Reusable Packaging Design
Written by Steve Melito on October 26, 2017 in Rack Bag Design

Reusable packaging design for dunnage that’s built-to-last can save you time and money. In the automotive, heavy truck, power sports, and aerospace industries, sewn fabric dunnage is replacing cardboard boxes and other disposable materials. Recyclable packaging can cost more up-front, but sewn bags provide a strong return on investment (ROI) when they’re designed and manufactured properly.

Hold-True, a Made in the USA manufacturer of sewn fabric dunnage, helps packaging engineers and managers who want the best rack bags for the strongest ROI. There are different reasons why a reusable packaging design can fail, but there are seven common mistakes to avoid. Let’s look at these challenges so that you can design reusable packaging that’s durable, dependable, and cost-efficient.

Load Carrying

If the seams on your sewn fabric dunnage are tearing, there’s probably too much loading on the stitching. Remember that rack bags also include plastic shelves and metal racks that can help carry the weight. The best dunnage designs maximize these packaging support features.

Seam Construction

To keep seams from tearing, it’s important to reinforce the ends since that’s where seam stress is the highest. Reinforcing tabs can also prevent threads from pulling-out of the fabric. Seams can fail for other reasons as well, so make sure you understand all the potential challenges with threads and stitching.

Shelf Materials

The plastic shelves in reusable packaging are usually made of Pcorr or CON-Pearl®. Unlike Pcorr, CON-Pearl provides strength in every direction. If the plastic shelves on your rack bags are broken or pushed-in, then there’s probably too much spot loading. Webbing can help, but rack bag fabric can still tear since the webbing isn’t the primary load carrier.


The uprights on rack bags can be sewn to the shelves, or sewn together. For best results, sew the shelves to the uprights.

Skid Plates

Sewn fabric dunnage that provides a strong ROI includes skid plates for resistance to abrasion, high wear, and sharp edges. Without skid plates, product loading can cause tearing to the packaging.

Fabric Selection

Some recyclable packaging spends as much as 50% of its life outdoors. That’s why it’s important to select rack bag fabric that resists water, weather, and sunlight. Fabric that isn’t UV-resistant becomes brittle, cracks, or turns yellow.

Rack Support

Packaging engineers can design rack bags for collapsible racks, but many packaging designs are too heavy or don’t stay within the footprint of the collapsed rack. If your reusable packaging needs to fit a collapsible rack, make sure to account for rack bag dimensions and weight.

Got a Question About Reusable Packaging Design?

Do you have questions about the seven common challenges with reusable packaging design? Then it’s time to get the answers you need from a design and manufacturing partner you can trust. To get started, contact Hold-True.

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