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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.

The many uses of strapping

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.

Palletise your loads using strapping

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.

The different kinds of strapping available

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.

Polypropylene strapping

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.

PET or 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.

Steel strapping

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, strapping 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

Ensuring your safe delivery

An estimated 500,000 letters are lost in the post each week in the UK. Of these, 400,000 never arrive, and 100,000 will be over two weeks late. If you’re sending anything important, it’s therefore vital you make sure it’s protected.

Royal Mail

The most common way to protect your post is to acquire a certificate of postage. This practice has been standard for powersellers of websites like eBay for many years, with proof of postage compulsory when defending a claim for a lost parcel. As a seller, lacking proof of postage means you are responsible for any resulting refunds. Depending on the item sold, this could be very expensive. If, on the other hand, you have proof of postage, then you can claim compensation from the Post Office.

Proof of postage is not without its faults however, and many experts would now recommend proof of delivery instead. We talked to Chris a.k.a Mountie, co-founder and editor of Tamebay, about the advantages of proof of delivery:

“Proof of postage is pretty worthless to both consumers and retailers; although often asked for, it can be confused with proof of delivery, a much more valuable service. It’s the retailers responsibility to get their item to their customer and all proof of postage can be used for is a claim against a courier if the item doesn’t arrive.

Proof of delivery however has many more uses and is generally something consumers like; not so much that they need to be told that their item has arrived, but more that they can track their purchase along its journey and know when to expect it. However times are changing and some retailers are falling behind the curve.

Royal Mail is due to add bar codes to all parcels within the UK later this year. This will enable them to scan at the point of delivery and raises the question, ‘do retailers actually need a signature for proof of delivery or is a scan at the door step acceptable?’ Of course sometimes, due to the item value, you may require a signature. Typically when receiving a high value item, a signature is customary and many payment providers, including the best known in the UK – PayPal, insist on proof of delivery including a signature.

Collection points

There are new services coming to the market which make signature on delivery even less neccessary. Services such as locker locations (e.g. InPost.co.uk), home delivery bins (e.g. Pelipod.com) or click and collect locations (e.g. Doddle.it) all create debate. If the item is to be delivered to a convenient location for collection (and often this will be a consumer driven choice which even the retailer may be unaware of), insisting on a signature from the recipient may cause complications in the delivery process whereas a scan would work perfectly.

From a personal perspective, I remember a customer calling to enquire as to the whereabouts of a rather expensive item of computer equipment sold on eBay. Fortunately, by using a tracked delivery I could tell them the exact time and date it was delivered to their company. The response was interesting; “Oh, I actually purchased two of these and yours was the second one I bought, it must be the first one that hasn’t arrived!” Without proof of delivery I’d have probably had to foot the bill and that’s why I always use proof of delivery when selling any relatively valuable item on eBay in particular, or online in general.”

We also talked to professional designer Thom Milson, who made the mistake of having no proof of delivery:

“I once sent some work to the Ukraine – just before the issues with Russia really escalated – and I had made sure that I had proof of postage, as sending prints to Europe can cost quite a fair whack. A few weeks had passed and I hadn’t heard anything from the customer, so I threw out the proof of postage receipt to declutter my work space a bit, assuming they had received the package okay (I’d sent it first class). It was a day or two later that I received an email claiming the parcel hadn’t arrived. I suddenly had no proof of postage or delivery to back up my claim and I had to refund the customer in full.

It’s vital to get proof of delivery instead of proof of postage, especially if it’s expensive. With proof of delivery you know for sure whether they have received their parcel, and have the proof to back yourself up if they claim otherwise”

How the different courier services compare

Depending on who you are posting with, the process involved for proof of delivery will vary slightly. We have worked up a useful delivery service comparison table which you can use to see the most frequently-used parcel carriers and their proof of delivery policies – as well as how to claim compensation if your parcel goes missing.

Proving your delivery

 Extra Information – Value of item protected

Yodel protect the item with £20 additional compensation available. There is a calculator on their site here.

Extra information – How to claim

With Yodel & Parcel Force, its best practice to send them pictures of the package before it was sent. To make a claim with Parcel Force, you’ll need to download a claim form from their website here. When sending the claim forms back, make sure you include proof of the items value, such as a receipt. It also helps if you have pictures of the parcel before it is sent as proof of proper packing.

To make a claim via Royal Mail you must ask the Post Office for a P58 form. This form must be accompanied by the original proof of postage and, once posted, can take 6 to 8 weeks to be processed.

To claim via Yodel you’ll need to visit their contact us page which can be found here.

Claiming with DPD is quite a thorough process – full details of which can be found here.

