First introduced to the market in the early 1950s, continuous inkjet or “CIJ” printers remain one of the manufacturing industry’s most preferred industrial marking options. Their remarkable capabilities make them perfect solutions for items like cosmetics, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and automotive components, all of which present uniquely demanding coding and marking challenges. If you're considering CIJ printing for your industrial coding needs, you are probably curious about the advantages offered by this marking and coding solution. Below are just a few.
One of the greatest benefits of CIJ printers is that they can be used to mark or code almost any material, at almost any speed or orientation. These printers can print date codes, lot codes, batch codes, logos, and more onto substrates like metal, glass, wood, plastic, and paper. Curved surfaces, textured surfaces, and porous surfaces pose little to no challenge to CIJ printers, due to the contact-free technology they use, which we will discuss in greater detail below. Lastly, not only can these printers print on virtually any surface, they can also use a wide variety of inks, giving product designers even more range for creativity.
In order to mark or code a product, a CIJ printer uses a high-pressure pump to direct liquid ink through a nozzle, creating a rapid, continuous stream of ink droplets. Since the printer’s nozzle never comes into contact with the substrate material, manufacturers who use CIJ printers can usually rely on concise, clear markings, even on objects that are oddly-shaped, flexible, or uneven. Smudges, misprints, and damage are essentially impossible, resulting in less wasted material and less time loss due to reprinting.
Speed of printing
The high frequency of CIJ ink ejection is able to mark and code substrates at faster rates than many other printers can achieve. For example, the average CIJ printer can apply codes to products moving at 1,000 feet per minute, while thermal inkjet (TIJ) printers are generally limited to around 300 feet per minute. And while some TIJ printers are able to print at comparable speeds to CIJ printers, they are not suited to the 24/7 continuous operation that CIJ printers are designed for. CIJ printers are fast and resilient to the demands of a continuous production line.
The ink ejection is not the only thing that is fast about the CIJ printing process. The ink that is used is also quick to dry, once again decreasing the chances of smudges or misprints. Since the ink jet is constantly in use, the nozzle does not clog, therefore allowing solvents such as ketones and alcohols to be employed. These solvents are able to "bite" into the substrate and dry quickly, unlike other ink types.
All of the benefits we have discussed above (versatility, reliability, speed) save the user both time and money. In addition to these, there are other ways in which CIJ printers decrease operating costs, too. Firstly, compared to other technologies, CIJ printers can run for many hours before requiring service. They are typically very durable, resistant to high production temperatures, dust and humidity, all of which have traditionally been problematic for other types of printers.
Maintaining the printer is also very simple, and can be performed by the average layperson. Repair is usually simple, too. Since CIJ printers have very few moving parts, most issues are easy to identify and fix, like clogged filters or blocked ink flows. Even better, using high-quality ink and performing simple routine maintenance will prevent all of these issues from occurring at all.
Which continuous inkjet printer should I choose?
Continuous inkjet printers are incredibly versatile, efficient machines that can deliver uninterrupted, rapid coding day after day. Whether you’re working with glass bottles, flexible food packaging, or metal pipes, the high-speed printing capabilities of a CIJ printer can maximize your operation’s uptime and coding accuracy.
With so many CIJ models and ink formulations on the market, it can be difficult to determine which printer will work best for your needs. If you’re facing this dilemma, the expert team here at SSI Packaging can help. One model which we always like to recommend to our customers is the Leibinger Jet One printer. We have found this model to be very reliable compared to similarly-priced alternatives.
If you would like to learn more about the Leibinger Jet One, or investigate another type of printer, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Over decades of experience in the industrial marking and coding market, our experts have gained a detailed understanding of the printing challenges facing various industries, and are happy to direct you to the best solution for your particular needs.
To obtain a continuous inkjet printing system that works for you, contact us today, tell us about your operation, and let us find the perfect match for you!
Laser cutting has come a long way since it was first developed in the 1960s. Once a specialized tool used primarily by aeronautic engineers and scientists, laser cutters are now used in almost every field, from fabrication, to design, to healthcare. If you’re considering purchasing a laser cutter in Richmond VA, here are some answers to common FAQs which can help you get started.
What is laser cutting?
A laser is a small, focused beam of light which concentrates a significant amount of energy onto a very small area. When this happens, the material in front of the laser will burn, melt, or vaporize, making a hole or cut. With the help of CNC design software, laser cutting machines can cut, mark or code very intricate parts into a wide variety of materials.
