Not long ago, wood was the only material available when it came to dunnage that separated boxes and other cargo while in transit from industry to market. With better manufacturing and composite materials available in today�s market and the decrease in usage of metal strapping for shipping boxes, there are now several options when it comes to protective dunnage for your shipping.
Wood. (floor dunnage, lateral dunnage) Not as popular as it used to be, Composite Board is still used as dunnage. The main reason for this is that wood is often available on the floor of any warehouse and can fit almost any size shipment. It provides good structure and does not fall apart, and it is also very resistant to wear and abrasion. Wooden dunnage has increased in costs, however, and may not be the best option for boxes which contain sensitive or fragile materials.
Inflatable. (interlayer dunnage, top dunnage, lateral dunnage) Shipments containing boxes with sensitive materials inside are increasingly being packed with inflatable dunnage. Air bag like structures are manufactured from kraft paper (vinyl and polyethylene are also used) and have plastic interiors. Lighter materials are not suitable for shipments with metal strapping, but the kraft paper models can handle a lot of abuse. These dunnage options are ideal for both separating boxes and inside the box itself; the product being shipped can mold to the bag, so not only are the packages separated, but are also protected from vibrations.
Foam. (all uses) Foam dunnage is familiar to almost anyone who has ever opened a package. Foam can be used in small bits on the inside of the box, or as molded pieces for pallets, top, and lateral dunnage. The disadvantage of foam, of course, is that it can be messy and is not environmentally friendly. Composite wood decking.
Fabric. Dunnage made of fabric is especially useful for suspending your product inside its shipping container, with custom designed partitions. This product is collapsible and returnable, so your investment in dunnage doesn�t need to be written off with each shipment.
Plastic. Thermoformed plastic trays make excellent bin liners, and offer the added benefit of being returnable and reusable. Their lightweight design reduces shipping costs (as compared to wood) while their toughness increases durability.Wood Plastic Composites.
Remember that dunnage serves a few different purposes. It needs to protect the contents of the shipping boxes both inside and out, as well as the interior of the ship or truck doing the transporting. The type of dunnage that you select will depend on the type of shipment you are making and the other types of packaging materials that you are using, as well as convenience and price.