*Extra information – Additional notes

  • DHL prohibit some items; a full list can be found here.
  • Hermes will not pay compensation for some items. See a list here.
  • Parcel Force will not pay compensation for some items. See a list here.
  • Yodel will not pay compensation for some items. See a list here.

Just to rubber stamp what we’re saying…

Proof of delivery is a must these days – especially if you run a business. However, what’s on offer, and which courier would be best for you, all depend on what you are posting. Most commonly posted parcels will be fine with Royal Mail; however they will only protect an item up to the value of £34 –unless you pay for extra services. Larger or more valuable items may be better sent with a private courier who offers a higher level of cover. These companies often offer larger levels of cover and compensation, but they can also cost a little extra. Whichever you choose, it’s important to be properly covered.

Ever wondered how they put the stretch into stretch film?

Following our April Fools InfusionWrap™ launch, we investigated how bubble wrap stays so strong under pressure yet is so easy to pop after use, and delved deeper into exactly how bubble wrap is made.

We had so much fun that we wanted to do the same, but for stretch film. The laws of physics suggest that a material becomes weaker when stretched, so how does stretch film manage to remain durable and strong even when stretched to around 500% its standard size?

Strength and Versatility

It’s a product used in retail, shipping, deliveries, transport and now increasingly in airports, where people are shrink-wrapping their suitcases when they fly abroad to prevent damage or theft. Across all industries, shrink wrapping helps to prevent tears and damage to materials and keeps items secure in one place; it helps to protect products and save on space and material.

Stretch Film Machine

Getting ready to stretch

Stretch film is usually used to secure large or heavy loads on transit pallets. Like bubble wrap, the film stays durable and strong under pressure.

The resemblances between the two packaging products stem from a similar manufacturing process for both.Stretch Film

Bubble and Stretch

Both bubble wrap and stretch film are manufactured from polyethylene and involve a system of melting and cooling.  The difference between the two, and the reason why stretch film has stretch properties, is through the use of higher alpha-olefins, which are chemical compounds with a higher reactivity rate.

This chemical process gives slack to the material which means it can stretch, but interestingly also makes it puncture resistant. Some stretch film can stretch to around 500% of its normal size, although most packaging requires only 100-300% stretch.

The difference between stretch film and shrink wrap

On many occasions, stretch film is mistaken for shrink wrap because they can look very similar. However, apart from both being manufactured from plastic resin via the blown process, they aren’t similar at all.

The properties that make the shrink wrap ‘shrink’ are frozen into the plastic during manufacture and can only be activated by a heat source. When the right amount of heat is applied to the wrap it moves towards melting point which makes it contract and ‘shrink’.

Shrink wrap is made from low density polyethylene which doesn’t have the tear resistance or holding force that stretch film has.

There are two common process for turning polyethylene into stretch film, both resulting in quite different types of film:

Blown Stretch Film

The first method creates Blown stretch film, the more durable and high quality form. The longer cooling process of blown stretch film allows the bonds in the plastic to spread out more, making it more durable.  In this method, the polyethylene resin is heated until it melts and then pulled through an annular die. This puts pressure on the resin and turns it into a sheet.

The sheet is then cooled to form what we would recognize as stretch film.

Cast Stretch Film

The second form of manufacture creates Cast stretch film which is not as high quality as blown, but is cheaper and quicker to manufacture. Because of the quicker cooling time, the chemical bonds spread into individual lines rather than evenly across the film.

It still goes through a similar process of melting resin being put through a die, but with this method the resin is passed through a slot die before it then moves over moving over cooling rollers, as opposed to being given the time to cool naturally at room temperature.

Time to wrap it up

Stretch film is an important part of any efficient packaging operation; its versatility and durability make it ideal for both large and heavy items, as well as small and awkward ones. Stretch film is ideal for protecting parts of products, keeping items clean from dust and dirt and for securing difficult shapes.

It can also be designed in different colours, which can help strengthen a business’ brand impact. Stretch film is a cost effective and simple way to package.

Rajapack’s own range of stretch film includes coloured film, dispensers, mini stretch film, cast film and blown film. If you want to know more about the different uses of stretch film for your warehouse or packaging operation, call us today on 0800 542 44 28.

10 ways to cut packaging waste in the warehouse

Cutting down packaging waste should be a key priority for anyone who works in a warehouse, whether that be administration staff, managers or those on the warehouse floor. Waste of materials is not only bad for the environment and profit margins, but also creates health and safety concerns.

Rajapack Warehouse

We work with businesses who face this challenge on a day to day basis. They’re looking at ways of making their operation more efficient, such as using different types of recyclable packaging materials and making their ordering processes more efficient.

