Tag Archives: shipping

Posting parcels to your customers

Posting parcels to your customers

For shipping and deliveries within the UK or internationally, businesses can either use the Royal Mail or a courier to send their postal boxes, pallet loads or even items in small mailing bags – if they do not have their own dedicated fleet. For small businesses it is convenient to ‘pop it in the post’, or for larger businesses to arrange shipping and deliveries with couriers.

Unfortunately accidents can happen, if any damages occur during transit it’s likely that the retailer can be found accountable – despite it necessarily not being their fault. It might also mean retailers may have to incur the costs associated with the order.

As far as the customer is concerned, they placed an order from your business and they received a damaged product, regardless of it leaving your warehouse on time, and in tip top condition.

A happy online shopper is one that has received their delivery in the post, and of course, as expected. We are captivated by videos and pictures of unboxing or when a parcel is perfectly packed – who wouldn’t want to share their latest purchase.
Posting parcels to your customers - a happy online shopper

However, if a delivery is delayed or if the parcel is received in poor condition, this would probably result in a very unhappy shopper. And this customer is likely to share their disappointment on social media with a sad or angry Emoji, instead of a smiley cheery face.

In such a competitve market, customers are spoilt for choice and are not afraid to return their orders and look elsewhere.

Whether you have your own fleet of delivery vans, or not, here are some pointers to help you improve the efficiencies of your delivery and to help ensure a happy customer.

#1 Deliver directly to letterboxes

When the size, weight or value of goods permit, use envelopes and mailing bags or postal boxes that can fit through post boxes or letter boxes.  Online retailers can improve efficiency by using letter-box design available packaging suited to products, but also, to reduce costs. This also decreases the number of touchpoints that could go wrong before it safely reaches the customer’s hands.

Benefits to the customer:

  • No missed delivery and redelivery needing scheduled
  • No parcels left in unsecure places or left outside and subjected to adverse weather conditions affected by the weather
  • No misshaped or unpresentable parcels from oversized packaging

Benefits for the retailer:

  • No additional postal costs from using packaging too large for the size of the product
  • No unnecessary or additional void fill needed to protect the product
  • No admin time rescheduling deliveries and drivers redelivering parcels
  • No storage space needed to hold the redeliveries

Royal Mail letter, parcel and postal tubes sizes

Source: Royal Mail

The European standard EN 13724:2002 standardises the size of letter boxes across Europe, this ensures all post within the set dimensions can be successfully posted through customers’ doors. Unfortunately, the UK did not adopt this regulation1 meaning letter box dimensions do slightly vary. Despite this, to increase the deliverability a business must adhere to the strict postal size and weight restrictions letters and parcels from the Royal Mail and the UK standard delivery information from the Post Office, and also, make sure the efficiency and the quality of the packaging is the most suited.

#2 Efficient and quality packaging

You won’t have as much control over the journey and conditions of your deliveries if you use a delivery company. To help the success of your deliveries, some steps can be taken such as understanding how to use packaging labels and hazard labels, informing the carrier how the parcel should be handled or even making sure the parcels are sealed correctly by knowing how to use packaging tape. Even if your business has its own delivery vehicles – you can still benefit by making sure the most effective and appropriate packaging is used.

Efficient and quality packaging

  1. To reduce packaging costs: Insert your measurements into our box finder or bag finder, and the right sized cardboard box or bag will be displayed. Meaning, products will not shift in packaging that’s too big, no extra void fill needed to fill spaces, or damages from the loose-fitting packaging – which will also make the parcel look unpresentable.
  2. Innovative packaging materials: Simplify packing with multi-purpose and versatile packaging materials. Packaging with integrated protection, such as mailing bags with adhesive strips (no tape is required), foam postal boxes, with protective inner foam lining or book boxes, will completely wrap around securing the products.
  3. Custom-made and bespoke packaging: Designed to fit specific products so packaging dimensions can be maximised. Bespoke packaging also reduces the need for additional packaging, as with most bespoke packaging the protection is included into the design – preventing contact with the main outside packaging layer and the product itself.

