27th July 2021
Finding the Right Gaylord Box Supplier
You have many choices when searching for a supplier of new or used Gaylord boxes. Make an educated decision before making a costly snap decision and ending up unhappy with the product or service. There are several reputable companies out there, but some are not a good fit for your company for one reason or another. Here’s how to separate the Helluva from the Kinduva, Gooduva or Okayuva.
Does someone answer the phone by the second ring when you call? Do they have a LiveChat option to get you answers fast? Can you easily submit a quote from their website? Do they treat you with respect? Do they ask questions to help you get the right box or does it seem like they just want to sell you something brown? What happens if you have to reject a load? Do they guarantee that what you order is what you will receive?
Helluva Container is customer-driven, and we let our products, our knowledge and our service do the selling for us. Our knowledgeable sales and customer service reps advise customers on the appropriate boxes that will meet or exceed your expectations. We are safety conscious and put that aspect first and foremost. We will not sell you a Gaylord if we believe it is not safe for your application. Obviously, the final call is up to you, but we will push hard keep you safe.
If we make a mistake and ship the wrong boxes, we will correct it. Helluva Container never negotiates on rejected loads, but our rejection rate is so miniscule that it’s hardly worth discussing anyway. We send them back to one of our warehouses to determine why they were rejected and learn from that, so it doesn’t happen again.
Have your supplier describe their refurbishing process. Do they even have one? Do they know what the boxes YOU will get even look like? How clean they are? What the previous contents were? How orderly they are stacked on pallets?
If suppliers have a refurbishing process, they should be able to tell you what they do to the boxes when they come into their facility. Helluva Container inspects every box, removes as much of the previous contents as possible and all loose tape. We then restack the boxes by part number and securely strap each stack.
If they don’t refurbish the boxes, do they have a screening process for quality verification? Have them describe it to you. If they are a broker-only company, they have to rely solely on their supplier to provide information on the box, including description, bundle count and quality and you have to hope that what is being described to you is what you get. Unless the broker has established a long-lasting relationship with their supplier, it can be very risky for you.
At Helluva, we do onsite visits, get pictures and randomly test loads throughout the year. If a vendor’s loads do not meet our standards, that vendor is removed from the list. If a vendor’s quality goes down over time, they’re removed from the list.
Location & Turnaround Time
Where are their warehouses? Are they strategically located to keep freight costs down? What is the average time from order to delivery?
Because every penny counts, we have warehouses strategically located throughout the US to keep freight costs down and allow for timely deliveries. Depending on the product and location, once your product leaves our warehouse, most items deliver in one to five days. In-stock items can ship the next day if the order is placed early enough and freight carriers are available. Custom order boxes deliver in two to four weeks.
Longevity & Reputation
How long has the supplier been in business? What do others say about them? Do they get a lot of referrals? Do they have bad reviews?
Longevity is king in this industry. If they’ve been in business 10 years or more, they’ve most likely stood the test of time. Before you jump in, do your research and Google them, ask others in your industry if they have worked with or heard of them. What was the good, bad and ugly of their experience?
We are successful because of our reputation, and it shows in referrals. So many of our best customers have come to us through a referral from a colleague or friend. We love hearing when someone leaves a company and brings us with them to their new gig. They know that we are a Helluva supplier!
In the end, you need to educate yourself and ask questions. Do not take for granted that other people have your best interest in mind. They may only be concerned about their commission or covering overhead for the week. The more comfortable you are with their answers and information they freely supply on their website, the more likely you are going to have a good buying experience.
27th July 2021
What Size Gaylord Box do I need?
It’s a broad question with many answers, but it might just be the most important thing to consider when it comes to Gaylord boxes! The best place to start is by getting together with your supplier to discuss the following:
- What are you putting in the box?
- How much does it weigh?
- Are you planning to stack the boxes either for storage or transport?
- What pallet size do you typically use?
- How is the product shipped? Full truckload, LTL, or other?
- How skillful is your forklift operator?
- Are there environmental concerns, like humidity, that can affect the performance of Gaylords?
- How much space do you have to store and/or ship the product? Does that cost extra?
- Is there any equipment that the boxes need to fit under, such as conveyors, chutes, spouts, shears, saws, drills, punches, etc.?
Knowing these things will help narrow down the options. Size is determined by understanding the pallet size, how the product will be stored and shipped, and the product volume weight. We then provide input on the various types of Gaylords that are available, such as rectangle, octagon, full or partial flap bottoms, full flap tops or lids. These are the most common types, but other types are also available.
Start at the bottom.
The best place to start is at the bottom with your pallet, as it’s literally the foundation of your final box choice. The foundation of your box determines more of its performance than you would think. After all, you wouldn’t put your new house on an unstable, weak, brittle, cracked, broken, or too small of a foundation, would you? Are you locked into a certain size because it’s what you have available? Much of the world moves on a standard GMA pallet, which is a 48” x 40” 4-way pallet (can be picked-up from all four sides), but the options are endless. It could be determined by what your plant uses out of preference, what is generated internally, what your purchasing department thinks you should use because it’s the cheapest price (and cheaper is always better, right?!). Choosing the right pallet for the job is critical and, in most cases, you get what you pay for.
Don’t forget square footage.
Much of your packaging costs are determined by the maximization of your square footage, which again comes back to your pallet choice. Imagine how many more boxes, lids (if required), and liners (if required) you will need over time if you are using the wrong ones. Not to mention how many more pallets you will buy because of the choice you made. Just the savings of six units per truckload, which is a fairly common savings between using a 48” x 45” pallet and a 48” x 40” pallet, adds up over the course of a year. The packaging cost is just part of it. Someone has to set up all of those boxes, fill them, weigh them, label them, inventory them, move them multiple times throughout the plant and load them onto the truck that will haul them to their next destination. Sometimes less really is better! And we haven’t even mentioned transportation costs, which comes back to your overall cost per pound. If you are LTL shipping these units by the hundreds or thousands over the course of a year, you will quickly realize just how much these decisions can affect your bottom line and how getting the right help can give you an edge over your competition! We are happy to break down every section of your packaging so that we can make certain it makes the most sense for you and your operation.
What about storage costs?
Another factor that often gets overlooked is storage costs. If you rent additional space to store your product after it’s ready to go to your client(s), how do they charge you? Usually, they like to charge per pallet/box/unit that you ship into them and the more you ship them, the happier they are! Again, this all comes back to making smart packaging choices, choosing the right company to help you with those choices to maximize each one of them and to help you think more outside the box.
What’s going in the box?
Once you have made up your mind on the right pallet, we can get started on what you really need for the correct size of your Gaylord box by asking questions about the product going in the boxes.
If you need a box to ship a valuable product or wish to prevent viewing with wandering eyes and sticky hands, consider an RSC (regular slotted container) box that is four sides, with full flaps on the top and the bottom. It’s also a great box for providing protection from damage during the shipping process. This box is typically rectangular in shape. Many users choose a HSC (half slotted container) when using a poly liner or a separate lid. An HSC is the same as an RSC but doesn’t have top flaps. It’s available in both rectangular and octagon shapes.
When we ask what you’re putting in the box, it’s helpful to know the size of the actual product. Is it a powder material or resin pellets? If so, you’ll most likely need a heavier duty box with a liner. Some of those boxes have a larger footprint of 48” x 45” (outside dimension) and, as such, will require a larger pallet. Is it a liquid product? The boxes for liquids are a different beast altogether. They are very thick-sided (mostly 8 walls) and have a precut hole in the bottom of one side for easier drainage. Is your product smaller than 3”- 4”? If so, that would eliminate what we call a “produce” box, which is the box you would typically see in a grocery store displaying watermelons or pumpkins. They are a great box for many uses, such as clothing or rickrack, etc. They hold around 1000 lbs. and have vent holes, so anything smaller than 3”- 4” would fall through. It is also important to note if you need a non-food box so we can research the previous contents of each box to reduce any cross-contamination issues.
It’s also helpful that we know your industry because some boxes are better suited for some industries than others. Like the powder and resin example above, we can narrow the choices down if we know your industry, such as recycling (automotive, electronics…), thrift, food, paper, textiles or byproduct materials like metal, resin, or plastic. In fact, we have done some of that legwork for you on our website. Go to the Gaylord box site and choose your industry from the Product Filters and see what boxes we recommend.
