 15ft³ bags measuring approximately, height 1200mm, width 620mm, depth 620mm.

Foam packaging, Pelaspan loose fill is another eco-friendly alternative

A green – literally and figuratively – alternative to Eco Flo is Pelaspan loose fill. These are made from 100% recycled EPS material and are ideally shaped to fill up all the voids in a box. The interlocking shape provides perfect protection especially for heavy or odd shaped goods.

This loose fill Is coloured green for easy identification. The chips are dust free, easy to dispense and can be reused. Supplied in a 15 ft³ bag, measuring approximately H 1200 x W 700 x D 525mm, weight 1.7 kg.

Foam blocks: what they are and when to use them

To put simply, foam blocks are literally blocks of foam. While foam sheets, rolls and foam profiles are good at padding and cushioning goods; for items such as furniture, electricals and glassware. For products requiring more protection – to secure and brace, this is where foam blocks come in to play.

Foam blocks come in a range of sizes but can be cut to whatever size and shape you need

Foam blocks are unbreakable blocks made from closed cell polyethylene foam and are CFC and HFC free. Available in a range of sizes from 300mm by 200m blocks for stabilising smaller objects, or up to 600mm by 600mm for larger goods such as furniture. But can be cut down to the size – and shape – you need for your specific goods.

Self-adhesive foam blocks for firmly holding things in place

These self-adhesive foam blocks act as blocking pads that stick to the inside of cartons and protect the contents from movement or damage. Supplied in sheets, where one surface has a permanent adhesive protected with a peel off backing. The foam pads are pre-scored; just snap them off the sheet.

The foam pads are manufactured from non-abrasive closed cell foam density of 35 kg/m³ and are available in two different foam block sizes and three thicknesses and come in two sizes, 50x50mm and 100x100mm and 3 thicknesses, 12mm, 25mm and 100mm.

Foam blocks can also be anti-static for packaging sensitive electronics

Foam blocks also come with antistatic properties for packaging, identifiable by its pink colour. Antistatic foam blocks are perfect for transporting electro-sensitive items such as electronics, printers, computers and more. They are designed to dissipate electrostatic charge and, even after several uses, remain effective and retain their shape.

Available in a range of sizes, these blocks can also be layered between goods to absorb shocks.

Protective polyurethane ‘egg boxes’ are ideal as a linerHere is another type of foam block, foam liners…

Designed with preformed contours, protective polyurethane foam wrap liners; this reusable foam padding, also referred to as an “egg box” foam because of its appearance, is ideal for lining cartons and boxes. The foam liners (use one on the bottom of the box and one on the top) surrounding your product and cushioning it from knocks and bumps. The ultra-protective foam liners fit closely together stabilising the contents.

Foam wrap rolls: what they are and when to use them

Foam wrap rolls is foam, on one continuous sheet, that has been simply rolled up. Where blocks are excellent for packaging to prevent movement and to provide cushioning, foam wrap rolls are ideal as a wrapping medium. Also acting as a type of foam padding roll it is designed to wrap around and between products, offering a padded layer to protect from abrasion and provide cushioning.

Foam packaging, foam wrap rolls

Such foam wrap rolls are ideal for any items needing gentle cushioning against each another, by interleaving. The smooth and soft texture, is also perfect for glass or polished wood as they are lint and dust free. The white finish provides a clean look.

Manufactured by Jiffy from up to 35% recycled pre-consumer resin to produce a closed cell polythene foam with a density of 20 kg/m³, these flexible and lightweight foam padding rolls are available in a variety of thicknesses, and wraps easily to conform to a variety of products.

Foam wrap sheets: what they are and when to use them

Foam packaging, foam wrap sheetsFoam wrap sheets are sheets of foam that is pre-cut to size, ready to use, as sheets. Foam wrap also comes in handy padding foam sheets, which are 1mm thick and pre-cut. This will save time when packaging: just grab a sheet and wrap. Made from up to 35% recycled pre-consumer resin to produce a closed cell polythene foam with a density of 20 kg/m³. This flexible and lightweight foam wraps easily to conform to a variety of products and comes in three sheet sizes: 230x280mm, 300x420mm and 500x500mm.

These sheets of packaging foam wrap are great to wrap around items that need to be protected from smearing and scratching. Foam wrap sheets are also handy for putting around individual items that are going to be packaged into boxes for storage or delivery.

Want to know more about our wide range of packaging foam?

For additional advice on packaging foam, foam wrap, sheets and blocks, our Packaging Experts are here to help you find the right solutions and arrange next day delivery. Simply call us on 0800 542 44 28 or visit www.rajapack.co.uk.

RAJA Group unites its European RAJAPACK businesses under the single brand RAJA

The RAJA Group, Europe’s leading distributor of packaging, supplies and equipment for businesses, announced that its 15 European companies, formerly known as RAJAPACK, have now been united under the single European brand, RAJA.

