PD_Packaging Digest

Packaging Digest, Spring 2016

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31 www.PackagingDigest.com SPRING 2016 // BEST PRACTICES during package redesigns, to meet customer demands, prior to product launch or to proactively test your packaging design. Ideally it's best to test as early as possible and it's recommended to do so during the packaging design phase. Tere are a number of ways to approach testing. Tree distinct approaches and services are: 1. Customer Application Review: Conducted onsite, an evaluation of current packaging methods followed by a comprehensive report of analyses and recommendations. Whether looking to upgrade a packaging system with new products or looking to identify further savings, this one to three day review can help. 2. Field Engineering: Services are performed onsite. It can include developing a new package or providing support through an existing project. Te package can also be followed through the entire supply chain environment. 3. Packaging Laboratory Testing: Products are tested in a controlled environment on various ISTA-certifed equipment to ensure the packaging solution can withstand various harsh handling and shipping conditions. Of the services listed, the most common is the laboratory testing because it is efective and efcient. It also helps prove that recommended unit containment solutions will work in the real- world. For more complex or early-stage products, feld testing is highly recommended. According to our laboratory packaging engineers, on average 40 hours of engineering work is required to properly test a unit. Timelines can vary based on the product conditions and testing parameters. testing solutions So what tests are available? From vibration tables to environmental chambers, there are a number of solutions available to ensure products arrive in their intended condition. One of the most popular tests is the Random Vibration Simulation machine, which reproduces vertical vibration that packaged products experience during shipping and handling. As mentioned earlier, the random vibration equipment can simulate long-distance travel at a fraction of the time and cost without risk. For example, a 30-day railcar trip can be simulated on the random vibration table in just several hours. Te key element to the machines' success is a portable shock and vibration recorder equipped with a time and date stamp. Te recorder collects transportation-specifc data that can be replicated later on the random vibration table. In conjunction with a separate GPS (global positioning system), the exact location of product impact, shock or vibration can also be determined. For products transported via ship or railcar, a Rotary Motion Vibration machine is best used to simulate its unique transportation conditions. Tere are also shocks and impacts that typically occur during truck shipments and railcar coupling. An Incline Impact Machine can simulate railcar coupling and truck shocks for packaged products. Before a palletized unit is placed on a truck or railcar it's most likely being transported throughout the warehouse and storage yard via forklift trucks or other equipment. A Rough Handling Test can be used to recreate shock and vibration during handling. In other instances, testing the environmental conditions of the product throughout the supply chain is most critical. Tis is especially true for refrigerated and frozen foods, produce and dairy applications. Whether the requirement is to test hot or cold temperatures, a Conditioning Chamber can duplicate conditions from -20-deg F. through +100-deg F. When looking to test how unitized products perform when stacked or subjected to stacking weight, a Compression Test apparatus is used. Tis test is especially important for customers that stack settling or shrinking type units in warehouses or big-box stores. To condition the unit for warehousing, compression strapping is recommended. A compression test can generate forces up to 20,000 lbs. Other common tests include a Drop Test, to illustrate product performance when less than a 150 pound packaged product is literally dropped. the future Tere will always be a need to transport goods from a manufacturer to a destination. As transportation evolves and new products are developed, testing will endure to be an efective and efcient way for ensuring properly secured packaged products, as its benefts are felt throughout the supply chain. Neil Weisensel is brand and marketing director at Muller. As part of the Signode Industrial Group (SIG), Muller frequently solves customer load containment challenges in the SIG Application Development and Research Laboratory, commonly referred to as the "SIG Packaging Lab" (www.signode.com/ evaluation-testing). The lab is equipped with ISTA certified simulation equipment designed to reproduce the forces that products experience in transit. An incline impact machine can replicate what packages might encounter during shipment on a truck, for example. Packaged products can be tested in an environmental chamber, like the one above, to see how they will react to different temperatures over time. testing eliminates fuel, personnel and equipment needed to perform the actual journey and proactively isolates and helps solve perceived challenges.

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