The overseas shipping containers for your first product load to Spain is at the Port of Baltimore. The phone rings—there is a problem. This is a situation you didn’t anticipate, and possibly one that could have been avoided.
Jim Robinson, Plant Manager for Fapco explains.
“Loads can shift in their container if they are not properly packaged, loaded and secured. All containers are inspected and if the inspector finds the load is not properly built or has shifted, compromising the safety of the container, he will require that it be repacked. Repacking fees run around $750. This mistake can almost always be avoided with proper packaging.”
Robinson explains that the load must be braced properly from side to side and from floor to ceiling so it will not shift during transit. Bracing is significant. It must withstand the container traveling down the road or rail as well as being lifted and set multiple times with a crane.
“The load travels much better if it is balanced,” says Robinson. “Starting in the front of the container it should be loaded to the ceiling with any air space braced tightly. There are numerous products you can use for bracing. We use heat treated wood to pass the specifications for insect free materials.”
He explained the object of this extensive bracing is to keep the freight from shifting and if it does shift, keep the contents from being damaged.
Fapco ships mostly to Europe at this time but handles inbound containers from all over the world. Many times incoming containers have shifted.
Because of Fapco’s container handling expertise, some customers have the materials consolidated from their suppliers at its centralized Buchanan, Michigan location rather than sending Fapco two containers from separate locations. Fapco cross-docks the contents into one.
Proper packaging is essential to contain, protect, and offer a means of smoothly handling the product. Each package design, such as a small parts packaging design, has the goal of protecting the product from the assembly line to the user. There are many hazards of domestic distribution, but increasing the amount of handling increases the probability of damage. Poor quality packaging leads to damage, decay or in extreme cases, the outright rejection by the buyer.
Fapco’s Packing Tips For Overseas And Long Haul Domestic Containers
- Products should be properly cushioned or blocked within the container to prevent shifting or rubbing against other products
- Select the best-sized pallet. Four-way entry pallet permits handling from all four sides with a fork or pallet truck. Additionally, the standard pallet size of 40 inches by 48 inches (1000mm x1200mm) maximizes the volume, which can be loaded into shipping containers.
- Talk to Fapco about preparing ferrous surfaces with a rust inhibitor so products arrive at its destination free from corrosion.
- Drain holes should be made in the skid or floor area of large containers, boxes or crates. This will allow seawater or condensation to flow out of the container.
- Never overload the container, as the weight might exceed the limitations of the container.
- Keep markings to a minimum. Do not add trademarks or product descriptions to the box. Marks should be applied with waterproof ink to three surfaces of the container. Cautionary markings should be in English, the language of the country of destination and the international graphic-handling symbol.
Using The Wrap-Around System To Protect And Ship Parts
In addition, if you have irregularly shaped or hefty parts, Fapco’s Wrap-Around is an On-site Integrated Solution for Protecting and Shipping Odd Shaped Parts or Heavy Parts.
Designed and built in-house by Fapco, the Wrap-Around system of crafting large, heavy parts for transit is amazingly flexible and adaptable. Wrap-Arounds are built on demand.
They are constructed from single, double- or triple-wall corrugated cardboard material in conjunction with wooden ends. Fapco carries in stock corrugated sheets as large as 84 x 115 inches.
Wooden bases and caps needed to protect heavy parts are custom built in-house with 2 x 6-inch or 2 x 4-inch treated stock. Once the part is secured to the base with straps, the Wrap-Around cap, made of the appropriate thickness, is strapped again to secure the crate to the base. The Fapco Wrap-Around is perfect for shipping replacement automotive or marine seating, dashboards, large engines, automotive rear ends, replacement fenders, roofing panels, full windshield assemblies and any large or heavy part that needs protection.
Lead Crater for Fapco, Kenneth Hall, explained how these crates are designed to prevent movement of large parts inside the crate.
“Once the part is measured for length, depth and width, we design and build the Wrap-Around by determining how the part will be loaded and unloaded into the crate, and what thickness of material will provide the best protection outside. We also establish at this time, how it will be protected inside the Wrap-Around crate. Consideration is given to the use of foam, wooden braces or blocks to hold it in place,” stated Hall. “We do a 5.9 liter diesel engine for one of our clients that holds up extremely well during shipping,” he said.
Jim Robinson explained the efficiencies and convenience of the Wrap-Around system of crating from both a labor, time and cost standpoint. “Replacing wooden crates that must be pre-made and stored with a commodity approach of flat stacked cardboard that just has to be cut and folded to size saves our customers time in labor, materials and warehousing costs,” he said. “It makes a great deal of sense to produce these on demand.”
The Wrap-Around production area is simply a more lean process area than a wooden crate building facility. Different thicknesses of cardboard are stacked neatly in less space to handle higher volumes than stacks of lumber for producing wooden crates. A cutting and scoring machine takes the place of a wood shop. “We’ve created our own just-in-time crating system here,” said Robinson. “We don’t have to build or order complicated wooden crates so we have also reduced shipping costs. There’s no warehousing. There’s twenty five different styles of crates that can be produced on demand right in this footprint,” he concluded.
In addition, Fapco has an extensive inventory of previously produced Wrap-Around patterns ready to build. Hall explained how his department is able to manufacture and replicate crates to meet customer specifications. “When we get new parts in to build a Wrap-Around, I make a work print of the measurements so we know where to score it, where to cut it and have a record on hand in our filing systems to pull when the time comes to make another,” he concluded. “We still ship with wooden crates, but this is a great alternative.”