4 Common Mistakes Made When Shipping Heavy Packages

Better Packages

By: Better Packages on May 22nd, 2017

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Shipping heavy packages can be challenging and mistakes expensive. To avoid missteps, read this blog to learn about 4 mistakes commonly made when shipping heavy packages.


Incorrect Carton Weight or Size

Not all cartons are created equal. Like paper stock, cartons come in a variety of weights designed to transport lighter or heavier shipping items. Shippers are not always aware of this fact, nor of the importance that the correct carton weight makes in protecting items. In addition to weight, cartons are also single walled, or double walled. The decision on which to choose is dependent upon the weight and size of the items being shipped.

Double-wall corrugated boxes are constructed with two layers of corrugated cardboard (double fluting) and with a linerboard facing between them. They provide greater shipping strength, critical when an item needs to withstand transportation stress, as well as to be stacked for storage in a warehouse facility. For example, if you are shipping an item weighing 80 pounds, you would want to use a double-walled carton.

Incorrect Carton Size

Carton size is another variable to consider when shipping heavy items and one that is prone to mistake. Choose too large a carton, and you’ll be using more void fill than necessary. You’ll also be over-spending on shipping due to the excess volume of the carton size. Choose a carton too small and you’ll lack the space to add enough void fill to protect your products. A good metric is to choose a carton that allows you to place each item 2” away from the walls of the box.

Insufficient Product Protection and Void Fill

All items being shipped need to be cushioned to keep them safe. A good product protection choice is small or large cell bubble sheeting. If items are fragile, take care protecting them from shock and vibration by separating them from each other and from the corners, sides, top and bottom to the carton. Each item should be surrounded by at least 2 inches of protection.

In addition to wrapping items, you need to add enough void fill to the carton for item stability, to cushion items from each other and from any external transportation shocks. You want to be sure that items do not move when the carton is shaken. Void fill packing materials include air pillows, paper and packing peanuts. Which packing fill should you use? Air pillows are the most cost-effective, by a factor of 5 to 6, and take up less storage space than either alternative.

Tape Choice

Shippers are often unaware of the impact that choosing the right tape has upon operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. They often default to plastic, pressure-sensitive tape (PST) because it is what they know. While it makes sense to use PST in certain circumstances, it is not the best choice when it comes to shipping heavy and bulky items. PST floats on top of the carton, rather than bonding to it. It generally lacks the strength needed to handle heavy loads.

With heavy packages, it makes sense to turn to water-activated tape (WAT).

WAT is made of paper and a starch-based adhesive. It’s available in various widths and thicknesses and with layers with fiberglass reinforcement, which provide added strength. When the tape’s adhesive is activated with water, it penetrates the carton material and the tape forms a permanent bond with the carton, making the tape “tamper evident. 

Another benefit of using WAT is that carton sealing productivity is 21% higher using an electric gummed tape dispenser with water-activated tape versus a hand-held tape gun and plastic, pressure-sensitive tape.* When heavy items are shipped with cartons using WAT, customers receive a secure carton; one in which all items are intact.   This clearly enhances customer satisfaction.

Better Packages® and Central Brand® Tape

IPG’s Better Packages® brand and Central® brand jointly provide industry with the complete packaging solution. Together, these brands deliver a full line of gummed tape dispensers, under the Better Packages brand and an impressive range of high performance tapes under the Central brand. This combination has been satisfying customer packaging needs while delivering security and branding to every consumer doorstep.

* See detail about testing results.

For more information, download the free ebook to maximize productivity with exclusive tape dispensing performance tips. 

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About Better Packages

Founded in 1917, Better Packages is a leading manufacturer of tabletop water-activated tape (WAT) dispensers used in carton sealing. Better Packages’ product line includes auto-dispensing electric machines that are used in high volume fulfillment centers, as well as manual dispensers. In the U.S., Better Packages sells through multiple channels that include industrial and packaging distributors and catalog wholesalers, as well as direct to end-user customers. Its distribution network consists of over 160 authorized distributors including Tier 1 shipping and packaging. Better Packages also has another 50 international distributors that service over 70 countries. Better Packages is a wholly owned subsidiary of Intertape Polymer Group (IPG), an acknowledged leader in the packaging industry. IPG sells a full line of Central® water-activated tape, as well as many other premier packaging products.