Tag Archives: Expert packaging guides

Label it – The guide to hazard labels

How to label what is in a package is vital to protect the people handling the package, the people receiving the package and, often, to protect the package itself.

Understanding how to use packaging labels and hazard labels is a key part of correctly packaging a product for shipping, and for delivery and storage. There are a range of labelling solutions to help guide anyone coming into contact with the package; what it contains and how to handle it.

These labels fall into two main groups: packaging labels that show how to handle a package – and, indeed, how it has been handled – and hazard labels that reveal more specifically what potential threats the goods pose if mishandled.

How to label a package correctly involves using combinations of these labels to outline how to handle and care for packages and to know what is inside.

So what labels are available and what do they mean?

Chemical warning labels and what they mean

There are a wide variety of chemical warning labels available, covering a wide range of information that anyone handling a package needs to bear in mind.

As we have seen, these can range from simple instructions that help to protect the goods in transit from mishandling – such as ‘Fragile’ and ‘Do not bend’ – right through to very specialist chemical warnings, outlining what the hazards are should something befall that package.

Remember, in many instances, you may need a combination of these labels in each package.

So, what chemical warning labels are there and what do they mean?

Chemical hazard labels

The range of chemical hazard labels offers advice no specifically as to what is in the package, but what potential hazardous effects those goods could have if mishandled.

These include:

Non flammable gas chemical hazard label

  • Non  Flammable Gas – these simple green labels let shippers know that they are handling gas, but that it won’t explode or burn. That doesn’t mean, however, that it isn’t dangerous in another way – something that will be denoted by other labels. An example would be helium, often found in balloons.

Toxic gas chemical hazard label

  • Toxic gas – as the image suggests, this contains gases that can kill. These labels can be used in conjunction with, say, non-flammable label as the gas contained may not be flammable, but could be toxic, such as carbon monoxide.

Flammable gas chemical hazard label

  • Flammable gas – completing the range of gas labels, flammable gas warns of gases being used or transported that can burn or explode. Again, this may be non-toxic, but dangerous because of burning. An example would be Oxygen.

Flammable liquid chemical hazard label

  • Flammable liquid – along with flammable gas, liquids can also be a fire hazard, either when near heat or on contact with air. These labels similarly need to be used in conjunction with others to specify what hazards a particular product poses. An example of a flammable liquid is petrol.

Flammable solid chemical hazard label

  • Flammable solid – strikingly stripey, these labels denote solids that can burn or catch fire. Solids are often not seen as so hazardous as they don’t ‘spill’ per se, however, there are some that do burn – an example being firelighters. Wax is also a burn hazard too.

Highly flammable chemical hazard label

  • Highly flammable – this warning label warns of content that can burn readily, easily and fiercely. This distinguishes goods that are more likely to ignite and to create a blaze that is hotter and harder to tackle than goods that are ‘just’ flammable. An example would be lighter fluid and even some aerosol cans.

Corrosive chemical hazard label

  • Corrosive – these labels warn of substances that are gaseous, liquid or solid – that can steadily erode and destroy materials and flesh. Typically, corrosion actually involves the oxidation or rusting of metal, but in the realm of safety labels it refers to substances that can dissolve and/or ‘eat away’ any material and can be either acidic or alkaline. An example would be potassium hydroxide, more commonly found in fertilisers.

Miscellaneous chemical hazard label

  • Miscellaneous – For goods that are hazardous for other reasons or for packers who want to label their products themselves, there a range of miscellaneous labels that can be filled in manually. These labels also suit people who have a range of goods and want to then offer a reason why they are dangerous. Typically, these labels are there to warn of hazards which can then be specified.

Packaging hazard labels and what they mean

Chemical hazard labels warn of what can happen if the goods contained within a package are mishandled – avoiding mishandling in the first place is perhaps even more vital and so there are a range of labels to that end.

Used in conjunction with chemical hazard labels, these can paint a good picture of how to handle goods and why they need to be handled properly.

There, as we shall see, also labels that show how goods have been handled.

So what packing labels are available?

Fragile packaging labels

  • Fragile – these labels come in a variety of styles and are a basic indication that goods need to be handled carefully as the contents might break. They can be simple or more informative – including ‘This Way Up’ indication and an idea of what is inside. In conjunction with chemical labelling this can help handlers know precisely what to do with the package.

Handle with car packaging labels

  • Handle with care – Handling instructions are also a vital part of the labelling process, outlining not only what is in the package, which way up it should go but also specifically how to handle it.

These labels include ones that require general gentle handling, to those that suggest careful opening, to those that give more specific instructions such as ‘Do Not Crush’, ‘Do Not Bend’ and the like.

