Characteristics of ‘polybags’ used for low-value consignments in the mail, courier, express and parcel industry

Michael Schadler, Michael Schedler, Martin Knödl, Domenik Prims, Christian Landschützer, André Katterfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the continuous growth of shipment volumes in the courier, express and parcel (CEP) market, mainly driven by e-commerce, the usage of so-called polybags as packaging material for low-value goods is increasingly replacing conventional cardboard boxes or kraft paper envelopes. Especially in the Asian region the usage of polybags as packaging material can be considered as status quo. Despite their advantages regarding costs, durability or tampering protection, the flexible shape and the material properties of polybags lead to major challenges when being processed with automated material handling technology in logistics distribution centers. Depending on one’s point of view the usage of polybags in the CEP industry can be seen as boon or bane. Another dilemma in conjunction with this kind of packaging material is that there is no precise definition of the term polybag neither in literature, nor in the packaging branch or in the CEP industry. This often leads to wrong interpretations and misunderstandings. The aim of this paper is to define polybags based on their physical characteristics and to analyze the behavior of polybags as they can be found in today’s shipments. This paper especially focuses on the evaluation of the limpness/rigidity and the static and dynamic coefficients of friction (COF) of polybags in comparison to cardboard and kraft paper. The paper also discusses other influencing factors such as weight, velocity and lift.
Translated title of the contributionEigenschaften von 'Polybags', welche für geringwertige Sendungen in der Post-, Kurier-, Express- und Paketindustrie verwendet werden
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalLogistics Journal : Reviewed Publications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2022


  • CEP
  • Low-value consignment
  • Mixed mail
  • Polybag
  • Small packet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Management Information Systems
  • Management Science and Operations Research

Fields of Expertise

  • Mobility & Production

Cite this