Reasons to reduce packaging waste in the warehouse:

  • By cutting waste, you can save money and time, and make your business more efficient.
  • More and more customers are only buying from companies who have ‘green’ credentials. Waste that isn’t disposed of properly can be harmful to the environment.
  • Minimise days lost due to health and safety accidents and, look after your employees.

 Top 10 ways to reduce packaging waste in the warehouse:

1) Reuse rather than recycle

 Recyclable packaging is much better for the environment than non-recyclable packaging, but they still require processing and piles of recyclable products might be left lying around for long periods of time. Reusing materials for different purposes, such as using left-over cardboard boxes to house office equipment, helps to reduce waste and prevent the unnecessary purchase of products.

Waste Solutions
2) Use the appropriate type of material

 A lot of warehouse packaging waste is as a result of materials not being fit for purpose. Waste can occur when a product has been packaged in the incorrect material or incorrect sized packaging product. Companies such as Rajapack offer customers expert advice about the most appropriate types of packaging to use.

3) Give staff the proper training

On many occasions, waste is created or not disposed of properly because employees don’t know the processes that have been put in place. This could mean that administrative staff aren’t properly communicating with the warehouse operatives or it could be that staff haven’t been given the appropriate training. If you think you have the processes in place, make sure that your colleagues and employees are all reading from the same page. You can enrol your employees on specialist courses such as this one, from UCLAN.

4) Understand loose fill

How many times you receive a parcel at home where the packaging seems to be ten times bigger than required for the item inside. Sometimes, this is a necessity as a smaller box won’t properly protect the item however, on other occasions the wrong box or wrong loose fill has been used. Some loose fill packaging is more appropriate for certain types of item than others. Using the correct type of loose fill will better protect your product and help you to use the appropriate type of material.

5) Collect waste at regular intervals

 It may sound like common sense, but it is surprising how many companies only have daily collections of waste when 3 or 4 times a day would be more appropriate to create a safe working environment for your employees. Waste can build up throughout the day and it is can become a health hazard if it isn’t removed on a regular basis.

Rajapack6) Create partnerships with community projects

If removing waste material on a regular basis is becoming too time consuming, find out if there are any local charities or community projects who can use the left over material. Organisations such as animal shelters and kids clubs are often on the lookout for materials such as cardboard and may be willing to come and collect it from your organisation themselves.

7) Clearly mark packaging with pressure and weight limits.

 Giving proper guidance to staff about the amount of weight and pressure packaging can take will ensure less damaged packaging and less waste. It may be the case that the strength of box being used can actually hold more products or an employee could use a smaller box for an item.

Rajapack strapping8) Use stretch film

 When transporting products around the warehouse, you may be able to save packaging and energy by securing them together using stretch film rather than packing them in large boxes. Stretch film is easier to fit in bins and recycling containers.

9) Reward employees who are waste conscious.

 Even if you or your staff don’t think that much about your carbon footprint or how environmentally responsible you’re being, your customers do. Rewarding your employees for their eco-friendly efforts in your warehouse should be the same as giving shop floor workers reward for great customer service. They are going the extra mile to help your company, so reward them and encourage others to do the same.

10) Appoint a ‘waste champion’

 Waste champions will help to ensure that all colleagues are energized and enthusiastic about reducing waste in the warehouse. It will also give an individual an added sense of responsibility and job satisfaction.

One of Rajapack’s warehouse waste-champions is Simon Howes. We asked him why he thought having people in these kind of roles is so important:

“We currently have 2 champions on site. What we have found is that once you have championed someone, they are very quick to jump on anyone who doesn’t follow the rules, as they quite rightly should. Since implementation, it has taken a very short period of time for staff to take notice and work with the recycling process. My feeling is that it is very quickly becoming a normal working condition with more and more individuals becoming aware of the importance of waste management without having to put a lot of effort in.”

Cutting down waste in the warehouse will help you save money and the environment, as well as creating happy customers and employees. If you want more information from Rajapack about how make your packaging more efficient and eco-responsible, you can call our expert team now on 0800 542 4428 or take a look round our range of environmentally friendly packaging solutions online.

New Rajapack catalogue launched and it’s changing lives

September marks the launch of Rajapack UK’s new 312-page packaging catalogue. Inside will be over 280 brand new packaging solutions to ensure your products reach your customers safely, plus we’ll be including eco-friendly packaging alternatives to help your clients answer their customers’ growing demands for environmentally responsible packaging.

The catalogue is being delivered right now, so expect yours in the post any day. If you haven’t ordered from us before, click the banner below to request your free copy.

Request the new Rajapack catalogue

Choose eco-friendly packaging and together we can change lives

Along with fresh packaging ideas, the new catalogue also focuses on the belief that ‘Together we can change lives’. Built on two of Rajapack’s core values: environmental responsibility and supporting charitable causes, we’re launching an action programme for Women & the Environment.

Women and the Environment

By simply ordering from a selection of 12 eco-friendly products, our customers can help women across the globe. For every one of these products bought between September and February 2016, we’ll donate up to £3 to help fund five community projects around the world.

These projects help women living in countries such as Cuba, Togo, Mozambique, Myanmar and India, to grow their own produce and build better lives for themselves and their families.

As you order at rajapack.co.uk, you’ll see a running total of money raised, and the difference your order will make to women around the world.

You’ll find full details about this great Women & the Environment project in the new catalogue and on rajapack.co.uk, plus we’ll be publishing information and videos right here on the blog.

Maximise your sales with environmentally responsible packaging

With eco-friendly packaging fast becoming a key factor for your customers, over the coming months we’ll be posting a number of useful articles highlighting the best ways for your business to be environmentally responsible.

Plus, following the launch of RajaPrint, our online custom printing service and online chat, our live chat service to provide advice, we’ve been working on more tools that will make buying packaging online even easier. So keep an eye out for these new features on rajapack.co.uk

If you have any questions about any of the above, please give us a call on 0800 542 44 28.

Inside Rajapack: A history of the RAJA Group

In 1954, Rachel Marcovici and Janine Rocher laid the foundations for the international company that we now know as the RAJA group. What started as a two-woman company in struggling post-war France has grown into a multi-national packaging giant, with subsidiaries in 14 countries across Europe. As of 2015 they have an annual turnover of 440 million euros and employ 1600 people.

Do you know where the name ‘RAJA’ actually comes from? Or how many copies of the first ever Rajapack catalogue were printed?  To answer all this and more, we’ve taken a look at how Cartons RAJA grew into the RAJA Group, and how they spread its roots across Europe and into the UK.

Rachel Marcovici
1954
– Cartons RAJA, whose name come from an amalgamation of the first two letters of each founding member’s first name: RAchel and JAnine, begins life under the shadow of the Eiffel tower. Starting with just one shop, Cartons RAJA specialise in recycled cardboard boxes, as they are cheaper to buy than brand new ones.

Late 1950s – In a periodwhere France was still recovering from the World War 2, the low prices of these recycled cardboard boxes, coupled with the energy and entrepreneurial spirit of Rachel Marcovici, means RAJA Cartons quickly flourish. The company expand to include new product lines, have ten employees and boast a turnover of one million francs (around £14,640 in today’s pound sterling).Danielle Marcovici

1962 – Danièle Kapel-Marcovici (President-Director of RAJA in 2015), daughter of Rachel Marcovici, begins working as a sales rep for the company at the age of 16. She would go on to stay in that post for the next 10 years.

 Catalogue1975 – The catalogue era begins. Cartons RAJA’s advertising department release their first ever product catalogue; a 24 page, black and white brochure which highlights 365 products. 10 copies are printed.

1982 – Danièle Kapel-Marcovici becomes Managing Director of Cartons RAJA, stepping up from her role as Sales and Marketing Director which she had held for the previous 4 years. Over the next 10 years, she would optimise the operations of the entire company, structuring all activities around key strategic teams such as purchasing, catalogue sales, product marketing, accounts, logistics, IT and human resources.  Her work pays off as Cartons RAJA pioneer the direct selling of packaging materials.

1990 – Cartons RAJA drop the ‘Cartons’ from their name and rename themselves: RAJA.

1992 – The company’s turnover grew to 316 million francs (almost 5 times what it had been 10 years previously). They employ 190 people.Rajapack Website

1994 – 2000 – RAJA becomes an international company by developing subsidiaries in Holland and Germany as well as purchasing BINPAC in Belgium and AID-PACK in the UK.

AID-PACK, which will later become RAJAPACK UK, are specialists in strapping. When AID-PACK are purchased in 1998, they have sales of £2 million.

2001 – RAJA create their digital offering and continue to develop their multi-channel marketing and sales strategy with the creation of their first online store (www.raja.fr).

2002 – Rajapack UKremain a catalogue-sales focussed organisation but move into the digital space with the creation and launch of their own website.

 2003 – 2012 – European expansion continues with the creation of subsidiaries in Spain, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden.

RAJA in Europe

2015 – RAJA purchase Morplan; a major player in the distance selling of supplies and equipment to the UK retail sector.

The story of the RAJA Group continues to grow and is led by the people who work here.

