Packaging

Packages and packaging materials:

The packaging industry is dedicated to the preservation of products as they are shipped and ensuring that these products arrive in the highest quality possible. In order to accomplish this a wide range of products and materials. These include but are not limited to cardboard, paper, plastics, wood, foam, metals, boxes, crates, strapping, insulation, tape, and pallets. Each of these items have advantages and disadvantages and require specific testing procedures to determine if they provide a suitable means to ensure the safety of a product during its shipping experience. 

Stresses that packages and packaging materials experience:

Packages and packaging materials are designed to resists a number of stresses and forces that are expected to occur during the shipping process, but the most common are compression, vibration, impact and stresses caused by changing climate conditions. 

A package can experience compressive forces during the shipping process when it is transported with many other packages. These packages are commonly stacked upon each other to maximize the amount room and therefore the amount of cargo in the shipping container. The package must withstand these forces in order to ensure that the product is not crushed.

During the actual movement of the vehicle used to transport a package may experience vibration, which may cause the shifting of the product within the package resulting in damage especially in the form of cracking.

Impact forces are commonly encountered during the transportation and loading of the package. During the transportation a package may experience an impact due to bump in the road or a quick change in direction which may cause the package to shift rapidly and unexpectedly.

Testing of packages and packaging materials:

The most important characteristic of shipping materials is its ability to protect the item it surrounds from damage, degradation or anything else that may lower its quality. To prevent the failure of a package during shipping it is necessary to perform several tests beforehand to determine if it meets the requirements of the specific application. Some of the more common tests performed upon packages are compression tests, impact tests, vibration tests, peel tests and seal strength tests. These tests help determine the material needed for the construction of the package and design of the package itself.

Materials used for packages and packaging materials:

The most common applications of package and packaging material testing are in the shipping of medical, pharmaceutical, food and dangerous products. These industries each require regulated materials to ensure that the products arrive undamaged and uncontaminated. Paper and plastic materials such as cardboard, foam, polystyrene, fiberboard, and polypropylene and many others are all used in these industries. Ideally the materials used should have a high resistance to and absorption of shock forces that may cause damage to the product and will adequately seal the product entirely from exposure to environment.