If you work in the finishing industry, I have news for you: customers care a lot less about how good the part looks coming out of the oven, than how it looks when they receive it.
In other words, the damage that happens in transit reflects poorly on the powder coater…even if it wasn’t directly their fault.
The good news is that a solid packaging strategy greatly improves your odds of keeping customers satisfied. Here are a few things to keep in mind while developing your plan of attack.
This is of particular concern for large, heavy parts: they will stay in motion when you slam on the brakes (or, if you’ve done a good job of strapping them to the pallet, the pallet itself will jolt forward). Short of securing the pallet to the vehicle, there’s no real solution for inertia – the best you can do is factor it into your palletizing strategy. Don’t let parts hang off the edge, for instance. If something must collide with the truck’s walls, let it be the pallet. Avoid metal-on-metal contact at all costs.
Foam goes flat.
Yes, foam is a packaging lifesaver – but only if it’s used right. Foam is a surface-protector, not a space-taker. It will be flattened by the weight of the load, causing settling during the shipping process. If you want to maintain space between your parts for the duration of the journey, wood dunnage is your best bet.
Stretch film stretches.
Believe it or not, stretch film stretches. Your film-wrapped pallet will be looser at its destination than it was when it left your shop. Thankfully, you have options in stretch film thickness – choose the thickest, then wrap it tightly. For heavy parts, skip the stretch film altogether and use steel banding instead.
Steel banding scrapes.
Don’t allow cardboard or steel banding to come in direct contact with the powder coated surface. Always place a layer (or more) of foam between them, focusing on areas that will experience the most rubbing. The tighter you band your pallets, the less motion – and damage – there will be.
Quality matters to you, as does customer satisfaction. Don’t let your product fall victim to the harsh truths of transit.