December 13


Returnable Packaging Basics: Digital vs. Analog Design

By Steve Melito

December 13, 2017

returnable packaging basics, returnable packaging design

For packaging engineers, a knowledge of returnable packaging basics begins with digital vs. analog design. Today, many engineers use computer-aided design (CAD) software with sewn fabric dunnage. Digital drawings are useful, but CAD files won’t consider the needs of the personnel who load and remove parts bags. That’s why analog design for recyclable packaging is so important.

Digital Designs and Returnable Packaging Basics

With rack bags, CAD programs can help you to determine which parts lay down and which parts stand up. CAD software is great for determining pocket sizes, too. Yet there are limitations to what digital technology can deliver. For example, a digital drawing won’t tell you if a part will tip one way or the other. You can’t tell how hard it will be load or unload a parts bag, and you won’t know if parts will cause the bag to tear.

That’s why Hold-True, an innovative supplier of returnable packaging, doesn’t just look at your design files. Rather, we ask questions, analyze your answers, and apply what we’ve learned.

With our hands-on approach, we’ll sketch rack bag designs on a white board and then cut and sew prototype bags that fit the racks you’ll use them with. At Hold-True, that’s what we call “analog design”. Compare our rigorous approach to sending your schematics to a design house that’s never loaded a fabric rack bag or used a sewing machine.

Analog Designs and Returnable Packaging Basics

Analog design is both creative and iterative. At Hold-True, we examine every aspect of returnable packaging design and make adjustments as necessary. If you ship us a sample part like the grill of a heavy truck, we’ll load it into your prototype bag to make sure the part’s weight doesn’t cause the fabric bag to lean. We’ll also look for ways to reduce material usage and speed production. If there’s a way to use a single piece of fabric instead of cutting the sides and roof, we’ll find it. Hold-True considers all the design tradeoffs, too.

For example, reducing the height of a fabric rack bag may keep it from leaning, but returnable packaging that’s too short won’t help your assemblers. Plastic shelves can provide stiffness, but a better polymer can add stability. Hold-True can also reduce rack bag weight and replace buckles with lightweight supports. By designing sewn fabric dunnage that used steel pipes instead of sequential buckles, we reduced weight and cost while increasing labor efficiency. This reusable packaging design reduced part damage, too.

Learn More About Returnable Packaging Basics

Do you need to design reusable packaging? Are you searching for a better supplier of sewn, reusable fabric dunnage? Hold-True is ready to answer your questions about returnable packaging basics. Contact us on-line to get started, and let us know you found this blog entry.

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