Quantfury Gazette


The bubble revolution

María A Contributor
Open box with bubble wrap sealed air corp nyse see (2)

Nothing is more rewarding than dedicating our time and effort to a new project. And this is what I have been doing; I decided to move to a new city in search of new opportunities. Packed all my belongings in different boxes, and when I unpacked at my new destination, I noticed that the box where I had stored my computer and a spare screen had been badly damaged. The reality is that I needed to replace them, and this served as a lesson which perhaps meant I had not used the correct packaging technique. 

The answer in advance was “yes”, but the curious thing I discovered about this wrapping material was its accidental creation. In 1957 Alfred W. Fielding and Marc Chavannes created an innovative wall-covering system using two plastic sheets with air bubbles inside. But this invention was never successful. However, they were able to realize something important: the plastic was very light and was insulating. You may wonder how this invention relates to what happened to me. Well, that was the birth of a new packaging system that would later become known as Bubble wrap. Today, it’s the flagship product of Sealed Air Corp (NYSE: SEE).

This bubble wrap provides cushioning for fragile and sensitive objects, protecting them from any impact or vibration that could damage them during transport. The first massive use of this type of packaging was made by IBM in 1960 to ship its IBM 1401 computers to its customers, who were surprised to see a type of packaging that was unknown to them.

Perhaps we have all had some fun at some time, or perhaps we have taken the stress out of squeezing these classic air bubbles, which came to us to protect a purchase. But the important thing is that they are used to transport sensitive electronic parts and components due to their antistatic characteristics so that they protect all types of semiconductors when they are sent from one factory to another. They are also used for the transportation of artwork, car windshields, household appliances, and anything else that needs to be protected from possible shocks, scratches or any other damage.

The term “bubble wrap,” owned by Sealed Air Corp (NYSE: SEE), due to its enormous popularity and importance, has become a generic trademark, that is, a way of designating a class of products. Although there are no concrete statistics on how much bubble wrap is used by companies, the fact is that the post-pandemic era has exponentially increased package shipments around the world, and the use of bubble wrap helps to reduce the rate of damaged and returned items, while proper packaging reduces costs, since these have changed from a cost per package weight to a cost per dimensional weight, i.e., per size.

The company, a pioneer when it comes to innovating in the creation of packaging, as it did with bubble wrap, has decided to go much further, including the digitalization of packaging, including a QR code on the packaging, which facilitates the logistics of the products and ensures the perfect condition of the shipments when they reach the customers. This is how the idea of smart packaging arose, with the aim of satisfying operational and marketing needs and improving the image of brands in the eyes of consumers. They allow consumers, manufacturers and retailers to be connected through packaging.

This type of packaging with QR allows real-time tracking of products, optimizing the supply chain; customers are sure that they have the product they really want; and they can also, through this new digital experience, access information about them, tutorials, recipes, recommendations on similar products or access promotions.

Today, Sealed Air Corp (NYSE: SEE) is a leading manufacturer of packaging, primarily for protection. They are dedicated to creating the best way to protect food, healthcare items and everything else that is important to companies and customers. But, at the same time that they create solutions for logistics in all its variants, they are aware of the great environmental impact that can be generated. That is why they have, among their priorities, a commitment to design packaging solutions that are 100% recyclable or reusable by 2025.

By the way! My shipment arrived safe and sound the next day, wrapped in the famous Bubble wrap, and I remembered the importance of these simple bubbles in my shipments.


Want to get published in the Quantfury Gazette? Learn more.