With a presence in 18 countries and 1,900 employees, the RAJA Group has served its customers for 65 years, providing packaging, supplies and equipment. RAJA has made a name for itself as a leader in its markets thanks to its culture of customer service, its focus on innovation and the expertise of its employees.

In 2018, the French Group posted turnover of €631 million, almost 50% of which was outside France, and served 420,000 European customers of all sizes and from all sectors of activity.Rajapack is now RAJA

A European brand

Harmonising these brands will make RAJA more easily identifiable to its customers throughout Europe.  “The RAJA brand is a promise we make to our customers on the flawless quality of our products and services, on our close relationship with our customers and our environmental and societal commitments”, says Danièle Kapel-Marcovici, RAJA Group CEO.

Danièle Kapel-Marcovici, RAJA Group CEO

Danièle Kapel-Marcovici, RAJA Group CEO

With a presence in the UK since 1998, RAJA UK is based in Ridgmont, Bedfordshire and employs 100 people.

“We belong to the RAJA Group and the customer is at the heart of our strategy. We will continue to develop our market share in the UK and we have every confidence in the future” says Tom Rodda, Managing Director of RAJA UK.

Higher targets and a promising outlook for 2019 

In 2019, the RAJA Group will be pursuing its multi-channel development strategy throughout Europe. “We want to keep on providing customers with more innovative, personalised and eco-friendly solutions. We are bolstering our product offering, logistics and organisation to achieve our growth and profitability targets.  These investments should allow us to reach around €690 M in turnover in 2019”, says Danièle Kapel-Marcovici.

These ambitious targets will be driven by the development of Key Account customers, particularly in the dynamic e-commerce sector, as well as by investments in digital technology and improved logistics.

The RAJA Group, Europe’s leading distributor of packaging

*15 European companies

Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Norway, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Slovakia.

 

What is volumetric weight and how does this affect your logistics packaging costs?

This easy to read guide will help you understand what volumetric weight is, and the effect this has on businesses. If your business operates on volumetric weight (otherwise known as dimensional weight or DIM) it can help to reduce your transport and logistics costs. Reducing transportation costs is one of the key challenges for most companies, whether you’re a small-scale ecommerce packaging boutique with a small parcel cost to a large distribution company shipping boxes with heavy duty goods.Volumetric weight used by delivery companies

So, what is volumetric weight?

Volumetric weight is a method to calculate the chargeable weight of a package, using volume rather than gross weight. It takes into account the total space used by the package in the delivery vehicle and not just the weight of the package.

Essentially, the method of calculating the dimensional weight is more commercial for delivery companies.

If packages were only measured by weight, the cost to ship less dense, lightweight packages would be low, and the cost to ship dense, heavy items would be high. However, there is no relation between its size and density.

Dimensional weight is otherwise known as the DIM factor

Pricing based on dimensional weight balances out the shipping cost issues of large bulky packages that are lightweight. It is unprofitable to ship when the cubic space taken up is higher in relation to the weight. It allows carriers to also represent the density, by using the dimensional weight (DIM factor) which could vary between 5000 – 7000. The DIM factor is divided by the length, width and height of the package to calculate the unique weight, shape and size.

This method is also applied to heavy but small packages. However the carrier will instead charge per kilogram, whichever is greater; the gross weight or the volumetric weight of the package.

The volumetric weight of a package is calculated by the following formula:

L x W x H  / (DIM factor)

DIM factor = 5000 (in cms) or 305 (in inches)

Say you want to send a lightweight package with the dimensions of 50 x 30 x 30cm, which weighs only 3kg, using the common DIM factor of 5000 (for centimetres or DIM factor 305 for inches). The volumetric weight is 9 kg, and so it will be charged on this basis.

And conversely, if you send a heavy package with the dimensions of 30 x 30 x 20cm which weighs 10kg, divide by common DIM factor 5000. The volumetric weight is 5.4kg, which is lower that the gross weight, so this package will be charged on the gross weight.

Volumtretic weight formula

How can volumetric weight measure costs?

Volumetric weight is a measurement of cost for the delivery company. The mileage the delivery vehicle covers is a cost factor, travelling nationally and internationally, but the size of the vehicle which determines its weight allowance will affect how many parcels it can hold. The more parcels the delivery vehicle can carry, the more economical it is for the carrier, as the cost per journey is reduced.

In principal, the method to calculate the shipping and delivery cost is:

  • If your package is light and big, it will be charged on its volumetric weight.
  • If your package is heavy and small, it will be charged on its gross weight.

So, when packing, it is important to consider both the weight and size of your package to reduce the cost of transporting goods.

Dimensional weight used by delivery companies

Which industries are affected by volumetric weight?

Technically, volumetric weight will apply to all industries. The pricing technique is based on the package needing to transport, and the space it takes up in the freight carrier whether it is transported by a ship, lorry, or plane.

Also if your business provides a free shipping and returns service – keep in mind the same pricing method would be applied. So, if the returns their order you could be making a loss.

