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IAPRI Spotlight on Atlantic’s TruMotion Testing System

IAPRI Spotlight on Atlantic’s TruMotion Testing System

Atlantic Packaging’s TruMotion Transportation Simulator was a topic of discussion among researchers in the International Association of Packaging Research Institute’s (IAPRI) December 2017 newsletter. IAPRI is an organization of professionals dedicated to promoting and advancing research and education in packaging.

The article is titled “Multi-axis testing gets a new spring in its step.”  In the U.S., the standard vibration testing system for packaging is a single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) system that measures the impact of one-dimensional forces on a package in a simulated route.

Multiple-degree-of-freedom (MDOF) testing systems, or multi-axis systems, are extremely rare, especially in a packaging setting. The TruMotion system at Atlantic Packaging, built by Lansmont, is the first publicly accessible multi-axis vibration testing system for commercial packaging applications.

Engineers from Atlantic and Lansmont Examine the TruMotion Multi-Axis Testing System

Outside the U.S., a few notable multi-axis systems have been in use for several years in the packaging industry, including a smaller, three-degree-of-freedom (3DOF) testing system at ITENE in Spain. Safe Load Testing Technologies has two more multi-axis testing systems installed in Asia and Europe. Safe Load CEO Alberto Tellecha has a high opinion of the system’s value, saying “It is very useful both for design and optimizing packaging; not only to test and validate a design, but also to get a deeper knowledge of the risk occurring in the supply chain.”

One of the most significant benefits of multi-axis systems are the wide table areas. Lansmont engineer, Eric Joneson, explains “While some systems are designed to handle a single pallet, we realized that being able to accommodate two pallet loads and monitor the interactions between them can be just as important.”

Obstacles and Perceived Barriers

Companies who have invested in single-axis testing systems have done so because of costs and other perceived risks related to investing in new multi-axis testing systems.

But most of the cost differential with a multi-axis system is due to the fact that they are still very new, and there are no defined standards and procedures to streamline the testing process. Each test requires individual preparation and development.

However, as more data and test results from the TruMotion system accumulates, Atlantic will be instrumental in developing the standards and procedures needed in this space.

Atlantic’s Research Pioneers

Kyle Dunno, Atlantic’s Director of Transport Packaging, and his team along with leadership at Atlantic are confident that the TruMotion multi-axis testing system will provide data-driven packaging solutions well worth the investment.

Lansmont’s Eric Joneson with Atlantic’s Kyle Dunno

There has been industry support for multi-axis systems for years, but as Dunno states “a lack of available systems meant it was hard for anyone to actually validate…that it does make a difference, and there are benefits.” At Atlantic, we’re excited about the opportunity to bring validation to this level of testing through data, research, and applied solutions.

Dunno isn’t the only one who believes in the benefit of multi-axis system testing in the packaging industry. At the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA), VP – Technical Eric Hiser says, “It takes us one step closer to what’s happening in the real world. It’s another tool allowing for pack optimization and for the reduction of both waste and damage.”

Packaging in the Modern Age

With significant changes in packaging design to improve sustainability –  for example thinner, more flexible, and recyclable packaging – adjustments in stretch wrapping applications are critical in order to minimize load failure. Damaged product from load failure is counter-productive to the waste problem that sustainable packaging is designed to reduce.

Pallet loads are packed with less secondary and structural materials, relying more than ever on the stretch wrapping to prevent load failure.

Multi-axis testing systems have the capability to test the effects of vibration on packaging in multiple dimensions, producing data that informs how we customize stretch wrapping application for new, more sustainable packaging designs.

The specific benefits of multi-axis system testing will soon be apparent, and Atlantic is proud to be at the forefront of this research. Dunno and other Atlantic engineers will be presenting updates about the TruMotion system and the Packaging Research Center at the 2018 GMA Leadership Forum, as well as the 2018 ISTA TransPack Forum.

