University of Twente Student Theses


Combining the strength of reusable and one-way systems into a secondary packaging design

Linders, Marije (2023) Combining the strength of reusable and one-way systems into a secondary packaging design.

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Abstract:The distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables is currently done using single-use cardboard boxes or reusable plastic crates. A debate is going on for a long time now as to which one is better in terms of environmental impact. It appears that this is very case specific and both secondary packaging systems have their benefits compared to each other. These benefits inspired to challenge the current secondary packaging systems and explore the possibilities of a combined packaging that incorporates the best of both worlds. The proposed design features a reusable plastic bottom that provides the strength to the base, combined with a single-use cardboard sleeve that utilizes its strength in vertical direction while maintaining its light weight, and advantages in printability. The goal of this research is to investigate the technical possibilities of this concept, along with its environmental impact. A broad ideation was carried out to discover a wide range of possibilities for the design of this concept, from which two concepts were selected. In addition, the compression strength of a cardboard sleeve is tested which shows that it is strong enough to act as the supporting part of the secondary packaging during stacking. Also, a tensile test is performed with cardboard to determine the potential of a connection method between the cardboard sleeve and the plastic bottom, using snap systems. These activities are defined as the design phase of this research and were executed at CalPoly University in San Luis Obispo, California, which has lots of experience in packaging design and testing and facilitated all testing facilities. Full-sized prototypes of these two concepts were made to evaluate the assembly methods and get a general feel for the ideas. A Life Cycle Assessment was performed to evaluate the environmental impact of the hybrid secondary packaging system, compared to the current packaging systems. The results of this analysis were favorable for the hybrid packaging system in a wide range of scenarios. The hybrid packaging system shows great potential to be implemented as a secondary packaging system for the fresh produce distribution with lower environmental emissions than the current cardboard box or plastic crate. The packaging design concepts require further development testing to meet all design and strength requirements before implementation.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:01 general works
Programme:Industrial Design Engineering MSc (66955)
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