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STUDENTS CORNER - 85

After protection, the other benefit of packaging is safety. There are certain goods which are deemed hazardous; that is, a potential threat to life itself if carelessly handled. Therefore, packaging must ensure that those who transport them and those who use them are protected from any grave hazard.  Without any fear of mishap, the transporters can transport them and the receivers can get them safely.

 In such cases, the packaging carries the notification that children must be kept away from the parcels.

The objective of the packaging is simple and direct though achieving it requires enormous thinking and planning. The real challenge in achieving this simple end begins with the selection of materials and design for packing; it must so selected and packed that neither excess materials nor less than the need are used; the former wastes very critical resources of the manufacturer, the money and the later exposes to possible damage to the products which will lose the customer bringing bad name to the business.  Efficient packaging coupled with cost effectiveness ensures sustained business.

Since we are discussing packaging hazards, let us also look into the hazards of distribution.  It is said that there are four types of hazards of distribution and understanding them will help prevent them to the benefits of all the stakeholders.  They are Shock, Vibration, Compression and Atmospheric hazards.

Shock

Even though there are endless machines and machineries available for smooth handling of objects, things, or rather packets or products need to be handled by human hands. It is not possible to eliminate totally human intervention.  Human hands can rarely at least drop quite by chance; but the drop is a drop whether consciously done or unconsciously occurred; the product falls. When it falls, it faces an impact which is called shock. Needless to say, rough handling will have more drops.  Again, the drop can occur from just five or six inches down or for a long gap or distance and depending on the distance of fall, the impact or the shock will damage the product.

Depending on the product to be distributed, the size of the box used in packaging differs; it is generally advised to use corrugated box. Since a box falls on the ground with its base, in designing a box, the base of the box is given great attention. Again long packages demand greater attention while handled. During sorting operation, generally the upward arrows fail to get their due consideration.

Proper packaging materials must be selected and the right quantity must be used for cost.

 Its important to understand the hazards of distribution. In general, there are four categories of hazards: Shock (drops, impacts), vibration (during movement or transportation), compression (packages stacked in storage or vehicles) and atmospheric (temperature, humidity, altitude, static electricity, etc.). All of these are certainly present in parcel distribution, although the special aspects of this mode, particularly automatic sorting and handling, can create unique variations and severities, which must be taken into account.

In addition to understanding the hazards, we need to know how the goods might react to these hazards. Can they break, deform, fatigue, leak, scratch, discolor, corrode or just stop working properly? What constitutes failure or unacceptability? If possible, it is best to quantify damage definitions so that all stakeholders know and agree upon the limits of product acceptance.

Then, in order to develop appropriate packages, we must know what packaging materials and configurations are available and how to best apply them. Outer containers for parcel distribution can include various constructions of boxes, bags, pails, cans, tubes or envelopes. Interior packaging can include air pillows, bubble or cellular sheeting, various paper forms, loose-fill materials, corrugated or solid fiber pads and structures, desiccants and corrosion inhibitors, foam plastic cushions, molded pulp, foam-in-place materials, plastic films, suspension elements and much more. The ideal solution is for the package to provide exactly the proper type and amount of protection needed by the product not more, not less and at the lowest possible overall cost.

Shock: This hazard of parcel distribution can occur when packages are dropped; strike (or are struck by) other packages or by sorting mechanisms; or shift and fall during transit. In this environment, there are many shocks of relatively low severity (equivalent to drops from relatively low heights), with typically only a few impacts equivalent to drops from 30 to 40 inches or higher.

Although it is recognized that impacts predominately occur on and around the base of the package (bottom face, edges and corners), packages should be designed to protect against impacts from any direction. Base is generally defined as the bottom surface when the package is in its most stable orientation; sorting operations cannot always honor up arrows or orientation labels.

Long, slender packages may be subjected to bridging during sorting. Bridging can occur during conveyor or chute movement when a long package gets supported only by the ends. It may then be susceptible to damage from even relatively mild impacts near its center. Large, flat packages (mirrors, panels) can be more prone than other types of packages to damage from impacts on their faces.

Typically, only corrugated boxes with weights less than 70 to 75 pounds travel through the carriers automatic sorting systems. Large, heavy, non-corrugated and non-rectangular packages (or products with no packaging, such as tires or spools of wire) are handled in various ways, depending on the carrier and location, and therefore may be subjected to more severe environments

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