For advice on your packaging operation, contact our Packaging Specialists on 0800 542 44 28, or email sales@rajapack.co.uk.

1 https://www.safe.co.uk/safezone/2011/09/the-european-standard-for-letter-boxes/

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.

Label it – the ultimate guide to shipping labels

How to label a package

Famously, letters used to arrive on Arthur Wellesley’s doormat having being simply addressed ‘Number 1, London’. While this worked for the Duke of Wellington, today’s ecommerce merchants need to include far more detail than that for packages to not only arrive where they are supposed to, but also to pass seamlessly through the international shipping network.

Here we outline all you need to know – from the basics to the details – of how to label packages for shipping, so that they get where they need to go, get there when they are promised and get there in one piece.

How to label a parcel

Knowing how to label a parcel for delivery has two distinct, yet equally important, attributes: the current name, address and shipping details and the correct kind of label, positioned accurately and firmly.

How to fill out a label

Understanding how to fill out a label depends on the country that it is being sent to, however, the rule of thumb for domestic UK parcels, according to Royal Mail, is that the name and address go on the bottom left-hand corner on the front of the package and is structured with name, building or house number and street, town, city, postcode – all clearly printed or hand written on separate lines in left-aligned text with no full stops or commas.

How to fill out a shipping label

How to fill out a shipping label

For packages going further afield, vendors need to think carefully about how to fill out a shipping label. This differs from simply sending a parcel as you need to factor in the shipping method specified by the customer. If they have selected priority shipping, you need to mark your package accordingly and pay the right postage/shipping fee.

If you are using a courier you will also need to print out their labelling as this will feature all the barcoded information that they need to get the package through their systems from collection to delivery.

How you fill in the shipping label will depend largely on the carrier and can usually be done via their website and printed out. See the section below for some examples as we look more in depth at shipping labels.

How to label a package

Before we take a more detailed look at shipping labels, it is worth pausing to look at how to label a package so that the label stays attached. While getting the details right is crucial, making sure that the label stays affixed is also key.

The best way to do this is to print the shipping details onto bespoke shipping labels and to make sure that they are properly attached.

You will also have to mark the package with what it contains: outlining whether the contents is fragile, perishable, corrosive, flammable and so on. You may also want to label your parcel “this way up” if the goods need to be kept level.

While many shipping companies will require the details of what is being shipped – especially if you’re dealing with international freight – these types of labels also help the goods arrive in prime condition: something vital to your business.

Document enclosed labels with the words ‘Documents enclosed’ printed on the actual label have the dual purpose of denoting what products are found in the parcel, as well as displaying the delivery address for the courier.

Plain printed and green doc enclosed

Documents enclosed envelope labels: putting all the details in a handy adhesive wallet is a great idea

There is also an extensive range of other labels to denote contents and handling instructions, such as ‘Fragile’, ‘Handle With Care’ – which are there to help keep the product ship shape during transport, as well as to inform the carrier of the special requirements or to warn of any dangers or issues with the contents.

Shipping labels

‘Fragile’ and ‘This Way Up’ are just some of the ways to label your package

And for extra safety, there are even TiltWatch packaging labels, where the indicator turns red if the parcel has been tilted 90 degrees or more.

Specialist Tiltwatch packaging labels

TiltWatch packaging labels: a handy way to see if your package has been kept the right way up

How to label a box for shipping

As we have seen, learning how to label a box for shipping is key to getting your package to the right person, at the right time and in mint condition. Shipping labelling is vital to making this happen.

What is a shipping label?

A shipping label differs from an address label in that it not only features the address of where the package is to go, but also specifies the contents of the container being shipped.

When looking at how to write a shipping label, you must make sure that it contains the sender’s address, the recipient’s address, its weight, the contents of the package and, if the merchandise is subject to any form of inspection – especially when it crosses borders – the inspection information must also be included.

