Businesses face many different challenges throughout the year. Whether you’re facing major annual projects or hectic seasonal rushes, the ability to adapt to new situations and overcome obstacles helps your business find and maintain long-term success.
In the world of packaging and shipping, weather and temperature create unique challenges that businesses might not think about until it’s too late. Without the right practices and preparation, conditions like extreme temperatures or humidity affect your packaging and put your products at risk.
Knowing how changing temperatures affect packaging will help your business adjust to the changing of seasons so you can continue to deliver products safely and reliably all year long. Learn more about the intersection of weather and packaging and the best practices your business can follow with this overview.
Temperature Concerns for Different Materials
Weather changes affect the various packaging materials differently. For example, paper or cardboard products suffer more in humid conditions than other materials, but they hold up well in colder temperatures. Knowing the ins and outs of different packaging materials will help you choose the right solution to keep your products safe in all kinds of weather.
Paper and Cardboard
Paper, cardboard, and other similar materials offer a versatile and cost-effective packaging solution for your products. However, these materials are particularly susceptible to adverse weather conditions.
While extreme heat doesn’t affect cardboard directly, it raises the internal temperature of the packaging and puts products at risk of melting or experiencing other damage. Extreme cold affects adhesives and can cause the glue holding the box together to fail.
However, the biggest risks with cardboard come from moisture or lack thereof. Paper and cardboard absorb moisture well, which means that conditions like rain or extreme humidity can have a significant impact on the quality of your packaging material. Moisture deteriorates cardboard and ruins its integrity, leading to ruined boxes and damaged products.
On the other hand, overly dry conditions can also weaken cardboard by causing it to become brittle, which leads to tears and cracking. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can also dry out paper and cardboard and cause discoloration.
When working with cardboard packaging, it’s important to store materials in a cool environment with plenty of ventilation. You can also choose cardboard with a laminate finish, which helps protect from humid conditions while preventing dried-out, brittle cardboard.
Labels, Tape, and Other Adhesives
As mentioned above, temperature also affects adhesives. In addition to impacting glue on other packaging materials, this can cause problems when using labels or tape.
Low temperatures cause adhesive to turn brittle, preventing it from sticking securely to other materials. The same is true of dry conditions, which can suck the moisture out of adhesives and lower their performance. Hot and humid conditions, on the other hand, can lead to condensation that also makes it hard for labels and tape to adhere to product cases.
Extreme temperatures and moisture levels hinder adhesive performance and can lead to wasted materials and mistakes in your packaging line. Keeping your facility at a mild temperature with average humidity levels and dependable ventilation helps make taping, labeling, and similar processes more efficient.
Foams and Plastics
Plastic materials don’t suffer as much from humidity levels as paper, cardboard, and adhesives do. Their biggest concern lies in extreme temperatures. In cold conditions, plastics like polypropylene or polyethylene become brittle and lose their flexibility. Additionally, more rigid plastics can warp and lose structural integrity in extreme heat.
Bear in mind that there are many kinds of foams and plastics to choose from when designing your packaging solution. So make sure you choose a material that can handle your temperature needs. For example, polypropylene holds up better against higher temperatures than polyethylene. Meanwhile, foam materials such as Styrofoam offer greater durability and insulation in extreme cold than other foam and plastic alternatives.
Maintaining proper temperatures and moisture levels is also a vital part of ensuring proper stretch wrapping practices. Inadequate conditions can affect stretch, containment force, and other factors necessary for achieving a stable and consistent wrap around your pallet.
Heat and humidity can cause stretch wrap to cling unnecessarily to materials, which, in turn, can mess up the wrapping process and affect precision and accuracy when wrapping pallet loads. Humidity is also a major factor when it comes to using stretch film properly. In humid conditions, the stretch wrap can trap moisture within the pallet, leading to ruined cases and product damage.
Stable temperatures and well-ventilated wrapping designs are key to preserving the performance of your stretch film. You can also invest in specific solutions like vented film or film with UV protection to further protect products.
Food Products Require Special Care
When discussing how changing temperatures affect packaging, it’s important to pay special attention to food products. Food and beverage products already face strict industry guidelines and compliances to ensure customers receive safe, healthy goods. When you throw changing weather conditions into the mix, the process becomes even more complicated.
For this reason, temperature-controlled storage and transportation is a crucial investment for food and beverage companies. The most obvious example of this is cold storage for refrigerated or frozen foods. However, companies must also factor in the way moisture levels and ambient temperatures affect room-temperature products. From goods melting in the heat to mold and other risks that stem from improper ventilation, businesses can face significant consequences. These include product damage, profit loss, and customer backlash without proper temperature control in their supply chain.
Invest in Reliable Packaging Solutions
No matter what challenges you face in your supply chain, the right packaging equipment can help you overcome them. By investing in versatile solutions that can handle a wide variety of product needs, you give your facility the necessary tools to adapt to the ever-changing demands and circumstances of the industry.
When it’s time to rethink your packaging line, turn to the experts at Robopac USA. Our advanced secondary packaging solutions help you optimize your workflow for greater efficiency and versatility. Explore a wide range of equipment, including our flexible case packer machines that can easily change formats to handle a vast range of product types. Find the right solutions for your facility when you visit Robopac USA.