Our staff are determined to keep the company moving forward, providing quality service and packaging products to our customers. Because of this, our staff retention record is an enviable one. Recently, 9 of our staff, ranging from warehouse workers to the Head of Customer Marketing, were awarded for long service to the company of 10 years or more.

The values that RAJA Group was built upon; empowering women and sustainability, still apply today. The RAJA-Danièle Marcovici Foundation, created under the aegis of the Fondation de France in 2006, support community projects for women in France and around the world.

We also put a large focus on environmentally friendly packaging, just like RAJA Cartons did when they started selling second hand cardboard boxes to Parisians way back in 1954.

The RAJA Group has now been supplying packaging materials for customers at competitive prices for over 60 years, a fact that we are very proud of.  Our long history and heritage have taught us to always keep the customer at the forefront of everything we do.

Happy Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day!

Today is Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day. On this day, we celebrate some of the more silly and ludicrous packaging that has been delivered over the last 12 months.

Examples of preposterous packaging might include:

  • Over-packaging; when small items such as batteries are delivered in containers suitable for larger items such as desktop computers. They usually require a lot of bubble wrap or loose fill to secure the contents
  • Packaging with the wrong name on
  • Needless packaging; when products are wrapped but don’t need to be
  • Packaging with too much protection
  • Packaging with unusual translations from different languages.

Bad packaging can be funny to some, but for businesses who receive or deliver items in packaging that is completely inappropriate, it can be a strain on costs and customer relationships.

We’ve taken a look at some of the most preposterous packaging that might affect the relationship you have with your customers, and some ways to prevent these from happening:

Excessive Packaging

One of the most popular examples of preposterous packaging is when items are delivered in a box or container that is far too big for the product inside.

Excessive Packaging

Using excessive protective packaging (such as bubble wrap or loose fill) can often mean that a business is not being environmentally-responsible. There are different definitions of what exactly constitutes environmentally-friendly packaging, but one common theme across government and industry guidelines is that manufacturers should use no more than the minimum amount of packaging required to safely transport the goods inside.

Over-packaging can also be expensive for businesses, as using more materials than needed means spending more than is needed on packaging.

Ordering the right size box and correct amount of protection is easy, and there are simple tools available online that can help, such as Rajapack’s Box Selector.

Incorrect Branding

Effective packaging must properly convey what the box contains. In order for customers to trust a company they are buying from it is crucial that they get what they expected when they open and use the product.

Incorrect Branding

Packaging is a great way of strengthening the brand and separating your product from the others on the shelf.

If the majority of the packaging you use is transit, this may not be a big issue for you. A lot of transit packaging is single colour (such as brown or white cardboard) with little in the way of description on it. Using materials such as custom packaging tape can help to strengthen your brand and customer communication.

Unnecessary packaging

A good example of unnecessary packaging is when items are packaged individually, when they could have been grouped together. Avoiding this mistake reassures customers that your business considers the environmental impact of packaging and helps save you money.

Needless Packaging

It may be the case that bananas stay fresher for longer if they are individually wrapped, but businesses must be mindful that customers are more aware of their responsibilities to the environment. This can play a large role in who they choose to do business with; blatant over-packaging like this can be harmful to a company’s green reputation.

Packaging that is not user friendly

As well as protecting and securing the contents, packaging has to be user friendly, such as having no  jagged or sharp edges, and with clear  labels or handling instructions (such as ‘this way up’).Packaging is also not user friendly if the customer has difficulty getting to the products inside. A great example of this is when scissors are packed in Blister packs which require scissors to open.

Blister Packs

Customers want to buy from a company again if they are satisfied with both the product and the service they receive. Their experience of the product starts from the moment they receive the package, so it’s vital that they have a good experience when opening their product.

 Packaging that makes sense

Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day started out as a light-hearted look at some of the more ill-conceived packaging that customers receive. On a serious note though, customers do take note of the quality of packaging they receive, and this can affect future buying decisions around who they do business with. Packaging effects the decision regarding repeat purchase.

At Rajapack, we offer expert advice to our customers on the correct type of packaging they use to make sure that their packaging is fit for purpose.

Fit for purpose might include factors such as the size of container, strength of material and environmental impact of the packaging among others.

Packaging that is fit for purpose will save money, time and the environment, which will result in happy employees as well as customers. If you have any great examples of Particularly Preposterous Packaging, drop them in the comments box below!

 

The lessons we can learn from food packaging

Whether it be primary, secondary or transit packaging, there are some top tips that help businesses better market their products and strengthen their brand. One industry that is very good at this, is the food packaging industry.

Food packaging is vitally important: not only does it protect food during transportation, but it also helps sell the food. You can have the same two products in two different packages, and if one looks much nicer it is much more likely to sell more.

