Our team contains experts in primary packaging, advanced packaging materials, pallets and distribution packaging, supply chain optimization, lean manufacturing, and process improvement. Our diverse expertise and 40+ years of knowledge generated through state-of-the-art research and real life industrial consulting allows us to help your company create safer, more sustainable, and cheaper packages, unit loads, and transportation systems. We are part of the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials in the College of Natural Resources & Environment at Virginia Tech.

CPULD is the one of the leading research facilities in the US that performs comprehensive research and development work, provides technical assistance, and offers educational programs focusing the whole packaging system – including pallets, primary and secondary packaging, and material handling equipment. Using state of the art technology, we research every aspect of the material handling system from primary packaging all the way through unit load design.

The Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design is an Industry/University Partnership. Membership is open to all individuals, firms, and associations interested in unit load based material handling efficiency. Industry members provide support, encouragement, advice, and funding. Membership funds help us attract and train high caliber employees and conduct state-of-the-art research needed by industry.

Our laboratories are certified to conduct tests by:

The National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) is the largest international
organization with more than 625 company members in 28 countries who manufacture, repair
and distribute pallets and wood packaging in unit-load solutions, or who supply products and
services to the industry.

Our mission is to provide an environment for our members to succeed while promoting the
wood pallet and wood packaging industry.

National Wooden Pallet &
Container Association


CHEP is a global provider of supply chain solutions serving the consumer goods, fresh food,
beverage, manufacturing and retail sectors in more than 60 countries. CHEP offers a wide
range of logistics and operational platforms and support services that are designed to increase
performance and lower risk while improving environmental sustainability.



Founded in 1976, PTM has over 40 years of experience manufacturing plastic products and
providing customized solutions tailored to meet the needs of our customers.
Our business model is based on 3 fundamental pillars: innovative design, operational
excellence, sustainability.

Our product design and engineering team enables us to transform ideas into highly
functional products that benefit the supply chain. Many companies have placed their
trust in PTM – including the automotive, material handling, and the food and beverage



Student Spotlight:

Graduate Student:

Alina Mejias

Alina is a graduate student from Costa Rica who is pursuing her M.S. degree in packaging. Alina’s research focuses on modeling the cost of low quality pallets on the cost of the supply chain.

Undergraduate Student:

Jessie Arevalo

Jessie is a 2017 Sustainable Packaging Designer Trainee. He is working as an ISTA certified lab technician and is investigating the effect of material handling on unit load containment force. 


We’ve been working hard to create and maintain an up-to-date employment section here on our new website. In this area you’ll find listings for any position needing to be filled here at the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design; Undergraduate Internships, Graduate Study Assistantships, and even just part-time employment opportunities. 

We are currently seeking multiple interns to help with the development of new classes about the IoT and Smart Packaging as well as to help design and create smart sensors and packaging for research studies.

Qualified candidates for our Smart Packaging Internship will be responsible for conducting independent research, developing practical laboratory exercises using systems and sensors connected to raspberry pi or similar systems, as well as helping faculty to create coursework that will disseminate this info to the next generation of packaging students

Qualified candidates for our Packaging IoT Development Internship will be responsible for designing and building working sensors capable of recording acceleration, temperature, shock, location and communicating the results throughout the internet using lows cost single board computers as well as developing control programs for specialized data collection.

Learn more and apply for these positions here!

The Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design fall newsletter is now finished and posted to the About Us section of our website. 

In it you will find news regarding Center activities over the past few months; including articles regarding the ISTA certification of our lab workers, the IKEA certification of our corrugated lab, and the recent donation by our industry partner, Lightning Technologies. You will also be introduced to our lab interns, read the summaries of recent Center graduate students’ research projects, and more!

Please enjoy and feel free to share CPULD’s fall newsletter!

Download “CPULD News, Fall 2018.”

In today’s competitive economic era, the ability to protect your product for a competitive price is indispensable. There are two essentials needed to create sustainable packaging solutions: knowledge of the interactions between the different components of the packaging systems and professionals who know how to apply the principles of systems based packaging design.

Our Affiliate Membership program brings together industry professionals. At our annual meetings, we discuss the Center’s past year of research projects, the results discovered, and how the new knowledge will assist the industry. Our members also help determine where future research projects should be focused for the upcoming year.

If you would like to benefit from this pool of knowledge and help shape the future of packaging and pallet research, we hope you’ll consider joining the Center and attending the Annual Membership Meeting.  

Learn more about the benefits of being a Center member here!

More Center Info:

The White Papers are publicly offered research articles and presentations that the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design has published. They contain compilations of data from the studies that we have conducted on packaging: its sustainability, reusability and design; pallets: their manufacture, testing, and design; and unit loads: its research and design. More articles are always being added as they are published so check out our White Papers for more information regarding these topics and more!

Click here for more.

We are pleased to offer educational programs that specialize in training the employees of our target industries. We offer various short courses: these are classes that last 2-3 days and focus on pallet, container, and unit load design. These courses are taught by educational professionals with close ties to the industry. Courses also include tours of our state of the art laboratories, which are here on-site. We are always in the process of developing special programs to fit specific educational needs. Feel free to contact us to find out more!

Click here for more.

We have many students that are part of the Distribution Packaging Internship Program here at Virginia Tech. They are looking for summer internships, Co-Ops, and/or full-time employment after graduation in order to be able to utilize their skills in an industrial setting. Due to our rigorous training program, our interns have extensive knowledge of pallets, packaging, and unit load design and evaluation. They are familiar with ASTM, ISO, and ISTA standards, and have exceptional work ethic. Click here to find out more about our interns and how they may fit with your company!

Click here for more.

Center Members: