In todays global economy, manufacturing a part for production is only half the battle. Ensuring that a product does not get damaged during transport is imperative to maintain customer satisfaction, and overall project success. When it comes to delivery to the end user, as well as internal component transportation within a company, dunnage is an important part of ensuring product quality. Whether a ship is rocking, or a trucker slams on the brakes, having the correct dunnage in use can be an important part of ensuring customer satisfaction. In this article, let’s talk about dunnage and how polyurethane dunnage is used in today’s manufacturing.

Why does dunnage matter?

Dunnage can take many forms, and accomplish its goals in varying ways. Dunnage is used to ensure an item remains securely in place throughout being moved, or at least limit movement to minimize risk of damage. This can be accomplished by filling the empty space between parts, or by seating the part in an\ way where it is supported the dunnage and will not shift from place. Styrofoam “popcorns” are a form of dunnage that is very common for smaller parts, and helps minimize movement and shock forces within a box during transport. For these small parts, a limited amount of movement is acceptable. For items of larger magnitude, it is increasingly important to limit the movement of a part during transport. Larger, engineered cardboard dunnage systems also exist for some medium sized to large sized items, but these cardboard systems are not without fault. Cardboard dunnage is cheap, but offers little resistance to moisture or oils, which can cause the dunnage to lose its structural integrity on overseas routes. For larger parts, a different approach is needed. Custom cast polyurethane dunnage has grown very popular for transport of manufactured items, due to its resistance to ecological forces like temperature and moisture. Urethane dunnage is long lasting and resilient, which allows it to be used multiple times in a given application.

How does dunnage work?

The main purpose of dunnage is to ensure safe transport of goods, as well as minimizing damage that can happen during transport. Parts that are improperly secured can move around, causing damage to the shipping vessel, or injure personnel responsible for shipping due to a shifting load. Without dunnage solutions, the transport of manufactured goods would make an already dangerous job even more prone to risk. Utilizing these systems minimizes possibility of having manufactured products undergo any sort of deterioration during the transportation process.

Why Polyurethane dunnage excels

Polyurethane has seen an increase in use in the dunnage industry. The complex shapes that can be attained using modern molding techniques allow for dunnage systems that are precision engineered to properly support an item during transport. The ability to give urethane a surface that is textured allows for increased grip on the item being transported if needed. Interlocking elements on dunnage systems can allow for parts to be stacked in greater quality that would otherwise be impossible with many cardboard-based systems.  Designing a custom dunnage system to safely transport large or delicate manufactured items is very common, and has become extremely specialized in some of todays largest industries.

Who uses urethane dunnage?

The aerospace and automotive giants of the world have invested heavily in closed loop dunnage systems, which has facilitated the easy movement of production materials between departments. Wing sections, Door panels, glass components, and metal-plated items all benefit from having a properly engineered dunnage system in use. In the automotive industry, steps have been taken to standardize the racks used in dunnage systems, and make cross-compatibility possible between manufactures. The has resulted in reduced cost for manufacturers when it comes to transport between factory assembly lines. In engineering proper dunnage solutions, the automotive sector has cut down on the number of parts that get rejected due to damage once they arrive to the factory. The glass industry has seen abundant use of dunnage in recent years. The abrasive nature of glass, combined with its delicate properties, makes for unique requirements when it comes to transport. Long lasting, Polyurethane solutions have been developed to special suit this industries needs. Dunnage formulations that are non-marking are an indispensable part of the automotive windshield industry. These systems have allowed for large amount glass to be transported in a compact container, all while minimizing the number of broken windshields that occur.

Going Forward

As modern economies continue to integrate, and supply chains become increasingly complex, more and more manufactured items are going to be transported long distances. Making the  appropriate dunnage choice can give clients the peace of mind that items will show up as ordered, with no damage. Picking a reusable option like polyurethane will allow for many use cycles of the dunnage. The ability to re-use the dunnage systems will decrease transport costs, and help reduce ecological footprints for the companies that use it in the transport of their components. Having successful transport dunnage solutions allows for a more de-centralized approach to manufacturing, while also ensuring product quality regardless of the distance it must travel. Custom dunnage solutions for transport are a great value added service that can set you apart from other manufacturers, and give you an edge in todays industries.

In case you’re looking to use polyurethane dunnage, TPC has two dedicated manufacturing shops in California that can produce high quality polyurethane dunnage. We bring decades of experience and a dedicated, customer-focused team on the table. Our unmatched urethane and polyurethane solutions puts you ahead of the curve every single time.