Archive for the ‘Plant Management’ Category

Setting Seven Performance Standards with Your Sheet Suppliers

August 4, 2014

For the last several years we have prepared you well with the Key Characteristics of Linerboard and Medium and Their Impact on Combined Corrugated Board-Second Edition, how to Get the Best Box, and Understanding Box Performance-Third Edition.  Make sure you have these brochures in your library. (available at the AICC Store)

Then at the third Science of Paper School we shifted the focus somewhat from what converters need to know about containerboards in general to combined board characteristics specifically.  Recently when compiling a list of sheet feeders for the Associations’ Board of Directors we were reminded to provide members with the key quantitative quality requirements one might want to establish with their internal or external suppliers.  Several years ago we publish a series of spreadsheets for singlewall and doublewall combinations listing a few physical properties categories so a converter could establish incoming sheet specifications with their supplies.

Let’s review those and explore a more comprehensive array of properties.

ECT: Yes, it is well know but not completely understood. While the already known losses of box compression will varying with supply chain elements, deterioration rates vary by actual amounts of board crush or flute degradation and the use of semichemical or recycled mediums.

Caliper: spring back or recovered thickness after crushing.  While fluting is a resilient material and recovers from much of the sever deformation that occurs during combining and/or converting, its inherent strength contribution to the corrugated may be significantly compromised.

Flat Crush: This measure of actual combined board crush verses the potential resistance to crushing as predicted from the Concora strength of the medium. This, however, is not a good predictor of actual board crush.

Pin Adhesion: Determines the strength of the bonds between the liner(s) and the medium(s).

Four Point Bending Stiffness: Measures the rigidity of the combined board and the sidewall wall robustness of the corrugated box.

Torsional Stiffness: Relatively new to the US, but known elsewhere.  This maybe the single best overall determinant of board strength.

Warp: Should have no more than 1/8 deviation from flatness per foot.

Look for more details in an upcoming issue of BoxScore

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?

Disposing of Ink Buckets and Cutting Dies

March 7, 2013

Chase asks:

Our plant uses a lot of ink and are constantly obsoleting cutting dies. Both of these process leave us with a waste stream that I cannot find a buyer for. The ink is in standard 5 gallon buckets and we have switched to all plastic handles to make it easier to recycle and take a step of removing metal handles form the process so the whole bucket can be recycled, but i cannot find anyone who wants to fool with the recycling of these buckets even thought the ink residue is water soluble and non-toxic.

We wash these out, but are not in the business of cleaning ink buckets we are a corrugated converter, so there is still some ink that is not washed off. On the other hand is our cutting die situation. Do you know of a good way to recycle or otherwise use these dies without just tossing them out? It is costing us quite a bit of money for extra dumpsters to handle the buckets and dies.

In the January/February 2013 issue of Paperboard Packaging Magazine’s Products & Services section (page 22) there was mention of a Die Recycling Program developed by Triangle Dies & Supplies. They may also have an option for your ink buckets.

You may want to contact them.

Converting Equipment Performance Standards

October 25, 2012

James asks:

We are creating a scorecard of manufacturing data that our facilities can use to monitor their performance. We would like to included bench mark data of industry production performances on key pieces of machinery (mini-ffgs, mid-size ffgs, large ffgs; rotary diecutters, specialty gluers, etc.). Can you tell us what benchmark might be available through the AICC?

I believe I can provide a resource for this question. Every two years TAPPI and FBA combine for a Productivity And Waste Study. They get a large participation and the final report is available to those who contribute. For all others there is a fee. You can order a copy of the study online at or

The detailed study provides data specific to machinery types, sizes and configurations. I’m sure you will find the study data very helpful.