Learn More about the TruMotion Transportation Simulator

Packaging Career Day

Packaging Career Day

Packaging is an important part of our everyday life, even if we don’t realize it.  From an early age, we’re handling packaging and making decisions about it almost daily. Picking out toys and household items, buying food at the grocery store, checking labels on clothing in the store, sending and receiving packages in the mail.  These are just some of the ways we interact with packaging on a day-to-day basis.

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When Atlantic’s Kyle Dunno visited his daughter’s 1st grade classroom in Charlotte, NC, he brought some fun packaging materials (bubble wrap!) and a cool experiment they could all do together.  The idea was to introduce the kids to the role that packaging plays in protecting products while also showing them how science experiments can be fun – at any age.

Kyle Dunno, Transport Packaging Expert

Kyle Dunno, Protective Packaging & 1st Grade Science Expert

This experiment was called “Which Packaging Materials Provide the Best Protection?” The students were shown four different types of material – large bubble wrap, small bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and paper – and were asked to make a hypothesis (or educated guess as the kids noted) as to which would have the most protection for an egg.

They picked the bubble wrap.

The students were then divided into 4 groups, each with a different material to wrap their eggs.  Together, they picked a drop height that would be consistent for every egg package they tested.  In this case, it was a bookshelf that was about 4′ from the ground.  Kids would drop their packaged eggs to the floor from the bookshelf and chart which eggs survived and which broke using smiley and frowny faces.

Egg Drop Experiment

Will bubble wrap protect these eggs?

Can you guess which material provided the most protection in this 1st grade experiment?

Paper.

That answer surprised the packaging expert in the room but was a great teaching point that experiments don’t have right and wrong answers, they provide information and help us understand the “why” and “how” of a question.

Kyle’s aim was to talk to the kids about careers in packaging, and jobs where you actually get to break stuff and then figure out how to protect it to keep it from breaking again.  He also encouraged the kids to pursue the process of thinking, of asking questions, and trying their own experiments.

Student Experiment - The Egg Drop

Science is Fun!

He left the students with an assignment for their Research Resource Journals: to ask a question, do their own experiment, and write about it.  They’ll pick another fun project for next time.  Maybe one that won’t have him cleaning so many broken eggs off the floor.

Though packaging is everywhere around us, sometimes it takes an expert to help us appreciate it, and to remind us just how fun science can be!

How Stretch Wrapping is Evolving with the Times

How Stretch Wrapping is Evolving with the Times

“Set it and forget it” is no longer the mantra of the day when it comes to stretch wrapping. With smart technology and high speed production lines fast becoming the norm, stretch wrapping has evolved into a sophisticated operation able to keep up with even the most complex applications.

And it’s not just the keeping up that’s so impressive. Stretch wrapping equipment and films are engineered along with custom wrap patterns so that only the minimal amount of material is needed to protect the products on the load.

Stretch Wrapping Optimization

 

Atlantic has been on the forefront of this stretch wrapping evolution, working to ensure that our customers can reduce materials, cut costs, and reduce load damage through careful and intelligent planning, execution, and monitoring of their stretch wrapping operations.

At the AMI conference, Stretch & Shrink Film 2016, our very own Ric Lee joined more than a dozen presenters from the industry’s leading companies to discuss the latest trends, technology, challenges and improvements in film and film application.

Ric Lee, Stretch Application Expert

Ric Lee, Stretch Application Expert

Ric’s talk was part of a session dedicated to testing and performance. He introduced Atlantic’s approach to setting and holding standards in stretch that’s proven to reduce break, damage, and loss.

We spoke to Ric about this approach and what makes it such a great success.

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Q&A with Ric Lee

AP: What are the most serious problems caused by failure of improperly wrapped loads?

RL: There are 4 major problem areas that arise from improperly wrapped loads:

  1. Product Damage
  2. Safety Risks
  3. Unnecessary Film Costs
  4. Sustainability Issues

The first and most costly is product damage. According to the latest research, manufacturers suffer losses equal to between 1/2% and 4% of their total annual revenue. This represents over $7.2 Billion in losses in the US annually in the Food & Beverage and Health & Beauty industries. The vast majority of this damage comes during the shipping, handling and warehousing of their products. This damage can be reduced or eliminated simply by stacking and wrapping loads correctly.