What are some benefits of laser cutting?
One of the best advantages of laser cutting is that it is no-contact. In other words, the laser beam never physically touches the material being cut. This means that there is no blade which can become contaminated by the material, and the material can’t be damaged, warped, or contaminated by a blade. This reduces waste and saves manufacturing facilities significant costs.
Another benefit of laser cutters is that they are capable of extreme precision. A laser can create very small, complex, or intricate shapes over and over, with each result equal to the next. This ability to ensure uniformity makes laser cutting the perfect solution for aerospace, automotive, and computer manufacturing.
Lastly, laser cutters are very versatile. Since one laser can be adjusted for different heat outputs, intensities, and durations, one machine can perform many different tasks for many different applications. Laser cutting can be used in everything from heavy manufacturing, to delicate procedures like laser eye surgery.
Which laser cutter should I buy?
Choosing the best laser cutter for your needs will depend on a number of factors, like the volume of parts needed, type of material being cut, and design complexity. As a reference, a 40-W laser can cut through paper, cardboard, foam, and thin plastic, while a 300-W laser can cut through thin steel and thicker plastic. If you wish to cut through 2-mm or thicker steel sheets, you’ll need at least a 500-W laser.
Another important factor to consider is cost. Low-powered machines, in the 100-W range or lower, generally range from $100 all the way up to a few thousand dollars. However, these machines will hardly scratch a metal surface. In order to cut metal, a laser has to use at least 300-W, which will generally cost in the vicinity of $10,000. In addition, be aware that metal cutting machines usually require some kind of gas—usually oxygen—to power the cutting process, which will increase total costs.
The best way to determine which laser cutter is right for you in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, is to talk to a laser cutting specialist at SSI Packaging. Our laser specialists can evaluate the best and most affordable laser solution for your application, whether it’s cutting, marking, or coding. To place an order, check out our online store here, or just give us a call!
One of the best things about laser cutting machines is that they are amazingly versatile. Since a laser beam can’t warp or contaminate materials like a physical blade can, laser cutters can safely be used on almost anything—even delicate human eye tissue for vision correction surgery! With that said, however, the high heat levels created by laser cutting can release dangerous chemicals into the air, which can have harmful effects on you and your employees. Below are some materials which should never be cut with a laser.
HDPE (“Milk Bottle” Plastic)
HDPE or High Density Polyethylene is an extremely versatile thermoplastic polymer, used in almost everything from milk jugs and shampoo bottles to bleach bottles, cutting boards, and piping. However, since HDPE is made from petroleum, it is highly flammable, and can release toxic fumes as it is treated with high temperatures. Not only is it hazardous to try to laser-cut HDPE, it can also be a very frustrating experience—in layman’s terms, whatever you are trying to cut will all turn into a big, gooey mess! If you would like to create something with a similar weight and texture to HDPE, extruded acrylic is much safer to cut and has a smoother, neater finish.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
Most people are familiar with PVC due to the proliferation of PVC piping commonly used in plumbing. “PVC” stands for Polyvinyl Chloride, and it’s the “Chloride” part that causes issues. When PVC is cut with a laser, it will release chlorine gas, which is harmful to both humans and machinery. For humans, chlorine gas exposure will cause coughing, shortness of breath, and possibly even lung damage. And even if operators are wearing protective breathing equipment, the gas can ruin the optics and motion-control system of the laser cutter, and corrode any metal components as well. If you find yourself needing to cut PVC, you’re better off using a regular old electric saw.
Both Plexiglass and Lexan are brand names for polycarbonate, an extremely durable material that is used in everything from football helmets, to car windshields, to bullet-resistant bank teller windows. As you might guess, that’s because it’s extremely impact-resistant! Studies have found that polycarbonate is 250 times more impact-resistant than glass, and is also capable of withstanding extreme heat, acids, and chemicals such as gasoline.
Polycarbonate is so durable that it’s even used in the safety window of laser cutting machines! That’s because it is able to rapidly absorb infrared radiation, the light frequency that laser cutters use to cut materials. If you try to cut it with a laser cutter, you will likely only succeed in turning the edges black. Once again, a real metal saw is the best tool for this particular job.