For further advice on reducing transportation costs, contact our Packaging Specialists on 0800 542 44 28 or sales@rajapack.co.uk to discuss your product range and your packing operation.


Top tips! 3 tips to optimising the volumetric weight of your packages. Read more>>


 

3 tips to optimising your volumetric weight

When budgeting for your transport and logistics costs, do you calculate your delivery costs using volumetric weight?

Many factors influence transportation costs, such as fluctuating petrol and diesel prices, and the transportation mileage. Budgeting to the volumetric weight of packages can help businesses control logistical costs. But frst, you need understand the fundamentals of this pricing method and apply the optimisation techniques.

Before we move on to the cost saving tips, if you are not familiar with volumetric weight, we recommend that you read: “What is volumetric weight and how does this affect your logistics packaging costs?”. So that you can fully understand how to optimise your delivery costs.


Find out what volumetric weight is and how this affects your logistics packaging costs. Read more>>


Tip 1. Reducing packaging dimensions

Tip 2. Plan for the delivery times you need

Tip 3. Choose the right delivery company

Tip 1. Reducing packaging dimensions

Reducing your packaging dimensions reduces your shipping costs. This all starts with knowing your products, inside and out; review your range by measuring the size and weight. Then, applying the product measurements, carry out an audit of your existing packaging to measure its suitability. To reduce your packaging dimensions, your audit should consider what the protection qualities are, and how they house your products.

The right sized packaging reduces excess space and void fill used. Reducing the volumetric weight also reduces shipping costs, whilst increasing the protection levels with the appropriate packaged being used.

Having effective packaging materials suited to your product range and knowing how to pack your products for shipping are both key. Discuss your process with a Packaging Specialist to find out if you’ve got the right packaging materials and that they are applied in the most efficient way. You can also further optimise by choosing bespoke packaging, personalised packaging fit for purpose.

Once you have identified the most efficient packaging for your products, you can make further savings by buying in bulk. Wholesale prices will make further cost savings.


Contact a Packaging Specialist on 0800 542 44 28 or sales@rajapack.co.uk for free advice


Once your packages are ready for shipment, cross-analyse the dispatch frequency with the products sent. This will help to categorise your shipments by weight, and which band tariffs are most invoiced for. Co-ordinate your consignments in a pricing table to identify which products have the higher shipment frequencies. This can provide further cost-savings when scheduling the deliveries. Once you have a complete list, you can then enquire the rates and frequencies with your delivery provider.

Reduce your volumetric weight so less space is used in the delivery vehicle

Tip 2. Plan for the delivery times you need

The delivery times can determine the mode of transport; by road, air or sea. For express deliveries needing to get to its destination quicker, these packages are given priority, so the postage costs are generally higher.

If you offer a free delivery service to your customers, have you researched if an express delivery service is needed. Or can your customers wait an extra day or two for delivery?

For next day and quick deliveries, such as a just-in-time approach, it does depend on the industry and market in which your business operates. Although, we as consumers in this technological age, do expect things ‘now’. Services such as Deliveroo for the fast food industry, and Same-Day delivery service with Amazon, are perfect for customer that can’t wait. However, if given the choice or if your business set-up allows, a non-express delivery service could be better. Your operation would need to adjust for the longer lead times. The cost of delivery is considerably less for the longer delivery dates, and whether your company provides a free delivery service or not. This could not only save your business money when dispatching orders, but as a customer, placing an order too. So, if you provide a free delivery service, make sure to incorporate volumetric weight costs into the total order value.

So, for an optimal shipping method, adapt your business structure if possible to incorporate volumetric weight into your transportation costs; whether you’re a supplier or a customer.

Plan for the delivery times you need

Tip 3. Choose the right delivery company

Unfortunately not all carriers apply the same pricing method and there is no standardised regulation for delivery companies to do so. The method to determine its volumetric weight will be dependent on the business strategy of the delivery company, which will be optimised to its business model. (Although, many companies will operate on the DIM factor of 5000).

When enquiring about the delivery rates be sure to ask for the method of calculating the delivery costs. Secondly, ask for a tariff grid so you can see the pricing structures. This will help you easily compare the different services provided.

Compare the volumetric weight costs of UK delivery companies:

  • Calculate shipping costs with DHL
  • Calculate shipping costs DPD
  • Calculate shipping costs with Hermes
  • Calculate shipping costs with Parcel Force

For more information on developing your packing and packaging process, speak to our Packaging Specialist 0800 542 44 28 or sales@rajaapck.co.uk for help and advice.

RAJA interviews René Pierre: the female inspired football table creator to celebrate women in sport

It’s not just Bill Gates who started a business venture from his home. René Pierre, a French football and billiards table manufacturer began his entrepreneurial journey from his garage.