Safety is another critical area impacted by improperly wrapped loads. According to a recent ABC 20/20 report, there were 17,000 falling-merchandise incidents in a 5 year period at one big box retailer. Another big box retailer currently averages 185 injury claims per week. Many of these accidents could be prevented if loads of product are stretch wrapped correctly.

Unnecessary film cost is another major problem. We find that most customers will dramatically reduce the amount of film they use by wrapping their loads correctly. The average MUST Method customer finds that they reduce their stretch film costs by 15 to 20%.

Reducing unnecessary stretch film usage while at the same time reducing or eliminating load damage addresses the fourth area of sustainability. Our current MUST Method customers are finding this to be very rewarding on both a financial and social level.

Stretch Wrapped Load

 

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AP: How have companies traditionally approached their stretch wrapping operation?

RL: I spoke to a Fortune 500 CPG customer recently and they told me that they and all of the other Fortune 500 CPG companies that they are in contact with, simply do not engage the resources necessary to correctly operate and manage stretch wrapping. Although they acknowledged that this was the leading cause of break, damage and loss and that it was costing their company multiple million dollars a year, they did not have nor were there any plans for them to address this problem.

They were very intrigued with exploring the opportunity for Atlantic to take ownership for helping them establish the correct standard in their plants and then helping them maintain those standards.

What we find in the field is that most customers do not have any meaningful standards on how to stretch wrap their loads. Most customers do not properly maintain their stretch wrappers. And their current suppliers are not providing any help in solving these issues. This leaves their operators in control of how loads are wrapped. Because there are no standards set for how to wrap the loads, the operators are on their own to decide how to overcome issues like film breaks and obviously unsteady loads. Their job is further hindered by the fact that the fleet of stretch wrappers in US plants are getting a significant amount of age on them and many of these wrappers are not equipped with control of the key variables that allow them to correctly wrap their loads.

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AP: What is Atlantic doing differently?

RL: I have heard many people in our industry say things like “stretch wrapping is more art than science.” We at Atlantic know that is the farthest thing from the truth.

Others in our industry have come up with simplified, non-data based solutions that have no bearing on successfully containing and protecting a customers product. We are the only organization in the world offering an end to end, fully comprehensive load containment system. The Atlantic MUST Method is a holistic four step approach to ensuring that our customers set the correct load containment standard and hold that correct standard load after load day after day.

The first step is an audit of each of the customer’s current packaging lines to get a clear picture of the current condition of their loads, their stretch wrapping equipment and their production challenges.

The second step is testing and training. We perform advanced and extensive load testing in the Atlantic Packaging Solution Center in Charlotte. There, we can put customer loads through extensive lab tests based on the real world acceleration, declaration and vibration dynamics that their loads experience on the road or on the rails. We test the loads until we come up with a wrap menu that will allow the load to survive and pass the extensive tests and are certified Fit 2 Ship. At the same time we train their key resources on the science of stretch wrapping so that we have a shared knowledge base with our customers when it comes to proper load containment.

In the third step we optimize the customers current stretch wrap equipment to current technology so that we can wrap each of their loads to the exact standard that we tested and established during the testing phase. As we are optimizing their current equipment, we also add the patented MUST Monitoring system to their load.

The final phase is ongoing monitoring. Highly trained Atlantic MUST technicians monitor every load, every day to ensure that each load is wrapped to the correct standard.

The MUST Method: Defining the Standard in Stretch Wrapping

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AP: Tell us about the testing equipment that Atlantic will have in the new Packaging Solution Center in Charlotte. 

RL: Atlantic’s Packaging Solution Center will house the most sophisticated pallet load testing equipment in the world. In addition, it will be staffed by some of the best critical application packaging experts in the industry who are equipped to solve the problems with customer loads that we will identify in our testing.