Food packaging

Food packaging can also help to encourage repeat business, making it easy for customers to find and select your product in a shop. Though take note, it might also deter potential buyers if they don’t feel it’s genuine. This excellent food packaging comparison shows the reality of misleading food packaging, where in many cases the food product looks nothing like what the packaging suggests.

The key to good food packaging is a marriage of several elements such as practicality, attractiveness to customers and the ability to protect the food, amongst others.

We asked some top food packaging experts what they think are the key lessons that we can all learn from their industry:

1) Be honest about the way the your product looks

Stoats food packaging

These designs for Stoats by Leeds based Robot Food feature a window through which the porridge oats can actually be seen. Using a window like this gives the customer an accurate depiction of what the product looks like before they buy; the appearance of the product is actually a factor in the decision to buy the product. If the customer is persuaded by the appearance of the food, they are less likely to be disappointed when the packaging is finally opened.

We sat down with Simon Forster from Robot Food to discuss their work for Stoats:

“For any brand with a limited marketing budget, it’s necessary for the packaging to tell the brand story and promote the product. This was the case for Stoats. Retaining enough from the previous design to make it easy for brand loyalists to understand, we injected a whole load of fun in a way that was true to the Stoats story. The new designs are eclectic, colourful and inviting to all ages. The naive illustration style feels homemade, almost as if the designs were created by the team at Stoats. The packaging has interest and brand tone of voice all over to keep you entertained while eating your breakfast.

It’s important to see the quality of the premixed porridges and the high content of fruit inclusion. The die cut windows show off the product in an engaging way that works with the design to create a morning scene, celebrating occasion. Natural cues are represented in the nature of the loose illustration, with wheat, fruit, birds and sky and further cues come from printing the card on the textured reverse and in the choice of fonts.”

This method of showing the food is recommended for organic products and other high quality luxury foods.

Sausages

2) Create packaging people want to keep

 Coke

Famous packages like the Kikkoman Soy Sauce bottle (designed by Kenji Ekuan) and the Coca-Cola bottle (created by Earl R. Dean) are not only iconic designs, but also collectors’ items within their own right. Both of these designs are often used as small vases for flowers, and the multi-use properties of packaging such as these will often influence a purchase/encourage a sale? Other industries that could adopt this approach include perfumers and shoe makers.

3) Be clear: communicate what the product is in a simple manner

 shopping‘Value’ product packaging design may not be that obviously exciting, but it is undeniably clear in its communication of what’s inside the package. The Tesco Everyday packaging by Rocket Design is clear, concise and effective: a customer quickly knows exactly what they are getting.

Some designs are not so clear, such as this infamous Fabuloso bottle: is it a fruit juice drink or a cleaning product?

Fabuloso

Answer: It’s a cleaning product.

 4) Always think about the environmental impact of your packaging
(because your customers do!)

Bananas

This packaging for bananas in Morrisons went viral – and for good reason too. They really didn’t need to be wrapped in so much plastic and the environmental impact of so much packaging could be enormous in the long run.

When designing food packaging, a designer needs to consider not only how the packaging will be used to transport and sell the product, but what happens to once it’s thrown away. A good starting point is to ask the following questions:

  • Are all of the parts of the packaging necessary?
  • Are there any more environmentally responsible alternatives?
  • Can the packaging be reused in any way?
  • Can all of the packaging be recycled?
  • Can some parts of the packaging be recycled and not others? If so, can these parts be separated easily?

5) Make it practical

Fruit drinks

It’s all well and good when packaging has a unique, eye-catching feature, but it still has to function well. These fruit inspired creations are not only exciting and eye-catching – they function exactly the same way as a normal juice carton:

For food packaging to be most effective, there should be a perfect marriage between aesthetics and use. An interesting looking package may be enough to tempt a customer into an initial purchase, but it’s the functionality that will keep them coming back. A great example of this is Heinz Ketchup bottles; according to ‘The Marketing Blog’, customers consumed 78% more ketchup after the bottle changed size and turned upside down.

ketchup

6) Make it easy to transport

One of the key features of packaging is its ability to be transported. If you cannot transport your product easily and effectively without the packaging being damaged, then you cannot expect to sell many products successfully.

Toblerone

Nothing packs together as easily as a box, but boxes do not always make the most interesting package designs, so if you’re going to use experimental packaging make sure that the way it will be transported is practical and cost-effective.

The Toblerone chocolate bar box was designed to resemble a Swiss mountain range, but is also easily transported and stacked by turning some bars upside down and interlocking them.

