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Author Archives: Scott Hill

  1. Mullen Burst Test vs. Edge Crush Test (ECT)

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    Optimizing your corrugated boxes to find the perfect balance between protecting your product and minimizing excess packaging (i.e., excess costs and environmental impact) is a science. The science involves using empirical data from testing the corrugated board that makes up the box. Two standard tests are the Mullen Test and ECT or edge crush test.

    Mullen Test

    The Mullen test is named for the instrument used to conduct the test, which was engineered by John W. Mullen in 1887 and sold to the Parsen Paper company. Although using corrugated for boxes didn’t become mainstream until the early 20th century, the Mullen burst test would become the method for testing corrugated strength for a while.

    Why is it used?

    • The Mullen test is indirectly related to a carton’s ability to withstand internal or external pressure. For example, an item might puncture the box, or a sharp edge of the product might protrude from the box during handling.
    • The Mullen burst test is used if boxes will experience rough handling, are manually taken off and put on trucks, or may move around during shipping. Most importantly, the Mullen test is used when burst is the primary concern for performance in the supply chain.

    How is corrugated tested?

    The testing instrument has two platens with circular openings in their centers. A sample of the corrugated board is clamped between them.  A diaphragm is hydraulically expanded, distending through the lower platen and pressing on the sample until it bursts. The maximum hydraulic pressure reached when the sample ruptures is recorded as its bursting strength and is measured in pounds.

    Edge Crush Test (ECT)

    In the 1990s, corrugators started using a higher percentage of recycled material. The fibers of virgin paper are long and bind together, giving it more strength than the shorter fibers of recycled material. It was noticed that although the burst test results were lower, boxes were still being stacked with no noticeable issues. The edge crush test became an industry standard for strength when stack is the primary concern for performance in the supply chain.

    Minimum basis weight is required for the burst test, but ECT does not have this requirement, so lighter weight materials can be used while still providing a higher crush resistance. When comparing two cartons – one burst test rated and one ECT rated, the ECT box will weigh less.

    Why is it used?

    • ECT is directly related to stacking strength and how much weight can be applied to the corrugated per square inch.
    • This test helps determine if a box can withstand other loaded boxes’ weight when shipped on a pallet.

    How is corrugated tested?  

    A sample of corrugated board is placed on edge (flutes perpendicular) between to platens, and force is applied until the sample buckles. The results are recorded in pounds per lineal inch of load-bearing edge but represented as ECT. For example, you may see a box rated as 40 ECT.

    Contact Progress Container & Display for all your corrugated needs

    Whether you are shipping through e-commerce or have large pallets of product, the best way to ensure your packaging is optimized for your product is to work with professionals that have the expertise to ensure your product makes it to its destination safely. With an in-house structural design department and more than 45 years of experience, we have the knowledge and capabilities to ensure your product arrives as intended and help you reduce your total costs of packaging. Call us today to get started.

  2. Companies React to Consumers’ Need for Sustainable Packaging

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    For years, sustainability has been a big buzz word that was casually mentioned on websites and pushed out on social media, but now companies are increasingly moving from talking to doing. Finding the balance between profits and sustainability is critical, and business executives are finding the two goals are not mutually exclusive. One sustainability survey revealed that eighty-two percent of business leaders and senior executives who responded felt that sustainability is a long-term investment rather than a cost, and eighty-three percent described it as a business opportunity to be exploited.

    Companies Respond but Say Packaging is a Challenge

    Companies are responding by looking at how things they do are impacting the environment and how they can contribute through the use of sustainable products and packaging. Sustainability is driving R&D for thirty-seven percent of the respondents and new product development for thirty-three percent, but packaging was cited by more than two-thirds as being the most challenging sustainability practice to implement.

    Consumers Demand Sustainability

    The pressure to implement sustainable practices and deliver sustainable packaging is being driven by consumers. Consumers were also surveyed and responded with the following:

    • Sixty-one percent expect brands they buy to have clear sustainability practices.
    • Half of the consumers reported that in the past six months they’ve purchased a product specifically because it had reusable or biodegradable packaging.
    • Forty-five percent have refused to purchase a product that had unsustainable packaging.
    • Slightly more than half have paid more for a sustainably sourced product or service, while only twenty-two percent felt that companies should cover any additional costs associated with producing sustainable products.

    Corrugated is the Ultimate in Sustainable Packaging

    The Sustainable Packaging Coalition has established international guidelines and defined sustainable packaging as meeting the following criteria:

    • Is beneficial, safe & healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle
    • Meets market criteria for performance and cost
    • Is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy
    • Optimizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials
    • Is manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices
    • Is made from materials healthy throughout the life cycle
    • Is physically designed to optimize materials and energy
    • Is effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial closed-loop cycles

    Sustainable packaging considers the packaging’s full life cycle, including the energy and processes used its manufacture end-of-life recovery.