ABS Plastic (Legos plastic)
We have all (well, most of us) felt the pain of stepping on a Lego—to the extent that “I hope you step on a Lego” has become a modern curse. Lego owes its infamous durability to the chemical makeup of its base material, ABS, or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. ABS is another incredibly durable, impact-resistant thermoplastic, which is why it’s typically used in things which we don’t want to break, like computer parts, medical supplies, car parts, and protective headgear.
ABS is also very easy to melt, making it a popular material for DIY plastic molding and 3D printing. However, for all its useful properties, ABS doesn’t perform well under a laser cutter.
The plastic tends to melt, rather than vaporize, leaving melty, gooey deposits on the cutting grid rather than a nice clean cut. To top it off, ABS is also highly flammable, and when it ignites, it releases hydrogen cyanide, a cancer-causing agent found in cigarettes. While there is still some debate about the dangers of running ABS material though a laser cutter, we say that, for now, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
Looking for a Laser Cutting Machine in Richmond VA?
Laser technology can bring unparalleled precision and safety to your factory, plant, or home workspace. If you are a small business owner looking for laser cutting or laser coding machines in Richmond, be sure to stop by SSI Packaging today! In fact, we can provide pretty much any small business solution you might need, from boxes and packaging foam, to marking and coding equipment, to pallets and pallet wrap. Just let us know what you need, and our friendly service technicians will be happy to lend you their expertise!
When it comes to sustainability, the lion’s share of the focus is usually devoted to eco-friendly packaging options, as well as the boxes and containers that will ship them. In the interest of originality, therefore, we’re devoting this year’s Earth Day post to a less-commonly-considered part of the packaging process; the marking and labeling. Yes, although marking and labeling may seem to be a small component of the overall job, they still contribute to a significant amount of waste throughout the supply chain. Below are some ways that small businesses and craft breweries can help reduce waste and save money.
Ink vs. Labels
Our first tip is a pretty easy one: instead of printing the logo and other necessary information on a paper or plastic label, and then adhering it to the product package, consider applying the label directly onto the bag/box/bottle. This method is much more sustainable, because there is no waste created from the discarded backing paper, and it’s more cost-efficient, because instead of paying for two items—labels and the product packaging—you’re just paying for one.
In addition, most leading brands of commercial inkjet printers have recyclable ink cartridges, which only need to be replaced after several thousand codings. Of course, you will need to invest in an inkjet printer capable printing on various materials, such as the Squid Ink Copilot 128. But the one-time investment can save waste in the long run, and double as a great selling point for your eco-minded customers!
Use Eco-Friendly Label Materials
If you still like the labeled look, and the versatility which it provides you (for instance, being able to make a small batch of Christmas-themed labels, or custom labels for a friend’s wedding) there’s no need to give them up entirely. There are now several eco-friendly label options on the market which are made of renewable, raw materials, like sugar cane fibers, coconut fibers, bamboo, and recycled materials. Some eco-friendly label options are even compostable to boot! (If you decide to go this route, remember to investigate compost-friendly ink, too).
Another great option is to use liner-less labels, which produce less waste. Again, all of these are great options for small boutique distributors whose customers value green initiatives and are willing to pay slightly more for them (thereby compensating you for the higher costs).
Use Your Space Wisely
It may sound trivial, but this tip can actually save you a lot in marking and coding supplies, while at the same time reducing packaging waste. Take a look at all the labels or symbols which will be applied to your product, and look for unused white space that could be filled. Many companies use labels that are too large for the information printed on them, in order to make the data more legible for human eyes. However, in the age of automation, many labels and codes will be read by scanners and sensors that do not require as large a size as we do. You might be able to reduce expenses, and material waste, by making your labels and/or packaging only as big as they need to be, and no larger.
Mark and Label In-House
A couple weeks ago, we wrote about the advantages of printing labels in-house. Whether you decide to use labels, or print directly on the package, marking your products in your own facility is a great way to be sustainable, as well as cost-effective and efficient. By cutting out the middle step of shipping products to and from another facility, you’re decreasing your carbon footprint and saving money to boot.
Even better, being able to print on demand in your own facility means you can eliminate the bottlenecks that typically affect businesses when they receive sudden, rush orders. If demand suddenly spikes, you won’t need to halt production while you wait on an outside supplier for a delivery.
Spring forward with SSI Packaging!