We’re working with Lansmont, the global leader in the design and manufacture of testing and vibration devices and equipment. They’ve designed the highly sophisticated vibration testing equipment used by NASA, the Armed Forces and many others. This equipment will allow us to identify the types of vibration that our customers’ products will be exposed to. They also design and build equipment that will then replicate those exact impacts and vibration frequencies in a lab setting.

Our center will have a Multi Access Transportation Simulator designed to exactly replicate the recorded, real world pitch, yaw and roll that your loads are exposed to when shipped on either a truck or a train. We’ll even have the capability to record a customer’s specific shipping route and replicate those shipping dynamics in a lab setting.

We’ll also have a very sophisticated Horizontal Acceleration and Impact Sled that will allow us to replicate the lateral impact energy that customer loads are exposed to in emergency stops and high speed starts and turns in the back of a truck. In addition to this product load testing equipment, we just purchased the most sophisticated film test stand in the industry.

Learn More about the Packaging Solution Center

Combine these new tools with our secret weapons – Atlantic’s experts. John Cook is the most respected stretch film poly chemist in our industry. Along with his research team, we can give you the most accurate and important data about all of the most popular and most important films in the industry.

John Cook, Stretch Film Poly Chemist

John Cook, Stretch Film Poly Chemist

Kyle Dunno, Ph.D. has been a leader in the area of transport and protection packaging for more than a decade. He managed Clemson University’s Transport Packaging Laboratory from 2006 through 2014 where he designed and developed packaging solutions for customers looking to certify packages for transit through a variety of distribution channels. Kyle chairs the Certification Council of the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA).

Kyle Dunno, Transport Packaging Expert

Kyle Dunno, Transport Packaging Expert

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AP: How will this data-driven approach benefit our customers?

[aesop_quote type=”block” background=”#efefef” text=”#2b2b2b” width=”content” align=”center” size=”1″ quote=”RL: It ensures that each of our customers’ loads are wrapped to the correct standard on every line, in every plant, every day. This will reduce or eliminate their break, damage and loss.” parallax=”off” direction=”left” revealfx=”off”]

 

 

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AP: Atlantic’s MUST Monitoring System has been around for 10 years. How has this program changed the standard operating procedure in the industry?

RL: For the first time since stretch wrapping was introduced back in the mid-1970’s, customers now have have a proven method to ensure that they are setting and holding the correct standards for stretch wrapping every load that leaves their facilities.

Having systems in place to set and hold standards is fundamental in all phases of manufacturing. You cannot manufacture a quality product if you don’t follow this basic tenet.

The same holds true in stretch wrapping. If you want to make sure that the great product that you’ve painstakingly produced makes it through the logistics process and gets to your customer damage free, you have to follow the same principle. Customers who have turned over the care and monitoring of their stretch wrapping systems to Atlantic Packaging and the MUST Method are seeing their break, damage and loss dramatically reduced. Now they can concentrate on what they are great at…making great products.

MUST Monitoring Installation

David Phillips, MUST Monitoring Technician

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AP: In attending the Stretch & Shrink Film 2016 conference, what developments are you seeing in films? And how are the conversations around film and film application evolving?

RL: There is a growing group of resin producers, performance film manufacturers and extruding equipment manufacturers who understand that we need to move forward as an industry and provide our customers a valuable and a complete solution to their problem.  We need cutting edge, very consistent high performance stretch films.  We need these films to run on stretch film equipment in our customers’ locations that are optimized and maintained in top condition and we need a method to ensure that every single load, every single day is wrapped to a tested and proven standard.

Contact Us to Learn More

Consolidating Design for Greener Packaging

Consolidating Design for Greener Packaging

Product manufacturers are always looking for ways to make their packaging greener, more efficient, and less costly.

Greener packaging is an important goal in all aspects of product creation, from how you receive parts from your vendors to how you package and ship to the store or consumer.  Finding ways to consolidate and streamline your packaging is a smart and effective means to accomplish this goal.