Women in sport, football table with female figurines

Along with the RAJA Foundation and the Women and Environment Action Programme, RAJA is committed to supporting the achievements and independence of women. So, to celebrate FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 and women in sport, RAJAPACK UK has launched RAJACUP, a sports campaign that also offers our customer the chance to win a René Pierre football table.RAJACUP the Rajapack campaign to celebrate women in sport and FIFA Women's World Cup

This isn’t just any football table, it is crafted in France, and is designed by the manufacturer René Pierre. Sébastien Menneveaux, Key Account Manager at René Pierre takes us on a journey of Mr Pierre’s legacy.

Can you briefly introduce the company?

For nearly 70 years, René Pierre has been manufacturing football and billiard tables. It all started in 1952, when Mr Pierre built his very first football table, and now, René Pierre has retail stores throughout the world and employ approximately 50 people.

1953, the orginal René Pierre factory

 

Each year, more than 8,000 football tables and 2,500 billiard tables are shipped from the factory.

How did the René Pierre brand begin?

Mr Pierre was the son of a carpenter, and so naturally some of his father’s experience and knowledge influenced him and he became a woodcraftsman. He designed and built the first René Pierre football table from his own garage. After a busy year handcrafting and selling his football tables, in 1953, he built a small factory in Jura, France, to cope with the growing demand. This would be the home of the brand for a number of successful years.

In the 70s, a new and larger René Pierre factory was built

In the 1970s, a new and bigger factory of 8000 m² was built in Chalon-sur-Saône, France, which is where the factory still manufacturers the René Pierre football and billiard tables. The factory is currently under the watchful eye of Claude Pierre, current CEO and son of René Pierre.

Tell us about the first editions of the René Pierre football tables

The first productions of the football tables have become collector items, many customers contact us to restore their 1970s football tables, some tables have been purchased from an antique dealer or some have been passed on from generation to generation.

There is also a huge fashion trend of owning vintage and antique items, and we see a lot of our old posters that people have kept safe over the years as a memento – it’s retro and they can still be used as posters today.

Original René Pierre football table posters

Has the manufacturing process of a football table changed since 1952?

Yes and no. Even though we have invested in machines for cutting the wood, most of the football table production remains an intricate hand crafted skill.

Inside the René Pierre football table manufacturer

What type of customers order your football tables?

Today, almost all of our tables are purchased by individuals and communities such as schools, community centres and leisure centres.

We have experienced a recent phenomenon with start-up companies ordering our football tables for their break-out, games rooms or company waiting rooms.

What opportunities have sports events brought you?

Sporting events influence our business, it can inspire our designs and enable us to show our innovation and dynamism.

Do you design tables for particular sports events?

For every major football competition, we launch a limited edition range or special design models.

We also receive personal requests to custom make football tables to a particular design.

Let’s talk about FIFA Women’s World Cup, what made you decide to make a football table for this competition?

René Pierre football table inspired by FIFA Women's World Cup - Elles

As we tend to manufacturer football tables based on major football competitions this World Cup is no different, and especially as it is hosted in France, our home country. It represents women in sport around the world and promotes gender equality.

It was exciting to launch a football table called “Elles”.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I will quote from our company vision statement: to continue to provide our customers with enjoyable memories, while maintaining the qualities of a French manufacturer and the family values within the company!

Women in sport, football table designed with female figurines

To find out more of the company’s history, please visit René Pierre.

How does shrink wrap work?

Shrink wrap is one of the quickest and easiest ways to package and protect goods. What shrink wrap is used for typically is wrapping especially awkwardly shaped items – from individual packages to boxes on a pallet. It can even be used to wrap up helicopters. It is weather proof and dust proof, while the transparent option easily allows the goods underneath to be identified.Shrink wrap is so versatile it is even used to wrap up US Navy helicopters for transport (Image: Wikipedia)Shrink wrap is so versatile it is even used to wrap up US Navy helicopters for transport (Image: Wikipedia)

But what is shrink wrap made of, how does shrink wrap work and is shrink wrap recyclable? Here we answer these questions and find out how to use it on a practical level in the warehouse, using the right shrink wrap and shrink wrapping equipment to get the job done.

How does shrink wrap work?

Shrink wrap and what shrink wrap is used for covers everything from simple packaging, to holding items together, to protecting them.Shrink wrap collates and protects

How shrink wrap works is something that requires a look at the very molecules that the shrink wrap is made from. To make the plastic film that is used to shrink and wrap items, plastic polymer molecules  – long chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms, essentially  – that usually all tangle round each other are heated and stretched so that they all form into straight rows. Once cooled they maintain this aligned structure.

Heating the film again, once wrapped around the goods being packaged, the molecules move about (thanks to all that lovely heat energy being pumped in) and they get all tangled again: making the film as much as 50% smaller.

The shrinking can take place in one direction (uni or monodirectional) or in both length and width (bidirectional) and requires the film to be applied over the goods using a special frame – called a tenter frame – and applying heat correctly. To do it correctly requires the right shrink wrap equipment.

What is shrink wrap?