Antistatic packaging labels

  • Antistatic labels – One hazard that is of increasing importance in the modern era is that of static. Electronic goods – especially computers and phones, although ‘computers’ now appear in all manner of devices, even washing machines – are sensitive to electrostatic interference – it can fry their innards.

‘Electrostatic sensitive devices’ labels are used to make sure packages containing such goods are kept clear of electrostatic and magnetic interference.

Shockwatch indicator labels

  • Shock and tilt labels – The final class of packaging labels are those that help to understand how a package has been handled in transit: to make sure that goods have been treated properly and to pre-warn anyone handling the package that it may be damaged. Labels that tell a story.

Shockwatch labels highlight if a package has been dropped or bumped. They feature a small, contained glass vial within the label, which releases red dye – so a small window on the label turns red – if the package has been shocked.

Specialist Tiltwatch packaging labels

Tiltwatch labels are there to show whether a ‘This End Up’ or ‘This Way Up’ package has been kept the right way up, again featuring a small panel that turns red if a package has been tilted more than 90 degrees.

How to read a chemical label

The key to reading chemical labelling – in fact all the labelling – on a package lies in looking at what labels have been used. As we have seen, a combination of labels can be used to label a package to outline what is in it, what hazards that may contain and how best to handle that package to make sure that those hazards are kept from becoming an issue.

A combination of packaging and shipping labels used on one parcel could look like this:

Range of chemical hazard packaging labels

This labelling implies that the contents are fragile, probably in a glass or ceramic container and needs to be kept upright, because the contents, were it to be spilled is corrosive to skin and material. The package should also not be crushed or mishandled and a Tiltwatch label indicates to anyone handling it if it has been tipped or bumped. This way when it’s been opened it can be done so with care.

Conclusions

How to use packaging labels and hazard chemical labels is vital to both protection of the goods, as well as the protection of the people handling them and those receiving them.

Taken together, the labels can tell a story of what is both in the package, how to handle it and, with some of the more specialist labels, what has happened to it in transit.

Applying common sense to the use of these labels can help goods to be carefully handled and to arrive in good shape. And it makes economic sense too. Goods can get damaged in transit and storage, but labelling them properly so that they are handled and stored correctly can significantly mitigate this damage – and that has to make sound business sense.

Want to know more about shipping and packaging labels?

For additional advice on labelling your packages for shipping, packaging labels, read our shipping labels guide or contact our team of Packaging Specialists on 0800 542 44 28.

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.

Bubble vs Foam

EXPERT PACKAGING GUIDES

Welcome to the first in a new series of expert packaging guides.  We’ll be taking a close look at packaging products and materials, giving you expert guidance in how to select the right packaging for your needs and help keep your process efficient.

Bubble vs Foam

Today we’re focusing on bubble wrap packaging and foam packaging, two popular protective packaging materials that are often viewed as similar but have very different properties.  So, without further ado, let’s begin with bubble.

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is one of our most popular packaging materials and no doubt one you’re familiar with.   It’s lightweight, low cost and offers excellent all round protection from the soft layer of cushioned air bubbles that cover the material.  Hundreds of small air pockets are encased within layers of polyethylene that make up bubble wrap, giving it excellent cushioning and protection properties.

It’s available in many different types, the most common of which being bubble wrap rolls, where it can easily be cut to length.  From a roll, it can be used for all manner of purposes depending on its thickness; 40 micron to wrap and protect light products, 55 micron to wrap heavy objects and sharp angles, and heavy duty 75 micron to wrap and pack fragile or very heavy items.

For easier operation with no cutting required, perforated rolls are available in a range of different sizes, meaning you can easily tear off equal sheets quickly and cleanly.  These rolls are ideal if you need to protect similar sized items and only need a standard length, such as 500mm or 800mm. Because they’re cut to set lengths, they’re better for packaging portion control and reduce the chance of over packing, making them more cost effective than using standard rolls.  Perfect if you’re wrapping many items of a similar size.

Bubble dispenser boxes make the process even easier by keeping the roll tidy and dust free in a convenient compact box.

For smaller items bubble wrap bags offer all the protective benefits of wrap but in a useful bag, perfect for protecting low profile items that can easily slip around inside.  Bags can be sealed with an adhesive strip, heat sealer or tape, and once sealed they provide all round cushioning and protection for the contents.  Speciality bags are available too, such as anti-static bubble bags which are perfect for delicate sensitive electronics such as smartphones, computer equipment and electronic components.

Protective bubble is a highly versatile packaging material which is one of the main reasons why it’s so popular.  With the air cushioning that it offers, it can protect everything from light cushioning of smaller items to heavy duty protection for fragile items such as ceramics or glass.