 In Summary

A customer’s first impression of your product is usually based on the packaging as it is the first thing they see, and that impression could dictate whether they become repeat customers or even brand advocates.  Ensuring that your packaging is both fit for purpose and effectively designed will encourage repeat sales.

Effective packaging delivers the brand message, builds lasting relationships and gives the customer insight into the contents and quality of the product.  Because the food industry is so competitive, brands have to stand out, whether that is conveyed by the design of their packaging or by showing the quality of the contents inside.

Creative Ideas for Tape

Packaging tape comes in many different varieties, ranging from industrial tape which secures heavy duty items, to custom printed tape which strengthens brand and design messages, and low-tack tape applied to windows for the building trade. At Rajapack, we feel that it’s one of the most versatile products on the market.

Packaging tape

Packaging tape is not usually the first material people think of when they think of craft materials, but it’s extremely versatile and can be used in many types of project in order to customise an item or strengthen the structure.

To discover some of the lesser known creative uses of packaging tape, we sat down with two talented craft bloggers: The Crafty Gentleman and The Makery to discuss the different ways that tape can give a new lease of life to items.

Washi Tape Coasters by The Crafty Gentleman Packaging tape on coasters

The Crafty Gentleman was set up by Mike as a way of publishing more craft projects for men. These days, The Crafty Gentleman covers anything and everything that is craft or DIY related. As Mike puts it in his own words: “I’ll try making anything!”

He told us:

“I’m really into DIY and crafts, so I use printed tape quite often – it’s such an easy way to add colour or pattern to a project. Aside from the obvious uses in gift wrapping, printed tape can be used in so many creative ways. For example, I’ve used it to make wall art, makeshift picture frames, greetings cards and loads more.

My most recent DIY project with tape was a set of handmade drinks coasters. Get the full tutorial over on my blog at The Crafty Gentleman. You’ll be amazed at how easy they are to make! All you need is some printed sticky tape, plus a cork ring and some sealant or PVA glue (all of this is easy to find at any good craft shop). The great thing is that you can choose any colour/design of printed tape you want, so you can really personalise it to your home.

Why did I use printed tape? Because it’s such an easy way to add a strong colour and sharp design. If I’d used paint, or even printed a design at home, I don’t think I’d have achieved the same bold and eye-catching effect. I made the coasters a month or so ago when I moved house and they’ve held up really well. Give it a go and see what you can create!”

You can find out how to make the coasters for yourself here.

Decorating Jars & Mini Bunting by The Makery

The Makery Online Shop is a haven of creative delights, with an ever-expanding array of beautiful, carefully-sourced fabrics, craft kits and materials. You can pop into The Makery shop in Bath, or buy your craft supplies online.

They told us:

“Printed tape is a wonderful thing! We love it here at The Makery, and we use it all day long, whether that’s sealing up pretty packages, making handmade cards or just decorating everyday objects.

You can easily use coloured or patterned tape to decorate old jars. Just cut some neat strips from your tape and wrap carefully around your jars, horizontally or vertically, to make a stripy pattern. You can spell out names or words, and you could even experiment with cutting little triangles or zig zag patterns. Try popping a tea light inside to illuminate your design!

Packaging tape creative

lovelyvintage.canalblog

You can easily make mini bunting from any sort of sticky tape, you’ll just need a few different tapes and a little bit of string or twine. Cut out a diamond shape from your tape, and fold it in half around the twine by sticking it to itself. Then carry on making triangles until the bunting is your desired length.

You can use this to decorate handmade cards, or as a mini crafty display. Try using different coloured or patterned sticky tape, to create a sequence in your bunting flags. You could also try making square or heart shaped flags for your bunting. “ 

Three other creative ways to use tape

1. Printed messages and labels

Unusual packaging tape

James Greenfield

With custom printed tape you can decorate things with a whole range of messages or labels, from “Happy Birthday” to more practical labels such as “Pasta” or “Pens”.

2. Build a spider web game for children

Creative Halloween ideas

Handsonaswegrow

Building a spider’s web for your children is so easy to do and it encourages hours of fun. Simply find a doorway or adjoining walls and create wacky patterns by stretching your printed tape across the gap. Your children will love how their living room turns into a scene from a story book.

3. Decorating candle holders

Craft candle designNot only will this spruce up some plain old candle holders, but using different colours will result in some fantastic light effects. Similarly, with patterned printed tape, you can achieve some great shadow effects.

Customise items of any size and shape

There are many different reasons for customising items, from businesses looking to strengthen their brand message, to individuals giving their possessions a refreshing make-over.  Printed tape offers a low cost, simple way for people to easily customise any item in many different ways.