    Companies can look to corrugated for help with the sustainable packaging challenges they face. Corrugated packaging easily meets the established criteria when you work with a packaging supplier who recognizes the importance of implementing these guidelines from cradle to cradle.

    More companies are beginning to realize that moving from less sustainable packaging options to corrugated packaging can positively impact their triple bottom line – people, planet, and profits.

    Progress Container is Dedicated to Sustainability

    Sustainability has been part of our vision and mission statement for almost 50 years.

    We demonstrate this:

    • Through our certification to the fiber sourcing standard set by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) and the ISO 14001 Environmental Certification
    • By ensuring our sheet suppliers are certified under the SFI or other certifications adhering to the guidelines promoting sustainable forestry processes
    • By minimizing waste and unneeded packaging in our designs
    • Maximizing the use of recycled mediums and liners

    Contact Progress Container to learn more.

  3. Driving Sales With Corrugated Displays

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    Corrugated is one of the most versatile materials when it comes to product protection and presentation. From shipping boxes to specialty packaging and displays, corrugated is the number one choice of materials. With the right partner, corrugated has the ability to help drive sales. Below are three ways that corrugated can be used to increase your bottom line.

    Graphic Design

    Corrugated packaging provides a blank canvas for your brand to showcase its artwork and grab a customer’s attention. Research has shown that first impressions take only 7 seconds. With just seconds to make an impression and get the sale, an appealing design can increase product turns and strengthen brand equity. With corrugated, you have many printing options available to you, including:

    • Direct flexographic printing
    • Litho labeling
    • Digital printing

    Your brand is represented by your product packaging. Choosing the right printing option will allow you to appropriately reflect your brand.

    Structural Design

    Corrugated packaging that is designed properly will maintain its integrity, and its contents will arrive to the end-user exactly as intended. Happy customers mean repeat sales. Corrugated provides tremendous flexibility in the design of packaging and displays. The packaging or display can be customized to the product and exceed your customers’ expectations. Unique packaging configurations for consumer products can increase the pleasure of the unboxing experience. POP displays that stand out from the ordinary will capture your customer’s attention and wallet.


    Corrugated is a sustainable choice. It is recyclable and made from recycled materials. It is from a renewable resource. It is reusable, and
    it is compostable. Many consumers are looking to reduce the amount of plastics they consume and look for brands that share this value. By working with the right packaging partner, you can take it a step further by optimizing your packaging and reducing materials used without compromising the integrity of the packaging. When you support the values of your customers, you can see an increase in repeat purchases.

    Progress Container Can Help You Reduce Your Total Packaging Costs

    With an in-house structural design department and more than 45 years of experience, we have the knowledge and capabilities to create packaging that drives sales.

    Whether you need retail packaging, point of purchase displays, branded shipping packaging or all of the above, Progress Container can deliver with attention-grabbing graphics and economically responsible packaging solutions.

    Contact Progress Container to learn more.

  4. Advantages of Corrugated Packaging

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    When it comes to packaging, you have many options available to you, but the one that stands out for many companies is corrugated. Worldwide corrugated is the primary choice of packaging with over 90 percent of retail goods in developed nations being shipped in corrugated. Aside from being readily available, there are several reasons why corrugated is the first choice for many.


    Corrugated is highly customizable, allowing boxes to be designed in a variety of shapes, sizes, styles, and levels of complexity. Depending on your application and strength required, single, double, and triple wall, in addition to a variety of flute sizes, provides great flexibility in customization. Internal corrugated components can be designed in countless configurations.


    Protecting your product is imperative. The rigidity, strength, and cushioning properties of corrugated combined with an optimized design offers the highest level protection during handling and shipping.

    Environmentally Friendly

    Corrugated is made from a renewable resource—trees. Millions of acres of forests are responsibly managed with new trees panted annually to ensure a continuous source of primary fiber. 90% or 25 million tons of corrugated materials from pre- and post-consumer use are recycled annually, generating a renewable source of secondary fibers.


    Corrugated boxes are a great tool for marketing and offer greater printability over rigid plastic containers. Whether you choose to pint just your logo and company information or cover the box in vivid graphics, corrugated packaging provides the perfect canvas to convey your branded message.


    Because corrugated is customizable to your product, you can maximize space on pallets, trucks, and warehouses. In addition, corrugated is lighter than plastic, which typically means the truck won’t weigh out before it’s filled. Corrugated makes the most efficient use of space, which saves you on transportation costs.

