Unit_5_-_Wood_Packaging - Unit 5 Wood Packaging In this...

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5. 1 Unit 5 Wood Packaging In this unit, we will learn about wood and its properties, advantages and disadvantages, and why and how it is used as a packaging material. 5.1 Wood as Packaging Wood is a complex substance that is very versatile compared to other materials. For packaging, the major uses of wood are as: a raw material for manufacturing paper and paperboard. an unmodified material for structural and other applications. Wood is mainly used for packaging applications in the form of crates, cases, wire-bound containers, pallets, and pallet boxes. A small amount is also used for specialty gift items, such as wine boxes, because it adds value to the product. Wooden containers can easily be custom made in small quantities, while other materials, such as corrugated paperboard, require longer production runs to be economical. The biggest use of wood in packaging is for pallets. While pallets can also be made of plastic, steel, aluminum, and corrugated board, wood is usually the best overall choice in terms of strength, weight, and costs for most products. 5.2 Brief History of Wood in Packaging Wood has been used to manufacture containers for hundreds of years because it is plentiful, inexpensive, and easy to obtain. For example, wooden containers, barrels, and boxes were used during the latter part of the Roman Empire for shipping trade goods. Wood became the choice over clay and stone containers because it is easier to machine, lighter in weight, and less fragile. The bilged cask is an example of an early form of wooden shipping container in the US. Casks were used to handle liquid and dry products on ships, wagons, and trains. The spread of railways and the development of improved roads led to the development of wooden boxes and crates, because their rectangular shape could be packed more tightly than barrels or casks, which improved the efficiency of distribution (efficiency for distribution is still an important function of working in the packaging industry today). Timber was plentiful and inexpensive and little consideration was given to waste, both in forestry and box making, including designing boxes to give maximum strength while using a minimum amount of wood (and today minimizing materials while optimizing the package is a major job function for packaging engineers). Today, the wood supply is still plentiful, but it is more expensive. Now, cheaper grades of timber are used for making boxes and efficient box design at a low cost is important. Wooden shipping containers are now used only when the strength and other characteristics of wood are required to protect the contents during transportation or when the value of the contents requires extra protection.
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5. 2 Wood is also a primary packaging material in most developing countries because it is an indigenous raw material and is readily available. The construction of wooden containers is a labor intensive operation, but most developing countries have a surplus of affordable labor.
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