When we come across something with the potential to transform the packaging industry, we naturally get quite excited. Which is why we felt compelled to share this week’s Material Monday with you, as a way of championing a product whose simplicity and sustainability could well turn it into a firm favourite with brands, retailers and logistics firms alike.
ExpandOS, the self-proclaimed route to ‘smarter packaging’ from US packaging solutions firm FoldedPak, is the trademarked name given to small pyramidal structures used to fill the empty space in boxes and which, when interlocked, provide a shock-absorbent barrier for goods during transport.
We’ve all, at one point of another, received a package and had to fight through a mountain of foam wotsits or endless layers of bubble wrap in order to get to what it was we actually ordered in the first place. Unlike foam, bubble wrap, or other much-maligned materials that have traditionally performed a protective function in our parcels, however, ExpandOS has the advantage of being made from 100 per cent post-industrial waste – sustainably harvested paper pulp, to be precise.
Created in reams of paperboard sheets, ExpandOS is shipped in its flat state, saving on space and, therefore, transport costs. A separate machine, known, somewhat menacingly, as the Expander, is then used at the point of fulfilment to automatically trim and fold the individual pieces ready for use.
For those in distribution and logistics, then, ExpandOS could be a game changer; it’s hard to argue with a space-saving alternative to foam and bubble wrap that can be assembled on-site. However, it also has the ability to open up new possibilities for marketeers and packaging personnel involved in the broader brand experience. Compatible with all conventional printing techniques, it can act as an additional piece of printed collateral that not only forms an effective cocoon around the goods inside, but also sends a clear message about a brand’s commitment to environmental sustainability practices.
A trimmed and folded ExpandOS pyramid (Image: verpackungsblog.com)