Protection Offered By Various Packaging Materials
Various packaging materials are designed and manufactured to protect products and equipment from atmospheric, electrostatic, magnetic, vibration or shock damage, especially when in transit.
Such protective packaging materials include boxes, liners and spacers.
Some of these packaging materials include airbags or air pillows, which are inflated air packets used to secure fragile materials and products.
Angle boards or edge boards are also designed to protect the edges of products during transit.
Other packaging materials may include bubble wraps, which contain rows of inflated air bubbles and are used to cover fragile materials and products.
Corrugated wraps are also common protective packaging materials, which are made of sponge-like material, used to secure fragile products.
How do these materials offer more protection to products? Here are the ways in which they offer protection:
• Moisture/ vapour protection
• Electrical insulation
• Fire protection
• Thermal insulation
• Shock/ Vibration protection
1. Moisture/ Vapour Protection
Packaging materials used to wrap electrical and electronic products are moisture or vapour proof for obvious reasons.
Electronic equipment is easily damaged by the accumulation of moisture, especially at the power contacts.
Plastic packaging materials and polyethylene are used in the packaging of such products to prevent the penetration of vapour or water.
However, in cases where extra caution against moisture is required, glass packaging materials may be used as they offer better protection against moisture compared to plastic and polythene packaging products.
Dense polythene packaging materials are also used in the packaging of food products and pharmaceuticals to avoid the penetration of moisture that may contribute to their degradation.
2. Electrical Insulation
Electrical components need to be packaged using materials that form a barrier between them and other electrical components.
Most of these packaged materials are electrical non-conductors and ensure that electrical components do not interact with the electric fields of any other electrical equipment in their vicinity.
Packaging materials such as silicone rubber insulating wires are used on the electrical contacts of the various electrical equipment to prevent any electrical interaction with other components or equipment.
Glass packaging materials are also used to offer electrical insulation from their inert electrical properties.
3. Fire Protection
Products in transit or storage are always at risk of being consumed by fire. There is, therefore, a need for packaging materials that can offer protection against fire.
Such packaging materials prevent flame ignition and may further mitigate the spread of flames in case a fire breaks out.
When packaging flammable products such as chemicals, glass is mostly used for packaging due to its inert properties.
In the event of a fire, glass packaging prevents flammable products from catching fire, therefore preventing the spread of flames.
4. Thermal Insulation
Some packaging materials are used to protect products such as food products and pharmaceuticals from the effects of extreme heat, especially if such products are being transported through an extremely hot region.
Sheets of synthetic foams such as polyurethane and materials made of natural cellulose fibres are commonly used to offer thermal insulation to avoid the alteration of the chemical properties of such products.
5. Shock / Vibration Protection
Goods and products in transit should be packaged using materials that will offer an extra cushion to avoid damaging the products.
Some products or pieces of equipment need to be delivered while intact, with no loose components or parts.
As such, packaging materials such as polystyrene (styrofoam) are used to protect equipment and products against vibrations and shock, which may otherwise cause damage to the equipment.
Packaging materials play a huge role in maintaining the quality of products and equipment, especially while in transit.
The various types of packaging materials offer different forms of protection to these products.
Packaging materials are useful in offering electrical insulation, thermal insulation, and protection against fire, vibrations and moisture penetration.
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