In case you missed any or all of the six-part series of webinar presentations this year, we wanted to give you the highlights and remind everyone that we are open and available at any time for email questions or verbal conversations. We hope that you have a key takeaway or two to consider from this article.
The following are the six industry webinars that we recently conducted:
A three-part series, the Fluted vs. Paperboard Workshop.
Physical Attributes of Paperboards and Containerboards.
How to Build a Material Testing Lab.
Testing Requirements or Guarantee Board Strength.
One of Ralph’s favorite “aha!” moments in the paperboard, label, and microflute three-part series was the methodology of two uncommon testing protocols—known to most for determining top-to-bottom strengths. These are corner crush and block compression testing. They can be viewed at www.appliedpapertech.com/test-methods. At this site, most of the containerboard and corrugated test methods can be viewed in both one-sheet and video formats.
Another relatively unknown combined-board property is torsional stiffness. This methodology can compare the costly crush degradation that occurs across the width of converting equipment and the differences between machines. With regard to linerboard and medium component physical properties, tensile and stretch were discussed, as these are important considerations for lightweights and microflute applications.
One of the larger response rates we received during and after the webinars was about achieving the most cost-effective advantage of engineering board combinations. While we have discussed this theory in many AICC seminars, webinars, BoxScore articles, and Packaging School courses over the years, it is still a new concept to those who are new to the industry and who have not been exposed to selecting the strongest components to build each ECT grade or combined paperboard structure for a key client application.
This concept focuses on the reality that, at a minimum, corrugated is a unique combination of three components. Historically, most plant personnel have viewed liners as the most important component and had little respect for the contribution and significance of a medium’s potential contribution to ECT and therefore to the final box performance. This logic path is better appreciated once all parties have an understanding and results from a fluted edge crush test. We offered options to consider investigating the internal support provided by 30, 33, and 36 basis weight flutings. We also discussed restructuring within corrugated boards to remove fiber costs and lessen supply chain interruptions by potentially offering more local options.
In the reference and resource sections, we pointed out to those in attendance our wide range of AICC white papers that are offered at no cost to AICC members. Also, we listed the BoxScore searchable library, technical brochures, other network technical experts, third-party testing facilities, similar European trade associations, and the collection of mill specification sheets. With more than 140 containerboard machines in the North American market, it does not appear possible that any two would produce the same exact sheet, thus making our examples of testing physical attributes of all raw materials a must-have in every company’s portfolio.
We went beyond current thinking and introduced the complexity of the global movement in responding to environmental, social, and governance requests from both domestic and international companies. This has become a rather hot issue and is not likely to just go away, much like the of heavy metals, toxic chemicals, barrier coatings, wax, forest certification, more use of recovered fiber, life cycle analysis, the use of mixed waste, increased containerboard capacity, rightweighting and -sizing, energy consumption, water recovery, and wastewater reuse.
Our overriding webinar themes consisted of reducing process variations, especially in paper and production protocols. We shared more than a few examples of what seem to be typical for the industry, as well as what we considered to be good, responsible control targets. We looked at the well-known box and folding carton degradation factors that affect functional performance throughout the supply chain—and those that every structural design department must have in order to properly design and construct for manufacturing proper secondary packaging and master shipping containers.
Ralph Young is the principal of Alternative Paper Solutions and is AICC’s technical advisor. Contact Ralph directly about technical that impact our industry at askralph@AICCbox.org.
Tom Weber is president of WeberSource LLC and is AICC’s folding carton and rigid box technical advisor. Contact Tom directly at asktom@AICCbox.org.