Corrugated Storage Practices Matter
Are Your Storage Practices Putting Your Corrugated Boxes at Risk for Failure?
If you are like many manufacturers, you keep stacks of folded corrugated boxes in your warehouse and pull them as needed to ship product. Some boxes may be used more often than others and some may even be for obsolete products – but you hold on to them because you might have a need for them one day. They are just boxes, after all; what could go wrong? The simple answer is: Plenty.
Corrugated board is sensitive to environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity fluctuations. Even if your warehouse is not in a humid or arid region, seasonal fluctuations in temperature and humidity over time can result in the box structure breaking down, leading to a reduction in strength and eventually failure.
When relative humidity changes, the corrugated board will naturally try to reach an equilibrium with the atmospheric conditions, and the moisture content will increase or decrease accordingly. If the moisture content is too high, glue bonds can fail, and the increase in moisture can break the bonds between the cellulose fibers, which impacts the mechanical behavior and leads to subsequent failure.
If the conditions are too dry, the corrugated board will crack and become brittle. An ideal moisture content is about 5 percent to 7 percent at 72° F, 50% relative humidity (RH). More can be found on storage and handling of corrugated packaging materials in this ANSI Technical Report.
Corrugated should never be stored directly on the ground and instead should be stored on pallets that are free of splinters, nails, or other materials that may cause damage. Heavy object should not be placed on top of the folded boxes, and employees should take care not to drop, drag, toss, or otherwise roughly handle bundles of corrugated boxes.
Depending on how many SKUs you produce, boxes can take up a lot of space in your warehouse that otherwise could be used for saleable product. Ironically, you may find yourself faced with out- of-stock events for higher volume boxes or fluctuations in demand. So, how do you manage to have the right box when you need it without consuming valuable storage space and risking failure from long-term storage conditions?
At Akers, we offer a solution that will mitigate the risks associated with storing and managing corrugated boxes. Our team will assess your needs and assist in the management of your corrugated purchases. With a ‘make and ship’ business model that revolves around short runs and fast turnaround, you get exactly what you need when you need it. Just in time (JIT) shipping helps customers minimize inventory, reduce product obsolescence, conserve floor space, and save working capital.