Laminations® delivers cost-effective alternative to wooden crates
When the Coldwater plant in Appleton, Wis., began using Laminations® UCrate® paperboard containers to ship its paper machine suction roll seals and other specialty parts, it marked the next logical step in a packaging solutions relationship that dates back more than 13 years.
That relationship began with Laminations and Appleton Specialty Products, which became Appleton International, which then was acquired by Coldwater in 2004 and moved from Kimberly to nearby Appleton in 2007.
“I’ve been with this operation since 1987, and we used to ship all of our suction roll seals in hand-constructed wooden crates,” said Patty VerVoort, Coldwater Manufacturing Manager in Appleton. “We still use wooden crates when we have very large, very heavy shipments, but the majority of our seals and products are now shipped using Laminations paperboard containers.”
Coldwater suction seals can range in length from 60 inches to more than 340 inches, said VerVoort, and the material can be rigid or flexible. A single 200-inch suction seal weighs about 75 pounds. To accommodate the variations, VerVoort’s distributor delivers the UCrates in 300-inch lengths in three configurations: 4x9x4 inches, 2x3x2 inches and 4x7x4 inches. To support the dense composition and weight of the rubber-graphite seals, Coldwater uses a heavy caliper of UCrate.
To facilitate handling by forklift, VerVoort and her crew space wooden blocks along a plank that is the same length as the UCrate bottom piece and then attach the UCrate bottom to those blocks with screws.
VerVoort explained her shop has moved away from wooden crates where feasible because paperboard delivers several distinct advantages over wood.
“Constructing those wooden crates can take a half-hour. I can package the same product in a UCrate in about 15 minutes,” said VerVoort. “Also, paperboard is much lighter than wood, so there are significant savings in shipping costs, as well.”
The UCrate tops and bottoms nest well so they can be ordered and stored ready for use without taking up much space when compared to space needed to store the wood for crate building.
Another advantage over wood lies in the way shipments are handled, she said.
“We ship by common carrier and the product inside is fragile,” said VerVoort. “Those wooden crates look indestructible, and sometimes they get tossed around. The paperboard is sturdy, but I think the fact that it’s paperboard and not wood makes the carriers think twice about the way they handle them and treat them more gently.”
VerVoort also likes the custom printing that is available with Laminations products. The Coldwater name is printed in the company’s signature blue color along the sides of each UCrate, giving the company added presence in the mills. “Our marketing folks love that,” VerVoort said.
Pam Schroeder, Laminations account manager, said the Coldwater account is a classic example of the usage Laminations had in mind when creating UCrate.
“For specialty products that are long, narrow and require sturdy but cost-effective protection for shipping and handling, UCrate can deliver the perfect solution,” Schroeder said.