A Guide to Warehouse Logistics: From Shipping Materials to Fulfilment Efficiency

 

From the time you place an order to the moment your purchase arrives at your home or place of business, your merchandise goes through a complex chain of procedures. It takes several steps to get a product from a warehouse shelf to your mailbox. From storage, customer service and packaging to shipping and tracking, warehouse logistics is a complex process that ensures deliveries arrive safely and in a timely fashion. Continue reading…


The Science Behind a Styrofoam Cooler: How Does It Keep Items Cool?

 

When you need to ship something that needs to stay cool, you probably know that using a Styrofoam cooler is your best bet. Do you know why, though? Whether you are shipping food that needs to be kept cool to stay fresh or you are sending a live reptile, you need temperature-controlled packaging to ensure that the shipment arrives safely.

Much like wrapping up in layers of clothing helps you stay warm during cold weather, Styrofoam keeps items cool by insulating them against heat. Let’s take a closer look at the science behind a Styrofoam cooler.

What Is Styrofoam?

Let’s start with the basics. Styrofoam is the trademarked name for polystyrene foam. This petroleum-based plastic is lightweight and serves as an effective insulator. As such, it does a great job of keeping heat out of things like coolers. Because it is relatively firm, it also helps provide a degree of protection for items while in transit from one place to another.

Thermal Conductivity

Thermal conductivity refers to a material’s ability to conduct heat. Some materials — especially metals — conduct heat well while others — like Styrofoam — conduct it poorly. Both types are useful in certain circumstances, but when it comes to protecting items in a package from the heat of the outside environment, you need a material that is a poor conductor. This helps keep the cool air inside the package while keeping the hot air out.

How Styrofoam Insulates

Styrofoam is primarily made of air. This makes it a poor conductor of heat but an excellent insulator. The air is trapped in small pockets in the polystyrene, and it blocks the flow of heat. In shipping, a small Styrofoam cooler creates a cold zone within a package that allows heat from the outside in at a very slow rate. This makes it possible to ship frozen and perishable items safely, even when it takes a few days for a package to reach its destination.

closeup of cooler box

While a Styrofoam cooler does a great job of keeping cold items cool for long periods of time, they don’t cool items that are already warm. Therefore, ice or cold packs must be used to cool the inside of the container.

Benefits of Using Styrofoam Coolers

When you need to ship items that are temperature sensitive, Styrofoam coolers are an effective and affordable solution. They are favored by the food service industry because they are less costly than other products and they provide better insulation to keep food fresh longer. Because they are made mostly of air, they are extremely lightweight and don’t drive up shipping costs.

Styrofoam coolers come in numerous sizes. Whether you need a small or a large Styrofoam cooler for shipping, it’s possible to find exactly what you need. From tiny boxes used to ship pharmaceutical products to larger containers that are suitable for fresh meal delivery kits and more, there are different sizes for every application.

Because they are durable and easy to clean, Styrofoam coolers can be used and reused several times. They work just as well for camping or fishing trips as other styles of coolers, and they are great to throw in the back of your car for when you pick up frozen groceries. Compared to other types of coolers, they are extremely affordable and lightweight.

Conclusion

Styrofoam coolers are the perfect solution when you need to ship frozen or perishable items. Their light weight means they won’t significantly increase your shipping costs, and their simple design makes them affordable to purchase. When used with ice or cold packs, they can keep food and other items cold for several days.

spring crappie catch in styrofoam cooler

It’s important to note, though, that Styrofoam isn’t one of the most environmentally friendly materials. It takes centuries to break down in landfills, so it’s extremely important to recycle your Styrofoam coolers. Many recycling programs accept Styrofoam, and in some instances, shippers will take them back for recycling. You can also reuse your Styrofoam coolers for camping trips, hunting and fishing expeditions, road trips or even backyard barbecues. You may also have some luck offering them for free on a community sales site. There are a lot of people who will gladly take them off your hands to use for their own purposes.


