Material Specifications, Properties and Advantages

We fabricate custom packaging solutions from the following types of materials.

FOAM

1. Expanded Polystyrene

  • Extremely cost-effective, lightweight and rigid foam
  • Compare to Dow’s Styrofoam™ brand of EPS
  • Structurally strong, moisture resistant and good thermal insulation
  • Computer-guided cutting and two-dimensional shaping eliminates the need for expensive dies

EPS, or expanded polystyrene, is created by heating and pressing beads of the chemical styrene together to form a highly insulative foam. Polystyrene is mostly air, which is why it makes such a good insulator, and it is often used for packaging hot or cold items. You may have seen this foam in a cup shape holding your hot chocolate or surrounding fresh steaks you ordered in the mail!

2. Polyethylene

  • Durable and lightweight closed-cell foam, used for packaging heavier items
  • Excellent vibration dampening and high resistance to chemicals and moisture
  • Laminated, extruded, polylam, cross-link polyethylene
  • Easily custom die cut/fabricated or cut into pads and blocks

Polyethylene foam is formed by adding two chemicals together. The chemical reaction causes the foam to expand rapidly, creating millions of air bubbles. As the foam hardens into its final form, the bubble walls remain intact and do not release any of their gas. Air is blocked from passing from bubble to bubble, which results in a firm, rigid, and durable foam. It still provides strong cushioning as the bubble cells will still compress slightly under pressure. This foam is preferred to protect heavier objects, since it will withstand more weight.

3. Polyurethane

  • Lightweight open-celled foam
  • Abrasion resistant, able to absorb shock and recover its shape quickly
  • Ideal for protecting lightweight, delicate objects
  • Easily custom die cut/fabricated, cut into pads, or convoluted (egg crate)

Polyurethane foam is formed by adding two chemicals together. The chemical reaction causes the foam to expand rapidly, creating millions of air bubbles which stay open as the foam hardens into its final form. The end result is a flexible, sponge-like material which compresses and cushions as force is applied to it. Air easily passes from cell to cell within the foam, making it highly shock absorbent. Polyurethane comes in a variety of densities.

 

CORRUGATED

Corrugated is a three-layered cardboard product most often used for boxes and other packaging supplies. It's made by combining two sheets of kraft paper separated by a layer of crimped kraft paper. This middle layer full of folded kraft paper and air pockets give the corrugated enough bounce to protect whatever it holds.

HARDWOOD

Our hardwood comes in a variety of species including maple, oak, birch, and more. We source most of our hardwood from Canada. In general, hardwood is a sturdier subset of wooden materials because of its increased density. Hardwood is likely not heat treated when we receive it and undergoes that process on the property. We use hardwood in applications where rough-cut lumber is needed.
 

SOFTWOOD

Our softwood comes in multiple varieties including spruce, pine, and fir. However, we mainly manufacture pine products. We source most of our softwood from Canada. Index's standard crate uses 1x4 softwood cleats. Softwood is a less dense material, and is therefore more flexible. Its resistance to splitting makes it a great solution for industrial shipping products and residential structures.

PLYWOOD

Plywood is composed of laminated layers of veneers of hard and softwood. These layers are rotated 90° at each layer for additional strength. We utilize different types of ply products such as CDX (rough on all sides) and G1S (good-on-1-side). We use plywood for everything from ATA case panels and dividers, to crate paneling, to ramp manufacturing. Plywood is the perfect panel product that is a compromise of weight, price, and strength.
 

We invite you to download specification sheets for more information.

For quotes and estimates, contact Tammy Taylor, Sales Specialist at 603-641-9814 ext. 352 or use the form to email us!

 

Foam packaging and packing materials are available in recycled, antistatic, soft, rigid, thick, thin, sheets, rolls, blocks, cubes perforated, scored, tear apart and shapes for box inserts. Depending on the foam specified, colors include black, blue, pink, charcoal, gray, yellow, green, purple, white.

 

Choosing Packaging Materials

Q: What do I need to think about when packaging my product for shipment?
A:
There is a basic starting point for any packaging project.

  • Select the right outside container(s). Use a rigid box with suitable strength.
  • Cushion the contents from shock or vibration. Use enough lightweight packing material so the contents do not move when the box is shaken.

Q: How do I choose the best packaging materials for my product?
A: As a starting point, determine your major objectives.

  • Eliminate damage?
  • Cost reduction?
  • New product?
  • Are there problems with your present packaging?
  • How will the product be shipped; UPS, common carrier, etc?
  • What is the cost of the product to be shipped?
  • How important is the price of the packaging in relationship to the product's value?
  • Does the product require custom protective packaging?
  • Does the custom packaging need to fit an existing box?
  • Does the product require anti-static protective packaging?
  • Does the product need protection from moisture?
  • Does the product require the maintenance of a certain temperature?
  • How important is the labor cost of packaging your product?
  • How breakable is your product?

Q: How do I measure a box?
A:
Inside dimensions are always used when listing box measurements and given in the sequence of length, width and depth (height). A good “rule of thumb” is that the depth (height) is where the box opens, if you were to put a yard stick through the opening to opposite end; that is the depth. Of the remaining two dimensions, the length is the longest and the width is the shortest.

Q: What is EPS?
A:
EPS is expanded polystyrene. It is a light-weight and rigid foam, which is produced from solid beads of polystyrene. An extremely cost effective packaging material, it is moisture resistant, a good thermal insulator, (insulation R-value of 4.0 per inch) and it is structurally strong (compression strength of 1000 lbs per square foot.) It is extremely versatile and may be fabricated into appropriate forms and customized shapes. Plastifoam's computer-guided cutting systems can duplicate any line pattern eliminating the need for expensive dies or molds.

Q: What is Polyurethane?
A: Polyurethane foam includes two types, flexible and rigid. The flexible foams that we use are open cell foams, used for packaging and available in a wide range of densities and colors. It has the ability to absorb shock from an impact and recover its original shape quickly. Its physical performance characteristics make it ideal for protecting fragile items. It can be cut or fabricated to many formats such as end-cap assemblies, top and bottom trays, convoluted (egg crate) or custom-fitted padding.

Q: What is Egg Crate Convoluted Packaging Foam?
A: It is flexible polyurethane foam which has interlocking peaks and valleys which gently cradle products, while firmly holding them in place. It is available in various densities and colors. The antistatic pink version is ideal for cushioning circuit boards and other static-sensitive items.

Q: What is Polyethylene?
A:
Polyethylene is a plastic polymer extensively used as packaging foam. It is a tough, resilient, lightweight, closed-cell foam material commonly used for the cushioning of relatively high value and moderately fragile items. It is available in a wide range of densities and colors. It has high tensile and tear strength so that it withstands long periods of heavy use. Depending on its density it is generally very rigid, with less give in it than flexible polyurethane. It is a very strong and resilient cushioning material that is not damaged by initial impacts and recovers to maintain protection against repeated shocks. It can be cut into pads or blocks or custom die-cut to fit specific shapes.

Q: What is meant by Foam Density?
A:
Density refers to the internal structure of a particular foam and is not a measurement of foam firmness. Firm foam is not always high density foam. Density is defined the weight in pounds of one cubic foot of material, or pounds per cubic foot (pcf.)