Published in Journal of Applied Packaging Research, Volume 2, Issue 4, June 1, 2008, pages 227-238. Copyright © 2008 DEStech Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Corrugated packaging is used to package approximately 90% of all products that reach retail store shelves and aisles in the United States. A large number of these corrugated shippers are used to ship fresh produce and perishables through the cold-chain environment that requires these boxes to have venting to permit air circulation. In addition, corrugated boxes for that are large in size and contain heavier products, may have hand holes to facilitate manual handling. The presence of ventilation and hand holes both cause a loss of material in two or more faces of the box. As a result the compression strength required for shipping and stacking is compromised and can result in damageto contents. Hand holes that do not meetthe appropriate strength requirements can be a safety issue in manual handling if the contents are released when handling. This study was initiated to understand the loss of compression strength in corrugated containers as a function of size, shape and location of ventilation and hand holes used for handling ergonomics and extending shelf life for perishables with good air flow. Based on experimental data, results show that the loss in strength can range between 10to 40% and is significantly larger than previously reported.