Electronics equipment is some of the most expensive types of property shipped. Unlike shipping ordinary items such as textiles, electronics pose unique challenges to distributors who use shipping services to deliver their products.
Movement, temperature, and even g-forces can wreak havoc on the sensitive components in today’s electronics devices. Simply placing a “fragile” stamp on your packages rarely increases the chances your package will be handled with any more care.
However, with some foresight and planning, you can ship these delicate products safely time and again without worry. To prevent costly damage and returns from customers, we have assembled five tips for shipping electronics.
1. Protecting Batteries
Practically every mobile electronic device is rechargeable. Lithium-ion batteries are powerful cells that provide the recharging capability needed in our high-tech products. Their power, however, is much greater than that found in common dry cell batteries.
With increased power comes increased responsibility when shipping. Air transit especially increases the risk of potential spark and explosion. Batteries should be removed and properly packed separately. This means wrapping or covering each battery in an insulated and non-conductive material. The goal is to ensure any exposed terminals are protected.
2. Special Sensitivities
Not all electronics can be shipped the same way. When shipping electronics with highly sensitive components, take special precautions to protect them from special physical conditions that would not harm everyday devices.
Products may be susceptible to high levels of g-force. In fact, almost every product has a “g-factor.” Scientific and fragile aeronautical equipment have the lowest g-factors between 15-25, while the average flat screen television is considered “moderately delicate” between 60-85. The lower the number, the more critical it will be to protect devices from g-forces.
Certain electronic products are sensitive to EMI/RF frequencies. For protection, cover such devices with aluminum shielding. Failure to protect such devices would render them useless upon arrival if exposed. When shipping electronics with special sensitivities, it is best not to rely on your local pack and ship location to know every device’s specifications.
3. Proper Shipping Materials
Choosing the right materials to use when shipping electronics is important. Taking shortcuts or using low-quality packing materials is the quickest way to exposure electronics to possible damage. Carefully select packing materials based on the type of electronic device you are shipping such as:
Cardboard boxes are often the go-to shipping container most distributors reach for when preparing a shipment. However, for electronics, it is highly recommended to use corrugated cartons. Corrugated boxes have an inside and outside layer that sandwiches a ruffled fluting inside. The result is a sturdy, reusable container less susceptible to collapse and water damage than their paper cardboard counterparts.
Most electronics are odd shaped. Unless you are shipping a device in its original packaging, there will be air space that will need to be filled. There are many options for filling the open space inside of a shipping container including:
- Air pillows
- Bubble wrap
- Packing peanuts
Using paper as a filler is not recommended as the material does not have the ability to hold its shape and thus secure package contents.
Water Activated Tape
With adhesive activated by water, the tape forms a strong and permanent bond with the packing box. The seal is strong, and any tampering will be evident.
4. Understand Regulations
One of the most overlooked aspects of shipping electronics are the applicable laws and regulations each shipper must abide by. Although there are domestic and international standards, be sure to check the destination country’s import regulations. Otherwise, your expensive electronic device may never make it to your customer.
There are a number of helpful websites to assist in meeting shipping rules and regulations including:
In addition to understanding what is allowed in any given shipment, devices will also have their own shipping requirements that may need to be met in order to maintain warranties or any guarantees. Websites such as EverySpec provide specifications for various minimum shipping tolerance standards.
International shipping brings with it many more considerations. Customs regulations differ between countries. And, depending on the value of your electronic device, a fee may be imposed by the destination country’s customs department.
5. Insuring Electronics
The reliability of the major shipping carriers is very high. Advances in technology and tracking software have improved the dependability of shipments domestically and abroad. However, things can and do go wrong. Understanding the role parcel insurance plays in shipping electronics is critical, especially for high-value products.
While each carrier offers insurance, often times it may be better to seek out third-party coverage from companies like Cabrella. Coverage is usually less expensive with the ability to purchase higher limits and insure packages to more countries. If you need to file a claim, payment is much quicker as well.
Bonus: Packing Cords and Accessories
Most electronics at least come with a charging cord. For other pieces of equipment, there could be a number of additional accessories. Each piece should be separately wrapped and secured inside the shipping container.
By separating cords and accessories, you can label each piece for easier identification later. In addition, your shipment will be much more organized and prevent damage from cords, parts, and accessories bumping and rubbing against one another.
Cabrella can save you up to 90% in shipping insurance rates. Click the button below to find get a quote on how much Cabrella could save you!