As more and more businesses open up, we at SSI Packaging are grateful to have made it through the year, and excited to welcome clients both new and old to our Richmond location. We are proud to stock a huge range of packaging supplies, moving boxes, shipping boxes, mailers, and of course, marking and coding equipment for small businesses across the East coast. Be sure to stop by and see us for whatever your business needs to thrive this year and beyond!
With the U.S. now vaccinating an astonishing 2 million people per day, the end of the pandemic is drawing closer than ever. Even once it’s over, though, there are some parts of our world that will have changed forever. More people have now become accustomed to digital buying than ever before—and manufacturers will continue to see high demand for affordable, quick-to-ship products. If your plant is starting to reckon with this new reality, here are a few strategies to help maximize production in a post-Covid world, and avoid any shutdowns in the future.
Identify potential bottlenecks
The first step in fixing the kinks in your supply chain is identifying them. Usually, the biggest sources for risk will be the outside facilities, contractors, or sub-contractors that you depend on to produce your product. This is especially true for products that require a specialized skillset to assemble, or contain difficult-to-source components. In order to keep everything running smoothly, take a moment—or several moments—to identify exactly who you rely on, all the way down to the smallest sub-contractor. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be ready to consider the strategies we’ll discuss below.
Bring parts of your supply chain in-house
Since every step in your production process is a potential point of risk, the most obvious way to reduce that risk is to bring as many processes in-house as possible. Before you reject this idea as financially unfeasible, consider that new technological advances, especially in the field of automation, can often make domestic production much more affordable than was in years prior. Robotic palletizers, for example, can greatly reduce the labor involved in preparing pallets for shipping, and in-house labeling and coding machines can eliminate another step in production. Not only do these solutions increase efficiency, they are also attractive to manufacturers post-pandemic because they reduce the need for human contact, and therefore the spread of germs.
On the subject of humans, we would be remiss to move on without acknowledging the concerns that have been raised about automation over the years. While automation does stand to eliminate the need for certain tasks that are currently performed manually, we would argue that many of these jobs are extremely tedious and often hazardous. Like any other innovation in the past century, automation stands to change the way we work, not eliminate it.
Diversify your supply chain
If it’s just not possible for you to bring every aspect of your production in-house, your next best option is to diversify your list of suppliers. If you can spread out your supply chain among multiple factories or regions, you will be able to source components and/or labor from sources that are not all vulnerable to the same risks.
Many economists have advocated for a “near-sourcing” model, wherein manufacturers would source materials and labor close to the market in which the product will be consumed. In North America, this would primarily mean reallocating plants from China to locations in Mexico and Central America, a move with both positives and negatives.
Others have argued for a distribution model that is more globalized, not less, in order to avoid any risk that would threaten a particular location. For instance, when the 2004 tsunami occurred, many companies that had relocated plants from China to Vietnam and Malaysia found that that diversification was not enough to eliminate stalls in production that affected the entire region.
Build a stockpile of key components
The Coronavirus certainly gave us all a lesson in the importance of saving for an emergency—whether with a bank account or a physical stockpile of inventory. Now, you can put that lesson into practice by considering a “safety stock” that would mitigate the effects of a future crisis.
As you set about building your stockpile, consider which components are the most valuable, and which points along the supply chain are the most high-risk for disruption. Since this type of “safety stock” ties up assets, and runs counter to decades-long practices of keeping inventories lean, you might not want to put aside too much product, especially if you produce for the tech sector. However, as we have just witnessed over the past year, having no backup plan whatsoever poses a big risk to your profitability, too. The only solution is to sit down with your firm’s key stakeholders and assess the potential costs of a hypothetical disruption, versus the costs of setting aside some emergency resources.
Overcoming Packaging, Marking and Coding Challenges in 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a long, difficult struggle for all of is. But while it can be tempting to write off this year as a loss, it can also be viewed through the metaphorical lens of a forest wildfire: initially devastating, but ultimately an opportunity for growth and rebirth. The concerns raised in this article existed long before the pandemic. Now, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to “grow back” cleaner and greener than ever.
SSI Packaging supplies industrial packaging, marking, and coding equipment for our clients across the East Coast. From commercial inkjet printers and labelers to everyday packing tape, we offer everything you need to move your products safely, affordably and efficiently. If you would like to place an order or learn more about our services, please feel free to give us a call.
