Types of Packaging

by Richard Dixon; Updated September 26, 2017

Protecting goods is very important. Food, electronics, clothes, furniture and other consumer goods all come in packaging meant to protect them during transportation and storage. There are different types of packaging solutions and materials. Packaging can be standard or custom made, for instance.

Paper and Carton Packaging

Paper and carton packaging is used for different types of goods (food, electronics, toys, shoes, kitchenware and even other packaging materials). Paper and carton packaging companies produce wrapping paper, inflated paper, sheets, boxes, tubes, pallets, interlayers, corners, edges and custom protective systems (depending on the dimension and shape of the packed good, the carton is cut and modeled to fix and protect the product). Paper can be used to laminate other materials in order to make them stronger. There is also anticorrosive paper that can be used to wrap goods or to laminate other materials.

Film Packaging

There are multiple types of films used in the packaging industry, most commonly polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyolefin and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) films. The films usually come on a roll and are used to wrap goods, cover goods, protect boxes and make other packaging products (such as bags, tubes, bubble wrap and sheets). Films can be used for lamination, printed or perforated. They can be anticorrosive, antistatic, shrinkable or nonshrinkable, and slippery or nonslippery.

Foam Packaging

Foam used for packaging can be produced on a roll or in sheets of different thicknesses. The foam is used to wrap goods or make bags (usually laminated with high-density PE), corners, edges and custom systems. The corners and edges are used to protect flat glass, furniture and sharp edges. Foam can be cut and modeled on the product's shape to fix and protect it. It can be antistatic and has good insulation properties.

Textile Packaging

There are some goods that are best protected by textiles. For example, there are custom-made textile insertions used in the automotive industry to protect car parts during transportation. The textile insert is put on a metal frame that fits into a metal container. There is also textile material used for box covers.

Plastic Boxes and Containers

Multiple types of plastic boxes and containers are used in all industries. For example, in the food industry there are plastic containers for goods like ketchup, yogurt, milk and juices. Plastic boxes are mainly used for transporting goods and are reusable. They can be stacked, folded when empty to save storage space and recycled.

Packaging Systems

Packaging companies offer different types of systems that can be divided into two categories: special solutions and packaging machines. The special solutions are used for valuable products that don't have a regular, simple shape. For example, parts of airplanes or expensive decorative glass objects need special solutions to be packed. The goods fit perfectly into the packaging and are protected against damages.

Packaging machines are used for wrapping (wrapping the stretch film on the pallet), strapping (applying and sealing straps on boxes), sealing (with tape for boxes and with heat for films) and shrink wrapping (applying PVC or polyolefin film on products or boxes). There are also machines that inflate film, paper and instant foam.

Other Types

Adhesive tapes are also considered packaging materials, as they help seal boxes. They are usually made out of PE or PP film that has acrylic or solvent glue applied to it and that can be printed on. Strapping tapes are usually applied on boxes or pallets. They are made out of PE or PP and can be printed with one color. The standard colors are black and clear for PP and green for PE.

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About the Author

Richard Dixon is an Aircraft Maintenance Technician. Dixon studied airplanes during high-school and 2 years of college. His passion for writing brought him into Demand Studio's team of dedicated people.

Photo Credits

  • Dale Davidson/Demand Media