What to expect when you’re expecting - an air cushion machine. Five things you’ll want to know.
So you’ve talked it over with your business partner and decided that the timing is right. The gestation period of your company seems like this addition will make things better for you. But, you still have a nagging feeling like this will change everything – buying an air pillow machine. How can you align your expectations with reality? Did you just throw your money away, is this going to be another piece of equipment that you’ll have to master among all the other jobs you already have?
Since the air cushion machine has already been shipped to your business, here’s what you can expect. Let’s remove the fear.
- Size: Depending upon the model of air pillow machine you purchased, it should arrive in a square box measuring about 24” x 24” x 24”, weighing about 30 pounds. As you pull the machine from the box, your anxiety peaks before it starts to dissipate.
- Characteristics: Not much bigger than a traditional laser printer or old fashion fax machine, all air cushion machines have similarities. They have a roll holder for the film or roll of flat air cushions (we’ll discuss more about “film” shortly). A blade, an air tube that inflates the film and a heat sealer that reseals the film to make a solid balloon or bubble of void fill packaging.
- Start-up: So the process is easy, simply plug the machine in, once you turn it on and you will notice the air pillow machine will start to warm up. It is literally warming up to a temperature where the sealing mechanism can melt or seal the plastic film together to create a strong and lasting air bubble.
- Film Installation: Insert the roll of plastic film onto the roll holder. Indicator labels will show if the film should come from the top or bottom of the roll. This is the same argument many couple have about their toilet paper roll holder, should it unroll from the top or bottom? Let’s side step that argument for now and simply follow the instructions on the machine. Once the machine indicates it is ready, lick the tip pf you finger and gently separate the film as you pull the film over the air nozzle. The machine may have a “film” advance button that will help you pull the film through the nozzle tube and through the heat sealing mechanism. This is the hard part, and it’s really not that hard. This only needs to be done every time you put on a new roll of film. Simple.
- Make Product: Mechanically speaking, the air cushion machine will cut the air cushion film on one side, fill it with air and then quickly reseal it so no air escapes. Most rolls of air cushion film have perforations every six to twelve inches, for easy separation when packing products. Push start and your air cushion machine should start inflating the film into air cushions, honestly it’s fun (besides being super-efficient in saving time and money).
Let’s say, you’ve recently started an ecommerce store and may be new to the pack and ship industry, who knew the pack and ship niche segment has been around for decades and is a multibillion dollar market segment. It may not make sense to a new comer, but manufacturers of air cushions or air pillows have always called the product “film” that is because they are extruded from large machines in thin sheets of, well film or HDPE/LDPE plastic, and the pattern is stamped (bubble waves or square bag 4x8” or 8x8”, void fill configurations) into the thin sheets of film at the time of manufacturing. Your new air cushion machine cannot create the pattern or shape of the air cushion – that is done at the time of manufacturing. That is why when you get an air pillow machine you have to order different types of film or air cushions, either void fill packaging 4x8” or 8x8” bags or bubble for wrapping products.
Hopefully this review of what to expect when you’re anticipating the arrival of your air cushion machine will ease the stress and allow you to relax and enjoy the process. In a very short time you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one.