Shrink wrap is a plastic film that can be stretched over awkwardly shaped items and heated to shrink to tightly fit its contours and crevices as if stuck to it – all without any kind of adhesive.

Shrink wrap pallet covers, film and rolls

This protective packaging comes in sheets and on rolls

So, when was shrink wrap invented? The process of heating and stretching polythene sheets and cooling them and then reversing the process was first trialled in the US as a potential packaging process in the 1960s. It was then refined and had its first commercial use in 1981 in the US.

As to who invented shrink wrap, its provenance is murky. It is claimed that the process was actually invented in the 1960’s at WR Grace and company, by Robert D. Lowry, John Dreyfuss and John W. Harrison of Winchester Massachusetts in the US. The process was then refined and rolled out for industrial use by Global Wrap LLC in the US in 1981.

What is shrink wrap made of?

The molecular structure of Polyethylene, Image: Wikipedia

The molecular structure of Polyethylene (Image: Wikipedia)

Shrink wrap is made of plastic. What type of plastic is shrink wrap made from depends on how it is to be used, but typically it is made from plastic polymer – usually low density polythene or, sometimes, PVC. It can also be made from biaxially orientated polypropylene, a more complex version of polythene. What they all have in common is that they are made of long chain molecules that, in their natural state, tangle round each other like spaghetti.

The molecular structure of Syndiotactic polypropene (Image: Wikipedia)

The molecular structure of Syndiotactic polypropene (Image: Wikipedia)

How to use shrink wrap

Shrink wrap can be used to cover all sorts of things. To use shrink wrap, you need the right plastic shrink wrap film and the right equipment: usually at the very least a heat gun. You may also need a frame to hold the film.

Perforated shrink wrap pallet covers available on a roll

When shrink wrapping pallets of goods, individual shrink wrap pallet covers are available if you want to cover standard sized pallets of goods – available as sheets and on rolls. For more awkward shapes, this protective packaging comes in rolls and sheets, which can then be wrapped or put over the goods and then heated, often with a hand-held heat gun.

How to heat shrink wrap

So, how does heat shrink wrap work? As we have seen, heating pre-stretched polymer sheets allows the ordered molecules to move about and re-order themselves as a tangle of molecules, occupying a much smaller volume and causing the sheet to shrink.

In practice, this means that putting, say, a shrink wrap pallet cover over a pallet, and heating it the cover will start to contract and pull tight over the goods.

How to use heat shrink wrap involves the following steps:

  • place goods on the pallet and loosely cover with a shrink wrap pallet cover
  • make sure it covers everything
  • gently heat with a heat gun evenly, moving round and round the pallet to ensure even shrinkage
  • when tight, stop and allow to cool.

Heat guns are relatively light and portable but must be handled with care

How to use a heat gun for shrink wrap is perhaps the hardest part of the process. It needs a specialist gun, which burns propane or butane to create a hot flame.

RIPACK 3000 heat shrink film gun kit

However, it is crucial that the flame doesn’t contact the film nor the goods being wrapped. For this reason, the flame heats a plate at the business end of the heat gun which radiates heat onto the plastic.

Carefully heat the shrink wrap from a distance to avoid damaging the film

How to recycle shrink wrap

With more attention than ever on the impact of plastic on the environment, many ask can shrink wrap be recycled? So is shrink wrap recyclable: in short it is. Being made of low density polyethylene – or polythene – means that the answer to is plastic shrink wrap recyclable is yes. Polythene is widely recycled and can be put into the recycling waste and reused.

To recycle it, simply keep it once you have removed it and either put it in the standard recycling or, if you find you have a lot of it, there are companies that will come and collect it and take it away to recycle. They will shred it and melt it down to make polythene beads which may very well end up being used to make new shrink wrap.

Want to know more about shrink wrap and shrink wrapping equipment?

For all your packaging advice, our Packaging Experts are here to help you find the right solutions. Simply call us on 0800 542 44 28 or visit www.rajapack.co.uk.

Game of Boxes

Game of boxes

Do you agree with who’s on the Iron Throne? Well, the Game of Thrones finale might not be how you wanted it to end, but the wheel is now broken welcoming a new age in Westeros.

We have to confess, some of us at Rajapack were also hooked on the exciting plot created by George RR Martin, and writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. We have not thought of a better way to honour it than to relive the most iconic elements with a line of packaging products that has inspired us.

Here’s your special GoT edition using our packaging range. What will be the first product you will buy for your business, your shop or your online store?

Postal tubes for Valyrian steel swordsPostal tubes for Valyrian steel swords

The Rajapack cardboard postal tubes are so strong that they can hold even the most fearsome steel swords, the only ones with which it is possible to kill the White Walkers.

These postal tubes are perfect for GoT swords such as Garra, by Jon Nieve; Guardajuramentos and Lamento de Viuda, departures from the foundry of the mythical Ice of Eddard Stark; or Poison of Heart, property of Tarly House. Even though it is not a valyrio steel weapon, we have remembered the lethal needle of Arya Stark.