Green Packaging

More for Less

One aspect of consolidation involves being more efficient and strategic with the materials you have to use and eliminating the rest.

Atlantic’s protective packaging specialist, Norm Samuelson, is continually faced with challenges where a customer wants to reduce packing materials and possibly even reduce the total number of packages while still protecting the product. Norm calls on his creativity and engineering mind to come up with custom packaging designs that can accomplish this goal.

Here's Norm, our protective packaging specialist

Here’s Norm, our protective packaging specialist

When a customer is shipping a large volume of parts to a manufacturer, Norm always looks for opportunities for consolidation. Using strategically placed supports, he may be able to fit more products into one single package. He’ll use ship tests to ensure that the products are safe and secure even without the extra padding and material.

If he can successfully consolidate the products, this would not only cut down on material costs but it would also pack more products into fewer cases. The customer can either transport a greater quantity in a single load if that’s their goal or they can cut down on shipping costs by reducing the overall size of the load while still getting the right number of products to their customer.

In essence, consolidation packs more product using fewer materials for lesser cost. This benefits the builder,  the manufacturer, and our environment.

Package Consolidation

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Another aspect of consolidation refers to the variety of materials we’re using.  If we have a pack that includes corrugated, foam, plastic, and metal staples or nails, this is going to be much more difficult to break down and send out for recycling.  Foam glued to corrugated can also be problematic for recycling.

If we can reduce the variety of materials used and be creative in how we separate parts while still ensuring their protection, we can positively impact the recyclability of the packaging.

In some cases, we have customers who want to reuse their packaging. For these cases, Norm will create a collapsible design that breaks down to a smaller, more efficient pack that’s easier and less expensive to transport back to the point of origin.  This cuts down on transportation costs and material costs for the customer while creating a more sustainable supply chain.

Retail Consolidation

Retail packaging has some heavy lifting to do.  It has to protect the product, act as a billboard for the brand, and get your attention above all the competition on the shelf. If it can also be environmentally friendly, then that’s a bonus for everybody.

One way that Norm has helped clients achieve a more sustainable model for retail packaging is to use the same exterior box or container while redesigning the internal profile to accommodate a variety of items. This way, we’re achieving consistency in the outer layer to reduce production and supply costs and ensure that the cases can always be cubed on a pallet for efficient shipping.  It’s a subtle but effective way to consolidate packaging materials headed for retail stores.

This type of consolidation is also a great strategy to apply in the beverage and health & beauty industries.  Using labels or shrink sleeves for bottling and canning allows companies to buy in bulk and use only the materials needed for each variety.  This cuts down supply costs and provides more flexibility in the production line.

Packaging Inserts

Filling the Void

While bubble wrap, air pillows, and other void fill products are still essential protective components for many packagers, Norm and his team enjoy the challenge of designing elegant, efficient, environmentally-friendly packaging for customers shipping mass quantities or particularly unwieldy or sensitive products.  He’s created packaging for windshields, windshield wipers, car bumpers, stainless steel counters, and engines among other things.

In all the challenges he’s faced with, there are four goals consistent with each: efficiency, sustainability, reduced costs, and product protection.

If you find yourself needing a creative, resourceful, and effective custom packaging job that achieves all of these elements, then we’ve got you covered.

How to Save Money by Increasing Package Density

How to Save Money by Increasing Package Density

Maximizing package density for efficiency, ease of packing, and faster packing times.

Across the board, our customers care very much about two particular things when shipping their products:

1. Protecting the product from any damage during transit and storage, and
2. Minimizing shipping costs

One of the ways that we address both of these issues is by increasing package density whenever possible. This means that the customer is maximizing space usage both within the package and within the truck, shipping more product at a lower cost.

Efficiency, Protection, and Low Cost

Makers of mechanical parts for the automotive, aeronautical, and electronics industries are especially concerned with getting their parts to the manufacturers as efficiently as possible and at the lowest possible cost, all while protecting highly sensitive products such as engine turbos, drive train components or windshield wiper arms and blades.

