Suzanne Vallance | How to utilise bubble wrap in your packaging process

Suzanne Vallance looks at why and how companies should use bubble wrap to protect fragile products.

Suzanne Vallance, Smarter Digital Marketing
Suzanne Vallance, Smarter Digital Marketing

A major concern for businesses is how to ensure the safe arrival of their goods to their destinations. Bubble wrap has been a firm favourite for a number of reasons for many years. These guidelines will help your company see the many great benefits of packaging your fragile products correctly with bubble wrap.

Background
As most great inventions started, bubble wrap happened accidentally in 1957, however since then it’s been used as a successful protective cushioning material for packaging.

  1. Bubble wrap starts life as pea-sized polyethylene resin beads.
  2. These beads are passed through an extruder heated to 180 degrees.
  3. The resin melts into a liquid that is then squeezed into two stacked sheets of clear plastic film.
  4. One layer of plastic is wrapped around a drum with holes punched in it. Suction is applied sucking the film to form the bubbles.
  5. The second layer is layered over the first trapping the air in the bubbles.

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Benefits of bubble wrap

  1. The most common factor when first considering the benefits of bubble wrap is protection. Your company must consider how safe their merchandise will be when being packaged for delivery. The air trapped in bubble wrap acts as a cushion in order to even prevent damage. Investing in a high quality, industrial 25mm bubble cells can even be used to safeguard glass. For minimal damage in transit, it’s recommended your goods are wrapped so all sides are protected, to make the most of its cushioning qualities.
  2. Not only does bubble wrap prevent damage through reduced risk of breakages to your products, it’s also water resistant keeping your merchandise protected from liquid damage.
  3. With budget being a major consideration factor of any company’s distribution plans, it’s of use to note that due to the fact that bubble wrap is extremely lightweight, it reduces the cost of freight and packaging costs in comparison to heavier duty packing methods.
  4. Another advantage to your budget when using bubble wrap is that good quality industrial bubble wrap is extremely durable and can be reused, if necessary, cutting down once more on waste and packaging costs.
  5. Accidents sometimes happen, but thanks to its transparent nature, items wrapped with bubble wrap can be identified before unwrapping, this is beneficial in the unfortunate case that a wrong item has been delivered.
  6. When transporting goods the conditions can change drastically. The air trapped in bubble wrap acts as an insulator protecting your cargo from the elements
  7. With the reduction of negative environmental impact becoming an ever prominent issue in daily life it’s worth noting that most types of bubble wrap can be recycled with other types of film and plastic. Since the discovery that Homebase and Argos typically ship their sofas in 3k of packaging they have now begun delivering their larger products in recyclable bubble wrap sheets in order to reduce their environmental impact.

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Types of bubble wrap
It should be noted that bubble wrap should not be used as an external packaging product, but as a protective internal barrier. Bubble wrap comes in many different shapes and sizes depending on your company’s specific needs from miniature pre-made adhesive seal bags to safeguard small items such as mobile phones and jewellery, for other valuable items bubble wrap envelopes are a convenient alternative.

For shipping more substantial products bubble wrap rolls can be purchased in industrial sizes many meters long intended to protect heavyweight items such as car parts and metal goods

Bubble wrap is available in several standard grades. Below is a list of the standard grades and recommended manufacturers uses by Parcel Force:

  • 1/16 inch – surface protection. Used for the packaging of light weight products.
  • 1/8 inch – surface protection. Used for the packaging of medium weight products and may be used as a protective wrap.
  • 3/16 inch – Used for the packaging of light to medium weight products and can be used as a protective wrap.
  • 5/16 inch – Used for packaging medium weight items and ideal for filling voids or blocking and bracing in items in parcels.

• 1/2 inch – Used for packaging heavy weight items and ideal for filling voids or blocking and bracing in items in parcels.

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Suzanne Vallance, content writer for Ferarri Packaging

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