Labels of hazardous materials for wild fireLabels of hazardous materials for wild fire

Wild fire is a highly flammable substance that must be handled with great care. Even though at Rajapack we do not condone ‘blowing things up’, in GoT they could do with some packaging and shipping labels, particularly hazard labels, to correctly label packages that contain it (or that contain other dangerous substances).

Book boxes for the treasures within the Citadel libraryBook boxes for the treasures within the Citadel library

In the Citadel library, all the knowledge stored by humanity over the centuries is kept safe. Each book is a real gem, and must be handled with great care so that their treasured history can live on.

Each book must be worshipped and preserved, at Rajapack we have book boxes designed for such GoT items, available in different sizes for the varied editions and volumes, complete with a magical feature; an adhesive strip that seals the box to close.

Paper and pens to ‘manage’ Arya Stark’s listPaper and pens to 'manage' Arya Stark's list

Although Arya Stark has a very good memory, we suspect that it would not hurt to have quality office supplies to write down and cross out names on her list. For this reason, the Rajapack range includes pens and notebooks that you can carry with you at all times. Reliable equipment that would be worthy to accompany Arya in her adventures.

Padded envelopes to protect messages from RavensPadded envelopes to protect messages from crows

In the Seven Kingdoms, no email or telephone exist… but there are some very reliable messengers; the raven, carriers of all kinds of news and trained to travel the distances at a supersonic speed.

So, to ensure the parchments carried by these ravens arrive in perfect condition, it would be advisable to introduce maesters to bubble envelopes. Envelopes lined with protective air filled bubbles, they are ideal for wrapping items, even the most delicate small pieces including jewels to a loved one.

So this concludes our Game of Thrones adventure, but why not journey on to Rajapack for your packaging supplies. And we have a team of Packaging Specialists available that you can call, contact us on 0800 542 44 28 or email sales@rajapack.co.uk for help and advice.

Storage solutions

The key to good warehousing is good storage solutions and organisation: and that means having the right storage bins and warehouse equipment to keep everything in the right place and making sure everyone can find what they are looking for.RAJA Warehouse storage solutions

There is a vast array of storage solutions available, from simple cardboard storage bins to plastic storage boxes that stack in neat piles. They can be shelved, wall or rack mounted, stacked, and smaller ones can often be used inside larger ones.

So what exactly is a storage container, how big are they, what are they made of and how can you use them?

What is a storage container?

A storage container is any sort of container used to keep things in and they are usually found in warehouses or offices. They can also be called storage bins and can be pretty much any shape, size, colour or material – although cardboard and plastic are favoured as they are strong and economical to mass produce – they can be used to store pretty much anything.

Storage bins come in all shapes, sizes and materials

There are storage containers that fit on shelves, on wall mounted panels or stack up on themselves; there are louvred storage bins to heavy-duty lidded crates. Whatever your storage needs, there is a storage solution for it.

There are ranges of lidded bins, both in cardboard and plastic that can handle all manner of storage and warehousing needs. From storing and protecting documents, to filing tools, nuts and bolts and a vast array of other products – you just need to remember what you have put into which bin!

How to label storage bins

Labelling storage bins is crucial for knowing just what is in each bin or container, making it clear for anyone to find what they are looking for. How to label them comes down to what you are storing in them, but a few rules of thumb apply.

If you have lots of wall mounted containers or a stack of storage bins with lids, it can help to label them either alphabetically or chronologically and keep an inventory of what, when and where items were stored.

While it is possible to write on cardboard and some plastic containers, sticky labels are ideal as they can be clearly printed on and, should the contents of that storage bin change, a new label can be stuck over the old (or the old removed and replaced with a new one).

There are also ranges of storage bins that come with plastic holders for labels, as well as ranges that feature a slot for a label, making labelling straightforward and clear.

Storage bins with plastic label holders or with a slot for a label

If your containers contain fragile or dangerous goods, then you must label them correctly. Read our guide on hazard labels that can be used to mark those up – showing everything from ‘Fragile’ to ‘This way up’ to some of the dangers that may be stored within, such as ‘Corrosive’ or “Flammable’ and so on.

What are storage containers made of?

Storage containers are made of a range of materials, but typically they are made either from cardboard or from plastic. Cardboard is typically used for lighter, and drier goods, that do not generally require special handling. Cardboard storage bins are economical, ecological and are pretty flexible as to what you can keep in it.

Cardboard storage bins are cheap, plentiful and great for lighter storage

Plastic storage containers are made from high strength polypropylene – with some even made from recycled high strength polypropylene – and come in a range of thicknesses depending on the load they are likely to carry. Plastic storage containers can hold more heavy duty products, and are more durable and resistant.

