Void Filling Material

Void filling material is used in many distribution operations in the assembly of cases of mixed goods from orders. The maximum weight for a mixed case should be is about 35lbs (16Kg). Building mixed cases where the size ratios of L=D=2W results in a case that has a moderate sized footprint for handling on the packing workstation and conveyors. The L=2W footprint allows for more opportunities for bracing randomly sized objects than a square footprint would allow.

  1. Eco Foam® is a cornstarch-based, biodegradable and water-soluble alternative to the conventional styrene peanut. It is easy to flow and handle in the packing station, however its tendency to settle and migrate around the package ultimately makes it less than an ideal void fill material if not used carefully and a bit more liberally. Especially in larger cases, shipping handling and vibration will relocate the material leading to loose packing and movement within the case. It is important in larger cases to fill voids sequentially as they are formed in the building of the package. Eco Foam and other such products are considered extremely unfriendly to the end user.
  2. Padpak® requires a special machine to dispense crumpled Kraft sheets to lay into cases to fill voids. This material is easy to recycle and considered very friendly by the end user.
  3. Kraft paper from rolls is commonly used and requires no dispenser. Paper is crumpled into the voids of the case by the operator. This material is easy to recycle and considered very friendly by the end user.
  4. Bubble wrap is useful for wrapping fragile objects but is relatively expensive as a void fill. It is also not easy to recycle by the end-user
  5. Corrugated inserts can be used for filling and bracing. A modular mixed case system that utilizes modular braces can save significantly on the use of loose fill as well as providing isolation protection between heavy and light objects.

Packing Method

When filling a mixed case order with void fill in the case, place heavier and larger objects in the case first, filling voids progressively in order to prevent later migration of void fill. Products that crush easily should be packed separately from those that can withstand crushing.

Variable Depth Cases

While unsuitable for all usages, a case with multiple depth scores can be used to reduce the need for void filling material and the amount of "air" being shipped in the distribution chain, in some instances. Usually the case is produced with the slots to the first depth bend and this means that the pack must be cut down to any of the other depths by the packers. This introduces sharp implements into the packing section which is often regarded as unsuitable. The alternative of slotting the case to the lowest depth means that the pack will be significantly weaker than normal.

Die-cut designs can sometimes also be employed, with or without internal fitments to reduce the need for Void Filling Material. An example of this type of design is the "Flip-back folder" a variant of FEFCO 0473.

Band strapping is often the best way to securely close Variable Depth packs.