Plastic Shipping Containers
Plastic shipping containers are durable, inexpensive alternatives to metal, wood and glass shipping containers. A plastic shipping container can be a box, a tub, a bin, a crate or a bottle. Any plastic material that is used to ship items from one place to another is a plastic shipping container. Plastic containers are excellent shipping solutions because they can be designed to be impact resistant, shatter-proof (this feature makes plastic a better choice than glass in many cases) and weather resistant.
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Advantages of Plastic Shipping Containers
Raw plastic materials are generally inexpensive, which makes plastic shipping containers the smartest economic choice. Because plastic can be molded into any conceivable shape, customized plastic containers, which can be made to fit the contours of the items they are transporting, are excellent for transporting delicate or sensitive materials. Plastic shipping containers are often reusable, but in the case of damage or excessive wear, many varieties of plastic shipping containers can be recycled. Some plastic shipping containers are designed to be air-tight; these containers can be used to transport products like paper or electronics, both of which require protection from weather conditions while in transit. Ventilated shipping containers can house living cargo like plants and animals.
Design of Plastic Shipping Containers
All plastic shipping containers are made with thermoplastic resins and are created during a molding process. Plastic boxes can be either blow molded or injection molded. In both cases, the molding machinery would begin with a collection of raw plastic resin (which is called stock) that is loaded into a hopper and directed into a conveyance channel. A long screw turns in the channel, forcing the plastic toward the mold (click here to see how screw conveyors work). As it turns, the combination of friction, pressure and heating elements along the length of the channel liquefies the stock.
Once the stock is liquefied, it can be molded into any shape. At this point in the molding process, the plastic will either be injected into a mold (this is called injection molding), or it will be forced into a mold cavity along with compressed air (this is blow molding). Generally speaking, the thinner the construction of the plastic box’s walls, the more likely it was to have been created by blow molding. Once the molding process is complete, the plastic is allowed to cool and harden. Then it is ejected from the mold, cleansed of imperfections (if they are present) and either sent for shipping or for additional processing.