A process of elimination
Here’s a peek at the process of helping a customer choose the right box:
A plastics customer says they are filling boxes with resin and want to double stack them in the warehouse. We immediately eliminate 2- and 3-wall boxes because something sturdier is needed to prevent crushing. We also eliminate boxes with vents because of the resin. We are going to lean towards an octagon since they are stacking. They also to plan to double stack inside a van trailer, so now we need to do some math. We start by knowing the standard inside height of a dry van with swing doors. That’s 108”. We can’t go higher than that, and we need to leave some room for the forklift. So, we add the height of the box plus the height of the pallet (5” is standard), then double that because they are stacking them. So, the tallest box that will work is 48”: (48” + 5”) x 2 = 106”. At this point we’ve narrowed it down to an octagon without vents that is at most 48” tall and has 4 or more walls. We will continue to ask questions to determine the right box for them based on their location and budget.
What can we do for you?
Our professional sales team members have been through thousands of scenarios just like this and are armed with the knowledge to help you choose the right box for your product. It also never hurts to spend some time on our website, at it’s a good source of general and specific information about our new and used product options, including features and pictures.
27th July 2021
What is a Gaylord Box?
We tend to get a lot of questions about Gaylord boxes from people outside the industry. After all, they have a funny name, don’t they? A Gaylord box (named for the company that originally developed them) is a large pallet-sized, corrugated cardboard box used in the packaging of most types of bulk material. When you see watermelons in the large boxes at your local supermarket, you’re looking at a Gaylord box. They come in various sizes, shapes, wall thicknesses, and have different top/bottom options.
There are three basic types of Gaylord boxes …
- Rectangle (REC)
- Octagon (OCT)
- High Performance Tote (HPT)
… that all have these features:
- Size (length, width, height)
- Wall thickness
- Bottom & Top Type
- RSC (regular-slotted container)
- HSC (half-slotted container)
- DI (drop-in)
Three Types of Gaylord Boxes
We all know what a rectangle (four sides) and an octagon shape (eight sides) is, but what does that have to do with boxes? Well, the shape gives them different levels of strength for different purposes. Octagon-shaped boxes (or octobins) tend to have higher strength at the corners because the weight is distributed over these extra corners. Rectangles tend to be easier to use and set up because they keep their shape better. They are also easier to fill and empty for most users. Your choice depends on what you are using the boxes for. If you are using machinery to fill or empty the box, then the shape may be a bigger factor.
Now let’s talk about HPTs: High Performance Tote (a registered trademark of TOTECO Packaging Company). This heavy-duty rectangle box has both top and bottom flaps. HPTs can range from four-to six- wall construction with optionable corner posts that help support stacking up to six high in freezer facilities and are designed for multiple uses. HPTs are specifically designed for use to store frozen vegetables when new. When deemed no longer useable in the freezer industry, they’re highly sought after for recycling commodities from plastics to metals. They are often deemed the “Cadillac” of used Gaylords due to the heavy construction and overall weight. These boxes are very rugged.
Sizes, Walls and Flaps of Gaylord Boxes
LWH: Our Gaylord boxes come in a wide variety of sizes. Because most Gaylords are placed on pallets to make it easier to move and stack them, the lengths and widths are typically the same as a standard pallet: 48” x 40”. There are some bigger and some smaller boxes as well, but 48” x 40” is the most common. Our box heights range from about 30” all the way up to 57”, with the most common box heights being 36”– 48”.
- Ranging from two to six walls, wall thickness is all about strength and vertical compression. To tell how many walls a box has, view it from the top and count the number of flutes (wave-shaped cardboard material) on the side of the box. If there is one flute, it is a single-wall, two flutes, double-wall, and so on. The bigger the number, the more corrugated fiberboard layers it has, making the box stronger and more resistant to vertical compression. You most likely don’t need to have the thickest walls. See our blog, What Size Gaylord Box do I need? for more information on choosing the wall thickness for your products.
