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Packaging Advice

 

APC Direct is committed to delivering your shipments with speed and care. However, shipments are handled regularly, passing through many locations as they cross the world. In order to make sure your shipments arrive in the best possible condition, here is some helpful advice on packing. Please note that APC Direct will accept no liability for the packaging advice it provides. The customer remains responsible for ensuring packaging is adequate for transportation.

 

General Packaging Tips*

  • Choose the size of the package according to its content. Under-filled boxes are likely to collapse; overloaded ones may burst.
  • Always use high quality materials for your shipments. Consider strength, cushioning, and durability when selecting your wrapping supplies.
  • Choose boxes made of corrugated cardboard, with good quality outer liners. Use heavy-duty double-layered board for valuable items.
  • Make use of cushioning materials, especially to stop your packaging contents from moving.
  • Use strapping, when suitable, as a good way to seal and secure your box. Use strong tape if a strapping machine is not available.
  • Put fragile goods in the centre of a package; ensuring they don't touch the sides. Your item should be well cushioned on all sides.
  • Place powders and fine grains in strong plastic bags, securely sealed and then packed in a rigid fibreboard box.
  • Use "arrow-up" label for non-solid materials.
  • Repack your gifts properly. Many goods sold in attractive packaging may not be suitable for shipping.
  • Use triangular tubes not round tube-type cylinders to pack rolled plans, maps and blueprints.
  • Remember always to pack small items in flyers appropriately.
  • Protect your data discs, audio and video-tapes with soft cushioning material around each item.
  • Complete the address clearly and completely, using uppercase letters when handwriting labels to improve readability for APC Direct personnel.
  • When shipping sharp items, such as knives or scissors, ensure that you fully protect the edges and points. Heavy cardboard is suitable for this. Fix the protective material securely so that it cannot be accidentally removed in transit.
  • Always use cardboard dividers when sending flat, fragile material (such as vinyl records).
  • When re-using a box, remove all labels and stickers and warning signs. Ensure that the box is in good shape and not worn out.
 
  • Do not use bags made of fabric or cloth.
  • Do not over seal your package. Remember that all shipments can be opened by customs authorities for inspection.
  • Do not use cellophane tape or rope to seal your shipment.
  • Do not consider "Fragile" and "Handle with care" labels as a substitute for careful packaging. They are only appropriate for information purposes.

Internal Packaging*

It is recommended that you leave a space of at least 5cm between the outer container and the product inside. This space should be filled with padding of some type, any substance from crumpled newspaper to old pieces of clothing will do.

The following are the most common purpose-made products to be found on the market:

Cushioning

Different types of cushioning are available, from loose "chips", "shreds" and "peanut" shaped materials to rolls of bubbled-plastic sheet.
Loose cushioning is usually made out of very lightweight materials - it's used to fill in corners, keep the articles centred in the container and provide cushioning and shock absorption. It is clean and reusable but can be bulky to store. Most of the fillings available in the market are manufactured from recycled products. Avoid the use of polystyrene, as in many countries it is considered not to be environmentally friendly and it may be forbidden or fined at destination. Vegetable-based and biodegradable materials are preferred.

Many materials found around the house can also be used - old newspapers, shredded clothes, cushion stuffing all make ideal cushioning.
Bubble wrap is made of pockets of air distributed on a plastic film. It provides very good protection to shock, vibration and abrasion, as well as being lightweight and flexible.

Sheets, pads and rolls

When packing items or stacked objects, you should always use dividers, which provide absorption to shocks.
The most frequently used dividers are corrugated cardboard sheets, chipboard sheets, or plain brown "Craft-paper" sheets. Rolls of corrugated carton, cut to size, are excellent for low cost padding. Foam sheets are recommended to wrap up fragile objects.

External APC Direct packaging support*

There are many APC Direct packaging solutions for the protection of your shipments. As your shipment is transported, it may be exposed to adverse environments caused by weather conditions and transport vibrations, so correct packing is vital.
To ensure your shipments arrive on time and in proper condition, please follow these simple packaging and shipping tips:

  • Use sturdy corrugated cardboard boxes for your air express shipments
  • Wrap fragile materials individually so they do not touch each other
  • Even the stickiest labels can come off - an extra address label placed inside the package is a good precaution
  • Remove old address/shipping labels from your packages

Here are some products you may wish to use to wrap your package optimally:

Bags

APC Direct recommends the use of protective bags. Use cushioned bags, such as padded and bubble bags to carry such things as diskettes, tapes, keys and small electronic parts. These bags provide good shock absorption performance. Waterproof and anti-static versions are also available.

Boxes

Boxes are the most commonly used type of package. The range of sizes and shapes, the different combinations of materials, and the number of accessories available to strengthen and secure them, make boxes the most suitable way to pack your shipments. If you are shipping wooden boxes, please ensure that the corners are correctly protected and check that the box is not splintered, as this can cause injuries to people handling the boxes. Wood containers are especially appropriate for shipping heavy items, usually palletised and ready to be machine-handled. Sometimes, heavy-duty double-layered cardboard is a suitable and cheaper alternative to wood.

