A steel product manufacturer thought that utilizing Railroad ties to fill the void was their only, and best, option for transporting their steel loads. We helped them see that airbags are the most reliable and economical cushion packaging, with options to suit any product, even large steel loads.

What obstacle was our client facing?


When we asked our customer how they ship their products, it was discovered that they were shipping large steel bars via rail and flat bed trailer. They were lifting, placing and shifting large railroad ties when they placed their product into the railroad car. Then at the end of the road, they were repeating this process to get the product out, making the task extremely exhausting. This method was taking employees an average of four hours per railroad car to place the wood ties in. Not to mention it is an expensive way to fill the void in the cars.

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The PDA Way

We suggested that the customer take a look into using airbags instead:

  • They were skeptical that the bags could hold their loads, due to the immense weight.
  • We provided supporting material to make sure they understood the airbags’ ability.
  • Then came the testing: we provided the customer with sample bags so they could make the best decision to keep their products well protected and ensure staff safety.
  • After just two test shipments they were convinced this was the best way to make sure their product was protected during transportation.

What was the outcome?

As a result of switching from railroad ties to airbags the customer was able to save $80,000 per year in packaging costs. They also were able to cut shipping labor by 1,500 hours a year, due to the fact that using railroad ties was taking on average 4 hours per car, and the airbags take 15 minutes from start to finish.


The most important result is that the airbags are safer than the railroad ties. They went from not knowing they had a problem to saving 50% on shipping, saving on labor, improving employee safety, decreasing changes of an accident, and an increase in workspace.


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Need Equipment Service?

We have packaging equipment service technicians available to help! Learn more about our nationwide coverage and service options.

Need urgent help? Call us now:
(404) 592-0580