Laminations® provides easy packing, sustainable solution for shipping bars, rods and tubes of alloys
When Laminations® designed and built its specialized machine to create UCrate®, the packaging protection company could have had future customer Corrosion Materials in mind. UCrate – designed to be a cost-effective sustainable choice for protecting long and narrow products during shipping and handling – turned out to be a perfect fit.
It was David Clements who brought UCrate to the attention of Corrosion Materials, which distributes corrosion-resistant alloys. Clements is a packaging consultant for Plastics Distributors Company, New Orleans, La.
“During a call on Corrosion Materials, I could see they were shipping exotic metals and a lot of the products being shipped were long, narrow pipe and round bar. They were putting the products in PVC cylinders and wooden crates,” said Clements.
“Their process looked very labor intensive,” said Clements. “Plus, they were using power saws and tools, which raised some potential safety issues in the packaging process.”
Watching the packaging process, Clement thought of UCrate, which Gary Anderson, Laminations account manager, had recently brought to his attention during a presentation.
“I thought that with UCrate they could eliminate a lot of the construction time, address safety issues, and their product would still be protected during shipment,” said Clement.
“David came in and said, ‘You might want to look at this. It’s called UCrate,'” recalled Rob Hanks, Operations Manager for Corrosion Materials. “He had some samples with him. We tried it, fine-tuned it a bit as far as specifications, and have been using it for going on two years now. ”
Packaging protection for specialized alloys
Corrosion Materials, headquartered in Baker, La., with additional warehouse facilities in Houston and Chicago, distributes corrosion-resistant alloys that are fabricated into products for industries such as petrochemical, chemical process, oil field, pharmaceutical and desalinization operations. Many of its specialized alloys are supplied to OEMs in the form of bar, pipe, tubing, fittings, flanges, fasteners and flat product. The Louisiana plant also cuts and ships flat narrow strips of plate and sheet as well as provides custom machined parts and welded assemblies Laminations, a part of Great Northern Corporation and based in Appleton, Wis., is known for its recyclable paperboard edge protection products such as VBoard®, which provides edge protection for palletized loads. In 2008, the company leveraged its VBoard expertise to create a new engineered solution.
UCrate consists of seamless U–shaped paperboard channels that fit snugly together to create a sturdy, environmentally friendly way to ship long, narrow products such as rods, tubing, window blinds and other products that are fragile or have sensitive finishes.
The UCrate Advantage
Compared to other packaging options such as wooden crates and corrugate, UCrate offers a variety of advantages, including savings in time and materials, safety and superior protection. When shipping long, narrow tube or rod-shaped materials, UCrate:
- is lighter than wood, with no bug stamping export issues and no slivers;
- offers better impact resistance and scuff protection than corrugated;
- delivers labor savings with quick and easy top loading of product; and
- provides substantial beam strength without sacrificing shock absorption.
Corrosion Materials ships globally from all three of its locations and uses all modes of transportation, from container ships to planes, to common carrier and dedicated carrier trucks. Some of the alloys being shipped are particularly sensitive to scratching or denting, so protective packaging is critical to customer satisfaction.
“Our main concern is scratching because in the applications these products are used the corrosive media would typically attack those areas where there is scratching or a ding or any insult to the product is first,” said Hanks. “With UCrate, we have had zero issues with product damage.”
UCrate is manufactured using recyclable laminated paperboard up to 18 inches wide (with symmetrical or asymmetrical legs), caliper options ranging from 0.0800 to 0.6000 inches and standard lengths up to 300 inches with longer lengths also available. The company orders a standard 170-inch length, which it then custom cuts to fit the order sizes.
“We used to use wooden crates, and still do for some orders, depending on size and weight. Some customers require wooden crates,” said Hanks. ” From Chicago and Houston, we primarily ship long products like bar, pipe, tubing and fittings. While from our Louisiana facility, we ship not only those products but also strips of sheets and plates. We now use UCrate to ship most of our products from all three locations.”
“One thing we pride ourselves on is the way we package our product. We think it is industry leading,” added Hanks. That pride is reflected in the fact that Corrosion Materials has a two-color logo printed on its UCrates.
While protection is the key packaging issue for Corrosion Materials, sustainability and cost also supported the switch to UCrate.
“We try to save on the wood we’re buying,” said Hanks. “We are using a lot less trees and that’s saved on the environment and reduced costs.”
“UCrate has reduced our packaging costs and is easier to handle and discard at the customer’s end because it is 100 percent recyclable,” Hanks added. “It’s easier and quicker for us to fabricate our packaging since it’s pretty much premade. The only things we have to add are the wooden blocks we staple at the ends and maybe some cleats. UCrate has saved all the way around – time, money and the environment.”