Shipping tubes, also known as mailing tubes, are cylindrical containers designed to protect and transport rolled documents, posters, artwork, and other items that cannot be folded. These tubes are typically made from materials such as cardboard, plastic, or metal and come in a variety of sizes and shapes to meet different shipping needs.

The primary function of shipping tubes is to provide safe and protective packaging for roll items during shipping and mailing. Rolled items such as artwork, blueprints, project plans, and posters are often too large or fragile to be folded or placed into traditional flat packaging, making shipping tubes ideal for safe transport.

1. Shipping tube material options

Shipping tubes are available in a variety of materials, including cardboard, plastic, and metal. Each material offers varying degrees of durability, protection, and environmental impact.

1) Cardboard Tubes

Often referred to as cardboard tubes, they are the most common shipping tube material. Made from recycled paper, they are lightweight, affordable, and environmentally friendly. Depending on the level of durability needed, these tubes come in different thicknesses. Thinner tubes cost less and are ideal for transporting lightweight items such as posters, charts, and maps. Thicker tubes are more durable and can be used to transport heavier items such as textiles and art.

2) Plastic tubes

Made of polyethylene or polypropylene, they are more durable and waterproof than cardboard tubes. They come in different colors, thicknesses, and shapes and can be transparent or opaque. Plastic tubes are ideal for transporting items that require more protection, such as textiles, art, and fragile items. They are also more expensive than cardboard tubes and have a greater environmental impact.

3) Metal Pipe

The most durable and safest shipping option. They are made of steel or aluminum and are resistant to water, fire, and other hazards. Metal pipes are ideal for transporting heavy and valuable items such as blueprints, architectural drawings, and engineering plans. They are also more expensive than cardboard or plastic tubes and have a greater impact on the environment.

When selecting shipping tube materials, it is important to consider the level of protection required, the weight and fragility of the items being transported, and the environmental impact of the material. Cardboard tubes are an environmentally friendly and economical option for shipping lightweight items, while plastic and metal tubes offer greater durability and protection for heavier or more fragile items.

Shipping Tubes

2. Mailing tube style

Mailing tubes are an important packaging solution for safely transporting rolls or delicate items. They come in a variety of styles to suit different needs, from open tubes for flat items to telescopic tubes for adjustable lengths. Understanding these different styles can help you choose the mailing tube that best suits your shipping needs, ensuring your items arrive at their destination safely and securely.

1) Open-ended tube

This type of mailing tube has a flush cutout on one end and a removable plastic end cap on the other end that allows easy insertion and removal of the contents. Open tubes are often used to transport art, posters, and other flat items.

2) Crimp end tubes

Crimp end tubes are crimped on one end and open on the other end. The crimped ends provide a secure closure for the tube and protect the contents from moisture and dirt. Documents, blueprints, and other rolled items are commonly mailed in these tubes.

3) Telescopic Tubes

Telescopic tubes have a nested design, with one tube installed inside another. This allows the length to be adjusted, making it suitable for a variety of items. They usually have plastic end caps to secure the contents.

4) Triangular Tube

Made of sturdy cardboard with a triangular cross-section, triangular tubes are ideal for transporting items that require extra protection, such as posters or blueprints. They are usually closed with plastic end caps and can be stacked for easy storage.

Shipping Tubes

3. Shipping tube customization options

Shipping tubes can be customized to meet specific shipping needs. Here are some common customization options:

  • Size: Shipping tubes come in different sizes to accommodate a variety of items. It is also possible to order custom sizes to fit unique items.
  • Thickness: There are different levels of protection provided by shipping tubes, depending on their thickness. Thicker tubes are more durable and provide more protection than thinner tubes.
  • Closures: Shipping tubes can be sealed with a variety of closures, including plastic and metal end caps and snap-on caps. End caps are the most common closures and are made of the same material as the tube, plastic, or metal.
  • Labeling: Shipping tubes can be labeled with your company logo, product information, and shipping instructions. Labels can be printed directly on the tube or on a separate label affixed to the tube.
  • Color: Shipping tubes can be manufactured in a variety of colors to easily differentiate between different items or cargo.
  • Printed design: Shipping tubes can be printed with custom designs, patterns, or images to add branding or personalization to the packaging. It can be single or multi-color flexographic random printing, or laminated with offset labels.

Customization options may vary based on tube material. For example, cardboard tubes can be printed with custom designs using flexo or offset printing processes. Plastic tubes can be produced in different colors, thicknesses, and shapes and can be labeled with printed stickers or direct printing. Metal tubes can be customized with labels printed or etched on the tube surface.

4. Advantages and disadvantages of transport tubes

Shipping tubes have several advantages and disadvantages for shipping and mailing items:

1) Advantages

  • Protection: Mailing tubes provide a protective barrier for rolled items during shipping and mailing. They help prevent damage from moisture, dirt, and other hazards.
  • Versatility: Shipping tubes are versatile and can be used to transport a variety of items, including posters, artwork, and blueprints.
  • Customization: Size, thickness, closure, labeling, color, and print design can be customized to meet specific shipping requirements.
  • Affordable: Shipping options are affordable, especially for lightweight items that can be shipped via standard mail.

2) Disadvantages

  • Limited capacity: Sizes are limited and may not fit larger items or items that cannot be rolled up.
  • Environmental impact: Mailing tubes made of plastic or metal have a greater environmental impact than mailing tubes made of cardboard because they are more difficult to recycle or biodegrade.
  • Shipping restrictions: Some carriers may have restrictions on shipping certain tubular items, such as liquids or hazardous materials.
Shipping tube

5. Shipping tube application

Shipping tubes can be used in a variety of applications to transport and store rolled items that cannot be folded or placed in traditional flat packaging. Here are some common applications:

  • Artwork and Photography: Shipping and storage of framed art, photography, and prints. The tube’s protective barrier helps prevent damage to the artwork during shipping.
  • Blueprints and Project Plans: Mailing tubes are often used to ship blueprints, project plans, and other large documents. These tubes protect rolled documents from damage and can be customized to fit the specific dimensions of rolled items.
  • Posters and Banners: Typically used to ship posters, banners, and signs. These tubes protect rolled items from wrinkling or tearing during shipping.
  • Textiles: Shipping tubes are used to transport textiles, fabrics and garments. These tubes provide protection and prevent items from getting wrinkled or damaged during shipping.
  • Sporting Goods: Mailing tubes are also used to transport sporting goods such as fishing rods, golf clubs, and bats. These tubes provide a protective barrier that prevents items from being bent or damaged during shipping.
  • Maps and Charts: For shipping and storing maps and charts. These tubes protect rolled items from damage and can be customized to fit the specific dimensions of a map or chart.

6. Is shipping tubes right for you?

If you need to transport or store rolled items such as artwork, blueprints, posters, or textiles that cannot be folded, mailing shipping tubes may be a good choice for you. Shipping tubes provide a protective barrier and can be customized to meet specific shipping needs, including size, thickness, closure, labeling, color, and printed design. However, it is important to consider the pros and cons of different material options and custom features to ensure that shipping tubes meet the specific needs of the items being transported.

Is postal mail right for you?

7. Conclusion

The above is our summary of the materials and advantages and disadvantages of transportation tubes. Through this article, you can determine whether shipping tubes are suitable for your product. If you are interested in shipping tubes, please contact Hopakpackaging.

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