Paper360 - March/April 2012 - (Page 34)

CORRUGATED MILL WISE Understanding LIGHTWEIGHTING Mid-Atlantic Packaging takes steps toward sustainability and greener, more cost-effective packaging F ifteen years ago Mid-Atlantic Packaging of Montgomeryville, Penn., began a program of reducing the amount of fiber used in the corrugated products it produces. The process, broadly referred to as today as “lightweighting,” takes advantage of modern technologies to create lighter linerboard that utilizes up to 20% less fiber than the same box made of standard linerboards and mediums. The results are boxes, point-of-purchase displays or other corrugated products that are lighter in weight, yet meet the same edge crush test (ECT) specifications as those made of the heavier standard linerboard. Products that take advantage of lightweight linerboard offer considerably “greener footprints” throughout their life cycle. As such, the use of lightweight linerboard can also make a substantial contribution to a company’s sustainability scorecard. These advances have not only made MidAtlantic’s products considerably greener, but have also generated sources of monetary savings for its customers. The production of packaging using lightweight containerboard is not simply taking an existing container design and manufacturing it using lighter weight liners and mediums. Lightweight packaging combines the use of these lightweight materials with new, innovative packaging designs to eliminate “over packaging” and reduce the amount Paper360º MARCH/APRIL 2012 of natural materials (fiber and starch) and energy necessary to produce, transport and handle the corrugated container, display or retail-ready package. While lightweight containerboard is not the ideal choice for all packaging and container needs, many applications can take advantage of this technology, realizing substantial advances in sustainability, environmental impact and efficiency. As research and development continues, and more industry resources become available, the range of products that can take advantage of the benefit of lightweight technology will continue to expand. Typically this leads to lowering of the cost of the end product. MID-ATLANTIC PACKAGING’S PROGRESS IN LIGHTWEIGHTING In 1996 a typical high-performance box—one capable of achieving an ECT of 44—was made from containerboard consisting of outside or “liner” sheets weighing 57 pounds per thousand square feet and an inner fluted board or “medium” weighing 26 pounds per thousand square feet. This combination is fairly routine and still widely available in the marketplace as a whole. By replacing this 57-26-57 combination with 47-33-47 containerboard, MidAtlantic was able to maintain the same ECT 44 strength while using 9.3% less fiber. Similarly, with a standard ECT 32 sheet which consisted of a 36-26-36 combination, Mid-Atlantic has been able to achieve a net fiber reduction of 10.2% by moving to a 31-26-31 combination. Both provide an economic advantage that is shared with the company’s customers. FIBER/PERFORMANCE FOCUS Working closely with industry suppliers to research and identify premium lightweight liners and mediums that provide maximum structural performance and surface characteristics has resulted in the development of products such as Powerflute medium which replaces 40# and 45# with 31# medium. This presents an 11% fiber savings and offers a performance increase of 10%. This research also identified domestic grades of ultra-performance liners (UPL) that allows 47# and 52# liners to be replaced with a 42# UPL, providing a 9% fiber savings along with additional performance enhancements. As individual products, these liners and mediums provide exceptional performance results. When combined they present superior ECT and BCT (board crush test) results with some of the lightest weights available in the industry. While premium charges for these lighter papers can have a temporary impact on price, the total yield advantage still generates savings and additional value. SETTING A NEW TARGET: IS 20# LINER POSSIBLE? With paper accounting for 50% or more of the cost of a box, Mid-Atlantic has set as its goal 34

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Paper360 - March/April 2012

Over the Wire . . . News Summary
Asian Innovation on the Rise
SPECIAL FEATURE: Tissue Industry
North America Shifts to Specialization
A Measured Success
Aligning Rolls in a Paper Machine Winder
Understanding Lightweighting
Sappi Biberist Tests a New Inline Sensor to Control OBAs and Colors
Process Control for Stickies
An Innovative Yankee Coating Program
Biopolymers in Papermaking
Best Practices in Product Development
Employee Work Restrictions Challenge Human Resources
Paper360° Online Exclusives
Association News

Paper360 - March/April 2012