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Top 6 Most Surprising Products Protected by Engineered Foam

Thanks to its high-quality repeatable cushioning performance and ability to conform to product specifications, engineered foam can protect a wide range of products.

Before the rise of polyethylene (PE) foam, there was polystyrene, which you might recognize as Styrofoam. This material was moldable with intricate detail around a product for protection. Only there was a problem: Polystyrene is rigid with minimal cushioning performance. This means just one impact can compromise its integrity.

Today’s PE foam, such as Pregis’ extruded or laminated PolyPlank foam, functions at a much higher cushioning efficiency. Where polystyrene is brittle and has little flexibility, PolyPlank protects with excellent cushioning performance repeatability.

This repeatable cushioning allows PolyPlank to be used for more fragile (and sometimes surprising) applications. Here’s a look at some of the most interesting products PE foam can protect throughout transit, storage, and more:

Computer Mainframes

Computer mainframes can be stored and transported on large pallets containing engineered foam.

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Since engineered PE foam can provide excellent cushioning with repeatability, large networking and telecommunication companies can use it to secure large mainframe units. For projects at this scale, engineered foam is integrated into a protective pallet that holds the technology in place. Since the material has excellent cushioning performance, it prevents unnecessary damage to fragile instruments. Less flexible material, such as polystyrene or other equivalents, could not withstand the high impact this equipment will endure over the long term. 

Manufacturing Equipment

Properly protecting manufacturing equipment means less downtime and more productivity.

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Engineered PE foam can even have applications in manufacturing environments, where it is used in protective pallets similar to those that brace mainframe computers. Manufacturers trust engineered foam to protect individual machines of high value. Another alternative to engineered foam is on-demand foam-in-place. These products, such as the kind produced by Pregis IntelliPack® systems, can create individual protective buffers. These barriers are made from an expandable foam packaging compound that can rapidly form a custom protective mold around whatever equipment or packaging a customer requires.

Drones

Engineered foam in case goods, such as this drone, can be designed to create a nearly airtight fit.

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On the consumer-facing side of the market, protective casing for fragile goods is in high demand — and there is perhaps no more current or recognizable example of this application than the packaging found in drone cases. As opposed to more industrial applications, the engineered foam in these cases is designed to provide protection down to the millimeter and provide a quality unboxing experience for the customer. 

Engineered PE foam casing is a prime example of why protective packaging is critical for fragile products and those shipped via e-commerce channels. A single breakage can change the way a customer perceives their purchase and the brand’s image in a heartbeat, and expensive products like drones are costly to reship and replace.

Laptops and Screens

Protecting products like laptops with foam made with post-industrial content is a quick way to raise their sustainability profiles.

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While it might not come as a shock, laptops are often protected by high-quality engineered PE foam. It is surprising how often engineered PE foam is in laptop protective packaging. Some of Pregis’ highest-profile customers use engineered foam like the PolyPlank Renew™ Engineered Foam Plank to protect its products. This foam is made with a minimum of 60 percent recyclable content and can provide a sustainable solution for protection at reduced cost.

Archery Targets

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It may seem unlikely, but many archery ranges rely on targets made from engineered foam.

An application you might not have connected to engineered PE foam is its usage in archery targets. Again, thanks to the repeatable cushioning of polyethylene foam, consecutive high-impact shots are absorbed, maintaining the integrity of the target.

Vaccines

Keeping COVID-19 vaccines intact is one of the most important uses for engineered foam around.

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Pregis engineered PE foam has played a role in keeping COVID-19 vaccines protected and protocols met throughout transportation to medical facilities across the country during the past year. The casing that protects vaccines is strategically brittle in order to provide near-perfect temperature control. The engineered PE foam shipped with these vaccines can be found on the outside of these casings to ensure any impact occurring during transit does not affect the product.

These are just some of the many uses for engineered PE foam that might surprise the average consumer. But there are no surprises when it comes to the protection that Pregis’ extruded or laminated PolyPlank foam solutions provide for our customers.

For more information on Pregis’ protective packaging solutions, contact us today and ask about receiving a free consultation.