Foam is a versatile packaging material used to pad and protect items during shipping.
Foam: The Basics
Foam has nearly limitless applications. Packaging and void fill? You got it. Wrapping for vases and fragile objects? Absolutely. Flooring underlay? All those construction companies can’t be wrong!
Foam runs from stiffer planks used for padding and insulation, to thinner and more flexible sheeting used for packaging and protection. It’s lightweight and shock absorbing, and tearing, mold and mildew resistant.
Protect your shipments from damage without weighing them down. Foam makes itself an ideal partner in the packaging world.
Foam: How to Choose
Think about what you’re packing, how long it’s going to be there and where it’s ending up. Valuable or fragile items that need to stay absolutely still should use the die-cut plank variety. Smaller or multiple items like watches and memory cards get along fine in packing peanuts. Heavy and unreliable items are safer cushioned inside Instapak. And small electronics transport best in pouches, safe from marring and static discharge.
Pouches protect small items such as memory cards, nuts and bolts, and computer components. They’re available in self-sealing, heavy duty and anti-static options.
Instapak is easy to use and requires no extra equipment. It’s hand-activated and expands to fill the area it’s in, completely surrounding and protecting even oddly-shaped objects.
Packing Peanuts are a fast and easy way to fill up empty spaces in packaging. They’re small and lightweight with great cushioning.
Plank is made from closed-cell foam. It’s lightweight buoyant, and water and chemical resistant. Surface protection, shock and vibration absorption, and anti-static options make it great for shipping electronics.
Profile is made from closed-cell foam. It provides surface and edge protection to any size and shape product. It’s flexible while providing good compression strength, shock-absorption and anti-static properties.
Rolled & Sheet is an all-purpose packaging material, used as both product wrapping and void fill. It’s lightweight, moisture and tear resistant, and has a smooth surface. Its cushioning and compression strength are perfect for non-packaging uses like floor underlay.
Foam: Words Worth Knowing
Adhesive sticks directly to the object, preventing shifting and unrolling. Any residue left behind can be cleaned off later.
Anti-Static protects electronics from friction and static discharge during shipping.
Closed-Cell contains pores inside that do not interconnect. It’s denser and has a higher compression strength. It uses more material and is more expensive to make. Wall insulation is an ideal use for it, especially when filled with a specialized gas.
Cohesive has a coated surface that’s smooth to the touch and sticks only to other foam.
Corrugate material reinforces boxes and makes them stronger for shipping and storage. Foam can be easily glued to corrugate for more secure packaging.
Cushioning is the ability to protect items from shock and vibration during shipment and storage.
Die-Cut is the design or shape cut out from foam using a die. It’s then used to create interior packaging pieces.
Lamination changes the density and stability of foam. Film, fabric and other foam can be glued together to create varying layers, thicknesses and uses. This includes waterproofing, anti-static coatings and more.
Open-Cell Foam contains pores inside that interconnect. They remain soft and fill up with any gas or liquid they come in contact with, such as water or air.
Perforations are lines of small holes usually made every 12” on rolls and sheets. Think of kitchen paper towels, easy to tear off and use.
Polyethylene is the most common form of plastic. It’s used in packaging such as plastic bags, films, and containers such as bottles.
Polypropylene is a mixed plastic used in packaging, labeling, textiles and electronics equipment. It’s rugged and unusually resistant to chemicals and solvents.
Self-Seal is an adhesive strip on a sheet or pouch. Peel off the protective liner and close the pouch up.
Rolls are cut into specific lengths from large master bundles. For example, a 72” inch wide bundle is often cut down into 12”, 16”, 18” or 36” widths.
Underlay is a thin layer of foam (but can also be rubber, cork, felt or leather) laid beneath carpeting or hardwood flooring. This provides comfort, reduces wear, and insulates against sound, moisture and heat.