Labels also include information relating to the method of shipping – be it priority, standard and so on – the carrier, the date sent and tracking information for the shipper.

What does a shipping label look like?

If you’re unsure on what a shipping label looks like, below is an example, but yours will feature the specific information you need to display dependent on what you are shipping and how.

What does a shipping label look like

How to put a shipping label on a package

The shipping label should be on one side of your package – ideally the top if there is a ‘This Way Up’ label on the package – and should be sized so that it fits entirely on that side. Ensure you put a shipping label on a packaging without it being folded over the edges or parts of the label being on the sides, as important information might not be seen or it might prevent it from being scanned!

If you use self-adhesive labels, make sure that they are firmly applied, with no missed corners sticking up, as this could cause the label to be accidentally removed or damaged.

Some shippers also like to cover their labels in transparent tape or insert them into an affixed plastic wallet such as a Documents Enclosed Envelope to protect them from moisture and other damage. This is good practice, but make sure that the whole label is displayed and that the label can be read easily.

In conclusion

So, for anyone who isn’t the Duke of Wellington, these are our top tips for labelling packages for shipping. Remember to clearly show the name and address, show the sender, the contents, weight, priority and customer’s requirements – and make sure that everything is on the label and is firmly secured to the package and, where you think necessary, protected with tape or a cover.

Also consider how to mark your packages with relevant labels, which will help to get it to their destination in mint condition, so look at where best to use ‘Fragile’, ‘This Way Up’ and other labels to help instruct carriers and customers on how to handle the package with care.

For more information, why not read our Labelling Packaging for Shipping guide or visit www.rajapack.co.uk to see our entire range of packaging labels, or call our team of experienced Packaging Specialists on 0800 542 4428.

Your Guide to Strapping Machines

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

Strapping machines and strapping tools

What is a Strapping Machine?

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

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

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

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

Watch the Rajapack automatic strapping machine video

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

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

How does a Strapping Machine work?

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

Automatic strapping machines

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

Semi-automatic strapping machines

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

Handheld strapping

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

Handheld strapping machines perfect for bundling products

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

How to use a Strapping Machine

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

Automatic & semi-automatic strapping machines

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

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

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

Handheld strapping machines

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

How to use Polypropylene Strapping

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

How to use polypropylene strapping

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

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

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

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

Your guide to choosing the right Strapping

Strapping is an excellent solution for securing shipments during transport or for medium or long-term storage. There are 3 main uses of strapping; to fix to a pallet, to join one parcel to another, and to offer more strength.  It can be used to secure almost anything, from fragile products to bulky loads.

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

What is strapping?

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

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

Strapping machines and tools

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

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

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

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

How to choose the right strapping for your product

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

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

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

The different kinds of strapping available

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

Polypropylene Strapping

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

PP or polypropylene strapping

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

Extruded Polyester Strapping

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

Extruded Polyester Strapping

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

Extruded polyester strapping kit and dispensers

Steel Strapping

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

Steel strapping

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

Corded Polyester Strapping

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

Corded polyester strapping

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

Corded polyester strapping kit and systerms

If you’d like more information about the strapping we have to offer, manual tools, 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

Spotlight on: 3M Scotch Tape

In 1930 the young engineer Richard Drew invented the first ever Scotch Cellulose Tape which offered an attractive, moisture-proof way for grocers and bakers to securely seal their packages.

Over the next 80 years Scotch became a leading brand for tape and adhesives.  From introducing the first heavy-duty countertop tape dispenser in 1932, to the launch of invisible write-on Magic™ Tape in 1961, through to the release of the hand-held Pop-Up Tape Dispenser in 1997, their focus has always been on resourcefulness and ingenuity.  Today Scotch 3M Tape offer more than 400 different types of adhesive tape for packaging, crafting and sealing.

After selecting the right box for your items, using the correct packaging tape to seal it is paramount to ensure it arrives safely.  At Rajapack we’re dedicated to offering our customers the best choice of high quality packaging supplies which is why we’ve stocked Scotch 3M Tapes for our customers for many years.

