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Engineered wood for transport containers

When it comes to making transport packaging that are strong, cost effective and lightweight, containers and bins made with engineered wood products can be a smart solution. Source: Pallet Enterprize

When products are expensive and fragile, packaging can present a challenge.

For example, a manufacturer of high-speed automated mail insertion machines needed to ship machines and parts of different sizes and weights – some very large and heavy, but also fragile due to inner electronics – to a variety of domestic and international locations.

The need for protective, customizable, and dimensionally stable shipping containers led them to choose plywood.

Manufactured in a variety of thicknesses and sizes, plywood is resistant to rough handling and is well suited to international shipping; plywood and OSB are exempt from ISPM-15 plant health regulations requiring debarking, heat treatment or fumigation.

Liquid products present a different set of challenges.

After using stainless steel drums and plastic containers for years, a manufacturer of paints, soaps, detergents, and other liquid materials needed to reduce their packaging and delivery costs.

The manufacturer switched to collapsible OSB tote boxes with two-ply plastic liners.

The boxes were more economical to purchase and had a longer life-cycle, increasing the number of inventory turns per box.

The easily collapsible bins also saved space during return shipment.

An added benefit: when the boxes reach the end of their useful life, OSB panels are easily recycled.

Plywood and OSB panels are available in a variety of sizes, grades and surface treatments.

Multiple factors such as product dimensions and weight of load, mode of transportation, type of handling equipment, frequency of use affect specifications for materials handling products. Because these factors are so important and variable, each application should be considered independently when considering panel type.

North American wood structural panels certified by APA (The Engineered Wood Association) are typically produced in two bond classifications, Exposure 1 and Exterior grades.

For most crates and bins, Exposure 1 panels are suitable.

For export or outdoor use, exterior panels may be necessary.

Exterior panels have bonds capable of withstanding repeated wetting and re-drying, long-term exposure to weather, and other conditions of similar severity.

Sanded plywood or panels with overlaid surfaces, such as High Density Overlay (HDO) and Medium Density Plywood (MDO) plywood, can be used when an extra-smooth surface is desired.

By joining the wood components with simple hardware, manufacturers can match the specifications of a crate or bin with the requirements of specific products and materials handling equipment.

Plywood and OSB crates and bins can be designed in a variety of sizes and functional configurations, adaptable to virtually any materials handling equipment, from forklifts to conveyors to racks and automated storage and retrieval systems.

APA’s online resource for engineered wood products in materials handling and other industrial applications, provides access to design information and specification recommendations, including APA’s Containers and Bins Industrial Use Guide, Materials Handling Industrial Use Guide, and the Performance Rated Panels Product Guide.

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