Boxing up

Packaging Professional magazine
1 Jan 2007

Food companies that use corrugated box packaging could be paying less if suppliers took greater care to protect the material during manufacture, claims XQ innovations.

The Australian research firm says that processes like printing and cutting corrugated card apply pressure and can damage the shear resistance of the material, reducing its strength and efficiency.

The firm's findings suggest that when paper leaves the corrugator, it has lost an average of 56% of stiffness, and a box made from the card will be 20-30% weaker. This increases costs for the end-users of the packaging, particularly for heavy-duty items.

'When people make boxes, they tend to squash [them] and don't think that this really matters as the corrugated board springs back and the thickness recovers. But thickness is not a good measure of strength' says Technical Director Russell Allan.

'The shear stiffness, which measures how well the structure resists being pushed over onto its side, is a better test of what happens when boxes are packed and loaded.'

While some companies test the strength of the board by taking samples to the lab, XQ innovations has created a transportable tool that releases vibrations onto the card. The frequancy of vibrations is proportional to the shear stiffness.

'It's a way of getting to the shear stiffness without having to cut up the card,' explains Allan.