Packaging Lessons Part 4

I've been buying boxes from Uline's box stocks. They aren't custom, but they have so many sizes that I can usually find something that fits well enough. They are fast, shipping from about 2 hours away. Unfortunately, they don't have anything close to what I would need to minimize wasted packaging per the requirements of our manufacturer's rep. So I have to start using custom-size boxes.

If you've never noticed before, on the bottom of every corrugated box, there is a circle stamp with the box manufacturer's information. I looked around at what other business use locally and found a box manufacturer about 45 minutes away. They have been quite responsive, and the sales representative that called on us has stopped by a few times with lots of samples to try out, per my specifications. The problem is my specifications. There are lots of details in box design! There are the inside dimensions for the products. That's pretty obvious. The typical 32-ECT corrugated cardboard measures about 1/8 inch in thickness. The outside dimensions are usually 1/4 inch bigger. The sides that have the flap doubled would make that side 5/8 inch bigger. But then depending on how they put the box together, there's usually a tab along one edge that would need to be glued down. That makes that corner an extra 1/8 inch in thickness. Add up all of the little extras to get the final inner carton outside dimensions (which is different from one corner to the next actually).

Packing the inner cartons into a master carton involves the same process of determining the inside dimensions and then figuring out the outside dimensions. But wait! If you make things exact, you'll never be able to get the inner cartons out. If they are packed in too tightly, you create no space for air to move around, and trying to get an inner carton out would involve fighting a vacuum. So you have to add an extra eighth or quarter inch around. As explained in the previous post about pallets, the outside box dimension is important for fitting things on a pallet. I calculated backwards from 48” final outside dimensions to figure out what size the the 6-pack box would need to be. Once I have all of these dimensions, the box manufacturer can finally make the boxes!

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