Most craft brewers are so busy thinking about the product that goes in the bottle, they neglect to devote time to the bottle itself. But brewers beware: Appearance is a big factor that influences purchasers’ decisions. What your label looks like, and who prints it, worth some consideration; both factors will have a big impact on your overall success.
If you’re just starting out in your craft brewing journey, you’re probably wondering who should make your labels—an outsourced labeling company, or your own, in-house personnel. Below, we outline some benefits and advantages of each option.
In-House Labeling vs. Outsourced Labeling
As we mentioned above, you have two main options when it comes to labeling your beer:
Neither is “better” than the other; both options have different pluses and minuses which can help influence your decision.
Advantages of label printing vendors
Outsourced vendors, particularly the brick-and-mortar type, are generally great for those who want to have quality at any cost. Benefits of outsourcing to a printing vendors give you:
Disadvantages of outsourcing to a printing vendor
With all that said, outsourcing to a vendor also has some drawbacks. These include:
Advantages of In-House Printing
Getting started with in-house printing is easy, and comes with its own array of benefits. These include:
Disadvantages of In-House Labeling
Printing your own craft beer labels also has some drawbacks. These include:
To wrap things up, only you can determine which printing method will be best for your particular circumstance. Our only bit of advice that can apply to everyone is to spend some time weighing your options. Even though it’s just essentially a little sticker, a label has a big effect on whether your target consumer decides to reach for a bottle, or leave it on the shelf in favor of a safer, more well-known option.
Normally, we devote our blog to information about our marking, coding, and packaging materials. But as we all know, the times we are living in are anything but “normal.” As the world waits anxiously for the Covid-19 vaccine, we thought we’d take a moment to address the question that’s weighing on everyone’s minds: Why is this taking so long?
Now, just to be clear, we are not handling any part of the vaccine rollout (although we can dream that one of our boxes or rolls of tape might make contact, somehow). However, as a supplier for some of the biggest distribution chains in the country, we feel that it’s not too off-topic to discuss this particular rollout. With no further ado, here are some of the top factors that are coming between you and your Covid vaccine.
Ingredient & equipment shortages
One of the main bottlenecks slowing the vaccine distribution happens at the very start of the process: a simple lack of ingredients. At the time of this writing, the FDA has approved three vaccines for emergency use, and two of the three (the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) require tough-to-source ingredients like mRNA-building plasmids, nucleotides, and enzymes. While it was easy for researchers to procure these components for their trial studies, the amount required to create millions of vaccines just isn’t in ready supply.
Another rather simple issue affecting production is a lack of equipment. According to Glenn Richey of Auburn University, many manufacturing facilities aren’t stocked with the amount of vials, syringes, and machinery they’ll need to create and move millions of vaccine doses. Like everyone else in what you will see is a very lengthy supply chain, vaccine manufacturers have no choice but to “build the airplane as it flies,” so to speak.
Challenges in making, storing, & shipping the vaccine
Even if a plant has everything it needs to make a vaccine, doing so isn’t as easy as mixing up a pot of soup on the stove. All three currently-authorized vaccines have long, complex, and risk-abundant manufacturing processes, with lots of potential for missteps (and therefore, wastage). The Pfizer vaccine, for instance, must be created in three separate phases at three different facilities, a process which takes several weeks to complete.
Once a batch of vaccines is made, distribution is complicated by their stringent refrigeration requirements. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius—colder than winter in Antarctica—while the Moderna and J&J vaccines must be stored at -20 degrees Celsius, the temperature of a normal freezer. Assembling the materials necessary for shipping this kind of product (like dry ice and specialized stay-cold containers) is a supply chain in and of itself, and executing a prompt delivery presents another hurdle.
If all this is starting to feel kind of depressing, keep in mind that things might not be as bad as they appear—literally. Some experts have noted that there can be a big delay in the time it takes for a vaccine to leave a distribution center and the time it takes for its use to be recorded, creating the false impression that huge amounts of vaccines are being wasted. Julie Swann, head of the Department of the Industrial and Systems Engineering at NC State University, told Scientific American, “If you think, ‘Two days to ship, three days to give it out, and another two days to record that,’ there can easily be a week between when the government says it has been distributed, and when you can really expect to see that number [of administered doses] change correspondingly.” She added that internal issues like this are impeding distribution much more than factors like transportation.