    Progress Can Create the Perfect Corrugated Packaging for Your Product

    Progress Container can design, print, and manufacture your structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing industrial packaging. With in-house engineers and designers, we provide industrial packaging supply chain solutions with total landed costs in mind.

    We offer:

    • Ideation and design
    • Single wall; double wall; triple wall; and B, C, and E flute corrugated options
    • Flexographic, Lithographic & Digital Printing
    • Industrial & Retail Packaging
    • Point of Purchase Displays & Fulfillment
    • Specialty glue application
    • ISTA® testing through a trusted partner
    • VMI, Vendor Management Inventory

    Contact Progress Container to learn more.



  5. Packaging Design Tips For and Enjoyable Unboxing Experience

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    Every unboxing experience will evoke some sort of emotion. However, you want to ensure you are creating a rich experience that evokes positive emotion—excitement, anticipation, pleasure. Implementing emotional design elements into your product packaging will create a connection between the product and the consumer. A positive experience can lead to increased sales.

    Below are some general things to consider when creating your unboxing experience:

    Know the Intended User

    Know what gets your user excited and try to incorporate that into your packaging. For example, an engineer may prefer packaging that fits together cleanly and has a clear progression to unpacking it, while an artist may prefer more abstract designs and unique configurations.

    Choose an Appropriate Box Style

    • Your style of box will make a difference in how the product is perceived. How the box opens and closes, it’s complexity, weight, construction, coatings, and of course, printing will all tell a story about your product and brand.
    • Make sure it is easy to open. Nothing ruins a great unboxing experience like struggling to open the box.
    • When shipping direct-to-consumer use the shipping box as a branding opportunity. The excitement of the unboxing starts as soon as your customer sees your brand on the box.

    Pack for presenting

    • Everything included should have a space in the box that has been deliberately chosen. Nothing should be loose in the box.
    • Create packaging that places emphasis on the main component. Don’t stick the invoice, directions, or marketing materials on top. For many products creating an obvious progression for unboxing works well.
    • Any product that requires charging for use should be charged or charged prior to boxing. No one wants to wait two hours or more to use the product once they open it.

    Internal Packaging Materials Matter

    • Internal packaging components are necessary to ensure the product and components are not moving around loose in the box. Beyond functionality, they should be aesthetically pleasing. Avoid using packaging peanuts and anything that will make a mess or detract from the unboxing.
    • Internal packaging materials provide additional branding opportunities for you to engage with your customers.
    • Quality materials will suggest a luxury product.

    Need Help Taking Your Unboxing Experience to the Next Level.

    Progress Container & Display can develop and execute the perfect solution for your product.

    With structural designers and a full-service in-house graphics department, Progress can help create a memorable unboxing experience for your customers.

  6. Meeting Sustainability Objectives with Corrugated

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    Environmental sustainability is an important topic for many consumers. A Neilson survey revealed that 81 percent of global respondents feel that companies should help improve the environment. So it’s no surprise that many companies have environmental sustainability initiatives. In fact, in 2018, 86 percent of S&P 500 companies published sustainability or corporate responsibility reports, up from under 20 percent in 2011, according to research conducted by the Governance and Accountability Institute.

    One of the ways that companies are looking to meet environmental objectives is through the use of eco-friendly packaging solutions, such as corrugated.

    • Corrugated contains recycled content and is recyclable
    • Corrugated is renewable
    • Corrugated is reusable
    • Uncoated corrugated is compostable

    Beyond the physical characteristics of corrugated that make it an eco-friendly material, corrugated packaging can be used to further minimize your environmental impact when you work with an environmentally-focused packaging supplier.

    Some of the ways your supplier should be assisting you include the following:

    • Optimizing Packaging – Eliminating unneeded packaging, while ensuring the product is well protected. Corrugated has a high strength to weight ratio, so when this is combined with tailored solution, it will provide superior product protection. Optimized packaging will also improve truck load utilization.
    • Reducing Materials–Designing structures to use appropriate board combinations to reduce the total fiber per carton.
    • Reusing Packaging – Maximizing the use of recycled mediums and liners recovered from old corrugated cardboard (OCC) and double-lined kraft (DLK).
    • Investing in Certifications – Using sheet suppliers that are certified under the Sustainable Forest Initiative® (SFI) or other certifications adhering to the guidelines promoting sustainable forestry processes.

    What we do

    Progress Container is dedicated to sustainability, which has been part of our vision and mission statement for almost 50 years.

    We demonstrate this:

    • Through our certification to the fiber sourcing standard set by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI).
    • By ensuring our sheet suppliers that are certified under the SFI or other certifications adhering to the guidelines promoting sustainable forestry processes
    • By Minimizing waste and unneeded packaging in our designs
    • Maximizing the use of recycled mediums and liners