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Corrugated Packaging Design Now at Rutgers and Western Michigan University

By AICC Staff

September 13, 2018


The Rutgers Packaging Design Lab after installation this past summer.

Working with the Rutgers Packaging Engineering Department and Western Michigan University’s (WMU) Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering, ICPF recently launched two new corrugated packaging design labs. The two undergraduate computer design labs were enabled by an Arden Software donation to ICPF that included installation of 80 seats of Impact design software and training for faculty. In conjunction with the launch of the design labs, both universities have committed to expand their curricula to specifically address corrugated packaging.

The two new design labs at Rutgers and WMU are part of the ICPF Corrugated Packaging University Endowment Awards program in which ICPF’s 25 partner universities, as well as other colleges around the country, were invited to submit proposals to expand or create new corrugated curricula. Nine campuses that submitted proposals will receive funding and donations over a four-year period to create or expand curricula. Additionally, all universities across the nation have been invited to annually submit additional corrugated packaging curricula proposals for ICPF’s packaging award assistance.

Rutgers Packaging Engineering currently offers two programs, a packaging engineering major and the Packaging Engineering Certificate. The program currently has 200 students enrolled in the two trades. That figure does not include freshman students, since they declare majors at the end of their freshman year. Major students are required to have a minimum of 48 credits in packaging courses, and the certificate students are required to have 12 credits in packaging. The undergraduate curriculum covers a wide range of packaging disciplines, including corrugated board fields. About 20 to 25 students graduate every year with a B.S. degree. Moreover, the program began offering an M.S. degree in packaging engineering in January 2017. The master’s program is projected to eventually produce 10 to 15 graduates annually.

WMU’s graphic and printing science (GPS), along with paper engineering (PE) and chemical engineering (CHEG), is located at the Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering. The paper and printing student body represents about 120 students.

The program has laboratories equipped with standard pulping digesters, papermaking and paper-testing laboratories, recycling and de-inking equipment, ink-making, and standard-printing pilot plant and laboratory proofing presses for rotogravure, flexography, offset lithography, and digital technologies. The program has equipment to evaluate print quality, such as image analysis, spectrophotometers, and optical densitometers, along with prepress and color management software. GPS students can elect a minor in business or communications, and PE students can elect a minor in CHEG. GPS and PE students can take elective classes in CAD design, industrial design, package goods marketing, advertising and promotion, communications, and graphic design.

Working with Geber Technology, Arden, and Esko (which provide discounts and donations through ICPF), ICPF has been instrumental in initiating or expanding 27 packaging design labs at universities across the country. Visit for a listing of these ICPF partner campuses.

width=150Richard Flaherty is president of the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation.