White & Co. releases proprietary software for packaging optimization Best Load that maximizes relationship of design, performance among pallet, packaging, handling equipment, says it will reduce packaging waste
November 8, 2011
– Packaging research and consulting firm White & Company announced today the development of computer code that models the compression stress distributions within unitized shipments and research findings that will ultimately lead to the significant reduction of packaging waste. This announcement came tandem with the launch of Best Load®, White & Co.’s proprietary software for packaging optimization of the unit load.
“By considering the dynamics of compression stress, we can reduce packaging in unitized shipments by as much as 20% using Best Load®,” said concept creator and White & Co. Principal Dr. Marshall S. White. “It is a tool that helps hone in on the most cost effective unit load design.”
According to White, compression strength is the single largest factor affecting the choice of packaging when product is palletized. “If the package bends, crushes, rips open or breaks during shipment there are direct costs due to product damage, leakers, clean-up or possible safety concerns when the product is a hazardous chemical.”
When such damage occurs, designers will look first to the package. “The traditional solution is to beef up the packaging until the damage stops. Best Load demonstrates that a pallet designed to be stiffer with deck boards placed in ideal locations for the package, lessens the stress on the product and package. A stronger pallet can lead to reduced packaging. The resulting packaging savings more than offset the increased costs of a well-designed pallet.”
Graduate research completed earlier this year at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute’s Center For Unit Load Design proved White’s theory that increasing the bearing area (stiffness) of the pallet deck will effectively reduce compression stress, a much more cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution to managing this problem. The research results were mathematically modeled and the computer code generated.
“These findings are just the beginning of the future for packaging and unit load design,” says White. “The untapped opportunity of unit load design to reduce packaging waste, improve warehouse safety and decrease product damage is staggering.”
Prior to Best Load®, only costly, timely laboratory or trial and error field testing could deliver the information that the software generates in seconds. “The software will continue to improve as new capabilities are added. Currently under development is predicting the load containment or stability of unit loads during shipping and handling using different load stabilizers.”
Best Load® software has been in development since 2007. The packaging optimizer is based on unit load design principles cultivated under Dr. White’s 31 year tenure as the Director of the Center For Unit Load Design and the William H. Sardo Pallet and Container Research Laboratory at Virginia Tech. Unit load design principles maximize the relationship between design and performance by researching and modeling the interactions of the pallet, package and unit load material handling and shipping equipment.
Best Load® tools include the ability to design the pallet, package, and unit load. The software then predicts the bending strength and stiffness of stringer class wood pallets and pallet decks. Best Load® will predict the compression stress on the distribution packaging as a function of pallet design, package design, unit load design and unit load storage practices. It will also predict the compression strength, weight, and optimum dimensions of corrugated fiberboard boxes as well as select the optimum fit of distribution packaging to pallets and unit loads to shipping containers. Finally, the software documents packaging mass, volume, and cost data for managing sustainability goals.
Best Load® packaging optimization services are available exclusively through White & Co. For information on Best Load consulting and research services, visit the web at http://www.whiteandcompany.net or call 540-449-2100. Dr. White will present related research findings of the compression stress distribution research at the April ISTA conference in 2012.
Dr. White is a globally recognized expert on unit load analysis and pallet design. Recognized by Modern Material Handling Magazine as one of the Top 10 MH professionals in the new millennium, White also led the Virginia Tech team that created NWPCA’s Pallet Design System.
White & Co. was founded in 2007 by Dr. Marshall S. White as an independent packaging research, software development, and consulting firm, focused on delivering 'systems-based' unit load solutions to manufacturers and distributors.