Although often overlooked, the transport of household appliances is a delicate process that can have a huge impact on cost optimization, a brand’s reputation, and the final customer experience.
The choice of the right packaging materials can make the difference between successful transportation and unfavorable ones. In the midst of the specific needs to transport household appliances, EPS stands out as the most suitable option. We analyze why.
Transport household appliances: requirements and needs
The field of protective packaging appliances is undergoing a period of transformations, shaped by at least two trends:
- Transport and process optimization: efficient performance from transportation companies is increasingly understood as essential to transport household appliances so that the process is as cost-efficient as possible. However, protective packaging appliances also play an important role in this, as they can help save space in transportation as well as minimizing weight. This translates into cost savings and improved more fluid-handling operations. At the same time, the inclusion of technologies to improve the goods’ traceability and connectedness has helped generate more efficient transportation processes.
- Improved safety: household appliances are high-tech goods that require specific safety measures, including cushioning against shocks and vibrations and the right thermal protection in order to transport household appliances at the optimum temperature.
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Household appliances packaging
Household protective packaging materials
Traditionally, the transport of household appliances has been consummated through the following packaging cushioning materials:
- Packaging fillers made of bubble wrap, padded dividers, or packing peanuts. These materials fill the potential empty space inside the larger packaging unit, in order to prevent goods from moving inside.
- Edge protectors for corners.
- Plastic films, foam sheets, or tissue paper to protect scratch-sensitive surfaces and extra protection against moisture.
- Shrink or stretch film to generate palletized cargo units.
Apart from these solutions, packaging foam stands out as the safest, most efficient option for protecting household appliances during transport.
This is because packaging foam, made from EPS and other plastic materials such as NEOPS, CELOOPS , and rEOPS, allows for the total customization of packaging solutions. By cutting EPS into customized shapes, packaging solutions easily adapt to the product’s specific protective needs.
Why choose EPS to transport household appliances
EPS or expanded polystyrene is a plastic material made of 98% air (just 2% of it consists of plastic matter). This material’s extraordinary characteristics make it stand out in the current appliances packaging sector, as EPS provides:
- An extremely lightweight option that helps optimizing transport costs. In fact, it’s estimated that it can add up to a 20% reduction of weight in packaging, as well as optimizing transport space. For instance, with the right customized solution, the number of appliances per pallet can be increased by 25%.
- Excellent shock absorption, offering protection for safe packaging against transport and handling accidents. In fact, EPS’ cushioning factor is up to 2x higher compared to other materials.
- Customizing possibilities: EPS can be molded into customized shapes so that it protects the most sensitive parts of the different household appliances.
- A 100% recyclable packaging option, which can be recycled up to 7 times without deteriorating. This recycling process is facilitated through specific collection points, such as the one designed by Knauf Appliances and its Knauf Circular program. EPS also presents a more sustainable carbon footprint than other materials with a fossil origin and even some with a plant origin.
How to reduce costs with protective packaging
- Minimize logistic costs: efficient storage and safe delivery are two important criteria to consider when evaluating a packaging solution. EPS protective packaging for household appliances offers a solution on both sides. In other words, choosing this packaging material improves logistic operations by increasing the number of full loads and reducing packaging costs. EPS’ versatility also provides significant benefits, as it can adapt to a company’s changing needs in logistic processes and beyond. Improving logistics also works in the long term, as they help maintain satisfied customers that stay loyal to a company.
- Improved safety: the extraordinary protection capabilities of EPS make it the ideal solution to transport household appliances. Double density injection molding allows the packaging engineer to use different grades of material in the same clamping. The higher density material can thus be used in the most demanding areas of the chock, which are usually the surfaces of the package in direct contact with the machine, i.e. corners and bottom parts. The least stressed areas of the cushioning consist of materials of optimized quality. This extra safety optimization has been extensively proved through different packaging materials tests, including drop tests and vibration tests.
EPS packaging protects the employees as well by reducing the impact of the objects in the case of an eventual accident, protecting the operator from suffering higher damage.
- Cost-saving solutions: saving costs is an eternal challenge for any successful business. Continuous cost optimization has many facets and EPS helps in two ways: first, by reducing costs on the direct purchase of materials; second, by improving the storage space usage through increased stacking capacity.
- Process optimization: Knauf Appliances not only provides EPS packaging for household appliances but also ensures a flawless logistic service in order to contribute to the optimal process at the assembly lines of the OEM. In most cases, the appliance production is highly fragmented with many different product types running at the same time on numerous production lines. However, at the end of the process, there are limited packaging stations available for packaging. This ensures a demanding and fast activity where JIT deliveries, pre-assembly, KANBAN system management, EDI connection, RFID communication are employed so our customers can focus on their core activity.
Change wood packaging for EPS cushions can make a significant improvement in operations. Creating custom-sized regular packages improves handling, adapting them to the necessities of the work environment and reducing the accident generated by splinters, saving time and reducing operational costs.
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Sustainability of protective packaging for household appliances
As both companies and consumers look for new, eco-friendly alternatives for packaging, sustainability has started to be understood as a complex issue that needs to take many factors into account. EPS recycling stands at the center of this matter, proving this material can be a sustainable option to transport household appliances.
While EPS is, in fact, a cellular plastic material, its possibilities as a sustainable packaging material are widely recognized:
- The EPS manufacturing process presents a small carbon footprint compared to other materials. Steam is used as a source of energy and there’s little consumption of water, which is also recycled.
- At the same time, during the manufacturing process, little waste is generated as every unused item can be incorporated back into the process. The fact that this material uses just 2% of polystyrene (98% of EPS is air) also minimizes the carbon footprint and the use of materials.
- As opposed to other plastic materials, EPS recycling is easy when the right programs are put into action. In fact, only 0.1% of municipal solid waste is expanded polystyrene.
There are also bio-sourced materials developed by Knauf Industries like NEOPS: an expandable plastic resin made from non-agricultural vegetable biomass, that has identical performance to EPS but with 30% fewer emissions of CO2 in its production.
CELOOPS is another great alternative to reduce the environmental impact of your business. This styrene-composed expandable plastic is made from recycled plastic and has a very low carbon footprint. It can also be recycled in regular waste facilities and has similar properties to the offered by EPS.
Want to learn more about the role of expanded EPS foam in the different industries and how it can contribute to generating a sustainable, cost-efficient packaging solution? Download our free ebook ‘Technical Manual about expanded foam in the industry.