Arnold Packaging - Reduce Through Redesign

Reduced Cost Through Package Redesign: A 9.8 Percent Decrease in Cost of Packaging Materials


We saw the potential for cost savings and a reduction in materials used so we proposed it to our client, the world’s leading provider of broadband satellite services. A change in cardboard box design could meet both objectives, but not without some mathematical calculations and testing by our in-house design engineering team.


We’ve found that many companies tend to be overly cautious in the strength of the packaging materials they choose, resulting in overspending. We performed two testing procedures that showed we could reduce the weight of each box by two one-hundreds of a pound (for an annual weight reduction of almost 20 tons) and still have the strength and durability necessary.

Static stacking strength testing: In this process, we perform calculations to understand what the box will experience when stacked in the warehouse. In this case, the client was stacking 790-pound pallets at four pallets high. We needed to make sure the bottom boxes could support the weight of all the other material stacked above. We looked at the specs for how different linerboard combinations would perform, then reviewed and entered that data into a software application that provides us with a safety factor to guide us in the design.

Parcel testing: When the pallet of material arrives at the distributor, they will generally ship it into the field via UPS or FedEx. The generally accepted test for parcel transit is the International Safe Transit Association test 1A (ISTA-1A), which simulates the rigors that a box will see in transit. The first is a drop test where the package is dropped multiple times on every edge, corner and flat panel. From there, the box is placed on a vibration table for a period of frequency and time that simulates the package bouncing over the road in transit. The unit is then tested to make sure it is functional.


With the confidence of hard data on paper, we redesigned the client’s box with less weight and no sacrifice of performance. That two one-hundreds of a pound, when applied to the client’s annual purchase of 1.9 million boxes per year, reduced the annual weight of materials used by just under 20 tons. This was a 4.34 percent reduction in materials used and led to a cost reduction for the client of 9.8 percent.

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