Settling the “Score” with Sheet Suppliers

July 18, 2014

Chuck asks,

How can we, as a sheet buyer, communicate to our sheet suppliers what we mean by ‘heavy scoring’. Is there a TAPPI industry standard for how much score pressure should be applied at the corrugator on the substrate…based on the flute configuration and weight of combined board? Does the corrugator have gages that indicate how much scoring pressure is being applied to the combined sheet at the slitter/scorer?

We have multiple vendors, we find that we’re having difficulty getting some of the suppliers to understand what we mean by ‘heavy scoring’. Hence my questions. We need a consistent means to communicate to our suppliers what we require when we ask for ‘heavy scoring’.

Every sheet plant must set quality and quantifiable specifications with their sheet suppliers. In regards to this latter point those measurable and reportable properties should be ECT, Flat Crush, caliper, four point bending, board performance index, and score bending. In a Corrugated Today article written by Dick Target, he discusses testing many aspects of corrugated board including score bending. (Raising Manufacturing Standards – Corrugated Today, March/April 2012, Page 22). You can and should set very specific values with your sheet supplier and establish a numerical target verses the very subjective term, “Heavy Scoring.”

Score bend testers available from the normal commercial testing machine manufacturers can be rather pricey. You may want order one from Dick Target, start to set standards for your sheets and hold your supplies accountable!


ECT Standard Differences

July 10, 2014

Michael asks,

Recently, we have been discussing ECT test methods with one of our partners plants. They are utilizing ‘X Brand’ testing equipment and using the Neckdown method (T 838 cm-12), which was revised as a ‘classic method’ in 2012. We have been using the ‘short column test’ (TAPPI/ANSI T 839 om-12), which has been an official test method since 2002.

The problem is that we have recently been getting different ECT values, where ours have better numbers than our partner plant. Assuming there is nothing happening to the material during transit, our feeling is that our different test methods could be the source of our conflicting data values.

I have heard that there are not many who still use the Neckdown method of testing. I have also been informed that supposedly there have been studies that indicate that ‘X Brand’ of equipment may not be giving consistent data.
Is there any information or perspective you can share regarding all of this? Specifically, how probable is it that any significant difference in our data is because of our different testing methods or equipment?

As I recall from my last visit, you are also using ‘X Brand’. All testing machines and tools can get out of calibration and need regular and often costly maintenance.

There should not be a significant difference between test methods. The quality of the cutting knives is critical. Are you using gloves? You might consider preconditioning and then conditioning the samples before testing until you discover the root cause of the differences. What is the two sigma range for the two testing methodologies? Have you exchanged samples? How about considering a third party testing facility to validate your tests? Perhaps you would want to send samples directly from your partner plant and then equivalent samples, from the same batch, that you have received from the partner plant.

Please don’t assume that there is no damage in transit! One study shows an ECT loss of 7% depending on the roads.

Sometimes operator variability and preference comes into the picture.

These are a few things you can look at and if you have any additional information, or follow up results to share, please do.

If anyone else ahs any comments, we’ll be happy to listen.

— Ralph

Educating the Community about Environmentally Friendly Corrugated

May 20, 2014

Joe ask,

We are having some issues with the community surrounding our plant, they seem to feel that we are creating hazardous waste which they say is causing illnesses. We have obtained and maintain all required permits and are always in compliance. My question to you, does AICC have any documentation that would cover how environmentally friendly the corrugated industry is?

Joe it sounds like you’re looking for materials to help educate your community and I think that is a very good first step. Human nature makes us leery of things we don’t understand. Those outside of the industry don’t realize that most of the materials used in corrugated packaging are natural such as paper, starch and soy. Nor do they realize that industries and industrial sites are typically held to a much higher level of compliance. When you add up the communities individual contributions to the environment (cars, barbecues, furnaces that are probably older and very inefficient and the biggest offenders of all gas powered lawn tools) you may find the plant is not the largest threat to the neighborhood.

But we’re not looking to shift blame, just to be good neighbors. I’ll check our resources here and touch base with TAPPI and FBA to see what they may have.

Let’s also open this up for comment from other members and followers who may have or are facing the same issues. Does anyone want to share their experiences on how they have addressed similar issues?

In the mean time, just some ‘good neighbor’ things to consider.

  • How is your boiler fueled and how is the exhaust handled?
  • How long will you allow trucks to idle, are there oil spills under cars and tractors, and what hours do they operate?
  • Are night lights and truck headlights shining into neighbors homes?
  • Where is water discharged and what is known about your roof and hard surface runoff?
    How is your waste water stored or disposed? Drums being hauled away from an industrial site can look much more menacing than they really are.
  • How modern is your dust collection system?
  • What’s the decibel level at the property lines?
  • When are your dumpsters emptied and how is your rodent control?

Corrugated Export Certification?

May 20, 2014

Gary asks:

We have a customer who is being challenged by an exporter who is asking for verification that corrugated cartons are “authorized” for export. We have all seen the required documentation that corrugated does not contain elements of concern (Mercury, etc.) and we sent that letter. However, our customer is being asked for more documentation that it is OK to send corrugated overseas.

Any idea how to satisfy that exporter’s request?

This question is a bit open ended, but will attempt to give a quality generic answer. There are less than twenty countries in the world that have established corrugated packaging regulations based on shipping modes. Most are based on US derived Rule 41 and Item 222 standards. UPS and FedEx honor these US methodologies and also reference ISTA and ASTM procedures. Just look at the packaging that comes into this country. Your local wine store is an excellent place to investigate how foreign shippers model US protocols.

If the customer needs more documentation we can pull additional information from the International Corrugated Case Association.

If the members question is based on shipping hazardous materials or food, then there may be additional information we can access.



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