In this post we’ll be focusing on the full range of Scotch 3M Tapes that we offer, giving you an overview of each tape and what it’s best used for so you can ensure you are using the right packaging tape for your parcels.

3M™ adhesive tapes - 3M Scotch Tape

Our range of 3M Scotch Tapes

At Rajapack we stock 11 different types of 3M Scotch tape that are all suited for use in packaging and shipping, each with their own unique properties for a wide range of packaging applications.

All Scotch 3M Tapes feature a number at the end, a simple and easy way to ensure you’re getting the exact tape you need. Tape thickness is measured in microns, the higher the number, the thicker the tape.  We stock a range of suitable dispensers for most of the range, making it easier, faster and safer to apply tape to surfaces.

The tapes that we stock are:

  • Polypropylene Tape 371
  • Industrial Polypropylene Tape 3759
  • Vinyl Packaging Tape
  • Heavy Duty Vinyl Tape
  • Cross Weave Filament Tape 8959
  • Low Noise Polypropylene Tape 309
  • Double Sided Vinyl Tape
  • Adhesive Transfer Tape
  • Machine Tape 371
  • Masking tape 101E and 301E (not advised for packaging parcels)

Polypropylene Tape 371

One of our most popular tape from Scotch 3M is the Polypropylene tape, which offers excellent value for money as a general-purpose packing tape which is ideal for light and medium parcels.

At 28-microns in thickness, it features a good level of tensile and tear strength combined with strong shock resistance.  It’s best used for parcels of up to 20Kg in weight and is light and easy to apply, instantly sticking to all paper and board.

It’s available in a range of colours to best suit your packages; clear, buff (brown), or white and is eco-friendly – it doesn’t use any solvents in its adhesive, unlike many other tapes available.

This tape is perfect as a great all-rounder in the warehouse and as with all packaging tape, is easier, faster and safer to apply from a pistol grip dispenser.

Industrial Polypropylene 3759

If you need a general-purpose packaging tape that’s slightly more robust, then Industrial Polypropylene Tape at 35 microns is ideal.   Offering a stronger hold and greater thickness than 371, it’s recommended for parcels up to 40Kg in weight and is available in a choice of clear of buff. It will give your parcels a strong long-term hold with resistance to splitting if they are handled roughly or subject to the shock from impact.

Vinyl Packaging Tape

Vinyl tape is particularly suitable if you need a tape with a long shelf life as it resists turning brittle with age.  It’s got great resistance to moisture, chemicals and works well in all temperatures including deep freeze conditions.  It’s perfectly suited if your parcels are going to be subject to a varied environment or stored for long periods of time.

At 35 microns it provides a good level of strength for medium box sealing tasks, can be teared by hand, is low noise and made from a PVC backing combined with a solvent-based natural rubber adhesive.

Heavy Duty Vinyl Packaging Tape 60

For heavy duty applications that need an extra strength Scotch 3M Heavy Duty Vinyl Tape will give you a strong, long lasting bond.  Designed for the toughest applications, this 60 micron tape is one of the thickest and strongest that we offer.  It’s ideal for at sealing very heavy duty cartons, boxes, pallets and packages, sticking with an ultra-strong solvent-based natural rubber adhesive.

This tape is also ultra-resistant to chemicals, moisture, temperature and humidity changes including deep freeze conditions, making it one of the most resilient and hardworking tapes that you can buy.

Despite its resistance it’s easy to work with and even tearable by hand – though as with all packaging tapes we recommend using it with a pistol grip dispenser for a fast, safe and efficient application.

Cross Weave Filament Tape 8959

When you need an extremely tough, industrial quality hold, 3M Scotch Cross Weave Filament Tape is the tape for the task.  At an impressive 145 microns, cross weave possesses an extremely high tensile strength due to its reinforcement with glass fibre filaments in two directions.  It’s where it gets its ‘cross weave’ name.