Some storage solutions are made from transparent light-grade high-strength polypropylene, convenient for people to identify the contents, especially when they are stacked. Also, clear storage bins are useful for seeing what is stored within, and are available in selected colours – which are not only pretty, but extremely useful for colour-coding the inventory contained therein.Stackable plastic storage bins

 

Other bins such as large heavy-duty stackable plastic storage bins are made from super-thick high grade high-strength polypropylene, able to take a much greater weight of contents and allowing for tall stacks. These can handle all manner of storage demands – including handling containerised liquids, some foods, chemicals and dirty or oily parts – and have an excellent longevity in use.

Some storage containers are made from polyboard: a wipe-clean, 3.5mm thick polypropylene honeycomb that is shock and chemical resistant, as well as very light and very storing. These are ideal for the storage of mechanical and electrical parts and even pharmaceuticals.

Poliboard stackable plastic storage containers

How big is a storage container?

How big a storage container is depends on a number of factors. With such a vast choice of different storage options available it is hard to pick standard sizes across the board, but within certain categories of container there are usually a range of options.

Louvred storage bins that can be stacked or wall-mounted on louvred panels, come in a range of sizes and capacities – and with capacities that depend on whether they are standalone, stacked or mounted. At Rajapack we offer these bins in 8 different sizes and come in 4 colour variants.

Stackable plastic containers are slightly more standardised. The Rajapack range offer these containers in three sizes, coming in volumes of 14, and 52 litres, from sizes 400x280x200mm, 500x350x250mm and 590x400x290mm. This allows containers of the same size to be stacked – and many have secure interlocking mouldings on the bottoms and the lids to make them more stable.

Perforated Euro plastic stacking containers – which look a lot like old-fashioned beer crates – are another plastic storage solution that come with handy handles, and which also stack and are great for anything that may need ventilation while being stored.

Perforated Euro plastic stacking containers

At Rajapack these come in nine sizes, but all based around a standard 600x400mm footprint. Some are 300x400mm and some 600x800mm, but again these are multiples of the standard size. They come in heights of 70mm, 118mm, 150mm, 235mm, 280mm, 320mm and 410mm.

Picking the right sizes for your particular need is key – not least if you want them to stack. This is why it is often a good idea to buy your whole storage solution from one supplier, so that you have commonality of sizes which can also work together.

How much does a storage container weigh?

How much a storage container weighs depends very much on its size and what it is made from. Attached lid plastic storage containers’ weight are between 3.1 and 3.6kg depending on size, while most of the others are lighter, weighing in at under a kilo each.

The weight of a storage container depends largely on what you put in it, but they all come with weight limits. That said, the high strength polypropylene containers are so strong that they can’t hold enough bulk to break them.

How wide is a storage container?

The widths of storage containers are variable, as we have seen, although families of containers often come in neat multiples of one another so that they at least tesselate when stacked or can be arranged in neat combinations on shelves or wall mounts.

Louvred containers as we have seen come in a variety of widths that allow them to be mixed and matched to fit on standard wall mounts or trolleys. In the Rajapack range, large cardboard storage bins come in widths of 440 and 835mm to fit on standardised shelving.

Stacking containers tend to have standard footprints or multiples thereof. Euro plastic stacking and nesting containers, for example, come in standard widths of 300 or 400mm and lengths of 400 or 600mm. They then offer different storage volumes based around a range of heights.

Louvre storage bins

Are plastic storage bins recyclable?

What can you do with old storage bins? Despite being tough and resilient, eventually you may need to get rid of storage bins and containers – so what can you do with them?

Cardboard storage solutions can of course simply be recycled at any recycling centre. Polypropylene (PP) containers – including polyboard – can be recycled at specialist PP recycling centres, where they are crushed, chipped and melted down. This recycled PP is then used to make more storage containers – and garden furniture, butter tubs, bottle tops and more.

Want to know more about storage containers?

For additional advice on storage solutions, our packaging experts are here to help you find the right packaging solution and arrange next day delivery. Simply call us on 0800 542 44 28 or visit www.rajapack.co.uk.

The low down on recycling envelopes and mailing bags

RAJA envelopes and mailing bags

The old fashioned way of recycling largely consisted of re-using old envelopes to keep old receipts in, but that’s a generational thing. These days, recycling paper is more about trying to save trees and cut waste. And one of the main areas where that can be easily achieved is in recycling – properly, not just reusing – envelopes and mailing bags.

The rise of ecommerce has seen a similar boom in the use of mailing bags and envelopes to carry the smaller items being ordered in abundance from the web. So what can be done with this mountain of used packaging?

Read on as we find out just what you can do with those envelopes and mailing bags.

Can you recycle envelopes with windows?

Many businesses still send out bills and other information in business envelopes with plastic windows in them. The first question many would-be recyclers ask is can envelopes with plastic windows be recycled?

Traditionally, the answer here has been no: the paper part of the envelope is fine, but the plastic window is a bit trickier – even a small amount of plastic contaminant would ruin the entire batch of paper recycling.

Envelopes with windows

White business envelopes with a plastic window can they now be recycled?

For many eco-consumers, this has meant laboriously cutting the windows out of the envelopes before recycling – and still leaves a significant amount of plastic to go to landfill.

