September 16, 2021
I have heard many of the startups or first-time business dealers ask me - the color of packaging from my vendor doesn't seem like what I hoped it would. My question to them is - did you give them a light, standard, dark range? a Pantone number? a reference sample?
There's a running joke in the print industry - Pessimism in the pressroom is directly proportional to optimism in the office. It takes tough grit and a motivational management team to run a printing and packaging industry - ask us - we at PRPL have been doing it for 2 generations, 30 years.
Many say one should find a local source and not source from India / China. Ten times more energy goes into the production of the food and goods it contains than into the packaging itself - despite, an average container ship traveling the equivalent of 75% of the way to the moon and back in a year. You can imagine - the focus should be on reducing energy/ carbon footprint consumed 'in the product' itself - than starting with the packaging - which will help save only 1/10th of energy costs.
In this blog we share 5 commonly overlooked components of the packaging industry and international delivery - so that it serves as a good guide/checklist."
First you need to design the artwork for the box. Then it will be sent to your converter and they will set it according to the keyline and send you for approval defining all the post-press finishes. Once you approve, the pre-press department works on it making it ready for printing, develops the plates. It is always good to provide a color reference instead of just an artwork file - maybe a Pantone number from a Pantone guide, or a reference sample - and always be in allowance of a range - a light standard dark - the printed won't go lighter than light nor darker than dark. Generally, a printer gives a shade card to you while sampling or during the first commercial run
There are many tests you can consider to first determine how strong the box shall be to hold your shipping conditions and your product. A few examples to note are drop test, compression strength, edge crush test, bursting strength etc. It is important that you define these or the GSM and BF of the papers to the packaging converter so there is no window of doubt on the quality of paper used.
Some examples are Humidity, cobb test to check the absorption of moisture, and humidity chamber test to test whether the box is bulging in extreme shipping conditions of high temperature and humidity as in a vessel container. A very unique example is the way a rigid box top and bottom open - there is a test called a 'drop test' which shows how long it takes for the bottom of a rigid box to fall off on its own
It is very important amendments to artwork are carried out with extreme care, old plates and files are obsoleted so in no case of human error can an old artwork be printed. Ensure your converter have proper quality certifications in place along with procedures like incoming quality check for raw material, process quality check, outgoing and pre-dispatch inspection.
Whether 3 ply, 5 ply, or 7 ply cartons to be used for master packaging: whether to shrink wrap the same if in a humid climate or extremely dry climate to maintain an adequate level of moisture. What is the allowed pallet height, loading cbm etc. should be properly calculated before shipping out. How long after using the boxes can you keep them in your warehouse and gotta pack your product in - generally recommend 1.5 - 2 months in case of fluted boxes and in ambient temperature and humidity. Because the packaging converter cannot be liable for a box they sent and you use after 1 year, right?
So in essence, it all boils down the documentation dn communication - the more you read about packaging through blogs like these documented by packaging converters - or the more you interact with your packaging suppliers like a business partner and try to understand their processes, then you can appreciate and improve your assembly as well as you align it with your supply chain.