Five Shipping and Storing Benefits of Using an Amber Glass Jug

 

When you think about an amber glass jug, you probably imagine it containing a fresh batch of moonshine or some old-timey pharmacy elixir. While they are certainly used for those applications, glass jugs and bottles can be used for so much more. Often found holding beer, soda, wine, essential oils, medicinal syrups and more, they are a common choice for several reasons. Continue reading…


18 Unusual Uses for Shipping Containers

 

Taking an object designed for one purpose and modifying it to create something totally different is a major trend. We hear a lot about repurposing these days, and we are repurposing everything from small craft items to large industrial buildings. Warehouse conversion, for example, has become a booming industry that breathes new life into relics from the past. On the smaller end of the scale, even things like bottle caps can be repurposed to make tiny tea lights. Continue reading…


What Is a Water Tote & How Can it be Used for My Shipping Needs?

 

In the shipping world, there are numerous types of packaging materials that are used to transport a wide variety of materials. Choosing the right type ensures that your product(s) will make it from one point to the next safely. The right containers also maximize efficiency and improve safety. When transporting liquids, water totes have become an increasingly popular option. While steel drums were once the product of choice for transporting liquids, many companies have found that water totes are an easier to handle, more efficient and more cost-effective option. What exactly are water totes, and how can you use them for your shipping needs? Let’s take a closer look at these versatile containers and their potential uses. Continue reading…


3 Tips to Make Your Tote Containers Last as Long as Possible

 

Nothing lasts forever, but there are several steps you can take to preserve the tote containers your business needs for storing and shipping liquids. Tote containers, also known as intermediate bulk containers or IBCs, are ideal for storing many types of liquids, including chemicals, pharmaceuticals and food, among others. With proper care, they can be used over and over–many more times than storage drums. Do you want to make your tote containers last as long as possible? If so, keep reading to find out how! Continue reading…


3 Ways of Ensuring Your 55 Gallon Steel Drum Makes It from Point A to Point B

 

While intermediate bulk containers are quickly becoming the container of choice for shipping liquids and granulated product, 55-gallon steel drums are still widely used in the shipping industry. These drums are affordable and can be used to transport a wide variety of materials. Ensuring that your drums make it from point A to point B safely, however, requires a bit of care. Though durable, they can be damaged while in transit if they are not prepared properly. In addition to damaging the drum itself, the materials contained within could also be damaged. Major damage to drums can also result in leaks. This, of course, is a huge problem when you are shipping dangerous goods. Continue reading…


What Is an Oxygen Generator Box and Why Do I Need One?

 

When shipping items that contain or are made with potentially hazardous materials, there are strict regulations that mandate what type of packaging must be used, how the item can be transported, etc. An oxygen generator is one specific example of a product that must be shipped in a manner that complies with certain regulations. If you need to ship one of these devices by air, you can’t just send it in any old packaging you have lying around. It must be packaged in an oxygen generator box that is designed specifically for this application. What is an oxygen generator box, and why do you need one? Keep reading to find out the answers. Continue reading…


What Do Bulkier Shipping Materials Mean for Warehouse Efficiency?

 

Fulfillment and shipping needs vary drastically from one business to another based on product type, company branding and numerous other factors. One issue that many companies share, though, is the problem of inefficient warehouses. Whether you run a small, home-based business that ships just a few packages per day or a multi-million-dollar corporation that sends out thousands, inefficiency in your warehouse or the area where products are stored, packaged and shipped from can slow down your entire process. Continue reading…


Handling Hazardous Materials? 6 Reasons Why You Should Enroll in Hazmat School

 

Working with hazardous materials is a dangerous job that requires extensive training. In addition to ensuring your own safety, completing certain types of training ensures that you are in compliance with the United States Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations. If your job requires you to handle, package or transport such materials, the regulations likely require that your employer provide certain types of training prior to allowing you to perform job functions that involve hazardous materials. Even if you are self-employed or only handle or ship these materials infrequently, it is still important to undergo the proper training. Continue reading…