By Rob Kaszubowski, Packaging Engineering Manager
Who knew you could actually damage a product while placing it into its protective packaging? But that’s the exact problem Chainalytics packaging engineers recently tackled for a construction materials client.
The company’s heavy vinyl lined products were being scuffed and scratched when slid into their secondary packaging for shipment—creating significant costs from damage returns, warranty repairs, and service calls. But abrasion during loading wasn’t the only problem: Products were often damaged during unloading from sliding the product back out of the box.
|Abrasion damage created from sliding product into box|
To add to the packaging failure complexity, the product came in multiple sizes and weights and was manufactured on multiple lines. The tact time for the packaging operation was less than 20 seconds, leaving little time to physically add any extra protection components.
A streamlined solution to a multi-layered packaging problem
The Chainalytics’ packaging team developed a unique testing method to replicate the vinyl product sliding into a box using a variable speed conveyor-like system (think of a treadmill). Only in this case the process was reversed: The vinyl was placed in a fixed position with a determined weight applied and a strip of corrugated material was run across the vinyl at a speed that matched loading speeds on the line.
|Customized abrasion test created to solve for multiple damage solutions.|
The test enabled the team to establish baseline damage that was replicable to typical damage seen at the packing line. From there, they were able to test multiple packaging attributes to determine the severity levels of any single variable including:
- packaging substrates
- materials from multiple corrugated vendors
- various board weights
- liner board combinations
- environmental conditions
- corrugation direction
- vinyl colors
- abrasion reducing coatings for corrugated
Solutions testing helps us create the optimal packaging system
After establishing the baseline damage of the current state, engineers ran the same test looking at possible concept solutions. Again, the unique test setup enabled testing multiple possible solution variations in a short amount of time while using minimal sample product for testing.
Following the solutions testing the team identified multiple solutions and was able to obtain quotes and perform costing analysis to determine the most feasible solution that would balance reducing the damage while not increasing packaging costs significantly.
Ultimately, the innovative test setup and customized test protocol expedited the time it took to solve for damage, balanced extensive damage/returns costs with new packaging costs and created a net savings benefit. The packaging team was able to identify a cost effective solution that was able to significantly reduce the abrasion damage from loading the product into the secondary packaging and was a transparent change for the operators at the manufacturing line.
If your team is struggling with a packaging issue and in search of a customized solution to help solve a customized problem, contact Chainalytics’ packaging professionals at Packaging@chainalytics.com or give us a call at +1 612 260 7845