Featuring a powerful adhesive, it will instantly stick to all paper and board surfaces providing a long lasting, secure hold on your parcels and packages.

It’s perfect for reinforcing cartons and containers that need extra support, giving additional tear and burst resistance to packages.  It can also be used for larger shipments, strapping up heavy goods or securing export consignments

As with most tapes a pistol grip tape dispenser makes application easy. It can simply be pulled over the surface to tape up any seal or join easily, quickly cutting with its sharp cutting blade and built in brake for automatic control.

Low Noise Polypropylene Tape 309

Where noise is a problem in your packaging operation or if you’re working in a small, confined space Low Noise Tape can be an excellent replacement for general packaging tape to make your working environment more comfortable for staff or customers.

Low noise tape is exactly that – it’s been engineered to make much less noise when being pulled from the roll, making it more comfortable to work with in small or busy spaces.

At 28 microns in thickness it’s suitable for light and medium applications, with good split and tear resistance and the same high quality sticking application you would expect from Scotch 3M Tapes for paper, board, and fibreboard surfaces.

Finally, this tape is well suited to long-term storage in cold and damp environments, in a temperature range of 4-26 degrees centigrade. It won’t spoil or degrade meaning you can always ensure you’re well stocked even if your warehouse suffers from high humidity or a large range of temperatures.

Double Sided Tape

If you need to stick materials other than paper or card, such as glass, metal, wood, fabric or plastic, Double Sided Tape is perfect for the job, giving a clean stick with no mess.

This white PVC double sided tape offers a strong a secure bond on both sides, protected by a glossy paper backing that simply peels off to use.  The adhesive is a high tack acrylic which has strong a resistance to high temperatures and UV light.

Suitable for sticking a wide range of materials it excels for use in retail, for things such as point-of-sale displays, indoor and outdoor signs, fixing plastic extrusions, badges or nameplates.  This versatile tape comes in two widths, a thinner 25mm and a wider 50mm for larger applications.

Transfer Tape

When you need to apply glue and stick directly to surfaces but don’t want to use double sided tape then Transfer Tape is what you need.  This is ‘glue on a roll’ and is perfect for sticking a whole range of materials, from paper to plastics, textiles to leather, even wood or glass.

It’s a versatile tape that can be used on everything from framing pictures, boards and posters to small product assembly or graphics and art projects.  It’s designed for almost any art application where you need two surfaces to firmly bond but where double sided tape isn’t suitable.

Fast to dry, as it’s a tape it means you can get your glue perfectly lined up for an accurate stick and is manufactured with a paper backing and a strong and permanent acrylic adhesive.

For simple, quick and clean application Scotch 3M offer a lightweight but strong pistol grip tape dispenser which applies the tape in one simple motion and removes the paper liner at the same time.  It also features a transparent body, so it’s easy to see how much tape you’ve got left.

Machine Tape

If you’re using carton sealing machines to close and seal your packages (such as 3M-Matic™ Case Sealers) then you’ll need a tape to go with them that’s strong and quick to grip. Scotch 3M Machine Tape is designed specifically for these machines to seal packages instantly and effectively.  Flexible and split resistant, it’s made from bi-axially orientated polypropylene film that retains its strength even when stretched.

It’s suitable for all carton sealing machines and at 28 microns in thickness it can securely seal packages up to 20Kg in weight, with a tensile strength of over 45N (on steel, this is reduced to 40N).  It comes in a clear finish for white cardboard boxes or coloured cartons, and is supplied on large rolls 990mm in size.   For a standard A4 carton, one roll should be enough to seal in excess of 1,500 boxes.

Masking Tape

The final tape that we offer is not a packaging tape but is perfect for creative projects or DIY work.  101E and 301E general masking tape is easily tearable by hand and sticks firmly to most metal and plastic surfaces for masking out areas for spray painting or precision decorating.

It’s write on surface also means it’s suitable for bundling, sealing or labelling, and it can easily be removed after use without leaving any residue, markings or damaging to surfaces.  Made from a soft crepe paper with a rubber adhesive it’s also resistant to water or solvents.

