A Secure, Safe, Stackable Solution for NDC Polipak
Lesters was contacted by NDC Polipak to collaborate on a project. They had been using a packaging solution to transport animal feed but found that it had continually failed during export. This was obviously costing additional money, and reflecting poorly on the business. NDC Polipak had heard from its customers in Ireland that the packaging was arriving damaged, bulging in places, and was hard to decant due to the warped packaging. The distortion of the packaging also prevented safe stacking. All in all, the current solution was failing to meet the standards set by NDC Polipak’s competitors.
Lesters visited NDC Polipak’s site to discuss the issues and to see the packaging process up close. Several problems became apparent during this initial visit. The current pack was designed to be used in conjunction with wooden corner supports, however, these weren’t being used. Instead, the plastic sack was unsupported and therefore didn’t lie flat. This meant that the product didn’t lie flat, and became unstable when stacked, growing increasingly more so in larger piles. Additional costs were being set aside to utilise outer wooden supports to enable stacking, but this was proving insufficient to tackle the problem, as well as being an unnecessary expense. Lastly, the inability to be safely stacked meant that shipping costs were far higher than they needed to be.
When looking to address these issues, S Lester first had to overcome the compressive forces of the product. The feed packs weighed 725kg, another reason why stacking had to be safe and reliable. The product itself would shift during transit, so movement had to be limited to create a flatter stacking platform.
Solving the problems
To begin to tackle the solution, Lesters calculated the forces that would have to be accounted for when double stacking the product during transit. Two potential solutions were investigated. The first involved a pack made from the current material but amended and supported to allow for safe stacking and prevent bulging. The second option was to establish a different pack entirely that would allow for stacking without additional support. Rigorous testing was done on these packs in different conditions to fully address performance and these were then recommended to the client.
Following the trials and feedback, NDC Polipak decided to place orders for our second option. This was mostly due to it being a single component pack, which therefore negated the need for additional support materials. This was actually a more expensive option in terms of cost-per-pack, however its ability to be safely double stacked would, in time, save exponentially more on transit costs. The single material option also meant that sorting and recycling were far more convenient.