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Case Study: Solving Customer Challenges with Foam Solutions

Foam Industries provides a Pregis PolyPlank® custom-engineered solution to help customer ship premium kayaks efficiently and damage-free.


“Jack, come over here. I need your help.”

That phone conversation started a new design project for Jack Nelson, VP of sales and marketing at Foam Industries, a Pregis fabricator partner. The family-owned and operated company works hard to provide innovative packaging solutions for a variety of customers and works equally hard to cultivate strong relationships with their clients.

Lightning Kayaks is a unique customer for Foam Industries, as the fabricator supplies a key component built into the kayak. Lightning Kayaks is known for manufacturing high-end peddle-driven kayaks with a wide, stable design that allows end users to sit high or stand to fish. Using 3D CAD designs, Foam Industries created a customized foam element that is sealed within the kayak and helps provide essential structure to the craft.

For this particular application, using foam is advantageous because if the kayak is damaged, a paper-based product would quickly saturate and fail.

But that’s not the reason Foam Industries was summoned over to Lightning Kayaks. The company planned to ship the kayaks in corrugated cartons, but when Nelson arrived at the plant, he discovered crushed boxes, even those stacked two high.


The go-to-market plan for Lightning Kayaks is to individually ship kayaks to sporting goods stores. Once at the store, the associates unbox the kayaks and accessories and place the products either on display or in the back room. Compared to other e-commerce clients, the carton isn’t intended for the end user, so there is no need to protect the box.

Premium kayaks are heavy, and with all the gear, can weigh up to 95 lbs. Without the foam solutions, boxes were squashed when stacking two high. In the field, there could be times when the boxes are stacked four high. What would happen to the condition of the product once the shipper took over? It’s understandable why Foam Industries was called to help.


Pregis PolyPlank® polyethylene foam plank was the ideal shipping solution due to its structural integrity, dimensional stability, and compressive strength. Using 3D CAD drawings for each kayak model, the Foam Industries team customized foam pieces that followed the contours of the kayak, so it could safely nestle within the foam without abrasion.

This solution produced client wins on two different fronts

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