Bottom line: The vaccines are coming
Again, learning about the complexities involved with distributing the Covid-19 vaccine may leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed—but it’s important to stay hopeful. Remember that everyone involved in this massive supply chain—from the manufacturers, to the shipping and delivery personnel, to the medical administrators—have a vested interest in executing the rollout as efficiently and safely as possible. The longer the rollout continues, the more experienced everyone in the supply chain will become, and the more smoothly everything will flow—an effect which you have surely experienced in your own working life. In the meantime, all we can do is sit back, remain positive, and trust that one day we’ll all be able to live mask-free once again.
Here at SSI Packaging, we’ve got boxes--1600 sizes of them, in fact. We’ve got big boxes. Small boxes. Cargo boxes. Moving boxes. We have so many boxes of various size, shape, color, and thicknesses that we’re pretty sure many of our clients don’t even know how many options they have! In this week’s blog, we’re here to correct that. If you’re planning to ship or move a lot of items in the near future, here are some of the many box options you can choose from.
Packing up your kitchen items, bookshelf items, and clothing items is pretty straightforward, but what do you do if you have to move an exceptionally heavy item, like a barbell and weights? You invest in a heavy-duty shipping box, of course! Heavy-duty shipping boxes come with either a single-wall, double-wall, or triple-wall feature that ensures extra-heavy items stay in the box, and off your movers’ toes. You can also order double-walled boxes with hand holes in the sides, a nifty feature that makes moving heavy stuff just a little bit easier.
One question we often receive is, “What the heck is a Gaylord box?” Okay, we don’t actually receive this question, but we imagine that it occurs to a lot of our clients. A Gaylord box is a generic term for a large cargo box that’s the size of an entire shipping pallet. Gaylords can be rectangular, or octagonal; you’ve probably seen the latter in your local grocery store during watermelon and/or pumpkin season. As for the unique name, it refers to the Gaylord Container Company, the first company to patent this type of container system.
Like our heavy-duty boxes, you can purchase Gaylords with either a single-wall, double-wall, or triple-walled thickness. You can also opt for a telescoping Gaylord, which have a fully overlapping “lid” that lend the box extra durability.
These super-convenient, one-size-fits-all boxes are pre-scored around the sides at various intervals, so that all you have to do to get a perfect fit is cut around the closest line. Multi-depth boxes are a particularly useful option for businesses that can’t easily predict exactly what their shipping needs will be in the future. Instead of buying multiple sets of small, medium, and large boxes, you would be able to simply buy one large unit of multi-depth boxes, and cut each box to fit its contents when the time comes.
Specialty Moving Boxes
One typically thinks of a moving box as a simple cardboard cube, and we do indeed have quite a few of those. But many people are unaware that there are shipping boxes designed specifically to accommodate one type of item. For example, at SSI, we have moving boxes for:
…Just to name a few. We also have moving boxes made specially for transporting dishes, wardrobes, and electronics. So, no matter what you need to pack, as it says in our title…there’s a box for that!
Corrugated Mailer Boxes
Mailer boxes are wonderful packaging options, because they are so easy (and in our opinion, fun) to assemble. Thanks to their interlocking flaps and wings, mailer boxes usually don’t even require any adhesive to stay closed (though it’s still probably a good idea to use some for safety’s sake). Box mailers also tend to be lightweight, yet sturdy, and relatively inexpensive compared to other shipping options. All in all, they’re the perfect choice for mailing consumer items like books, CDs, DVDs, posters, clothing, cosmetics, and more.
Insulated Shipping Boxes
While the US Postal Service prohibits shipping perishable items via its standard mailing process, certain items are permitted as long as they meet certain requirements. So, if you’re interested in sending some backyard-laid eggs or fresh-killed venison to a friend or relative, you’ll be able to do that with the right paperwork and an insulated shipping box.
An insulated shipping box consists of an outer cardboard box, and an inner, tightly-fitted Styrofoam carton. The carton, which is several inches thick and fitted with a tight lid, helps simultaneously insulate the items and protect them from being crushed or otherwise damaged. To keep the package contents cool, you can also add a cold pack.
On the outside, insulated shipping boxes are printed with Rush, Perishable, and This Side Up instructions to further help ensure that the items arrive safely and on time. The Postal Service doesn’t want your products to rot any more than you do!