If you’re not sure what packaging tape you need, or are looking for advice on selecting and purchasing tape, dispensers or other sealing supplies for your business, then please get in touch with our Packaging Experts.  Call us free on 0800 542 44 28 or email sales@rajapack.co.uk.

Labelling Packages for Shipping

Using the correct packaging will ensure your parcels are well protected and secured during shipping, but there’s one other important item that you need to include so that it reaches the right destination – a clear and correct address label is essential for any shipment.

Whether you’re shipping parcels up and down the UK or overseas, having the right labels will mean that it’s handled correctly at all stages of its journey; minimising damage, passing through customs smoothly, and reaching its destination on time.

When it comes to labelling your parcels there are a multitude of options available from simple handling instructions, indicators, and hazard warnings to sealed document envelopes.  Below we’ll take you through the main types of packaging labels available and offer some tips on what you’ll need if you’re shipping abroad including how to apply labels to your parcels.

Handling, hazard and documents enclosed labels

Shipping Nationally & Internationally

Depending on your parcel’s final destination there are different types of forms that you’ll need to include to ensure it gets through customs smoothly.

If you’re sending within the UK…

Post as normal – include the destination name and address, and a commercial invoice with details of the order and the sender’s name and address.

If you’re sending within the EU…

It’s just like shipping in the UK as we’re still part of the single market.  There will be no customs charges and no special customs documents are needed.

If you’re sending to the rest of the world…

Then your parcel will pass through customs and you’ll need to include a completed customs form.  There might also be additional import charges to pay based on the information you include on the form.

There are two different forms depending on the value of the items you are sending:

  • Up to £270, you’ll need a Customs Declaration Form CN22 (signed & dated).
  • Over £270, you’ll need a Customs Declaration Form CN23 (fully completed).

You can find the forms you’ll need and more useful information on shipping internationally on the Royal Mail website.

Where Should Labels Be Placed?

Correctly labelled parcels and packages

If you’re including handling instructions on your parcel, such as ‘This way up’ or ‘Handle with care’, then placing these on several sides will ensure that they’re not missed and that it’s clear to everyone who handles your shipment. Finally, avoid placing labels over a seam or closure of your parcel, such as on the top along the sealing tape.   Always position labels on the largest surface of the package you are shipping.  For a small jiffy bag or envelope this will be on the front face of the package. If you’re shipping a box, then the largest side of the box, which is usually the front face.

The Types of Packaging Labels Available

Below, we’ve detailed an overview of the main packaging labels available for your shipment.  Combined with high quality packaging, the correct labelling will ensure your parcel reaches its intended destination in one piece and on time. 

Documents Enclosed Envelopes & Labels

Wherever your parcel is going you must ensure all paperwork is included at every stage of its journey.  A Documents enclosed envelope label will keep all those important details safe and dry during shipping, such as the address details and your customer’s invoice.

Documents Enclosed Envelope Labels

These envelope labels feature a full adhesive backing to stick firmly to parcels and are transparent so that the delivery address can clearly be seen on the front.  Once the paperwork is folded and tucked in, they seal tight so that everything inside is kept safe.  They should be included on every large parcel you ship to your customers, so always ensure you are well stocked with these envelopes.

At Rajapack, they are available in four different sizes from 115mm x 100mm right up to 315m x 225mm for larger parcels.  All feature a clear address window, so the paperwork is visible to everyone that handles your parcel on its journey.

Eco-friendly documents enclosed labels are also available for businesses that wish to minimise their impact on the environment.  Choose green documents enclosed labels which are made from 60% recycled materials and feature a green message.

For larger operations envelope dispensers are ideal if you’re sending a lot of parcels.  These heavy-duty dispensers use rolls of up to 330 labels and can be secured to a work surface for quick and easy dispensing.

