Foam for cushion packaging
Foam is one of the versatile materials that work best for cushion packaging. An expanding foam pad can completely conform to the product shape in seconds so that there is protection against shock, vibration and compaction while in transport or in storage. Freight and shipping costs are also kept to a minimum because foam is significantly light in weight. There is also a wide selection of foam densities for your cushion packaging application. For example, polyurethane foam has densities that range from as low as 0.8 pcf to as high as 8 pcf. Most foam applications in packaging utilize the foam densities of 0.9 to 2.5 pcf. However, the higher the density of foam, the more expensive it will be but you are guaranteed excellent support and durability.
Factors that affect the design of cushion packaging
Cushion packaging is designed to reduce the severity of shock due to rough handling or if the package is accidentally dropped from a certain height. The transmitted shock that was generated by mishandling the package should not result into any damage if the package has been immobilized by cushioning. The extent of protection that the cushion can provide the product depends on its material and dimensions. Most designs however, consider the cushion and the outer package in the overall design to give a safety margin in case of impact.
There are also various factors considered in the design of cushion packaging. These factors include creep or compression of the material due to long term loading, effects of temperature and effects of vibration. Temperature usually has an effect on packaging since cushioning materials can soften at high temperatures or harden in low temperatures. Another major factor considered in packaging design is the fragility of the item that will be packaged. For example, if it is an expensive electronic device, what damages will result if it is dropped from a certain height? It may be necessary to subdivide the required area of foam to achieve a stable cushioning or load spreaders can be used to spread the weight of the item over a larger area than its natural side.
Cushioning material at a given thickness behaves differently during impact conditions. An ideal cushioning performance of a cushioning material depends on the combination of thickness and drop height. In most cases, it is necessary to calculate how many inches will be the foam thickness to that it will provide support and protect any side of the packaged product. It is also possible to reduce the volume of foam cushioning if its thickness will be increased but this will impact on shipping and handling costs due to package size and weight. This is the reason why cushion packaging must always be designed taking into consideration all important factors.