Atlantic Packaging’s TruMotion Transportation Simulator was a topic of discussion among researchers in the International Association of Packaging Research Institute’s (IAPRI) December 2017 newsletter. IAPRI is an organization of professionals dedicated to promoting and advancing research and education in packaging.
The article is titled “Multi-axis testing gets a new spring in its step.” In the U.S., the standard vibration testing system for packaging is a single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) system that measures the impact of one-dimensional forces on a package in a simulated route.
Multiple-degree-of-freedom (MDOF) testing systems, or multi-axis systems, are extremely rare, especially in a packaging setting. The TruMotion system at Atlantic Packaging, built by Lansmont, is the first publicly accessible multi-axis vibration testing system for commercial packaging applications.
Outside the U.S., a few notable multi-axis systems have been in use for several years in the packaging industry, including a smaller, three-degree-of-freedom (3DOF) testing system at ITENE in Spain. Safe Load Testing Technologies has two more multi-axis testing systems installed in Asia and Europe. Safe Load CEO Alberto Tellecha has a high opinion of the system’s value, saying “It is very useful both for design and optimizing packaging; not only to test and validate a design, but also to get a deeper knowledge of the risk occurring in the supply chain.”
One of the most significant benefits of multi-axis systems are the wide table areas. Lansmont engineer, Eric Joneson, explains “While some systems are designed to handle a single pallet, we realized that being able to accommodate two pallet loads and monitor the interactions between them can be just as important.”
Obstacles and Perceived Barriers
Companies who have invested in single-axis testing systems have done so because of costs and other perceived risks related to investing in new multi-axis testing systems.
But most of the cost differential with a multi-axis system is due to the fact that they are still very new, and there are no defined standards and procedures to streamline the testing process. Each test requires individual preparation and development.
However, as more data and test results from the TruMotion system accumulates, Atlantic will be instrumental in developing the standards and procedures needed in this space.
Atlantic’s Research Pioneers
Kyle Dunno, Atlantic’s Director of Transport Packaging, and his team along with leadership at Atlantic are confident that the TruMotion multi-axis testing system will provide data-driven packaging solutions well worth the investment.
There has been industry support for multi-axis systems for years, but as Dunno states “a lack of available systems meant it was hard for anyone to actually validate…that it does make a difference, and there are benefits.” At Atlantic, we’re excited about the opportunity to bring validation to this level of testing through data, research, and applied solutions.
Dunno isn’t the only one who believes in the benefit of multi-axis system testing in the packaging industry. At the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA), VP – Technical Eric Hiser says, “It takes us one step closer to what’s happening in the real world. It’s another tool allowing for pack optimization and for the reduction of both waste and damage.”
Packaging in the Modern Age
With significant changes in packaging design to improve sustainability – for example thinner, more flexible, and recyclable packaging – adjustments in stretch wrapping applications are critical in order to minimize load failure. Damaged product from load failure is counter-productive to the waste problem that sustainable packaging is designed to reduce.
Multi-axis testing systems have the capability to test the effects of vibration on packaging in multiple dimensions, producing data that informs how we customize stretch wrapping application for new, more sustainable packaging designs.
The specific benefits of multi-axis system testing will soon be apparent, and Atlantic is proud to be at the forefront of this research. Dunno and other Atlantic engineers will be presenting updates about the TruMotion system and the Packaging Research Center at the 2018 GMA Leadership Forum, as well as the 2018 ISTA TransPack Forum.