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Inflatable systems, reducing your costs

Posted by Packaging Group on

What's an inflatable system?

Inflatable systems create air filled packaging cushions on-demand. A roll of film gets mounted to a small piece of equipment to create the cushioning pads. They come in either single-chamber pillows or multi-chamber hybrid cushioning pads. This all depends on your application needs. The variety of equipment models are available to fit your performance and environmental requirements. Let's look at things you can evaluate before purchasing an inflatable packaging system. Inflatable systems can reduce your overall packaging costs and still hit your performance goals.

Air cushioning equipment


Inflatable SystemsIt's smart practice to keep in mind the average cost per package, and not just the cost of materials. We all know how different the units of measure can be when it comes to packaging. They're all over the place right? cubic foot, square foot, length, width, grams, lbs., gauges, etc. You get my drift, and it can be hard to compare them to each other, but that's what you have to do. Say for example, you're using those little packaging peanuts. Those are most likely measured in cost per cubic foot. If you're switching to an inflatable system you'll be looking at cost per square foot. Understand how much material is used to protect your products and you'll be in good shape. You may be using more material compared to what you use now, but make sure the total cost per package is lower.


Everyone's favorite word. When it comes to freight, this is where all those hidden costs can be a factor. Size and weight have the greatest impact on transportation costs. You know what's good about inflatable systems, they produce those SMALL and LIGHT air pillows. 

Things to consider when looking at freight and how it will change with an inflatable system:

  • Does your protective packaging allow you to reduce the size of your outer container?
  • How does stay up when introduced to shock, compression, and vibration?
  • Full pallets or small parcel?


Inflatable Systems EquipmentIt would take 450 cubic feet of void fill to create the same amount of protection that a jumbo roll of inflatable systems would produce. Even better? A typical system only takes up about 1 cubic foot of space. That's saving you a lot of floor space in your warehouse for better protective packaging. There's no need to store all the extra protective packaging you're using now. With the inflatable system, it's on-demand. You'll only use it when you need it, freeing up other space for your warehouse.


Don't forget about labor costs in the average cost per package, it's often overlooked. It's overlooked and also one of the easiest ways to lower costs, quickly. Cost of labor, and the time that labor is taking to finish a job. Inflatable systems can be optimized for improved productivity. It usually takes 5-6 seconds to pack a box and then send it on its way down a conveyor belt. Other processes could take even longer, 10 times as long. Effective use of automation can significantly reduce labor on a per package basis.


Air Pillow FilmThe key to preventing damage is consistency. What better way to get consistent protective packaging then using equipment. Inflatable systems help you keep consistent packaging from one box to the next. They can be preprogrammed with certain parameters of you product and/or box. If you're not using equipment, then this is all up to the operator. You could be wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted materials. With equipment, you'll get consistency every time, leading to less damage and happier customers.

Benefits of an Inflatable System

  • Ideal for ship-from-store (SFS) applications where space is at a premium
  • Great replacement for traditional void fill as well as ½ inch bubble – affordable and a fraction of the required storage space
  • Reliable, simple packaging material that protects items to their final destination
  • Worker ergonomics and space are maximized
  • Fits into tight spaces; can be mounted directly onto racking
  • No training required. Simple, out of the box operation. Just plug and go!


If you're looking at your overall packaging operations, you're taking the first step to improving your process. Seeing what else is out there and changing and adapting helps improve your efficiency and productivity. Looking for alternative solutions will positively impact your costs, if you know what's out there first. Keep in mind how equipment can impact your materials, freight, warehouse, labor and damage. Improving your protective packaging will improve your bottom line, and ultimately lead to happier customers.

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