When you're in charge of a shipping facility or warehouse of any sort, you may need to invest in foam inserts for shipping cases. There are some items that should never simply be put in a shipping box filled with Styrofoam peanuts or just wrapped in bubble wrap, as they may be too delicate or too dangerous to ship that way and foam can offer them added protection.
As you begin shopping for foam inserts, you may be surprised to note the many differences you'll see. Foam may look alike to you but it's often manufactured in a variety of ways that will affect its overall durability and even its weight. Note a few factors to consider when choosing foam inserts for your shipping cases.
1. Polyethylene foam
Polyethylene or PE foam isn't as stiff as other types of foam so it is good for items that can withstand a small amount of shock and jostling during shipping, such as power tools. It's a good choice for heavier objects that only need a slight amount of covering and protection. PE foam has a high resistance to moisture and chemicals, so it's the right choice for items that may have chemicals in them or which need to stay dry, such as handguns or machinery. It is also very dust-resistant, so use it for any item that needs to stay dust-free such as computer parts or other electronics.
2. Polyurethane foam
Often called ester foam, polyurethane foam is a bit more forgiving than PE foam as it's not quite as dense. It's a good choice for very delicate objects that might actually break as they jostle against the foam itself, such as crystal stemware. Because it's less dense, it's also easier to fabricate so it may be a good choice for oddly shaped items that need a custom insert, such as cameras or machinery prototypes.
3. Pick and pluck
You may see foam advertised as pick and pluck. This refers to foam that is precut into blocks or cubes. You simply pick or pluck out the cubes you need and then use these to fill a case or to be set inside an object such as that crystal stemware, providing even more cushioning. Pick and pluck is often available for ester foam as this material is more lightweight and easier to cut and fabricate. Consider using it along with PE foam inserts outside an object you're shipping for maximum protection.
For more information, contact case inserts suppliers.