There are many ways to protect parts, products or components as they advance through the manufacturing lifecycle. For example, rubber or vinyl caps can protect and cover exposed ends or connections from one part of the assembly operation to the next, or cardboard boxes can hold finished parts in storage or during shipment to customers or retailers. But plastic netting provides a more flexible solution – literally – that can offer protection from the first step in manufacturing to the last, and serve as a particularly versatile option for unique or distinctive product shapes.
Plastic netting is not made like traditional netting, but is instead extruded. This means there is no weaving involved, eliminating the potential for separation that could occur with threaded or nylon nets. Instead, plastic netting is made with polyethylene formed in a special extrusion machine. This results in circular netting, with sizing adjusted to meet a specific customer’s need. Looped netting can also be cut and then rolled, creating spools of flat sheets of netting.
Loops can be created in various sizes to accommodate a range of product sizes, while four different thickness options offer varying degrees of flexibility. At the low end, Caplugs’ ultra light duty netting is 0.050 inches thick and features the greatest amount of elasticity to hug the contours of a wrapped product. This contrasts with the 0.080-inch-thick heavy-duty netting which is more rigid, features more strands and tighter spacing of the diamond pattern of the netting, all giving the netting enhanced durability for heavier parts. In some series, like our Sleeve-Web® netting (SW Series), you can order any of the different thickness options to meet your specific needs.
The number of uses for plastic netting is even more broad than the range of sizes. Some netting lines, like the CBW Series, are used for low-impact product protection, and commonly seen as a wrap around your favorite wine or liquor bottle. Mid-tier netting offers a balance of size and flex, making it useful for wrapping other glass rods, tubing, storage tanks or even rolled paper products. The largest and thickest netting series are often used to protect automotive parts like transmission or engine components.
Netting also holds a distinct advantage when it comes to oddly shaped products. With an inherent flexibility, plastic netting can stretch to cover irregular shapes and contours more easily and quickly, making it easy to put on and remove and eliminating the need for a series of other packaging and protective materials that need to be customized or applied by hand in a time-consuming process. This makes netting a great alternative for any part that would normally be a struggle to protect with a standard solution.
Plastic netting can also serve as a separator, used as nesting and packed as a layer between stacked parts to prevent scratching or contact when stores or shipped. Our PMW Series of flat sheet netting is more durable than options like cardboard, wood or stryofoam that can rot or disintegrate when wet or after contact with oils, solvents or other coatings. With the current surge in pricing on many alternative shipping materials, including cardboard and lumber, choosing plastic netting could also be a more affordable and available option, while also offering a possible reusable solution for your operations.
In addition to the range of sizes and thicknesses, plastic netting can also be further customized to handle a specific customer request or application. For example, our netting is commonly ordered in a variety of color options. This can offer a way to easily identify different parts at a glance on a combined manufacturing floor or meet branding requests for a retailer. Color options can also differentiate different types of compressed gas or indicate if a tank is full or empty while also preventing damage and protecting required DOT or other regulatory labels. Netting can also be ordered with custom die-cutting, allowing for the delivery of premade shapes to make stacking, shipping and storage easier.
Caplugs also offers two series made for protecting medical instruments and tools – CSWF open-ended and CSWF-C closed-ended. With the flexible material offering protection that stretches to fit the stored part and a porousness that can aid in final sterilization, both series are available in a spectrum of different color options and the closed-end design includes a pull-tab for easier grip and removal.
Another unique Sleeve-Web® option is the SWI Series which features a rust inhibitor. This special additive to the netting material helps to prevent corrosion and protects against rust for up to six months. This can be invaluable for parts that will face long-term storage or products used in harsh working environments. The SWI series is also a popular option for products like compressed gas tanks that are used outdoors year-round, protecting tanks from getting scratched on a truck or in a shop while also preventing rust and corrosion.
Netting offers a versatile and affordable solution for production protection, and an especially beneficial option for odd and irregularly shaped parts. With greater durability than paper, foam or cardboard, plastic netting also has the potential for reuse, helping you get more usable life from your protective products. Is netting the right choice for you? Explore our inventory online, request a free sample or contact us today and speak with one of our experts who can help you decide.