Board Converting News, July 26, 2021

New Research: How Does Stacking Impact BCT? BY MARY DRAIN

More research has been completed by the Fibre Box Association (FBA) Technical Committee that can help refine design targets for today’s box

customers. This is the second recent research project completed by the committee that ana- lyzes current data for assessing the Environmen- tal Factors used by package designers industry wide. FBA first published environmental factors in the mid-1990s in the Fibre Box Handbook. The data facilitating the factors was generated de-

Mary Drain

cades before and had not been updated until these projects, though the industry’s manufacturing materials and systems has undeniably evolved. The published environmental factors consider moisture in the form of relative humidity (RH); unitization or pallet configurations; load-stacking; and excessive handling – some of what we now call “the single parcel delivery system” or omni-channel delivery. The environmental factors established multipliers, or safety factors. These safety factors help designers determine how strong a package needs to be, based on the actual load it must support in the transport and storage environments it is expected to protect against. The first research project, completed in 2019, looked at the impact of RH under load on modern containerboard converted in today’s box plants. This new research project examined the impact of stacking pat- tern on top to bottom box compression (BCT). The study was performed at Rochester Institute of Technology by the RIT Packaging Science De- partment. Under the mentorship of the FBA Technical committee, they investigated columnar aligned, interlocked, and aligned-interlocked hy- brid stacking patterns compared to single box BCT. The study used 19.5-inch by 12-inch by 13-inch C-Flute, single wall RSC samples with two different board grades (32 ECT and 44 ECT). All the stacking patterns were tested using the 2 – otherwise identical case designs. 10 individual Box Compression Tests were performed for each board grade and five pallet load compression tests were performed for each board grade and pallet pattern variation. All boxes were setup and flaps were hotmelt glued. Later they were pre-conditioned and conditioned according to TAPPI T 402. Individu- al cases were removed from the conditioned atmosphere, pallet loads were built directly on the base plate of the compression tester, and test- ing, TAPPI T804, was performed asap in lab ambient conditions. Boxes in stacking pattern tests were filled to approximately 45 lb. gross weight (bagged road-salt with plywood spreaders.) The originally published factors showed a compression loss of 0-8 percent for columnar aligned, and 40-60 percent loss for interlocked. Re- sults from this study showed compression loss associated with aligned stacking exceeded the current values in the Fibre Box Handbook, and data was consistent with current values for interlocked stacking pattern BCT vs. single box BCT. Based on the data gathered through the project, potential compres- sion loss for columnar aligned is 12-20 percent. Interlocked units had 49-54 percent loss. The hybrid samples (not in the Handbook, yet) had 45-49 percent loss.

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July 26, 2021

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