How to store cartons: It’s the outside that counts

Corrugated outer cartons are the ideal choice when moving goods – they are cost effective, provide necessary protection & they are sustainable. Additionally, when stored correctly, corrugated packaging have a long shelf-life.

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Designed to industry specifications, Mpact Corrugated cartons undergo testing such as the BCT (Box Compression Test) to gauge stacking strength and factor of safety to ensure goods can be transported and stored safely. However, when handled and stored incorrectly the following may be affected.

  • Carton erecting, filling and sealing of cartons;
  • ability to stack cartons correctly; and
  • load-bearing performance.

Printed and die-cut cartons, commonly known as “dry stock”, is usually delivered to customers in flat-pack form for eventual folding by hand or machine. Protecting the material, starts at the door.

To begin with, pallet loads should be handled within safety regulations with the use of a pallet jack or forklift. Pallets should be stored in a closed and insulated environment; protected from humidity and temperature changes while exposed to outdoor elements, even sunlight. The ideal storing solution is in an area with in-frequent changes in air flow, in a racking system where it may be stacked for short periods - if health and safety regulations allow.

Corrugated cartons cannot be stored indefinitely. For optimal performance, precision material used for high-speed automated packing lines should ideally be used within three months of production. For hand-packed material, this period is extended to six months. In general, material can be stored up to two years in a controlled environment, although performance may be affected.

A good way to reduce the risk of outdated packaging is to apply the FIFO principle where material that is first to come in, is first to go out. During this time pallets should not be opened or have any protection material removed until the dry stock is packed. Erected buffer stock must be controlled in the same manner as dry flat stock and should ideally be used on the same day.

Throughout storage and handling of corrugated packaging, temperature and humidity pose a potential threat to performance. When moved from one environment to another, warp can occur. To counter this, dry stock used on production lines where water is present must be protected with stretch wrap and only brought to line when needed and pallets should not be stored on wet floors. Changes in dimensional sizes of the dry packaging can be affected by humidity and temperature through thermal expansion and contraction. Excessive humidity can reduce stacking strength by softening the starch and adhesive bonds in the board, while high temperature can cause the same bonds to become brittle affecting performance.

In general, one should not climb on or stand on cartons or pallets; drag, drop, throw or strike bundles or pallets; leave cartons on the ground unprotected; wet the pallets or packaging material; smoke near or store packaging near heat sources; place any heavy objects on pallets or packaging; or, place pallets of dry stock or erected cartons on wet floors. By following these stipulations, Mpact customers have found its corrugated packaging lives up to its reputation for strength and durability.


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