Tips for Shipping Electronics Safely

Safety is paramount when shipping electronics.

Probably one of the most fragile things to ship are electronics. Today, electronics are one of the most frequently shipped items worldwide. Most electronics, particularly computers, contain thousands upon thousands of tiny little parts that must be protected.

No matter if you are shipping a vital hard drive, twenty new servers or 100 motherboards, some simple steps for packing can ensure that your electronics arrive undamaged.

When shipping electronics you must protect them from three major factors that can cause damage: shock/vibration, electro-static discharge (ESD) and environmental extremes. Let’s explore each of those in more detail to see what specific protections need to be taken into consideration for each of them.

Electro-Static Discharge

People who work with electronics on an everyday basis are very familiar with this danger and take many steps to protect against it. This is the same thing that will cause your hair to stand on end, balloons to stick to walls and that little spark to shock someone if you rub your feet on the carpet. Unfortunately for your electronic devices, this can prove fatal. ESD can wipe hard drives, destroy CPUs and render expensive hardware useless.

When shipping electronics, you must wrap them in an ESD safe bag. This will prevent any static that builds up in shipping or from shipping materials. When packing the items, make sure to do it using a static free floor mat, or if possible an electrostatic band that you would wear on your wrist.

Shock and Vibration

Electronics can be very susceptible to vibration and shock during shipping. On a circuit board, all it takes is a small microscopic crack to render a critical connection inoperable, making the board unusable. There are a few steps that you can take to eliminate shock and vibration damage.

  • Remove all components that are capable of being removed. If you are shipping a motherboard, remove the CPU and all auxiliary boards. This will prevent vibration damage on critical insertion points; these can often be a weaker section of the circuit board.
  • Pad all extended or easily broken components that cannot be removed. This could be as simple as using packing peanuts or foam. More complex solutions are egg type packing or even custom foam packing to form fit the board.
  • Have a custom crate constructed. If you work with a company that builds custom crates, you can provide them with the details of your shipping needs and they can use their expertise to assist you in shipping.

Shipping Environment

This is the hardest variable of the three to control. Depending on the time of year, the distance you are shipping and the carrier method you choose, your electronics can see quite a few extremes. Sometimes the environmental issues can be mitigated with specialized packing like shrink wrapping or environmentally sealed crates.

If your equipment is particularly sensitive, it may be necessary to ship using environmentally controlled cars, trucks, boats or train cars. Be sure to check with your carrier to see what would best suit your needs.

We can provide advice, custom crating and other shipping services to assist you in making sure that your electronics arrive safely. Contact us today for your electronics shipping needs.