Guide to Selecting the Right Void Fill for Your Packaging Needs

21 May 2024 by
Guide to Selecting the Right Void Fill for Your Packaging Needs
Glenn Izard

Guide to Selecting the Right Void Fill for Your Packaging Needs

Choosing the right void fill for your packaging can be a daunting task with the array of options available. In this guide, we'll break down the considerations involved and highlight which void fills suit specific applications, empowering you to make informed decisions for your packaging needs.

Void Filling Applications

Void filling serves various purposes, and understanding these applications is essential for selecting the appropriate void fill:

  • Block and Brace: Ideal for securing heavy items like car parts or tools within a box, block and brace method utilizes void fill to prevent movement. Opt for a sturdy void fill that matches the weight of the items to resist crushing and ensure a snug fit.
  • Protective: To safeguard delicate items during transit, opt for soft and cushiony void fills that act as a protective barrier against impacts and vibrations. This method is suitable for fragile items that require gentle handling.
  • Wrapping & Coiling: When dealing with heavy and delicate items, wrapping or coiling protective packaging around them provides additional security. Choose a strong and stable void fill that won't compress or shift during transit, facilitating easy wrapping.
  • Top Fill: For filling voids in the top of a box, opt for lightweight and cost-effective void fill options. Look for void fills that offer high volume per pound and pair them with fast dispensers to streamline your packing process.

Void Fill Issues to Consider

Several issues can arise with void fills, and it's crucial to be aware of these:

  • Crushing: Certain void fills, such as paper, are prone to crushing under the weight of heavy items, leading to reduced protection and increased movement within the box. Test various paper systems to find one that offers optimal support for your products.
  • Settling: Void fills may settle during transit, leaving gaps in the box and increasing the risk of damage. Opt for larger void fill pieces like air pillows or foam packing, as they are less prone to settling.
  • Void Fill Migration: Void fills may shift within the box during transit, causing items to move and potentially collide. Choose void fills like paper options that lock into place, minimizing movement.
  • Product Migration: Linked to void fill migration, product migration occurs when items move within the box, displacing void fills. Layering techniques with air pillow void fills can help prevent product migration.

Do You Really Need Void Fill?

Before opting for void fill, consider whether it's necessary for your packaging needs:

  • When Void Fill is Necessary: Void fill serves two primary purposes: filling empty spaces in a box and providing protection for items. Determine whether filling voids or providing protection is your priority, as this will guide your void fill selection process.
  • When Void Fill is Unnecessary: If your products are sturdy or already packaged in mailer-ready packaging, void fill may be unnecessary. Conduct a drop test to assess the durability of your packaging and balance the cost of void fill against potential damages.

Alternatives to Void Fill

Explore alternative packaging solutions that eliminate the need for void fill:

  • Film Retention Packaging: Retain items in the center of the box using stretchy or shrinkable film, creating a protective crumple zone without the need for void fill.
  • Strapped Retention Packaging: Similar to film retention, use straps instead of film for heavier products, providing additional support and tension.
  • Cardboard or Foam Fittings: Consider custom-shaped fittings designed to fit your products precisely, reducing the need for void fill and streamlining packing.
  • Variable Height Boxes: Opt for boxes with adjustable heights to match the size of your items, eliminating the need for void fill by minimizing empty space.
  • Size Adjustable Boxes & Wraps: Utilize boxes and wraps that can be adjusted in length, width, and height to accommodate various product sizes, reducing the need for void fill.
  • Pulp Packaging: Internal fittings made from pulp paper offer an environmentally friendly packaging solution, although they may be limited in versatility compared to other options.

By considering these factors and exploring alternative packaging solutions, you can streamline your packaging process and minimize environmental impact while ensuring the safety of your products during transit.

Guide to Selecting the Right Void Fill for Your Packaging Needs
Glenn Izard 21 May 2024
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