However, some modern post-consumer paper mills have systems in place that can now remove some plastic contaminants. So, while the windows still can’t be recycled, the envelopes can be without having to keep removing the plastic manually.

Can padded envelopes be recycled?

The rise of ecommerce has seen a proliferation of padded envelopes and mailing bags used to protect more delicate small items sent by post. The recycling question here, however, is more complex as there are many different types of padded envelopes, crafted from a range of materials.

Bubble padded envelopes

Bubble envelopes are typically mid-sized paper envelopes lined with bubble wrap. Are bubble padded envelopes recyclable? Typically, no, and for the same reasons that window envelopes aren’t: they are made of a mixture of materials, each of which may be recyclable, but together contaminate one another.

The best way to recycle these envelopes is to reuse them, by adding new sticky address labels.

The alternative is to try and manually remove the bubble wrap from within and recycle that and the paper envelope separately.

Bubble envelopes

Bubble envelopes are different again. These are pouches that can be sealed like an envelope, but which are made entirely from bubble packing materials. Can bubble envelopes be recycled? If it is purely made of bubble wrap, then yes these can be recycled as they are a single material. They must be recycled with plastics, but can be recycled – as can the bubble lining of a bubble padded envelope.

Padded envelopes

Jiffy bags

Padded envelopes with organic or paper material might be the answer

Not all padded envelopes are padded with plastic bubble wrap, some are organically padded. Are padded envelopes recyclable? Since they are usually packed with paper fibre in a paper envelope – so together are a single source of material – then these envelopes can be recycled easily in the paper recycling.

These ‘green’ envelopes offer the same degree of protection as their plastic, bubbly counter-parts, but can be both reused and recycled much more easily.

Can you recycle envelopes?

What about basic envelopes: are envelopes recyclable? Standard issue, plain envelopes can be recycled so long as they have no plastic on them or anything else that may act as a contaminant.

Stamps can also be recycled, so envelopes with stamps, paper labels and postmarks can all go into the paper recycling, regardless of colour.

If the envelope has been stuck down using Sellotape or any other kind of plastic tape, then this has to be fully removed, as it isn’t recyclable.

Interestingly, recycling envelopes means they are turned into more envelopes.

If you don’t want to send used plain envelopes to recycling, they are also quite easy to reuse. Among some of the less-obvious uses, Readers’ Digest suggests that they can be used to “funnel bulk spices into smaller jars” if you tear off a corner; use them as “files for things”; “help keep receipts together when shredding”; and, our personal favourite, “use them as envelopes”.

So, yes, can envelopes be recycled? Very much so.

Can you recycle envelopes with glue?

While there is a vast array of envelope types with differing recycling demands, one thing most of them do have in common is that they come with glue-down flaps. Can these be recycled?

In general, yes. Most glue is made from biodegradable organics and so it can be decomposed. However, some recycle plants won’t take it as it will contaminate their paper recycling if they are making pulp to re-use as paper.

Again, as with small amounts of plastic contaminants, many modern recycling plants can cope with small levels of contaminants so that glue isn’t an issue.

Plastic tape, however, is as this is generally not recyclable and can cause, along with plastic windows, too much contamination.

If you are planning to shred paper and envelopes and use them for compost, then the glue isn’t an issue.

Are plastic mailing bags recyclable?

While many people are using the wide variety of paper-based envelopes and mailing bags out there, sometimes only plastic will do – and there is a similarly large array of plastic mailing bags on offer. Can you recycle plastic mailing bags?

Again, it all comes down to whether it is a single material or not. Most polyethylene is recyclable, however, if it comes with paper labels then it isn’t – unless the two are separated and put in their respective recycling channels.

Many retailers who use poly mailing bags print onto the plastic, so that the bag can be recycled.

Kraft mailing bags

Kraft paper mailing bags are made from tough paper from sustainable forests

Another alternative are Kraft paper mailing bags, an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional polythene mailing bags, made from FSC Kraft paper from sustainable forests. These are not only recyclable, but are also sourced from green raw materials: an environmental win-win.

Conclusion

As ecommerce continues apace, the quantity of envelopes and mailing bags is only going to grow. With many people increasingly aware of the environmental impact of what they do, making sure that simple things such as packaging are recyclable is a must.

The rule of thumb with any packaging, however, is that it can be made up of recyclable materials, but if mixed together renders the whole un-recyclable. Looking to have organically packed padding in paper envelopes or not sticking paper labels of plastic mailing bags is more a case of changing user habits that changing product choice.

Typically, most envelopes and mailing bags are, in essence, recyclable. They are also eminently reusable, so while it may seem daunting to have to separate windows from envelopes, bubble packing from paper and paper labels from plastic mailing bags, you may well be able to find other uses for these things.

Contact our Packaging Specialists for advice on 0800 542 44 29 or email sales@rajapack.co.uk. Or read our environmental FAQs for for more information.