Corrugated box testing is an essential step toward guaranteeing product safety during the distribution cycle. This is where corrugated box testing labs come in, which, through the use of industry-specific professional equipment, measure the protective ability of boxes and reveal potential problems.

Companies of all kinds already use corrugated cardboard for their deliveries: the industry of fresh flower delivery by air and plantains and bananas transported by sea are just two out of many examples. The use of corrugated cardboard is also widespread as baling in road transportation or to protect product surfaces in the transportation of wind turbine vanes by sea, among many others. 

Corrugated cardboard: material characteristics

Corrugated cardboard has a wide range of uses and characteristics that are worth knowing depending on the type of goods that are to be transported. 

The main uses and characteristics include: 

Mechanical properties

Corrugated box testing equipment can be used to measure, among other variables, the resistance to compression and bending or tensile strength. The resistance to piercing and edge or side compression, as well as vibrations, are some other properties that can be determined for corrugated cardboard. 

Material composition

Corrugated cardboard can be characterized based on the different materials that compose it. A testing laboratory can perform a TGA (testing for weight losses at different temperatures in an inert or oxidizing atmosphere), moisture content (Karl-Fischer) or inorganic load (TGA) analysis.

Physical properties

A corrugated box testing lab can determine the coefficient of sliding friction of a specific sample, in addition to analyzing the width, grammage and air permeability, among others. 

Surface properties

Moisture absorption (via the Cobb sizing test), the Dennison wax pick test, the colour space and the calculation of resistance to grease are other characteristics that can be studied through the use of a testing laboratory.

However, there are other properties of corrugated cardboard that can play a key role depending on the sector where they are applied. Knowing and analyzing the bacteriological and toxicological levels of this material can be vital in the transportation of pharmaceutical goods

Pros and cons of corrugated cardboard

Corrugated cardboard is the material of choice for deliveries in a number of industries due to its advantages: 

  • Low-cost. The possibility of transporting unassembled boxes is a significant plus, reducing the space occupied by the material. By shipping a single pallet of unassembled boxes, dozens of pallets can be filled after they have been loaded with goods.
  • Versatility. It can be transported in flat systems that take shape at the place where they are to be used.
  • Assembly Automation in industrial chains.
  • Lower environmental impact than other materials.

In regard to its drawbacks, corrugated cardboard may not be suitable for certain industries due to its sensitivity to humidity and creep (stress through the passage of time). 

Tests performed by corrugated box testing labs

Corrugated box testing labs usually perform R&D quality controls for cardboard and package manufacturers. 

Some of the most common tests include: 

  • Universal testing machines with tooling to measure edge crush and groove crush.
  • Packaging compression tester to perform a BCT or breaking test. These systems can be used to determine the stress-strain curve.

When using a packaging compression tester in other configurations, the machine measures how forces change between two ends of material as the tools that apply the force change positions.

This type of machine also allows for the performance of the creep test to learn how the boxes perform to dynamic stress. 

  • Burst Strength Testers to measure burst strength, generating and recording test measurements.
  • Drop testers that analyze the ability of a product-package system to withstand the hazards of the distribution cycle.
  • Random vibration tables to analyze whether a package can withstand vibration hazards.
  • Horizontal stability tester impact tester, which allow for the calculation of the resistance to horizontal hazards during transportation, including stops and sudden accelerations, in addition to forces generated in turns and roundabouts.
  • Machines to determine the composition of the materials, such as gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry systems, or high-resolution liquid chromatography systems, with different sensors.
  • Machines to measure the ability of materials to act as a barrier to oxygen, water vapour and CO2, such as permeability testers.

There are many other tests aimed to analyze the dynamic characteristics of the cardboard layers, glues, groove sizes and other details, which should be performed by professionals and experts on the subject.

In addition, there are a myriad of standards that provide specifications for corrugated box testing. UNE, EN, ISO, MIL, ASTM, ISTA and many other organizations include corrugated box testing equipment in their testing protocols.

Are you looking to perform corrugated box testing and don’t know where to begin? At Safe Load Testing Technologies we have a track record of over two decades in the packaging sector and transport simulation, and we have already helped many companies optimize their packages. Get in touch with us and let’s start working so you can benefit from all the advantages that a corrugated box testing lab has to offer.