Shipping high value, highly sensitive medical or control instruments is a delicate matter – the products are business critical and need to arrive in full working order.

For this reason many products are packed in heavy unwieldy containers that can be expensive to purchase and cost a small fortune to ship.

Here are some 5 areas to think about when considering shipments:

Packing material options

Many companies opt for timber packaging to provide rigid support to the products, but timber doesn’t always absorb 100% of the transportation shock. It can also make shipments heavy and unmanageable, typically requiring packers to seal the shipment using tools – this can cause manual handling issues.

Consider a lighter weight pack. Heavy duty corrugate board can offer unrivalled protection and can reduce the weight of the shipment dramatically. It not only reduces price per pack but can have a positive knock on effect on costs right the way through the shipping process.

Corrugate also has the potential to fold flat which means that it doesn’t take up much room in storage before use, unlike large timber crates which can command a lot of warehouse space.

Preventing damage in transit

If you are experiencing product damage in transit, then the costs can amount to more than just product replacement. There is also the cost of logistics to ship the product “twice”, managing the return administration and, potentially, the cost of refurbishment.

When looking at the shipping process, consider the total cost of returns – this can help you to identify the true scope of pack improvements required to eradicate this cost.

A range of light weight foam can be crafted into lots of ingenious shapes and is strong enough to brace machinery within the shipping pack to absorb shock and eradicate damage in transit. The foam can be manufactured in a range of densities and cut to bespoke designs to ensure the right fit for any application.


Consider options to reduce the size of the outer packaging, this eliminates the risk of product movement in the pack and can allow you to fit more packs on a pallet/vehicle – increasing your payload. If you’re shipping by carrier, this can have a positive impact on your shipping costs if they are charging by shipment size/weight.

By reducing the size of the pack, you are also decreasing the amount of “fresh air” that you are paying to ship, it also means that you are not filling the box with unnecessary void fill – reducing material cost and waste.

However, always ensure you have adequate protection within the pack to provide cushioning for your product.

Returnable Packs

If your products are replacing older models already at your clients, there may be a need to return this incumbent product back to you. Consider making your shipping packs returnable – this not only makes it easier for your client but can also reduce the amount of damages received on returned product as your pack will be fit for purpose.

Consider a pack that can be adapted to accommodate an array of machines – this can be done with the use of adaptable inserts that can fit a range of products and, as foam holds its shape, it can be reused many times.

Customer experience

When shipping products to customers consider the experience they will have when receiving your product.

  • Is the product easy to open?
  • How does the product come out of the pack?
  • Are they able to reuse/recycle the pack?

By considering your customers experience, you can create a blueprint of the ultimate shipping solution, ensuring that unpacking your product reduces the risk of damage. Perhaps you could add built in lockable casters to ensure easy manoeuvring, a lockable sleeve to negate the need for tilting or lifting the product out of a pack or even an integrated ramp – the possibilities could be endless.

Here at Macfarlane Packaging: Design and Manufacture, we use Solidworks 3D CAD software which enables us to build the best shipping solution around your products. This makes it easy for our designers to work with your designers, exchange information, present and assess design proposals and visualise the product at each stage of development.

We also test to ISTA, ATA300, ETSI, BS1133 and Defence Standards in controlled laboratory conditions, to ensure the packaged product meet the design performance targets.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help your business.

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