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Crate Design and Performance

Crate Design and Performance, August 27th-29th, 2024

Registration will open soon for the fall 2024 offering of Crate Design & Performance.

The Wooden Crate Design and Performance short course is a 2.5-day, in-person course. It will inform attendees about the principles of wooden crate design. This course will introduce the different crate styles and characteristics commonly used in the US. Attendees will learn how the selection of wood affects crate performance in the field, how to evaluate the performance, and how to select the appropriate fastener to ensure crate performance. Attendees will be exposed to the principles of wood mechanics and how to use truss and buckling theories to design the components of crates.

Crate Design, Short Course

Crate Design, Short Course




Who should attend:

The course could be beneficial for professionals that are responsible to specify, design, purchase or evaluate wooden crates.

  • Crate designers
  • Packaging engineers
  • DOD suppliers
  • Procurement professionals
  • Consultants

Topics covered in this short course:

  • Effect of wood characteristics on crate design
  • Principles of mechanics of wooden structures including truss theory and buckling theory
  • Open and sheeted crate styles and characteristics
  • Fundamental design principles used to size crate components
  • Principles of cost effective crate design
  • Fastener characteristics and selection of the right fasteners
  • How to design crates for the military








Dr. Laszlo Horvath

Associate Professor, Virginia Tech
Director, Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design

In 2010, Dr. Horvath received his Ph.D. in Forest Biomaterials from NC State. He is one of the few packaging professionals who have received the "ISTA CPLP – Professional Level" certification. He is the chair of the ASTM D1185 working group, a U.S. delegate of TC 51, and a voting member of ANSI MH1 and MH 10 committees.

Dan Hindman

Dan Hindman

Dr. Daniel Hindman

Associate Professor of Wood Engineering
Virginia Tech

Daniel Hindman serves as an associate professor in the Sustainable Biomaterials department where his research program focuses on the efficient use of low-carbon, biological-based materials for construction. Dr. Hindman's research philosophy revolves around three principles related to wood materials: structure, safety, and sustainability. Dr. Hindman is a member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Forest Products Society, and the National Frame Building Association. Dr. Hindman holds a Professional Engineering license in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


There are two types of tickets for this short course, detailed below. All attendees will participate in 2.5 days of lectures, laboratory tours, and coursework. They will be served breakfast, be given lunch breaks, and have multiple daily snack breaks. All participants will receive a certificate of completion within two weeks of successfully finishing the course:

  • General Attendee (Public): $1,456.00
  • Active-Duty Service Member OR DLA Employee (25% discount): $1,092.00
  • CPULD Member (50% discount): $728.00

Time & Location:

The registration for the March offering of the Crate Design course is now closed due to the high amount of interest and registrants. CPULD is very happy with the interest in our new course!

Registration will open soon for the fall offering of Crate Design & Performance!


This course is being held again August 27th-29th, 2024. It will consist of 2.5 days of lectures, assignments, and laboratory tours. All of these activities will be at the Brooks Forest Products Center, just off Virginia Tech campus near the Corporate Research Center, in Blacksburg, VA.

This course is being held:

  • Tuesday, August 27th, 2023: 8:00am-5:00pm
  • Wednesday, August 28th, 2023: 8:00am- 5:00pm
  • Thursday, August 29th, 2023: 8:00am-12:00pm

Brooks Forest Products Center
Virginia Tech, MC 0503
1650 Research Center Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061



Course Content Information:
Laszlo Horvath, Director, Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design
Phone: (540) 231-7673

General CPULD Information:
Angie Riegel, Secretary
Phone: (540) 231-7107

Registration Questions:
Erich Sawyer, Virginia Tech Outreach Program Development
CPE Enrollment Coordinator, Virginia Tech Outreach Program Development

Or Registration Questions via phone: (540) 231-4084





The Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design works with the Courtyard by Marriott to make sure there are rooms available at a discounted rate for anyone attending this short course. 

Click here to reserve your room for $123.00 per night for the Crate Design and Performance short course!

The Courtyard by Marriott is located less than two miles from the Brooks Center building, where our short courses are held, and it offers many amenities including an indoor pool, exercise room, business area with free WIFI, and a delicious cafe on the premises. They also offer a shuttle service to and from the hotel that short course attendees have found helpful in the past. Please let them know upon check-in if you will need this shuttle service.

Please contact John Hale,, or Marriott directly at 540-552-5222, or register online using the direct linkfor your hotel room at the Courtyard by Marriott. If you call, be sure to mention the short course you're in Blacksburg to attend in order to receive the discounted rate on your hotel room! 

Hilton Garden Inn Blacksburg



The closest airport is the Roanoke Regional Airport (ROA), which is approximately 35 miles from Blacksburg, VA.

There are multiple car rental agencies as well as cab services located at the airport to transport visitors to Blackburg, VA.


The other nearby airports used by short course attendees are: