More emphasis is quite rightly being placed on producing packaging solutions that are sustainable and more environmentally friendly. But while things like single-use coffee cups can be easily replaced with reusable ones, other day-to-day packaging applications aren’t quite so easily switched.
Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped innovative packaging manufacturers from seeking to develop solutions that can replace and surpass more traditional uses. One such example is paper honeycomb packaging and its variants.
In this first part of our two-part series on this amazing packaging innovation, we’ll be looking at some of the benefits afforded by this revolutionary packaging material that's starting to be used more in cardboard boxes.
What Is Paper Honeycomb Packaging?
Paper honeycomb is a durable, lightweight and cost effective packaging solution that is custom engineered using kraft paper material. Inspired by nature, the unique panels usually feature a honeycomb core – just like the type found on the inside of a beehive – plus two surface covering materials that sandwich it.
The resulting paper honeycomb panels have a wide variety of uses in the packaging industry, some of which we’ll look at in the second part of this two-part post series.
Paper Honeycomb Packaging Benefits
1. Extremely strong
Now you might be thinking how strong can a packaging solution made from paper in a honeycomb formation be? The answer is stronger than steel, pound for pound, which is why paper honeycomb packaging is such an outstanding innovation.
Its strength lies in the design, with the honeycomb core and sandwich layers acting as a traditional steel I-beam, frequently used in construction and civil engineering applications.
When combined with other materials such as plastic, fibreglass or metal, paper honeycomb becomes even stronger still. Similar to our foam-lined boxes, this type of box is often used for transporting more delicate technologies.
2. Super lightweight
Unlike steel, paper honeycomb is extremely lightweight and actually boasts a strength to weight ratio that is more impressive than many other materials. This is why it’s such a great solution for packaging applications.
Companies can take advantage of paper honeycomb packaging and significantly reduce the weight of their shipments, while all the time benefitting from the durability and protection it provides.
3. 100% recyclable
In addition to having all the properties listed above, paper honeycomb packaging is also 100% recyclable. In fact, it’s usually manufactured from renewable and recycled paper that is glued together using a water-based adhesive.
Compared to traditional cardboard and corrugated cardboard, paper honeycomb uses significantly less paper in its construction. However, the reduction in paper does not detract from its strength, far from it, with paper honeycomb achieving an impressive 7 kg/cm2 compressive strength.
Because it uses less material than many traditional packaging solutions, paper honeycomb is often cheaper to produce and, therefore, purchase. Moreover, the associated reduction in shipping and handling fees means that companies often save more than once when choosing to utilise paper honeycomb.
5. Very customisable
While paper honeycomb usually comes in the form of panels and pallets, its use cases are not limited.
In fact, paper honeycomb panels are often die cut to the exact shapes and sizes businesses need. This allows all manner of products to be placed snugly inside them and is the perfect solution for companies that produce just a few different products.
Furthermore, a simple slit on the reverse side of the honeycomb panel allows it to be easily bent and formed around items.
Check out part two of this paper honeycomb series for a more in-depth look at its specific uses in various industries.