Packaging for Weddings abroad

Packaging your wedding goods

With wedding season upon us, many brides-to-be will be finalising seating arrangements and writing their vows. Getting married can be one of life’s most memorable experiences, especially when you add the extra glamour of doing it abroad. But for everything to go as planned, you need to think about how you are going to send your dress, clothes and cake to your destination, or get those precious keepsakes back home again afterwards. At Rajapack, we know a thing or two about packaging, so follow our advice and your cake, flowers and dresses will arrive at the venue in perfect condition.

 How to pack wedding goods for a flight

Flying to your wedding destinationTransporting wedding goods to and from your destination can be tricky if you’re planning on saying “I do” with the sand between your toes. Despite any verbal or written agreement you might get from an airline prior to travel, there is no guarantee that they will accept anything in a garment bag, as it will exceed maximum carry-on dimensions.

To avoid check-in troubles, here’s what to do:

  1. Ensure you have a suitable carry-on suitcase, ideally with a hard-shell case.
  2. Use the right packaging materials: use large sheets of white tissue paper to separate layers in the dress and to fold any suits. Our tissue paper is made from 100% pure wood pulp, is unglazed and acid-free to guarantee no damage to delicate fabrics.
  3. Wrap the whole garment in high quality bubble wrap. We use air-retention technology in our bubble wrap to ensure maximum protection.

Top Tip: If you struggle to fit your dress into your suitcase, take it to a local wedding dress company who will be used to packing dresses. And if you can’t bring a steamer with you for your arrival, hang your dress up in the bathroom and blast the shower to steam up the room – this will naturally remove creases from the dress.

Sarah Cogan from Set Ready Garment Bags advises “After the dress has been packed in either a wedding bag or in another garment bag, it would be wise to place a protective layer of clothes on either side of the bag. If it needs to be folded in half to fit into a suitcase, an added layer of clothes within the fold will keep the dress from getting a major crease line.”

 How to send glass, china or crystal

Sending fragile good abroad

If you have friends or family joining you for your wedding abroad it’s important to package their gifts safely and securely, especially when sending breakable and expensive wedding gifts in the post. With the right packaging products, your gifts will be able to withstand even the most heavy-handed of postmen.

To avoid breakages, take a look at these handy tips:

  1. Wrap it up securely. Use our extra-cushioned bubble wrap and remember to secure it in place using masking tape. If you’re sending more than one item, it’s fine to use the same box, but wrap them up separately to avoid them knocking together.
  2. The box you use is really important, especially if you’re sending something big or heavy. Luckily, our toughest boxes can handle up to 500kg and are built to resist any kind of knocks or abrasions, thanks to the triple wall cardboard.
  3. Place your gift in the centre of the box and pack loose fill or rolled up kraft paper into any spaces to prevent it from moving around in transit.
  4. Seal up the box for extra security and add ‘Fragile’ tape around the parcel.

 How to deliver a wedding cake Sending your wedding cake abroad

The delicate cake is a big part of your wedding and it’s important to make sure that it stays in perfect condition. A squashed or collapsed cake can quickly spell disaster for unhappy brides. Wedding officiant Michael Motylinski of Blue Sky Ceremony, shares his story:

“I was delivering a three-tier cake, which I left in my car. 25 minutes later, when I got the cake from my car I barely made it five feet when the entire cake slid off the cake stand. The air-conditioning in my car had been blowing warm air and the cake and icing had melted.”

If you want to avoid the problems that Michael faced, follow these guidelines:

  1. Carefully consider the temperature to expect on your wedding day. Certain icings last longer at higher temperatures, so plan your cake around this.
  2. Before transporting a wedding cake, make sure it is set on a sturdy fibreboard or plywood base about ½ inch thick. Your cake shop should provide this or you can get your own from online suppliers.
  3. Remove any candles, toppers or decorations and if you have a tiered cake on pillars, it should be unassembled and each tier moved separately.
  4. A white box is generally used for a wedding cake, but standard cake boxes can prove flimsy, so opt for one of our double wall white boxes which come in a variety of sizes, for extra protection with a beautiful finish.

Top Tip: If you’re hiring a courier to deliver your cake, your secret weapon is the ingenious Tiltwatch packaging label. You simply stick a Tiltwatch label to the inside of your package and when it arrives, if the label has turned red, you will know that the parcel has been tilted.

With your wedding details planned, the extra spend on packaging and labels may seem unnecessary, but as Liz Coopersmith of Silver Charm Events says: “Many times, it’s worth it. It is better to have and not need, than it is to need and not have.” Carefully consider the intricate details of safe delivery and you can enjoy peace of mind on the day.

Be sure that your wedding goods will arrive safely so all you need to do is get to the altar!