Tag Archives: packaging

DBASSW Part 3: Improving your Method

Improving you method.

Are you having shipping damage?  Most everyone does, so if you answered no to the question: Congratulations! You are an exception, or perhaps ignorance is bliss.  Perhaps you should be filling the blogosphere with your wisdom…..or you can continue reading.

So now you are armed and dangerous with your Test Kit and you have the Highlight Stretch Tools Application on your Mobile Device.  Now what?  Well, you may ask yourself: “Self, this is great information but how do I use it?”

From here on it it may get challenging, but hey, you are up to the task! You already have shown a willingness to learn by reading our Blog!  Compare your containment test numbers to the numbers from the Highlight Stretch Tools App, Do they match?  In most cases, they do not.  I would guess that the Stretch Tools App has given you a higher number than you recorded using the ASTM D-4649-03 Annex A1 approach .  That is okay, we can fix that.  If the Stretch Tools App has given you a lower number than you record, great.  Again, you may be an exception but also know that you could improve also.  In fact, you may have too much film on your product and there could be a savings to be had here.


In both cases you can modify your wrap patterns (number of top and bottom wraps or the amount of film overlapping itself going up and down and turntable speed) and wrap force (the film force dial on the machine that makes the film loose or tight).

By adjusting these settings you will dial in your machine to match the Stretch Tools App.  There is some art to it but stick with it, you are about to become your company expert.  After you make a change, wrap a pallet, measure using the ASTM method and tools and see where you are against the ISTA (Highlight Stretch Tools App).  Once you are dialed in on your machine you are on the path to damage reduction or film savings!

Here’s a novel idea, write up your company’s packaging specifications based upon your findings.







Back to Basics: Critical Concepts for Successful Shipping

with Luke Venechuk, Sr Packaging Engineer

fallen load 02     Unsuccessfully Unitized Loads

Unitized Load: one or more products or packaged-products usually on a skid or pallet, but always secured together or restrained for distribution as a single load.1

For this first post we wanted to start basic, very basic, to build the context of what we’re trying to achieve when we stretch wrap a load. Why do we unitize loads? What are our goals? Why do we do what we do?

We all want to save money, but very often saving money in the short term can create larger hidden costs which continue to take a toll until they’re discovered and corrected.

We unitize to make shipping and handling more efficient, and at the lowest total cost. Total cost not only includes packaging, but labor, damages, and several other factors that need to be considered when unitizing your load.

Before unitization was a concept in packaging, every box or product needed to be handled individually for shipping , and it wasn’t unusual for a truckload or railcar of product to take up to three days to unload, and sometimes longer.2 The introduction of unitization made this handling process much more efficient, saving time and money. Pallets gained widespread use during WWII, where it’s easy to imagine the advantages of saving 20+ man hours per railcar of supplies being shipped, this allowed the military to use their service members for more important tasks and bigger benefits. 2 It’s hard not draw a comparison with today’s competitive marketplace, where each company needs to take full advantage of their personnel’s capabilities and become more adept at increasing efficiency than ever before.

One of the biggest killers of efficiency is damage. A damaged load costs many times the packaging and shipping costs proper handling, and degrades a company’s reputation.

Damage is preventable, but a focus on lowering packaging costs rather than creating a successful system has lead to higher and higher damage rates. Today the average North American company spends 4 to 5 times more in product damages than they spend on stretch film each year.3, 4

The way to prevent damage and create good systems is simple: focus on the basics. When making changes to save on packaging and shipping costs, test the new system and evaluate for success.

In future blog articles we’ll discuss how to test for success, the building blocks of creating a successful system, and tips for making systematic improvements.




[1] http://www.ista.org/forms/3Eoverview.pdf

[2] http://www.slate.com/articles/business/transport/2012/08/pallets_the_single_most_important_object_in_the_global_economy_.html

[3] 2008 Joint Industry Unsaleable’s Report, authors: GMA, FMI, Deloitte

[4] Strategic challenges facing the stretch and shrink film markets, 

presentation given Fall 2014, John Campin, AMI Consulting

Welcome to the Highlight Industries Blog!

Here we’ll be bringing you updates and news from Highlight, as well as packaging tips, tests, the many benefits that come from effectively containing your products, and  much more!

Our packaging engineers and experts will be weighing in on important topics, like safe load handling and product containment, so you have the knowledge and tools needed to find the proper packaging solution. We’ll also be addressing some packaging myths, and we will bring you the latest on packaging expos and conferences around the world.

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