Handling Instruction Labels

Handling Instruction Labels

Handling instruction labels include clear instructions on a parcel such as ‘Fragile’, ‘This end up’ and ‘Do not bend’.  If your package needs these special instructions, then adding these labels will ensure everyone who encounters your parcel knows how to handle it correctly.Once you’ve included the correct paperwork with your parcel, you should consider adding handling labels to provide clear handling instructions to anyone who will be shipping your parcel.

Handling instruction labels come in 8 different messages:

  • Handle with care
  • Open with care
  • This end up
  • ‘This way up’ arrow image
  • Do not crush
  • Do not bend
  • Documents Enclosed
  • Caution Heavy

Fragile labels are also available for parcels that are delicate and need to be handled very carefully, such as glass or ceramics. 

Hazard Labels

If your parcel includes anything that could be considered hazardous such as flammable gas, flammable liquid, corrosive or toxic chemicals, then hazard labels should be also added.  This helps couriers to ensure that your package is stored and transported safely, and that no accidents could occur because of mishandling.

Highly visible, each hazard label features a pictogram with a hazard statement to clearly state the nature of the package’s contents and how it should be treated.

Labelling consignments with Hazard labels

If you’re not sure if your parcel needs a hazard label, the Health & Safety Executive offer information about the labelling and packaging of hazardous materials, with further advice offered by the European Chemical Agency about when these labels are required. 

Specialist Labels

For items that are sensitive to static electricity, being dropped or handled roughly or being tilted during shipping, there’s a range of labels that can provide protection for sensitive shipments.

Shockwatch and Tiltwatch labels are both indicator labels.  They stick to wooden packing boxes, cardboard or plastic, are resistant to moisture and suitable for exporting overseas.  If your parcel has been tilted or suffered a high impact during shipping then they will let your recipient know immediately on delivery.

Shockwatch labels feature a small glass tube that turns red and stays red if dropped or handled roughly. Tiltwatch labels permanently show red if the product has been tilted over 90 degrees.  Both labels provide an instant way to identify if your parcel has been mishandled during transport, so you can easily identify the responsible party in the event of a complaint.

Specialist labels provide extra protection to sensitive shipments

Finally, for sensitive electronic equipment such as circuit boards, computer equipment or mobile devices, apply an antistatic packaging label on your parcel (combined with antistatic protective bags) to make it clear that your parcel is sensitive to static electricity and must be handled as such. 

Postage Labels

Postage and Printer labels to clearly mark all parcels and packages

If you’re sending smaller packages such as mailing bags, envelopes or bubble mailers you might not need to include a full documents enclosed envelope label.  Simple address labels which detail the recipient’s address and the return address for the sender might be all you need.  A postage label is ideal for use here and can be quickly and easily printed off from a normal inkjet or laserjet printer.

Avery have been printing labels since 1937, and their laser and inkjet labels come in fully perforated sheets made from FSC certified paper with an eco-friendly, water based permanent adhesive for easy application.  They can be printed from practically any computer once you’ve installed their free design & print software, allowing you to set up and save personalised label templates, or generate labels from excel databases such as mailing lists.

Thermal Labels

For convenience, thermal labels are excellent – they lightly burn information directly onto thermal paper for long lasting labels which require no ink, meaning less to spend on printing supplies.

They’re perfect for an office desk or small packaging operation with their small and compact size, but don’t be fooled, these little printers can run off large volumes of labels – up to 71 per minute from the Dymo LabelWriter 450.

Dymo Thermal Printers and Labels

They connect straight to a PC or Mac and come with free printing software so you can quickly get set up.

Printing labels up to 100mm in size means you can use thermal labels for almost anything; from postal addresses, shipping or mailing labels to pricing stickers & product labels, including barcodes and graphics.  Thermal printers offer excellent speed, convenience and simplicity in a small but powerful labelling solution that’s cost effective – the only supplies you’ll need are the thermal labels.

If you’re not sure what packaging labels you need, or are looking for advice on labelling your shipments correctly please get in touch with our Packaging Experts.  Call us free on 0800 542 44 28 or email sales@rajapack.co.uk.