Get all your moving & packaging needs from SSI Packaging
If you are still with us at this point, it’s safe to say that you are now aware of our main takeaway: We Have Boxes. But you may not know that we also have essential packaging items like tape, Bubble Wrap, foam packing peanuts, labels, and mailing envelopes! If you live in Richmond, Virginia or nearby areas, feel free to order anything you need from our vast product inventory, or stop by and see us on 1514 Brook Road. And, if you have any questions—box-related or otherwise—that haven’t been answered in this article, just ask one of our friendly salespeople. No matter what you’re planning to box up and send, we’ll make sure that you get everything you need to make the process as easy as possible.
The Amazing, Accidental History of Bubble Wrap
The invention of bubble wrap revolutionized the shipping process and helped launch today’s billion-dollar Ecommerce industry—but it was never intended to. As part 2 of our series celebrating National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day this month (January 2021) , today we present you with the strange, surprising history of an iconic product that started life as a failed experiment.
In 1957, the Beat generation was just beginning to usher in an age of creative experimentation. Just like music and fashion, interior design was also getting a groovy new makeover, and it wasn’t unusual to see walls outfitted in vibrant patterns and natural materials such as bamboo. It’s amidst this context that inventors Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes set out to create a unique, textured wallpaper out a popular modern material, plastic. (Although prototypical plastic had existed since the late 1800s, new chemical technologies in the ‘60’s led to an explosion in plastic manufacturing throughout the decade.)
After placing two pieces of plastic shower curtain through a heat-sealing machine, the two men were surprised by the results: a single sheet of film with air bubbles trapped inside. While the wallpaper idea would never take off, the inventors knew that their product could be used for something. The trick would lie in finding out what.
Patents & Patience
Fielding and Chavannes promptly filed six patents for the manufacturing process they had used to create “Air Cap,” as they called it, as well as the lamination equipment and materials. They then put their heads together to brainstorm a useful application for the material. Though they came up with over 400 ideas, only one—greenhouse insulation—ultimately made it off the drawing board, and the reaction from consumers was lukewarm. For the time being, Bubble Wrap remained a solution in search of a problem.
As Fielding and Chavannes scratched their heads in New Jersey, up in Armonk, New York, a company called International Business Machines had just launched one of the world’s first mass-produced business computers. The delicate device, called the 1401, would need to be transported across the country without sustaining any damage, and the preferred packaging material of the time—balled-up newspaper—wasn’t quite up to scratch. Bubble Wrap was the answer to IBM’s problem. It was cheap; it was clean (newspaper often left ink smudges on package contents); and it adept at protecting the 1401’s fragile components. Once IBM—which, by 1960, was a powerful business entity—signed on, it seemed like only a matter of time until Bubble Wrap skyrocket to the top of the shipping market.
The Dunphy Era
As the ‘60s crept into the ‘70s, Bubble Wrap rose steadily in popularity and household usage. Despite this, though, and in spite of IBM’s seal of approval, Bubble Wrap still hadn’t turned a significant profit for its parent company, Sealed Air Corporation. Part of the problem lay in the interests of its founders: Chavannes and Fielding were engineers, not businessmen, and both were much more interested in making inventions than in selling them.
It was T.J. Dermot Dunphy, who became CEO of Sealed Air in 1971, who helped turn Bubble Wrap and its sister products into money-making machines. An entrepreneur by training, Dunphy helped Sealed Air stabilize its operation and diversify its product base. For example, he was able to expand the brand into the swimming pool industry, popularizing Bubble Wrap pool covers that were able to keep the water beneath them warm. By the time he left the firm in 2000, Dunphy had successfully built Sealed Air’s sales up to $3 billion annually. And Bubble Wrap, of course, had become a name so ubiquitous, most of today’s consumers aren’t even aware that it’s a brand.
Bubble Wrap Today
Today, Sealed Air has relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, and devotes most of its time and business to food product packaging. But even though Bubble Wrap provides less than 10% of Sealed Air’s revenue, that hasn’t stopped company leadership from considering a name change. “’Sealed Air’ does lack a bit of marketing pizazz,” company CEO Bill Hickey told Forbes in 2012. A name like “Bubble Wrap, Inc.” would no doubt bring instant name recognition.
Naming aside, there’s no doubt that Bubble Wrap is here to stay, as it’s now used to protect billions of products each year. It has also become a staple of modern society, repurposed as everything from wedding dresses to therapeutic treatment tools. Sadly, though, no one has tried using it for its first intended purpose, wallpaper—at least to our knowledge.
