Innovative Paper-Based “Bubble Wrap"

Request Number REQ6293590
Due Date September 4, 2015
Request for Proposal Details
RFP Title
Innovative Paper-Based “Bubble Wrap"
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing a leading manufacturer of paper conversion systems used in cushioning and void fill applications, invites proposals for technologies, materials, or systems to improve the cushioning properties of a paper-based packaging material. The RFP sponsor seeks approaches that enable an on-site, on-demand paper system that can compete with inflatable plastic bubble materials used for cushioning, block & bracing, and void fill applications.


Packaging materials come in a variety of forms, including inflatable air cushions, peanuts, foam in-place corrugated inserts, and paper and film-based materials. Performance (cushioning ability) and cost are the main considerations when selecting a packaging material.


Some commercial operations use on-demand packaging systems to facilitate their packaging needs. For example, some bubble wrap (Bubble on Demand, “BOD”) is shipped to the consumer in flat film rolls; the end user inflates the appropriate sized packaging material at the time of packaging. To accommodate these packaging operations, dedicated systems must meet requirements for size, speed, and ease of use.


The RFP sponsor, a leader in paper packaging systems, seeks methods to improve the performance of paper for use in commercial packaging. The goal is to find a paper system that performs as well as current inflatable bubble on demand (3/4” and 1” thick) in mainly cushioning but also wrapping and void fill properties. The challenge is in keeping costs reasonable while improving the ability of paper to provide cushioning and void fill requirements. Paper type must be of a quality that allows for on-demand production.


Key Success Criteria

The successful technology will:

• Improve the performance properties of current paper packaging materials (cushioning characteristics, durability)

• Be similar in cost to current inflatable plastic barrier bubble materials or other popular cushioning products

• Be adaptable to an on-site, on-demand process.

• Paper used in this application must be able to be shipped flat (e.g. in a roll of paper); the client will not consider approaches that must be shipped to consumers with air incorporated into the product

• Desired Criteria in a fully-formed solution must be comparable to the present inflatable bubble materials for cushioning applications:

○ Width: Minimum output width 12”, and preferably able to provide adjustability in output width to wider than 12”

○ Durability and cushioning properties should be equal to or better than the same properties in currently available 1” thick inflatable bubble wrap.

• Other desirable (but not required) properties of a potential approach:

○ Incorporation of recycled or post-consumer-use paper (sustainably processed paper)

○ Paper conversion systems that can improve upon the speed of current on-demand packaging equipment


Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

• Product designs that use paper as the base medium to achieve maximum cushioning

• Modification of paper to improve volume in a void fill application

○ Paper additives, pulp modification, post-processing or other substrate improvements

• Modification of on-demand packaging material processes or equipment

○ Innovative paper conversion systems or equipment

○ Adaptation of technologies from packaging material equipment other than paper conversion

• Methods for folding or manipulating flat paper to increase paper volume


Approaches not of interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

• Approaches that add significant cost to typical packaging material offerings

• Systems that cannot be scaled for consumer use

○ The equipment footprint must be adaptable to a typical commercial packaging environment.

○ Current equipment uses a standard wall outlet power source. Proposed approaches should not have significantly greater power requirements.

• Materials or processes that may have a negative effect on the end-user environment such as production of paper dust, unpleasant odors or off-gassing, etc.


Preferred Collaboration types
  • Joint Development
  • Contract Research
  • Contract Analysis and Testing
  • Technology Licensing
  • Technology Acquisition
  • Consulting
  • Supply Agreement
  • To Be Negotiated
Items to be submitted

To respond, please make sure you are registered in NineSights, as it will prompt you to log in. Then, use the Response options at the top or bottom of the page. You may submit supplemental files in addition to your completed response form.


Appropriate responses will use the response form and address the following:

• Provide a clear and concise description, in non-confidential terms only, of the proposed technology and current application.

• Availability of samples

• General availability of the material used in your proposed approach: quantity, lead-time, etc.

• Estimated application or development cost

• Position on IP ownership, list of relevant patents (if applicable)

• Technical maturity of the approach (concept, prototype, ready to commercialize, commercialized)

• Description of manufacturing capability

• Team description and related experience

• Any other information deemed relevant in the evaluation of the proposed technology


Other Request information includes:



Responses from companies (small to large), academic researchers, other research institutes, consultants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome. For example:


I represent a company that has a mature paper-molding process that can be adapted to the application as stated in this RFP.

I represent an academic institution that has demonstrated a proof of concept for a paper production application that should provide a solution but that requires further development to ready it for transfer to commercial use.



Area of Interest
  • Packaging
Request Priority
This page does not have file attachments.
This page does not have file attachments.