How To Re-use Corrugated Shippers 20 Times

Two Australian manufacturers are trialing an innovative system for the return and reuse of corrugated cases.

On the sending side of the trial is Wiring Solutions Plus of Underdale, which makes wiring looms (also known as a wire harness, wiring harness, or cable assembly). On the receiving side is REDARC Electronics, which makes a range of electronic voltage converters, inverters, power supplies, battery chargers, brake controllers, and trailer braking products—in other words, products that require wiring looms made by WSP.

WSP ships thousands of corrugated cases of wiring looms to REDARC annually. In the past, the cases were taped closed. When REDARC received them, the tape was cut off with knives and all four top flaps were also cut off to facilitate ease of access to the components inside. The flaps and the cases were then disposed of. Not only is this procedure labor intensive and suboptimal from a sustainable packaging standpoint, it also poses the real risk of personnel lacerating themselves as they cut the tape and flaps.

In the ongoing trial, instead of taping the cases closed, WSP will close them with Box LatchTM products. These are durable injection molded devices from Box Latch Products  that are anchored to case flaps to make it possible to securely close corrugated cases for transfer from WSP to REDARC. At REDARC, the top flaps are easily opened and the contents removed. When a case is empty, an operator opens the bottom flaps, collapses the case, and stacks the collapsed cases so that both cases and latches can be returned to WSP to be used all over again.This is how the reusable corrugated cases are closed and stacked for shipment from WSP to the customer participating in the trial.This is how the reusable corrugated cases are closed and stacked for shipment from WSP to the customer participating in the trial.

Due to the uneven spread of weight in the single-wall cartons, WSP is trying two Box Latch™ Large on the bottom and one on the top to temporarily close the cases for shipping. Early testing at the WSP facilities by Phil Southam of KHP Business Solutions, the Australian Associate and Sales Representative for Box Latch™ Products, indicates two latches will hold the 11 kg weight in the current cases. “If WSP’s pilot program works as expected, it is likely WSP will move to double-wall corrugated cases to provide more strength, longevity, and security,” says Southam. More durable cases will cost a bit more but will prove to be cost-effective in the long run as well as reducing the need for two  Box Latches™ on the bottom.

“We’re interested to see how this goes and hopeful for success for all involved,” says WSP Managing Director Mark Pickering. The goal is to reuse the cases up to 20 times, yielding thousands of dollars in savings and, perhaps more important, greatly reducing the corrugated material from having to be recycled after only one use.

REDARC will also use another product from Box Latch Products called the Clip & Stack. Designed to hold carton flaps out of the way for packing or unpacking, one or two Clip & Stacks can be used to keep flaps open and out of the way as contents are added or removed. This eliminates catching on roller systems feeding the assembler. By using four of these Clip & Stack units, cases can be stacked two to four high saving considerable floorspace. This also prevents employees from being hit in their faces or bodies by box flaps on shelves, provides for neat and well managed shelf and rack space ,and prevents employees from tripping as a result of open-flapped cases sitting out on the plant floor.

As with the Box Latches™, the Clip & Stacks can be used hundreds or thousands of times, so only a small number may be required depending on how many open cases are required for packing or assembly at any one time. Since this innovative product allows for cases to be stacked while open, pre-constructing them during slow times allows for them to be ready when needed at peak times.


   Read about another clever application of this sustainable packaging format.


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