Whether it’s playing in the pool, having a campout, or spending a day at the lake, summer BBQs are in full swing. All the necessary items for a successful outdoor gathering must first make a full transit packaging journey before shelves are stocked or the first guest arrives. An entire global network of manufacturers, warehouses, distribution centers, and transportation systems work together to provide high-quality products that arrive on time, unharmed, to their final destinations. 

With supply-chain challenges more front-and-center of public awareness and concern, optimizing the product journey and protecting upstream value has proved to be increasingly essential. As the world’s leading transit-packaging specialist, Signode has dedicated more than a century to innovating the equipment, technology, and consumables needed to protect products and pallets, from manufacturing to the backyard and beyond. 

These innovations are needed as transit packaging choices matter. The transit packaging journey is filled with risks that can damage your product, your bottom line, and your brand reputation, but with careful planning and the right products at the right times, these risks can be minimized. Let’s take a moment to look at some of the essential items you’ll need at your next BBQ and Signode’s important role in getting them there. 

Grill & Fuel

Every good BBQ starts with a grill. This bulky and rigid appliance requires special care to arrive intact. How they are packed, how they are stored in cargo spaces, and how they are unloaded at distribution centers must be considered. 

If you’ve ever unboxed one, you probably went through a few layers of protective packaging. 

Ever notice the Angleboard® edge protection that provides stacking strength to help keep your grill hood from denting or box from crushing? Or what about the corrugated pads and honeycomb blocks that are added for void fill and corner and abrasion protection? Probably not, but if they were not there, you would likely notice denting or other damage. These often-unnoticed transit packaging consumables are just a few of the safeguards that Signode produces.   

Once your grill is set up, the next item on your shopping list might be charcoal. Often provided in heavy paper bags and stacked together on a pallet for shipping, charcoal presents its transit packaging challenges. Due to its shape and weight, these bags tend to slide in transport. This could result in a damaged or ripped package, degrading its shelf appeal, or compromised product integrity due to significant damage.

To solve this, Signode also offers its Lock N’ Pop® adhesive that is water-based and food-grade, essentially locking the bags to each other to prevent any side-to-side shifting during transport, yet allowing packages to easily pop apart by simply lifting when they’ve reached their final destination. 

Food & Beverage

 Of course, we can’t really call it a BBQ unless there is something to grill up. Whether it’s burgers or vegetable shish kabobs on the menu, your ingredients are particularly sensitive to the transit journey. Temperatures must be controlled, and cross contamination avoided. For instance, let’s talk about tomatoes. While they are commonly bred to be hardy enough to withstand the rigors of shipping, they can get moldy and inedible if stored too long in the wrong conditions.

Improper unitization ahead of transit is a common culprit. Stretch film provides excellent pallet protection but can also potentially trap moisture inside. Signode can partner on tools and approaches that can help avoid this. For example, programming the Octopus® stretch wrapping equipment to ‘rope’ the film around a pallet of produce leaves open-air spaces allowing the product to breathe during transport. Selecting the right film, whether blown or cast, can further maximize performance by helping to ensure proper tension, puncture resistance, and optimum elongation throughout the pallet’s journey. 

With tomatoes safely sliced, guests will also need some drinks to cool off from the summer heat. Whether it’s a cold beer or a soft drink, canned beverages take up a large portion of the BBQ supply list. 

From aluminum coil handling systems to fully automated wrapping equipment, Signode solutions touch every single stage of its process. While not visible to BBQ goers, another notable consumable is dunnage bags. Used in between pallets on trucks or railcars, Signode’s “pillows for pallets” act as shock absorbers and prevent pallets from slamming into each other during transit. Dented and damaged beverage cans add cost and return complexity to beverage manufacturers and distributors. 

Some items are meant to be returned; however, reusable plastic pallets and tier sheets house and protect filled beverage cans from production to distribution center to retail outlet.

Personal Care

Of course, one of the best parts of the BBQ is simply sitting back and enjoying the outdoors. 

Just don’t forget to apply sunscreen and take those allergy pills. Like your other essential items, these too must be protected before they can do the job of protecting you.

Whether it's sprayed or slathered on, sunscreen is typically bundled together and unitized for transport. The same can be said for your allergy medicine - nasal sprays, gels, tablets - which also get bundled into a corrugated box that is then stacked onto a pallet.

Once palletized, these products take very different paths. The differing requirements of aerosol, gels, and liquids demand that pressure, temperature, and weight must be accounted for. Aerosols run the risk of being punctured and exploding if tightened too much. On the other hand, if they are too loose, that could cause excessive shaking and product damage. In contrast, gel tablets could melt if stored for too long in hot conditions. Signode’s wide variety of protective packaging includes Angleboard edge protection, a high-strength, moisture-resistant corner protector made of recycled paper and plastic. It’s widely used to protect pallets that are exposed to the elements.

Another unseen transit-packaging asset is automated storage and retrieval systems. Signode’s StorFast® ASRS system features a full range of robot-based depalletizing, palletizing and material handling solutions that expedite the storage and removal of allergy medicines, sunscreens, and the entire range of consumer goods. 

Whether visible to BBQ goers or working behind the scenes, a truly incredible array of equipment, technology, and consumables is needed to seamlessly set the table for your next outdoor gathering. The rigors of the distribution and supply chain require the combination of expertise and product portfolio of the packaging transit professionals at Signode. No matter what you decide to bring to your next BBQ, rest assured that Signode is doing its part to help you enjoy this summer! So, fire up the grill, open a cold one and don’t forget the sunscreen.

Want to learn more or curious about how a specific product makes the journey to your next adventure? Come visit us at: signode.com