Types of Void Fillers and Their Uses

Void Fillers

Void Fillers Protective Packaging Solution

The growth of e-commerce has accelerated in recent years, and e-commerce sales amounted to USD 5.7 trillion worldwide in 2022. This figure is projected to increase to USD 6.3 trillion in 2023. The high demand for online goods drives a rising need for void fillers and other packaging solutions.

Void fillers are often used to prevent damage to fragile products during shipment and storage. These packaging solutions prevent movement and minimise impact during transportation.

Without void fillers, products may get shifted side-to-side during transportation, causing products to be chipped or broken within the packaging. This is especially plausible given that cargo tends to be roughly handled in shipping containers, on railroads, and on carriers.

This article will share some of the most common void fillers in e-commerce and many other industries.

1. Air Tube Packaging

Void Fillers

Air tube packaging can be supplied in tube air cushions or air column bags. Both are inflatable, forming a protective barrier between the product and the packaging. Their packaging function is to reduce the movement and impact of the product within the package.

Tube air cushions are highly flexible and offer 360-degree protection for the wrapped products. This void filler packaging solution is used for products requiring protection against transportation impact. Air column bags are also similar, forming a durable and firm layer of protection. Air column bags are durable, waterproof and shockproof.

The thick air cushions can be beneficial when transporting bulky and fragile goods. Both types of air tube packaging can be ordered pre-formed and inflated only when needed, making them highly compact for easy storage and cost-efficient.

2. Suspension Packaging

Void Fillers

Some products are more challenging to pack due to their unique shapes. Suspension or retention packaging wraps products firmly in place using elastic and durable plastic film material. The packaging film holds the shape of the items and can work well for products of different sizes. Many businesses use suspension or retention packaging to transport various goods, including electronics, cosmetics, art and gift boxes.

3. Packing Peanuts

Void Fillers

Packing peanuts or foam peanuts are void fillers that act as a protective barrier around goods of different shapes and sizes packed together. The packaging solution is small and can easily fit into the gaps of loose packaging. Foam peanuts are a simple, easy-to-use packaging solution that requires no additional work compared to air pillows which need inflating.

Foam or packing peanuts are uniquely designed to interlock with one another when tightly packed and to be freely scattered when loosely packed. Eco-conscious businesses can also benefit from packing peanuts being biodegradable and non-toxic. Packing peanuts are also incredibly lightweight, which is a significant consideration for cost efficiency.

4. Paper Packaging

Void Fillers

Paper void fill machines crush recyclable paper, which is then used as a void filler. The two paper void fill machines available are the kraft paper void fill system and the automatic paper crumbler. Paper void fill machines are highly advanced and can be calibrated to prevent overfilling. The packaging can also be more sustainable in the long run than plastic packaging if the packaging is not expected to be reused.

5. Instant Foam Packaging

Void Fillers

Instant foam packaging, or foam-in-place packaging, is created by mixing two liquid foams in a bag, creating a cushion around the product. The foam will expand within the bag or liner and moulds itself around the product. Due to its ability to form any structure, instant foam packaging is highly customisable to the product’s shape and becomes a perfectly fitting void filler. This packaging method is easy to use and provides superior protection due to its custom fitting and is an excellent option for improving efficiency in packaging lines. Read more here on how to use instant foam packaging.

6. Dunnage Bags

Void Fillers

Dunnage bags are inflated bags that help to absorb vibrations and minimise impact during freight and trucking. One two-ply dunnage airbag can hold approximately 40,000 pounds of cargo. This packaging solution is cost-efficient as one dunnage bag can be enough to brace the impact for an entire shipping container and is often used together with products of large and heavy cargo. However, this requires the packers to be skilled in positioning the dunnage bags appropriately within the container.

Dunnage airbags are supplied in polypropylene (PP) woven dunnage bags or paper dunnage bags. PP woven fabrics are made with high-quality polypropylene, exceptional tear resistance, dimensional stability, and strength. The airbags are waterproof and can be reused. Additionally, they are lighter than paper dunnage bags.

Kraft paper dunnage bags are also reusable and are designed to have high tensile strength. They can absorb the force of the impact often encountered in sea containers, rail cars, trucks, and other intermodal vessels. The paper dunnage bag is stiffer and is applied using a multi-layer technique to achieve the same results as PP woven dunnage bags. However, the packers must be experienced in ensuring the correct number of layers and size of the dunnage bags. Find out all about dunnage bags here.

7. Bubble Wrap

Void Fillers

Bubble wrap packaging is easy to use and can be inflated when required using bubble wrap cushioning machines. This makes them compact and saves storage costs in warehouses and distribution centres. Bubble wrap inflatable cushioning wraps the products in multiple directions and is a highly versatile packaging that can fill the gaps for many different kinds of products and boxes.

8. Air Pillows

Void Fillers

Inflatable air pillows make great protective packaging for various items, are cost-effective and can be inflated when needed. The void fillers are also helpful in absorbing impact and filling large voids in loose packaging. Air pillows are often used in shipping lightweight and soft goods, as they work well without adding much weight to the cargo. Air pillow void fillers are used by e-commerce retailers and merchants that require packaging protection for smaller products compared to dunnage bags. Find out more on how to use air pillows to prevent damage to the packaging.

Choosing Void Fillers

There are many types of void fillers, and each void filler performs the similar function of filling loose gaps to prevent excessive movement and absorb impact. Factors to consider when choosing a void filler include your products’ size, weight, and shape. Some void fillers are also more lightweight or compact than others, which may lead to cost savings.