Order Bubble Wrap for Richmond, VA | Richmond Business Packaging Materials
Looking for bubble wrap or any other packaging material in Richmond, VA? Stop by SSI Packaging today! In addition to bubble wrap, we offer a wide range of packaging and shipping materials to keep your products safe, including cardboard boxes, foam cushioning, and packing tape. Feel free to stop by and see us, or check out our product inventory online.
Although, by January, you have doubtlessly taken down your Christmas lights and recycled your tree, the festivities aren’t over. That’s right, January 25th is National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, which Americans celebrate on the last Monday of January. We here at SSI Packaging love the bubbly stuff, even though we have to save the fun of popping it for our customers. In celebration of bubble wrap, here are 6 facts about it that may surprise you.
Bubble Wrap was originally marketed as wallpaper
Bubble Wrap’s original incarnation was, believe it or not, wallpaper. This isn’t so crazy when one considers the context of the late 1950s. As more and more household gadgets entered the public market, it became quite normal for designers to experiment with futuristic-seeming textures, materials, and patterns. In 1957, an engineer named Al Fielding and a Swiss inventor named Marc Chavannes teamed up to create a three-dimensional, raised wallpaper. To test their idea, they glued two shower curtains together, leaving pockets of air throughout. Ultimately, the wallpaper idea never took off…but luckily, the inventors managed to find a great buyer for their product, in a small manufacturing company called IBM.
Bubble Wrap® is a brand name
Like Chapstick, Kleenex, and Crock-Pots, Bubble Wrap is actually a brand that’s dominated the market so well and for so long that it’s become a ubiquitous term for all items like it. Fielding and Chavannes themselves filed several patents for Bubble Wrap in 1960, and created a company to sell it, called Sealed Air Corporation. More than 60 years later, Sealed Air is still going strong, and its star product has been embraced around the world as a lightweight, yet protective shipping material. Writers beware: if it doesn’t come from Sealed Air, it’s “laminated cushioning material.”
It has incredible protective qualities
But just how protective is it? In 2000, Sealed Air itself decided to answer that question via the rather unconventional method of dropping a pumpkin onto a bubble wrap landing pad. The 815-pound pumpkin, nicknamed “Gourdzilla”, survived the 35-foot fall completely intact—for a few seconds, anyway. “The pumpkin survived the drop,” said then-CEO William Hickey. “The problem is that it bounced.”
Popping Bubble Wrap is scientifically good for your health
For many people—or, dare we say, most people—popping Bubble Wrap ranks among one of life’s greatest pleasures. And beyond being fun, there’s some scientific evidence that it’s actually good for our mental health, too. In 1992, psychology professor Kathleen M. Dillon conducted a study wherein a trial group of undergraduate students were given two sheets to pop, while a control group remained pop-less. At the end of the study, the pop-ers reported that they felt more calm, energized, and alert than they had been before, while the pop-less control students reported feeling more or less the same. Dillon theorized that bubble wrap popping, like finger tapping and other sensory habits, might be a way anxious humans find a way to relieve muscle tension while simultaneously freezing in their tracks.
It sent a military base into lockdown
When most of us picture Bubble Wrap bubbles, we imagine the small, pill-sized kind which make relatively quiet pops. But Sealed Air manufactures its product in all kinds of sizes, and it was sandwich-bag-sized bubbles that ended up sending a New Mexico Air Force base into lockdown. After a civilian employee stomped on several “air pillows” in order to flatten them, another civilian mistook the sound for gunfire, and called 911. Base Director of Public Affairs, Eric Elliott, noted that the caller’s response was doubtlessly influenced by a mass shooting which had occurred in San Bernadino, California, earlier that week. In any case, all was well that ended well, and local authorities were appreciative for the unplanned emergency. “We got a good exercise out of it,” Elliot said.
Get bona-fide Bubble Wrap in Richmond, VA
It’s safe to say that no packaging material has brought more joy to consumers than Bubble Wrap. Whether you need a roll to protect some fragile materials during shipping, or to simply relieve some stress, SSI Packaging has what you need—real, authentic Bubble Wrap made by its original manufacturer, Sealed Air. We also offer a wide range of packaging and shipping materials such as cardboard boxes, bubble mailers, foam cushioning, and packing tape. If you live in or near Richmond, Virginia, stop by and see us, or check out our product inventory online.