If you’re shipping polished items though, be sure to note that bubble wrap can leave small cell marks that can be hard to remove, caused by the small air bubbles pressing on polished material.  Materials such as polished metal, glass or wood are susceptible to this, so if you’re shipping polished, premium items we recommend wrapping them in another material first, such as polythene or foam, before wrapping in bubble wrap.

Foam Packaging

Foam packaging is lesser known than bubble wrap and usually overlooked but offers astounding protection from a very lightweight, thin material.  Tiny air bubbles within the foam provide excellent cushioning and give the foam bounce, resulting in a high performance material that excels at protecting products.

Lint and dust free, foam is non-abrasive, meaning it won’t scratch or leave any marks at all.  This makes it perfect for wrapping polished and shiny items such as metal, glass or polished wood, protecting against surface rubbing and scuffing.

Standard foam protection is less likely to build static electricity than bubble wrap due to the way it’s constructed which makes it better for general electrical equipment and sensitive parts.  It can be laminated to give it additional properties too such as extra strength, puncture resistance, or to enhance its aesthetics.  If you’re looking for a material that can be re-used then foam is the perfect choice, retaining its bounce and protective qualities due to how it is constructed.

Like bubble wrap, there are different types of foam packaging available.  It can be bought on a roll and in this form it’s called foam wrap.  It can be cut to size and used to wrap, separate, and insulate.  It’s lightweight and easily handled so it can be used to wrap and protect awkwardly shaped items in a similar way to bubble wrap.

Foam wrap is available in cut sheets too, ready to use in pre-cut sizes for wrapping around items or interleaving between products in cartons, saving you time in your packaging process.

Foam is available in different thicknesses from a slim 1mm for surface protection and interleaving, up to a thicker 4mm which is more suited to cushioning and insulating, with more bounce in the material.

Foam blocks are another popular type of foam, solid blocks which can be used for bracing and blocking in packages, separating items or reinforcing corners.  These offer solid, unbreakable reinforcement for parcels and are ideal for protecting items such as furniture. They are constructed in a way that makes them more solid than foam wrap, in a similar way to polystyrene manufacturing but it is easier to cut and work with, lightweight, and can be used many times over.

Which material is right for you?

Both materials are brilliant choices for protective packaging but they do have different properties which makes them better for different uses.  As with all packaging, we recommend using the right material for the right purpose, so when deciding which one to choose, evaluate what you’re going to be using it for before making a purchase.

Bubble wrap is a great all-round protector.  With air cushioning it gives a great layer of protection whether you’re wrapping lightweight items or heavy and fragile products.  The various thicknesses available cater for a wide range of item sizes and weights.  You need to be aware that it can leave marks behind on polished and reflective surfaces.

Foam packaging is generally thinner and lighter than bubble wrap, which means you can store more square metres on site, and it’ll take up less space in cartons.  It’s perfect if you’re shipping delicate items with premium polished surfaces as its smooth texture won’t leave a single mark on products, making it ideal for ceramics, large electronic equipment, furniture or highly polished parts such as alloy wheels.

Price is always a consideration for packaging and the good news here is that both materials are highly comparable on price per square metre. With 3x as many square metres on a 1mm bundle of foam as there are on a bundle of small 1500mm x 100m bubble wrap, make sure you’re selecting the right thickness and material for your needs to keep your packaging cost effective.

The Expert Opinion

Finally, we caught up with two experts to see what advice they could offer when selecting between the two.  We spoke to Fiona MacDougall, Sales and Marketing Director at Jiffy, to get her take on these two materials:

ban-quote2.png

“Whether you choose to use bubble wrap packaging or foam packaging, both products offer superb protection.  Bubble offers ease of use, economy, and effective protection, while foam offers characteristics that protect delicate surfaces and polished finishes, due to its ability to reduce scuffing, rubbing and marking.

Historically, bubble wrap has always been the ‘go to’ product for packers, but steadily users are realising the many benefits of packaging foam. It is lightweight, retains its memory and the wide range of thicknesses offer superb choice and value depending on the application. A firm favourite is to use the two materials combined – bubble bonded to foam, making a bubble/foam laminated material.  This means you get the bounce and cushion of bubble combined with the care and non-abrasion of foam. Ask our partners Rajapack for more details on this excellent product.”

We also caught up with Chris Liddell, Head of Product Marketing at Rajapack to get this thoughts on the importance of fully weighing up all your options when sourcing your packaging:
“As this blog highlights, the most important consideration when choosing between bubble or foam to protect your products is to select the right protective material for the right purpose. The breadth of the protective packaging range we have at Rajapack ensures that we have a solution for every application or business need, and our team of Packaging Specialists are on-hand to help you make the right choice.”

If you’d like further information on protective packaging, if you’re unsure whether bubble or foam is best for you, or if you have you have any questions for our team of Packaging Specialists simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28.