Foam in Place Packaging: New Ideas, New Product, New Machine

There are many options in the protective packaging industry; whether businesses choose traditional void-fill, packaging peanuts, bubble, micro-foam or other protective packaging solutions, consumers have always had a variety of choices at their fingertips. However, foam in place packaging has remained stagnate with only one option available on the market…until now.

The current foam in place packaging market has been dominated by one line of machines. These machines boast high costs, hard to replace parts and downtime for businesses. What took so long for the packaging industry to get a foam in place line of machines that had lower costs, easy to replace parts and virtually, no downtime? The answer isn’t as clear cut as some may think.

SmartShot HybridSince 1977, there has only been one foam in place packaging provider on the market. Most have known this provider as “Instapak Corporation,” before it was acquired by the Sealed Air Corporation in ’77. What started as an idea conceived by Lockheed Corporation engineers back in the 50s never came to fruition until the late 60s with inventor, Richard Sperry. Instapak was born, and then consumed as a division of Sealed Air shortly after. Was it revolutionary? Absolutely. But, like all things, no one was willing to challenge the original innovators for business.

In 2003, foam packaging veterans got together to discuss and develop new foam in place technology. The result of that discussion was a company called IntelliPack.

After being acquired by Pregis Corporation in 2010, IntelliPack has begun to show major strides in the foam in place market. What’s the big difference between the two foam in place systems? First, consider some basic terminology and understanding of the equipment design.

Designed with the operator in mind, the goal of IntelliPack was to “develop improved foam in place technology, and offer the marketplace an alternative supply source.”-PR Newswire

Some machines can waste foam and/or film. “Cold shot” is a process that results from a gap between the dispenser and the mixing module that is without heating equipment. When the operator takes a break, or shuts down the machine, and later returns, the first shots are cold. This results in bad or wasted foam. IntelliPack heats all the way from the pump head to the mixing module, eliminating cold shot.Temperature is maintained within one degree of leaving the barrel (even when the operator is away). Another feature of ergonomic design comes from the core of the film roll design. IntelliPack designs the core to only be loaded one way (forwards as opposed to backwards). Also, the easy-feed feature eliminates waste of film for the product. These basic changes of design have helped operators be more efficient with their foam packaging.


The main difference between current foam in place systems and the new IntelliPack system comes down to what IntelliPack calls the “5 degrees of separation.”

  • Telemetry: Telemetry collects, monitors and measures information such as foam/film usage, temperature and pressure each time the equipment is operated.
  • Bar Coding: Bar coding keeps operators and operations consistent by delivering the right amount of foam and the right amount of film every time.
  • Equipment: As talked about previously, the equipment is designed for ergonomic use with easy film deployment, easy to replace parts, user-friendly controls and a rugged mixing module.
  • Commitment: Always customer focused, partnering with IntelliPack and IPS ensures businesses that they will always stay connected and continue to be productive with ongoing service.
  • Advantage: No up-front capital investment is required; all parts and labor are free; what else is there? The bottom line is money; how you save it and how you maximize it.

Packaging is seeing a lot of changes, and those still resisting these changes may come to realize that some things really are beginning to change for the better. Trailblazers in the foam in place industry, IntelliPack is considering to push themselves to the limit within the innovation of foam in place technology.
If you would like more information on IntelliPack products or machines, check out Foam in Place Systems online.

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