DISTRIBUTION PACKAGING

A Look Inside the Lab...

As part of the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design (CPULD), the William H. Sardo Jr. Pallet and Container Research Laboratory has benefited major companies and government agencies for over 40 years by predetermining product protection for consumer and industrial products. If you have experienced excessive damage claims, high packaging costs, or are contemplating the introduction of a new pallet or package design, our laboratory’s testing services will be a real benefit to you.

At CPULD, you will find that we have highly specialized, but still versatile, pallet and package testing/ design facilities focused on the various aspects of unit loads. We test corrugated, paper, wood, metal, and plastic for serviceability as pallet or container components as well as ensuring manufacturers’ compliance to customers’ specifications. We can test all aspects of a client’s material handling system as well as unit load stability. Our pallet tests and package tests serve the industry by identifying early any issues with the pallet / package materials or design.

We are an independent, ISTA and NMFTA certified, testing laboratory, staffed by highly-skilled, certified technicians who can perform tests in accordance with ASTM, TAPPI, ISO, ANSI, standards and customized application methods developed in our laboratory for and/or by our clients.

During transportation, packages will experience vibration due to the fact that all vehicles vibrate during operation. This vibration is not smooth – it’s rough and rumbling – a mix of various frequencies and amplitudes, and it’s constantly changing. Utilizing vibration testing techniques to simulate the various shipping methods/vehicles used to transport packaged products worldwide helps us design products, packages, and unit loads capable of being transported without experiencing damage from vibration to the package or, most importantly, to the product itself. Package testing, as well as pallet testing, are important parts of the research and development process. Testing helps ensure that new package designs and pallet designs are created specifically to handle real-world situations.

Throughout the manufacturing and delivery process, it’s likely that a packaged product will experience shocks of all types – the most common being when a package is accidentally dropped either while being manually handled or being mechanically moved. Free Fall Drop Testing aids us in the design of sturdy packaging that will not only protect the product from incurring damages if/when it is dropped during handling or transport, but the packaging will stand up to being dropped repeatedly, and it will continue to protect the product within after multiple drops. Package testing, as well as pallet testing, are important parts of the research and development process. Testing helps ensure that new package designs and pallet designs are created specifically to handle real-world situations.

Packaged products are often stacked on pallets and/or bound together into unit loads for easier transportation. These large bundles still experience shocks that could cause damage to the package and/or the products within. Whether the unit load slides back and forth in a container truck during shipment, or whether a careless forklift operator knocks the palletized unit loads into each other, packages still need to protect their products in these situations. Incline Impact testing is designed to simulate the shock of an impact or drop to the packages making up a unit load / palletized shipment that is too heavy to be moved manually. Package testing, as well as pallet testing, are important parts of the research and development process. Testing helps ensure that new package designs and pallet designs are created specifically to handle real-world situations.

Packaged products are often stacked on the top of each other during the loading of shipping containers or during storage of palletized unit loads. Therefore, packages must withstand compression forces from the other packages, or entire unit loads, stacked on top of them and must continue to protect the product within. Compression testing utilizes multiple techniques to discover how much of these forces a package can withstand before failing. The results of these tests help to design packaging that can withstand more compression forces during shipping and storage, and they allow us to better estimate how much time a manufacturer can allow for shipping before the damages from compression forces will become problematic. Package testing, as well as pallet testing, are important parts of the research and development process. Testing helps ensure that new package designs and pallet designs are created specifically to handle real-world situations.

Pallets are very important to all industries as almost all products are shipped on a pallet at some point in the manufacturing and sales process. If a pallet fails to provide a safe and stable platform, many packaged products may be damaged at a great cost to your company. Hence, pallets must be rigorously tested to make sure that they can stand up to the various weights, sizes, and shapes of packaged-products being stacked on them and to determine that they will continue to work in a variety of environmental conditions – all while regularly being moved around warehouses by forklifts and cranes and traveling hundred and thousands of miles in trucks, trains and ships. Pallet testing determines the safe load capacity of the pallet under different loading and support conditions. Pallet testing can also figure out a pallet’s durability compared to other pallet designs, and the vibration transmissibility based on the design of the pallet. Package testing, as well as pallet testing, are important parts of the research and development process. Testing helps ensure that new package designs and pallet designs are created specifically to handle real-world situations.

During manufacturing, shipping, and handling, all packaged-products will experience shocks. Shock occurs whenever a package is stopped/dropped/moved in such a way that it experiences a sudden change in speed, direction, or velocity – these shocks can cause damage to the packaging, the product, or its more sensitive components, if not protected properly. It is the packagings’ job to prevent these shocks from damaging the product inside. Shock testing is very important to help in the design of packaging that will absorb these shocks and keep them from affecting the product within; to help design products that can withstand these shocks regardless of packaging; and to determine what materials should be used in the manufacturing of both package and product to minimize any shocks’ effects to the packaged-product. Package testing, as well as pallet testing, are important parts of the research and development process. Testing helps ensure that new package designs and pallet designs are created specifically to handle real-world situations.

In today’s worldwide markets, packaged-products are likely to be shipped to, or at least through, a diverse array of climates on their way to their final destination. Environmental Condition testing is important in helping to design packaging that can withstand various temperatures and humidity levels – and more importantly the rapid and constant changing of these variables that a package can experience. Our various environmental control chambers, refrigerators, and freezers can replicate various temperatures and humidity levels so that a packaged product can be studied for its durability in these changing environmental conditions. Package testing, as well as pallet testing, are important parts of the research and development process. Testing helps ensure that new package designs and pallet designs are created specifically to handle real-world situations.

During transportation, the unit load experiences a variety of horizontal shock impacts and vertical vibrations which can cause the unit load to become unstable or the packages to be damaged. Using the appropriate load stabilizing method is essential to ensure that products survive the hazards of physical distribution. Virginia Tech’s distribution lab is equipped to use and investigate the latest load stabilizing methods, including stretch wrap, strapping, slip sheets, palletizing adhesives and more. We have a research grade stretch wrapping equipment that can simulate any stretch wrapping method commonly used in the industry. We are also fully equipped to conduct a detailed evaluation of the performance of stretch films. Package testing, as well as pallet testing, are important parts of the research and development process. Testing helps ensure that new package designs and pallet designs are created specifically to handle real-world situations.

We are always happy to work with our customers to design testing scenarios that will match their needs. We can replicate any environment and hazard that your products, packaging, unit loads, and/or pallets will experience within your material handling system. We then put your packaging/products through simulations and analyze the test results. These highly individualized test set-ups allow us to determine what exactly you can change, within the design of your packaging/pallets or within any portion of your material handling system, to save your company time and money. We have universal testing machines that can be used to conduct tension, compression, torsion, and bending tests. Package testing, as well as pallet testing, are important parts of the research and development process. Testing helps ensure that new package designs and pallet designs are created specifically to handle real-world situations. Feel free to contact us with any questions or ideas you have, and we will work hard to create a test that will help us find the answers for you!

To test a palletized unit load for durability and economics of use, we simulate rough handling. This accelerated rough handling can be achieved by using devices employed in material handling. An example of such a test is found in ASTM D1083. We follow a protocol developed and used at the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design of Virginia Tech. This is a modification of a test protocol developed by the Procter and Gamble Company to simulate the use of pallets in the grocery dry goods industries. The test simulates idle pallet storage, palletizing, shipping, transport, receiving, and three types of storage: static rack, flow rack, and block staking.