How to Select the Perfect Reusable Plastic Containers, Totes or Bins for Your Material Handling Needs

plastic containersWe all know that “one size fits all” usually doesn’t. However, it is possible to work with one reusable plastic container manufacturer and supplier —Flexcon Container — to find plastic containers, bins and totes that meet your full range of material handling and storage tasks.

Flexcon’s packaging professionals and sales representatives are ready to guide you in finding the perfect reusable plastic container for each of your material handling jobs.

And you can help the process by analyzing the requirements of each of your container needs before you call. Think through how your container will be used.

A careful analysis will help assure that you obtain maximum life and value from reusable plastic bins and totes in your various material handling applications.

Consider a Day in the Life of Your Container

To help select the perfect plastic container for your needs be sure to consider the following factors:

How much weight will the container carry? Putting 10 pounds of anything in a 5-pound bag is asking for trouble. Right? And filling a container with a heavier load than it was designed and made to carry will lead to disappointment. It won’t give out immediately like an over-burdened paper bag. But it will wear out prematurely. The good news is that Flexcon sales representatives can connect you to solutions made to hold up to a wide range of loads.

How will the container move through your facility? Will it be used in an automatic storage and retrieval system? Or will it be carried by manual carts or forklifts — or ride on a conveyor? If on a conveyor, will it move through gates and go downhill and uphill? Will it need to be stackable? And how high are the stacks?

What types of stresses will your container typically encounter? Rough handling and sharp blows can crack molded plastic containers. In contrast, corrugated plastic is more flexible and resilient when subjected to such forces.

Will the container leave your facility? And when it does, how will it be transported in and out of trucks, trains and planes?

Will the containers be exposed to temperature extremes? For instance, will they be subjected to seasonal temperature swings in transit, spend time in a freezer or be used in an autoclave to sanitize their contents? Or will they remain at room temperature?

Other considerations in choosing the right container for an application include your budget and when you need the containers. If time is short, your options may be limited to what’s in stock. If budget is a concern, you may consider overstocked or used containers.

Contact a Flexcon Container sales representative today to begin finding the perfect plastic container solutions for your material handling jobs. Flexcon — a leading provider of plastic totes, containers pallets and bulk containers for manufacturing, distribution and warehousing — has a perfect solution for every need.

Benefits of Corrugated Plastic Containers Far Outnumber Advantages of Other Containers

An increasing number of manufacturing, warehousing and logistics companies are switching from corrugated paper boxes and containers to reusable corrugated plastic bins and packaging for storage and material handling. They are discovering that the corrugated plastic alternative is more durable, lasts longer and reduces costs — among other advantages.

And they’re finding that corrugated plastic containers offer more benefits than molded plastic containers. Corrugated plastic containers made by Flexcon help businesses maximize space usage and organization and minimize errors and damage to materials and products during storage, material handling and shipping.

Corrugated plastic totes and molded plastic totes and bins share a few of the same advantages over corrugated paper containers, such as:

  • They are reusable and have a longer life span, delivering long-term savings. They commonly last for 20 to 100 uses, as opposed to the one-and-done service of a corrugated paper box.
  • They minimize waste, save landfill space and cut the cost of disposal compared to corrugated paper containers, which must be disposed of or recycled on a much more frequent basis.
  • They are waterproof and resist most chemicals. This contributes to longer life and provides superior protection of the materials and products they hold. Corrugated plastic and molded plastic containers stack well and hold up in environments where corrugated paper, or cardboard, boxes fail.

For corrugated plastic, the advantages continue

However, corrugated plastic offers users far more payoffs than molded plastic. For instance, corrugated plastic:

  • Resists tears and punctures, in contrast to molded plastic, which cracks on strong impact.
  • Weighs less than molded plastic, making corrugated plastic totes and bins easier for workers to move, while reducing shipping costs.
  • Decreases time required to develop customized container designs for specialized uses and products. Molded plastic requires more development time due to design and production of molds.
  • Requires less production time than molded plastic. Production of molded plastic containers can take as much as five times longer.
  • Streamlines conversion from corrugated paper to plastic containers, compared to making the shift from corrugated paper to molded plastic containers. Corrugated plastic easily takes the place of corrugated paper, eliminating the need to change material handling processes. It’s easy to score, crease, fold, drill and stitch — and fits right in where corrugated paper containers had been used.
  • Results in less work interruption and downtime than molded plastic or corrugated paper containers. Corrugated paper containers are vulnerable to breakage, and molded plastic isn’t as resilient to impact as corrugated plastic.
  • Comes in a greater variety of in-stock colors than molded plastic — and certainly more than corrugated paper boxes.

Plus, Flexcon offers corrugated plastic containers in more than 6,000 sizes. Call Flexcon today at 908-871-7000, and talk with one of our container experts, who will help you choose the best solutions for your material handling and storage needs.

The Benefits, Uses, and Top Reasons to Choose Plastic Pallets

Plastic pallets are available in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and even shapes. They can be used for everything from transporting goods across the Atlantic to safely storing old files in a warehouse. However, not all plastic pallets are created equally. When it comes to choosing the pallet that best meets your needs, you will need to keep a few characteristics in mind.

Exploring The Various Types of Plastic Pallets
There are countless types of plastic pallets. Below, we have gathered together a few of the most popular versions.

  • Stackable pallets are a popular type of plastic pallet. They have a bottom support that is able to neatly stack on top of another loaded pallet. Due to the intricate stacking mechanisms, these plastic pallets can be stacked during transport and storage periods. Other characteristics include: runners, perimeter frames, and picture frame bottoms.
  • A rackable pallet is designed to hold a certain amount of weight in an open span racking system. The open span rack features a front bar and a back bar, without anything in between.
  • Export pallets are popular options for individuals or companies whom are interested in safely shipping items across the ocean. Choosing the ideal plastic export pallet will depend entirely on what you are shipping. When it comes to meeting overseas shipping regulations, plastic pallets also provide several advantages over wood pallets. One of the advantages is that plastic pallets do not require heat treating. Plastic pallets also don’t require time limiting stamping.
  • As the name implies, custom pallets are available in a multitude of shapes, sizes, and even colors. Custom plastic pallets offer the convenience of choosing a size and shape that perfectly meets your shipping needs.

Environmental Benefits of Using Plastic Pallets
Now that you have a good understanding about the various types of plastic pallets, let’s explore a few of the environmental benefits that are associated with this top storage and transportation tool.

Environmental Benefits Include:

  • Plastic pallets are clean and easy to handle.
  • They can easily be cleaned after use to better protect the people handling your products.
  • They are impervious to fats, solvents, odors, and fats.
  • Forklifts and pallet jacks can easily handle lifting, moving, and storing plastic pallets.
  • Plastic pallets do not absorb water and are not prone to growing bacteria.
  • Mold and mildew do not grow on plastic pallets.
  • Plastic pallets are recyclable.
  • They are often constructed from environmentally friendly materials or from 100 percent recycled plastics.

Wood Pallet vs. Plastic Pallet: What is right for you and your business?
When it comes to choosing a shipping or storage pallet, one of the biggest decisions will be to choose between wood or plastic pallets. While wood pallets remain common throughout the United States, there are several reasons that plastic pallets provide superior protection, storage, and transportation features.

To best understand if wood or plastic is best for your shipping and transportation needs, you must first review the answers to the following nine questions.

1. What are the differences between wood pallets and plastic pallets?

  • Wood pallets are recyclable, affordable, and can generally hold more weight than plastic. However, wood pallets give off moisture, splinter, contain fasteners that can damage products, and are prone to harboring bugs. Wood pallets also tend to have a shorter shelf-life than plastic pallets, which are durable and last longer.
  • Plastic pallets are durable, weather-resistant, free of bugs, and contain no fasteners.

2. What pallet is best for your industry?

  • Closed-loop warehouse environments often use plastic pallets. The reason for this is simple — in a closed-loop warehouse environment the pallets will be returned. Automotive, dairy, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries all rely on plastic pallets.

3. What is your current pallet management system?

  • One of the greatest differences between wood and plastic pallets is their cost. Before you can choose the appropriate pallet method, you need to first analyze your pallet management system. What is the rate at which your pallets are being returned? Understanding this number, and other factors, can help you to best determine the ideal cost solution.

4. What is the environmental impact?

  • Wood pallets are usually made from sustainable natural resources. They can be recycled.
  • Plastic pallets have a longer shelf life than wood pallets. They can be recycled and are typically made from environmentally friendly materials. However, even though they are durable plastic pallets can become damaged; when a plastic pallet is damaged it must be melted down to be recycled.

5. Is your product fragile?

  • Wood pallets have fasteners that can easily damage fragile items. For example, fasteners can puncture cans or other flimsy metals.
    Plastic pallets don’t have fasteners and are designed to protect both durable and fragile products.

6. Will the pallets serve a dual purpose?

  • Wood pallets aren’t particularly aesthetically pleasing.
  • Plastic pallets can be repainted and used for in-store displays, especially in the electronics industry.

7. What are the cost trade offs?

  • Weigh the cost trade offs between the actual cost of the pallet, damaged products, disgruntled customers (due to damaged products), and damaged pallets.

8. What are the warehouse fire codes?

  • Plastic pallets will burn at a significantly higher temperature than wood. Make sure that you understand the associated fire codes. It is also advised that you purchase UL listed plastic pallets.

9. What are the latest exporting rules?

  • Before you can choose wood or plastic pallets you must understand the overseas shipping and exporting rules. Often times your pallets won’t be sent back to you, which makes wood a cheaper choice. However, there are new rules governing the exporting of shipments on wooden pallets, which could increase your costs.

With the answers to the latter questions in mind and your new-found knowledge of plastic pallets, you will be ready to make an informed decision. From shipping goods to creating visually-pleasing in-store displays, plastic pallets are ready to help you meet your storage and transportation needs on a daily basis.

Call Flexcon Today at 908-871-7000 and Let One of Our Experts Show You The Plastic Pallet