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MANUFACTURER OF CONSTRUCTION MACHINERY

How a manufacturer of earth moving equipment benefitted from a new resource efficient packaging design.

 

THE BACKGROUND

 

Based in Leicestershire, Antalis’ Smart Packaging Centre is a state-of-the art lab and solutions hub offering free consultation and packaging design services for its customers. Its packaging designers and technologists are on-hand to help customers, from e-commerce companies and logistics providers, through to manufacturers, resolve a diverse selection of packaging-related issues.

A large client was distributing nuts and bolts for the manufacture of earth moving equipment to factories across the world. Not only did the packaging need to get the product from A to B undamaged and in a cost effective way, but the packaging also needed to prevent corrosion.

 

THE CHALLENGE

 

The packaging hadn’t been changed for over 20 years because it was considered ‘fit for purpose’. However, as volumes and distribution routes grew from Europe to worldwide, the VCI (Volatile Corrosion Inhibitors) performance lowered, which created challenges related to the parts rusting.

Other challenges of the existing packaging included:

  1. The packs took a long time to put together making them very labour intensive
  2. The corrugated box had a very large area of excess material resulting in 35% being thrown away as waste
  3. Insufficient protection whilst stacking and storing was resulting in product damage
  4. It used a separate plastic VCI bag and the clients wanted to reduce plastic usage

THE SOLUTION

 

The packaging client tasked Antalis’ Smart Packaging team to develop a solution that would eradicate the use of the plastic bag and aid sustainability, whilst at the same time reduce packing times. Antalis’ team of experts were ably positioned to use their skills to create the ideal solution for the customer.

Jason Poxon, Packaging Technologist Manager at Antalis’ Smart Packaging Centre explains:
“The design and development of the packaging solution took place in our Smart Packaging Centre in collaboration with our design centre and laboratory in Germany where transit recreation and testing was carried out.”

As a starting point, the client visited the Smart Centre to discuss their challenges with the packaging team. From this brief Antalis was able to gain a good insight into their product, current packaging and processes. The project was discussed in detail with the client who revealed efficiency, sustainability and waste reduction as the key drivers for a change in their packaging.

Following this initial consultation Antalis’ packaging technologists visited the client’s site to monitor the packers in action. Using the information gathered, the designers were able to develop and mock up a corrugated box with a VCI lining. “The proposed solution completely removed the use of a plastic bag, cut packing times, reduced waste, and much more!” added Jason.

Jason clarifies, “All changes to the pack were tested in our design centre and lab to make sure it maintained the required level of protection for the product. Firstly the box was tested to make sure it maintained good stacking and compression strength. The VCI performance was also checked in our laboratory in Germany. The pack passed all tests.”

 

Bespoke VCI corrugated box

THE BENEFITS

 

Initially, the project was very much focussed on waste reduction and improved efficiency. During the ‘explore’ stage of the process the packaging technologist took samples of the existing packaging away for analysis. This revealed that the pack had an unnecessarily large ‘blank size’ (box opened out flat) which was difficult to assemble and led to a large amount of material waste and high pack cost.

The new box solution delivers a 37% reduction in the blank size, it is also easier to assemble, and prevents the crushing of the boxes when they are stacked on the pallet.

In addition, Antalis changed the board grade used from a 3mm B flute to a 2mm flute, which made the box smaller in size. This, combined with the smaller blank size, made room for 40% more packages on a pallet, which reduced the number of pallets used in distribution by over 13,000 per annum.

The new packaging not only reduces the amount of material used by 37% but also eliminated the plastic bag. The pack is now in one part – with the VCI impregnated on the inside of the box.

The box is also perforated making it easier to open and quickly tear off the top when required. The lid structure is designed to make it easy to re-seal when the parts aren’t needed which results in a longer product life, protecting from rusting and contamination.

“Even the pack handling ergonomics where considered which resulted in several improvements over the old solution. For example, the box now has a rougher outer layer which makes it easier for robots and hand packers to handle, preventing damage from crushing and dropping on the floor, a real issue with the previous design,” adds Jason

Sustainability was a major part of the brief. The pack is now 100% recyclable and is made from 70% recycled material.  All paper used in the pack is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, meaning it has been produced from well-managed forests and/or recycled materials.

Antalis has created a strategy to carbon offset the box by purchasing carbon credits through ‘The World Land Trusts Carbon Balanced Programme’. The programme allows organisations to offset their residual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the protection and restoration of carbon-rich wildlife habitats. In this case, Antalis is offsetting the unavoidable emissions created when manufacturing the box through the preservation of ecologically important standing forests, under real and imminent threat of clearance. This not only helps our atmosphere, it also reduces the client’s carbon footprint.

IN CONCLUSION

 

By collaborating with Antalis’ Smart Packaging team this industry leading client has been able to achieve tangible sustainable benefits and overall cost and efficiency savings with their new packaging. Involving Antalis at an early stage was key to the success of this box design.

“We expected cost and sustainability to be one of the biggest concerns and challenges for customers in the future.  What we have been able to demonstrate is how bespoke packaging can address these issues in a number of different ways,” adds Jason.

Jason adds “We are proud to be associated with this box solution and delighted to announce that it has recently been nominated for ‘Resource Efficient Pack of the Year’ at the Packaging News Awards”.

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