APPMA member Fromm Packaging Australia has acquired a new piece of equipment that allows it to simulate the conditions a pallet will endure during transport.

In what managing director Richard Layton describes as a first for the Australian packaging industry, the technology allows Fromm to conduct in-house testing on load stabilisation and stress in transit. Layton points out that returns and product damage can eat away at the bottom line for manufacturers and supply-chain businesses.

“The industry average is around four per cent, and a lot of it can be improved simply by stretch wrapping their palletised goods correctly – but they don’t know how to do it. When you’re a large manufacturer, that translates to a huge amount of wastage from the goods you’re shipping across the country or overseas,” he said.

According to Layton, Fromm uses its new equipment to tailor advice for secure shipping: the company wraps the customer’s pallet, places it onto the machine, and tilts it to simulate stresses up to 0.8G. If the contents move in the static test, this means they could also shift when the delivery truck brakes abruptly or goes around a corner, exposing them to potential damage.

“We look at the products our customers are currently wrapping, how they’re wrapping them and the trip to the end destination.

“Then, using our new machine, we simulate the g-forces that would be experienced in transit. No other packaging company in Australia offers this kind of testing,” said Layton.

With the analysis of its simulations, says Layton, Fromm can show customers how to cost-effectively avoid damage during shipping.

“This includes what kind of film they should use and what kind of stretch they need to apply on the stretch-wrapping machines to satisfy industry guidelines for shipping goods in Australia, which are set out in the National Transport Commission’s Load Restraint Guide.

“Until now, load wrapping has always been based on historical film usage. I don’t think that transporting goods should be guess, or luck – there should be a science behind it,” he said.

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