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Expert advice on materials

A six-pack of packaging materials’ advice from consultant Sterling Anthony.

His Web site is

1. Don’t become enamored of a new material; rather, put it on trial for its life and let it prove its worth.
2. Never try to force fit a material; either it meets your needs—present and anticipated—or it doesn’t.  Of course, you must know what those needs are.
3. Avoid single-source materials, unless the advantages are overwhelming and undeniable, and even then, rethink the decision one more time.
4. Review and evaluate your specification system.  What percentage is material specification?  What percentage is performance?  In each instance, is the choice in your best interests?
5. Certain recycled materials such as PET are more consistent in composition than other materials such as paper, so make sure your tolerances are appropriate and reasonable.
6. Don’t justify a “green” material on the basis of its promotional potential, but insist that it, at minimum, be functionally equivalent to and cost-competitive with the material being replaced.

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