There are a few key things to consider when choosing containers to store and ship industrial and commercial products. Containers need to be of the right type and size to protect your materials and products while on your premises and while in transit to their end destination.
Consider whether the storage options you require will need to be easily sanitized or cleaned, whether they hold moisture (which can damage products), and whether they can withstand a range of temperatures. Think about manual or mechanical handling when they are full—what is the safest option for transportation and handling?
Use of the five types of containers below supports sustainability. All may be re-used, re-purposed, and recycled to minimize the impact on the environment and reduce your business costs long term.
1. Vented Plastic Boxes
Vented plastic boxes and crates are ideal for use across any industry needing to store and distribute fresh produce—fruit, vegetables, beverages, dairy, meat, seafood, plants, flowers, agricultural goods, and so forth.
In cool rooms, food grade vented boxes and crates help to maintain food and product quality. By minimizing the build-up of moisture, which can spoil products, vented plastic boxes allow for air circulation. The holes in plastic boxes provide the ventilation needed to keep perishables such as vegetables, fruit, fish, and meat fresh and under optimum environmental and hygienic conditions.
Florists also benefit from the use of ventilated plastic boxes to keep flowers fresh and protect the fragility needed for displays. Similarly, in agriculture, use of vented plastic boxes to transport farm produce assists with keeping fruit and vegetables fresh. The sturdiness of plastic boxes, crates, and pallets also protects harvests from bruising and accidental damage.
2. Collapsible Plastic Containers
The apparent payback of using collapsible plastic containers is that they save valuable storage space in any location when they are not in use. Folding storage containers are useful in any large or small-scale business—retail, wholesale, manufacturing, construction, and so on. When not in use, collapsible plastic containers enable full and efficient use of workspace by providing room for other activities or items.
For businesses that operate with a returnable or recyclable container policy, the smaller volume of foldable, collapsible containers will reduce transportation costs on the return journey. Similarly, for organizations distributing and delivering their own goods, the ability to reduce the space required for storage containers during the return trip gives room to carry other products or supplies to bring back to base.
Known for being light and sturdy, collapsible plastic crates and containers are also easier for workers to maneuver. When broken down, particularly larger collapsible containers – such as crates and pallets – workers can move and store individual pieces easily.
3. Stack & Nest Totes
Stack and nest totes are useful for storing and transporting a wide range of goods and products within commercial and industrial environments. They offer advantages regarding space saving and portability, easy access and sorting of products, and safe handling features.
Totes are usually hand-held—you can lift, carry, and stack them by hand. They are useful on conveyor systems for order picking, assembly lines, and retail distribution. Because of their strength and durability, plastic stack and nest totes are also ideal containers for transporting heavy products and equipment around a workspace. As stack and nest totes usually have built-in handles or attached grips, they are easy to carry and provide a safer conveyance of goods.
When stacked, these containers interlock and provide stable vertical storage. They heighten storage space which are used to utilized to maximum capacity, without demanding additional shelving systems. When empty, totes nest inside each other and, therefore, use minimal space when not in use.
4. Metal Bins
Metal bins and tubs offer heavy-duty storage and strong product protection. Metal containers are available as rigid, collapsible, foldable, and stackable options. Sides can be solid or made of wire mesh to provide ventilation and visibility. Drop bottoms allow for transfer of contents, such as dumping scrap metals. Weight-ratings ensure metal bins can withhold the storage and shipping of heavier products—parts, castings, and metals.
For liquid products, fabricated metal bins and containers provide secure and safe storage. Sealed metal containers reduce any risk of contamination, especially in the transportation and disposal of industrial oils and cooking waste and grease.
The properties of steel allow it to withstand variations in temperature and weather conditions. Use of metal bins and containers to transport commercial and industrial goods in the shipping industry is widespread because of its durability.
5. Super Sacks
Super Sacks—or bulk bags—are a flexible and versatile storage and shipping option. The construction of Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBCs) complies with a range of industry requirements for the safe storage and transportation of various contents, from hazardous materials and chemicals to silage, sand, seeds, nuts, and dry food products.
Bulk bags are an economical and cost-effective option. Made from tough and durable woven polypropylene, the strength of this material makes it resistant to ripping and tearing, stress, and temperature variations. Top and bottom openings differ, depending on their use and contents. Interior baffles can provide additional structure and support. Lift straps make filling and moving easier.
When full, super sacks can be stacked to maximum capacity to minimize storage and transportation costs. For bulk transportation, super sacks are usually loaded onto pallets. When empty, they use minimal storage space.