Bottom and Top Types
A regular-slotted container (RSC) is any box that has four flaps the top and the bottom. One advantage here is there’s no need for a separate lid that can become lost. Used RSC boxes are commonly used in the recycling of various commodities and when new, are often used for shipping food ingredients. These boxes typically require tape on the flaps to secure them shut and can be made from one to five walls thick. If you need a box to ship a valuable product or wish to prevent viewing with wandering eyes and sticky hands, consider an RSC. It’s also a great box for providing protection from damage during shipment. This box is typically rectangular in shape.
A half-slotted container (HSC) is any box that has one set of flaps on the bottom, requiring a lid if the box needs to be sealed shut. this type is also known as a full-flap bottom. An HSC can have flange top to aid in extra rigidity for stacking. HSCs can be made from one to eight walls thick and are used in a wide variety of industries when new. Used boxes are often used in recycling industries or manufacturing that don’t require a new food grade box. Many users choose an HSC when using a poly liner or a lid. It’s available in both rectangular and octagon shapes.
A sleeve/tray/cap is any box that doesn’t have either top or bottom flaps. This style requires a separate tray for the box to sit into and a tray to cover the top as well. These can be made from one to six walls thick. This type of box is typically only useful for long-term storage or for industries that use them internally and ship them between locations. Otherwise, these are a one-trip, one-use option when a corrugated cap is used.
Full-flap octagons (sometimes called octobins) have bottom flaps that interlock and don’t require tape to secure. These can be made from one to five walls thick. This type requires a separate lid if sealing the box is necessary. Octagon boxes are often the primary choice for plastic companies who choose to use Gaylords to transport their resin or plastic additives. The extra surface points add extra strength for stacking. These are a good choice for many recycling commodities.
Partial-flap octagons (sometimes called modified bottoms) are typically a four-or or five-wall box that have partial flaps with locking tabs on the bottom that secure the box once it is erected. By having a partial flap on the bottom, these boxes require a separate sheet to cover the area in the center of the box left open by the short flaps. These boxes are mostly used in the plastics industry when new. They take up less space in a truck and are a more economical option than a full-flap bottom box. The added surface points add extra strength when stacking and is why this box is a common choice of many recycling streams.
Benefits of Gaylord Boxes
When you’re using Gaylord boxes, you are using a common packaging practice and an economical way of shipping materials from point A to point B. Your results are increased efficiency, cleaner material and cost savings.
Other benefits of Gaylords boxes:
- Self-supporting when being filled
- Eco-friendly because they are reusable and recyclable
- Durable, lasting for many years in storage at a minimal price compared to large plastic or metal bins
- Can be stacked in warehouses and double stacked in shipping containers to help maximize shipping and minimize costs
- Can also be helpful for brand awareness by customizing them with your images
- Many businesses that ship in Gaylords recoup some of the cost by charging consignees for the container, which in some cases are reusable to them: A win-win!
Helluva Container has more than eighteen years of experience serving customers from multiple warehouse locations in the U.S. and Canada with the highest level of service, product and cost savings. We think outside of the BOX to ensure that your specific needs/situation(s) are met to the best of our ability. Whether you need a single, small quantity or large multiple truckload orders, you have found the right company.
13th July 2021
What is an FIBC Bag (aka Bulk Bag)?
We get a lot of questions from first timers who have been tasked with buying FIBC bags for their company. It’s OK if you’re unfamiliar with them—after all, most of us aren’t in the FIBC bag business.
We’re here to help. Knowing about the basics of an FIBC bag can help you make a decision that maximizes efficiency and safety while minimizing cost. In some situations, it could literally make the difference between life or death.
What is It?
The easy part of the answer is that FIBC stands for “Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container.” It’s a bag made of woven polypropylene material that is used in multiple industries to handle, move and store thousands of different products and is recyclable. The FIBC bag can be made into various lengths, widths, heights and weight capacities.
Where it gets complicated is explaining the different pieces of the bag that you’ll need to consider before making a solid buying decision for your company.
Anatomy of an FIBC Bag
NOTE: this is not all-inclusive but does cover the main items needed to make a buying decision. A professional bag supplier will be able to offer in-stock or customized options based on your requirements.
- Bag size: Length, width and height required to maximize storage or transport
- SWL: This stands for Safe Working Load, which tells you how many pounds of product the bag can hold.
- Bag style: Circular, U-panel, four-panel, or baffled
- Lift Loop: Quantity, length, width and position
- Fill type: Spout, duffle or full open-top
- Discharge type: Spout, full-dump bottom or none
- Discharge cover: Star closure, iris closure, full-flap cover or none
- Electrostatic type: A, B, C or D
- Coating: To reduce moisture or materials seeping through fabric
- Sift proofing: For very fine powder products
- Product going into the bag: Chemicals, fertilizers, food product, pharmaceutical products, hemp, grains, plastics, minerals, scrap seeds and much more
- Certifications: ISO, BRC or UN
- Most manufacturers carry standard ISO certifications for quality management process.
- Depending on the product, a food or pharmaceutical certification may be required. The top certification in the industry is a BRC certification.
- UN certifications are required for safety and hazardous materials.
FIBC Anatomy: Top Three
To further clarify some of the anatomy, let’s go over the top three things you’ll see when looking at an actual bag, whether it’s online, or in your plant or warehouse. These are: Style, Lift Loops and Size.
- Circular Woven: Made from fabric that is woven into a tube on a circular loom and then cut to the desired size. Despite having a square top and bottom sewn onto the bag, circular-woven bags still have a circular/cylindrical shape when filled. One advantage to circular-woven bags is the minimal amount of stitching needed (just the top and bottom). The possible downside: They do not hold their shape as well as other styles of bags.
- U-panel: Made up of three panels. One panel runs the full length of the bag, forming a U and creating the bottom and two of the sides. Two more panels are sewn to the U to form the other two sides. U-panel bags maintain a square shape when filled, especially if it has baffles.
- Four-Panel: Made of four individual panels sewn together to create a square. One advantage of a four-panel bag is that it maintains a square shape when filled.
- Baffle: Help a bag keep its shape and prevents bulging. Baffles are pieces of fabric with holes that are sewn to the inside corners of the bag. The holes let the product flow through them to fill the entire space.
- Four-Loop: Most bags will have four loops at the corner of each bag and are used for lifting bags using forklift.
- Two-Loop: Mainly used for lifting bulk bags with smaller capacities and are ideal if you don’t have a forklift.
- Corner Loops: Sewn into each corner seam of the bulk bag and are the most common loop type. When using a forklift, all four loops must be used.
- Cross-Corner Loops: Sewn into eight points on opposite corners of the bulk bag. This makes the loops bigger and stand upright, so forklifts can grab them more easily. Cross-corner loops require a circular woven bulk bag.
- Stevedore Straps: Heavy-duty straps that thread through two sets of lift loops on a bulk bag to offer additional ways to lift the bag.
- This is possibly the most important element when making FIBC bag decisions. Here are some things you should ask when deciding on size.
- How much space do you have to ship and/or store the product?
- How heavy is the product that you want to put in the bag?
- What is the density of the product?
- A bag supplier should always ask what the product is and if you know its density. Without this information, they will not accurately be able to maximize the bag’s weight capacity.
- For example, let’s say you have a 35” x 35” x 50” bag with a SWL capacity of 2,000 but you are not getting 2,000 lbs. in the bag. You would if your product weighs approximately 55 pound per cubic foot, but if the product weighs more than 55 pounds per cubic foot you could be paying more for the taller bag when a shorter one will work. If the product weighs less than 55 pounds per cubic foot, you can’t put 2,000 pounds in that bag. You would have to change the width or height to make that work.
- A good bag supplier is knowledgeable about this requirement and should be able to tell you what bag size you need. We offer a bag calculator to assist in finding the right bag based on the weight of the product.
You can find more details on these features here.
As you can see, when someone asks us what an FIBC bag is, the conversation can go from basic to a full dissection of bulk bag anatomy pretty quickly. The more you can educate yourself about bulk bags, the better prepared you will be to save your company money and keep employees from getting hurt when it comes time for you to call someone regarding your bulk bag needs.
Here are some additional resources you can find on FIBC Bags:
UN Testing information for FIBC bags
Food Grade Recognized Certifications
FIBC Food Safety Guide
FIBC Bag handling guidelines
Safe Storage and Transportation of FIBC bag guidelines