At Atlantic, our packaging designer goes to great lengths to create custom package prototypes that will allow these customers to ship as many parts as possible toget her and in one truckload. He also takes into account the ease of packing and unpacking the product.

Testing for the Best Outcome

Using a CAD table and specialized software, our designer searches for ways to arrange the parts inside the package to allow more parts to fit while still being protected. These techniques include re-orienting the parts by interweaving, stacking, facing one up and one down, or using a different packing material. Ultimately, he is looking to reduce empty space in the packaging so a customer’s shipping costs are tied directly to parts, not air.

Maximizing package density can have a significant positive impact on shipping costs, productivity, and efficiency. In addition to packing more parts together, we are also creating a design that is easy to pack on the line and easy to unpack at the destination. Customer guidelines for proper presentation and visibility are followed as well so that the product is easy to inventory and verify at its destination.

We invite you to contact Atlantic today to see how we can help create better efficiency in your packaging design.

See Related Posts:
Without a Scratch – Protective Packaging for Automotive Manufacturing
Custom Package Assembly at Atlantic Packaging

Keeping Our Kids Safe – Locked4Kids Child Resistant Packaging

Keeping Our Kids Safe – Locked4Kids Child Resistant Packaging

As parents of young children, one of our main responsibilities is to keep our kids safe.  Before babies start crawling, we child-proof the house by locking cabinets, installing gates, covering electrical outlets, and adding soft bumpers to sharp table edges. And that’s just the start. With every step a child takes, and with every new skill they develop, we discover dangers lurking almost everywhere we go.

Medicines and cleaning solutions are among the serious household threats our children could encounter. Our first line of defense is to keep these items locked in cabinets, out of reach of children.  If kids do happen to get their hands on pill bottles, liquid medicines, or cleaners, developments in child resistant packaging over the last few decades have made it difficult for them to get these open.

Safety caps on bottles require a level of dexterity in pushing and turning simultaneously that is beyond what most children would be capable of doing.  Pills and capsules can also be protected in blister packs that are difficult for children to break open.

Now there is a new child resistant carton that has proven effective at safeguarding kids from pharmaceuticals packaged in boxes.

Locked4Kids Child Resistant Carton

 

Locked4Kids is a breakthrough carton packaging designed specifically to protect young children from accessing the contents of the carton. As the company explains:

Locked4Kids consists of a carton and a tray in which products such as blisterstrips are positioned. The carton has openings at two sides in which the tray automatically locks when fully inserted. The tray has hooks at two sides which have to be pushed simultaneously to unlock. While keeping the hooks pressed the tray should be pulled out of the carton.

The push points are placed diagonally across each other at a distance that adults can physically cover. This distance however is too much for young children.

To prevent children from tearing the carton box, a tear resistant laminate has been applied to the cardboard. Locked4Kids is patented.

Recognizing the importance of this ground-breaking design in child resistant packaging, Atlantic has proudly partnered with Locked4Kids in our carton sales to pharmaceutical companies and over-the-counter (OTC) retail marijuana distributors.

Visit SaferCannabisPackaging.com for More Info

It is becoming law (and is currently the law in Colorado) that states who legalize cannabis have written legislation requiring child resistant (CR) packaging.  According to current Colorado regulations, these CR containers must feature key information including usage instructions, warnings and regulatory statements, and cannabis pedigree information.

Child Resistant, Senior Friendly CartonLocked4Kids cartons are intended as direct-to-consumer packaging and, as such, their design offers a number of benefits.  They are compatible with standard packaging equipment and are compliant with CR packaging requirements. They also offer a better sales platform for attractive packaging design and for including all the required product information.

Locked4Kids earned the  prestigious Gold President’s Award from the World Packaging Organization as well as the CPHI Pharma Awards in the category of “Innovation in Packaging.”

Atlantic is dedicated to innovative and effective packaging solutions that meet the demands of our customers and our customers’ customers.

To learn more about options in Child Resistant packaging, visit SaferCannabisPackaging.com