Fabric dunnage is used to package and protect parts during shipping and assembly. Dunnage bags are designed to fit steel racks and plastic totes, but how well does this reusable, returnable packaging support your bottom line? In industries like heavy truck assembly, rack bags are so important that they’re part of a units-per-day calculator. OEMs need enough dunnage for assembly operations, but not so many rack bags that buyers blow their budgets for the sake of safety factors.
Buying fabric dunnage that’s cheaper may seem like a good idea, but there’s more to consider than just the purchase price. How does your organization store and use rack bags? For that matter, how well do you understand your true dunnage costs? To get a clean, clear picture of what fabric dunnage is really costing you, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get dirty. No, you don’t need to load or unload the parts yourself. But you do need to understand what’s happening to your rack bags and the parts that they hold.
Fabric Dunnage: Parts Damage and Dunnage Cleaning
Fabric dunnage gets dirty. For as much as 50% of a rack bag’s life, this returnable, reusable packaging is stored outdoors. These dunnage bags are usually empty, but that doesn’t stop the wind from blowing or the rain from falling. If tiny particles of dust become embedded in the liner, parts can get scratched during loading or unloading. If sewn fabric dunnage is exposed to rain, mold can grow and damage the rack bag itself. Fabric dunnage can be cleaned, of course, but an out-of-service bag is just costing you money.
Fabric dunnage gets dirty indoors, too. There’s always airborne dust in a kitting facility or on an assembly line. A roof can keep out the rain, but it won’t keep an assembler’s hands clean. If grease, grit, or grime gets on a part, you’ll need to clean the part’s surface and hope there aren’t any scratches. You may also need to clean the dunnage bag itself. Depending on the materials of construction, perhaps you can use a pressure washer. If you can’t, then add the cost of a cleaning challenge to the cost of your damaged parts.
Fabric Dunnage: Clean Designs, The Right Materials
Rack bag design that’s truly cost-effective isn’t just about CAD drawings and pocket sizes. You need a dunnage supplier who understands how rack bags are sewn, shipped, and used. Selecting the right fabric is an important part of this process. Brushed Tricot is a soft liner material that can be used with Class A surfaces, but this fabric is also a “dirt magnet”. So if you need rack bags for chrome parts or faux wood panels, thinks about what this means. Some scratches can be buffed out, but buffing isn’t free.
Hold-True can help you to get a clean, clear picture of your true dunnage costs. As an experienced supplier of sewn fabric products, we can meet your manufacturing requirements – including some you may not have considered. For example, when a heavy truck company needed to keep silicone greases off unpainted part surfaces, Hold-True used a different lubricant with its sewing equipment. Does your dunnage designer do things like that? To learn more how Hold-True can help you, contact us.