With corrugated boxes, you can measure success
A computer does not have to be big to be powerful these days. No one would question that. Still, containerboard material is commonly measured in an old way made for thicker papers. We have scientific proof that you can save money by measuring the right way.
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We can all agree that the true measure of the performance of a corrugated box is how it holds up in transport and handling, while protecting its contents – ultimately measured in a box compression test.
Compression test of materials
To predict the performance of a corrugated box, compression strength of the ingoing papers need to be correctly evaluated, through one of the standardized compression tests for paper material. And this is where it gets really interesting. In the past, containerboard papers were generally thicker than today and were tested correctly with the ring crush test (RCT). The procedure is to take a strip of paper and form it into a ring, and then compress it to see how much load it can take.
Process and quality improvements have made it possible to reduce paper grammage, while improving strength. The RCT method, optimized for paperboard thicker than 280 µm, is now outdated for containerboard material. A large portion of the containerboard material used today is too thin to be measured with the RCT method, which has led to the development of another method – the short-span compression test (SCT). Here the paper is placed in a clamping arrangement with a very narrow gap and pressed together to determine the compression resistance of the paper.
Make the switch
The SCT has proven reliable for containerboard papers 100–400 g/m2 and is the recommended international standard for papers in this grammage range.
To sum it up, we can say that a switch from RCT to SCT is a shift in focus from thickness to strength. And it is a shift that can bring rewards in the form of savings.
As an example, we can mention a customer case where we proved that Billerud Flute® 130 g/m2 outperformed a 200 g/m2 recycled medium in a corrugated box. This switch would not have been possible when going by RCT results. In this case, the switch to Billerud Flute 130 g/m2 resulted in 35% material savings – and a lower total material cost.
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