Tubes

Please do not use round tube-type cylinders. Their tendency to roll makes them difficult to handle and they cannot pass through automated sorting equipment generally used in express courier facilities.

Tapes

All packages must be sealed to prevent the contents from falling out. A good seal helps to strengthen your package; however, please be aware that any shipment may be opened for inspection by customs or security authorities while in transit within the APC Direct Network. In this case, APC Direct is responsible for re-sealing your package to the highest standards. Always use strong tapes - APC Direct recommends polypropylene or vinyl adhesive tape. Avoid the use of cellophane tape, which may be inexpensive but is usually fragile and only appropriate for office use. Other types of tape such as fibre-reinforced paper tapes may also be used. APC Direct does not recommend the use of string around your box, as it can cut through the cardboard and damage your package. If you choose to use reinforced paper tape, the closing of the case can be done with only two strips. Please make sure that the tapes overlap the ends of the box by 80 mm or 3.2 inches.

Wrapping Paper and Films

The use of wrapping paper around boxes or non-contained objects is only recommended for items like textile products, in order to prevent damage by dust. Remember to enclose the wrapped object in a box. Wrapping paper can also be used as a cushioning material by crumpling it and placing it in the interior of a box. Heated shrinking and stretch films are used to consolidate multiple boxes on a pallet for stability and protection from dirt, water, oil, etc. They are not suitable for all commodities because the high temperatures used by the heat-shrinking technology may damage the contents of your shipment. When using these films, please stick labels on the boxes and not on the films. Often the film is broken down to scan each shipment's bar code.

Strapping

When applied correctly, with the proper tension, strapping is an ideal way to strengthen your shipment. Loose strapping is useless and too tight strapping can damage the box, by cutting through it. Many types of strapping can be found on the market:

  • Polypropylene is low cost and easy handling, but the maximum force it will stand before breaking is not very high.
  • Polyester strapping stretches less than polypropylene under high temperatures, it is stronger and maintains its properties when wet. It can replace steel in many applications because of its lower cost.
  • Metal strapping is best for extremely heavy loads, as it does not stretch. It is only recommended for use on wooden crates.

Edge Protection

Edge protectors are available in plastic and recycled cardboard. When using strapping, edge protectors prevent damage to your shipment by distributing the strapping pressure and tension uniformly across the box edge, preventing damage to the cardboard.

Things to avoid

  • Damaged containers
  • Exceeding the weight specification of the shipment container
  • Use of wrapping paper, string, cellophane or masking tape
  • Allowing packages to get wet while awaiting pickup
  • Including any information indicating high value of contents on the address label or outer package

How to protect specific shipment contents*

Leaflets and documents

Some special items are more liable to be damaged than others and can be easily spoiled if not packed properly.

The following are specific products that you can click on for more information on how they should be packed:

  • Strap your box whenever possible.
  • Binders and loose brochures or documents should be packed in larger boxes. Do not leave empty spaces inside the box, instead fill the empty space with cushioning material.

Books

  • Books are especially vulnerable at the corners. Pack your books in top quality corrugated fibreboard, allowing a 20mm overlap at the ends. Place the wrapped book in a flyer where appropriate.
  • If your books are not suitable to be placed in a flyer, pack the wrapped books inside an appropriately sized box. Fill in with cushioning material.

Powders

  • Powders must be packed so as not to damage other shipments.
  • Place the powder in a securely sealed heavy-duty plastic bag, then place the bag inside a solid corrugated drum-shaped cardboard container with a tightly sealed top.

Maps and blueprints

  • Roll your maps, plans and blueprints and insert them into a tube. Do not use cylindrical tubes.
  • Securely seal both ends of the tube.

Photographic prints

  • Wrap your prints in thin paper and insert them in an envelope.

Electrical/electronic equipment

  • The manufacturer's packaging is often designed for marketing purposes and may not be appropriate to use for shipping. Use additional packaging according to the size, weight and fragility of the product.
  • Always use strong cardboard boxes, allowing sufficient cushioning material all around the items.
  • Anti-static packaging products are available in the market, to prevent damage to electronic parts.

Sports racquets

  • Sports racquets should be firmly "sandwiched" on the frame with strong double wall corrugated cardboard sheets, allowing at least 25 mm (6.4 inches) of overlap.
  • Use a tube-type box to protect the handle.
  • Use strong tape to tie up both parts and wrap up with strong cardboard paper.

Toys and games

  • The manufacturer's packaging is often designed for marketing purposes and may not be appropriate to use for shipping. Use additional packaging according to the size, weight and fragility of the product.
  • Always use strong corrugated cardboard boxes, allowing enough space for cushioning material and avoid leaving empty spaces around the items.
* Please note that APC Direct will accept no liability for the packaging advice it provides. The customer remains responsible for ensuring packaging is adequate for transportation.

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