FOR BEST RESULTS AND MAXIMUM PROTECTION
Use the right size.CornerGards and EdgeGards are designed for different applications and weight capacities. If you’re not sure which size to use, call or email us for assistance.
Use the right amount. In most cases, more coverage means more protection.
With No gaps. CornerGards or EdgeGards in place, your product should fit snugly in its carton, with no excess room.
No bulges. Carton flaps should close uniformly.
NO EDGE CONTACT
RIB AND TUNNEL DESIGN
A unique geometry of ribs and tunnels lets CornerGards and EdgeGards provide impact protection without direct contact to corners and edges.
This ribbed design also absorbs impact, dissipates energy, and dampens vibration over a wide frequency range. And because CornerGards and EdgeGards flex on impact, they reduce shock well below the damage boundaries of most products.
In fact, Western’s design is so effective, it’s received patents in the U.S.A., Canada, and Mexico.
SHOCK BLOCK COMPONENTS
Corners (C) provide first-line defense against damage and other rough handling your product is likely to encounter.
Position Edges (E) along the perimeter of your product to absorb impact on contact. 48” lengths quickly snap apart to 6” increments.
Reveals (R) solve the problem of corner protection for casegoods and occasional tables with overhangs, offsets, and reveals. Sized to fit most casegoods, they’re easy to pack, locking in place once inserted.
Foldable, dual-purpose Frames (F) provide continuous wraparound corner protection. Also, used to guard against damage to toe space areas.
Pockets (P) are designed to protect cabinet door corners.
Toe Spaces (FFN) extend protection up the door face and underneath the cabinet. Prevents the carton corner from crushing.
HOW TO AVOID FINISH ISSUES
PROBLEM #1 (PRINTING)
The packaging inserts are leaving impressions on the surface coatings of finished products. This is often referred to as "printing" or "transferring."
Potential Causes: It is possible that Western’s Inner Pack is contributing to the problem. However, based on years of experience troubleshooting printing issues with our customers, it is unlikely that Western’s pads are the root cause of the issue.
This is what we have seen time and again while resolving issues with our customers over the years: Changes in either the environment (specifically temperature and humidity); in the finish composition; or, in production practices, end up leading to the finishes not drying or curing properly. The result is often printing and transferring impressions from packaging material onto (or into) the finished surface coating on finished goods. The following guide can give you options for testing for this problem, determining the root cause, and recognizing a pragmatic solution. Note: As always, Western is ready to join any discussions with vendors or your supervisors aimed at solving such situations.
How to test for printing problems before products leave the factory:
If a finish is believed to be cured when it leaves the factory, but customers complain about surface impressions found on shipped goods upon receipt, here is one method of testing to confirm the product’s finish is adequately cured (dry) before it leaves the factory:
Package a product normally. Set it aside with some weight on top of it to simulate the package being under load during shipping.
Check after 24 hours. Generally, this is all the time needed before uncured or slightly wet finishes will show visible markings.
Look for evidence. Open the package and look for marks from the type of inner pack used. It is easier to see these marks on darker, high sheen finishes, and harder to see on lighter finishes. Ribbed, molded fiber inner pack will leave rib impressions. The corrugated inner pack will leave flute line impressions and EPS inner pack will dull the finish in contact areas. It is not uncommon for undulations in carton flaps to cause printing as well.
If printing is found: This is strong evidence that the finish is not drying or curing properly, and is probably the root cause of the printing issue.
How to determine the reason the finish is not drying or curing properly:
Based on many years of experience helping customers solve finish issues, we can usually help our customers assess why this is happening by running through this list of questions:
Has there been a recent change in finish suppliers?
Has the formulation or type of finish been recently changed?
Has the method of paint or stain application recently been changed?
Has the length of drying time for the finish recently been reduced?
If you also use a surface wrap under inner pack pads, has there been any change in the material or extent of its application?
Is the wood material being checked for proper moisture content not just when receiving delivery, but also prior to entering the production process? Is there a new wood supplier?
Do seasonal changes in the plants require modifying coatings used in warm, humid months?
Buffing or Deluxing. While this is no longer common, some furniture companies used to practice “buffing” or “deluxing.” After the products were finished and the finish had cured or dried, employees would use orbital sanders with buffing pads attached to increase the sheen on their products. This practice would often heat up the top coat of sealer or lacquer, softening it back up and leaving the product susceptible to printing.
How to correct each of these problems:
If a new finish supplier is being used, work with that company to adjust their formula for the drying time necessary in the climate where it is being used.
If the type of finish has been recently changed, work with the finish supplier to chemically achieve adequate curing time based on the climate where it is being applied.
If the method of finish application has been changed recently, re-evaluate the process until in-house testing shows the finish is being cured properly.
Sometimes drying time gets reduced as a cost-cutting measure. This can work if the finish chemistry is changed to shorten curing time. Work with the finish supplier to evaluate options.
If moisture testing is not being done prior to production, introduce a procedure to test the wood—especially with a new supplier.
If seasonal changes in the plant(s) require modification of coatings, work with the finish supplier to make sure adjustments are accurate and frequent enough through changing conditions.
PROBLEM #2 (RUBBING)
Rubbing or abrasion marks on products are leading to returns and complaints from customers.
Potential Causes: An improperly sized carton. Abrasion issues frequently stem from an improperly sized carton. The adage “inner pack is only as good as the outer carton” is still true today.
If you pack product, you know the latest challenges:
Manufacturers must do more with less—in product and packaging, cost containment is crucial.
What’s more, environmental regulations have changed the nature of paint or applied finishes. Many are softer and more delicate than their catalyst-based predecessors.
Most corrugated carton manufacturers now use greater recycled fiber, reducing container strength and protection.
The shipping environment has changed, too: common carriers, leased trucking fleets, and LTL shipments all mean more handling and less control.
All of this puts more emphasis on the need for correctly sized cartons combined with the appropriate protective inner pack. A poorly sized carton does not properly secure corner pads and edge guards in place. Movement occurs between the inner pack and finished goods during shipment when products are jostled in transit. This creates friction, heating up the finish, softening it and causing rubbing or abrasion marks.
Properly Sizing a Carton
A properly sized carton, when closed, will not allow any movement of the product contained. If it is an outer carton, it can be easily closed without bulging corners or splitting the sides. A proper fitting outside carton will provide better protection during shipment and will keep the inner packaging in place with less movement. This will help it perform against the rigors of today’s challenging distribution environment . . . especially in less-than-truckload shipments. Tests have shown cartons get looser during shipment. Starting with a properly-fitted carton will increase its chances of holding up and looking better once it arrives, in part because the inner pack will have been allowed to do its job while pressed snugly in place against the packaged item.
Standard pads on a delicate finish
Western developed our Shock Block line to better protect fine finishes. If you have a properly sized carton and still find abrasion marks when using our standard pads, consider trying our Shock Block line instead.
Get Expert Advice
If this information does not help you to find a solution to your packaging issues, call or email us. We’ll be glad to help. Western prides itself on our responsive customer service and outstanding field support.
Below are two Case Studies that may be of interest.
CASE STUDY #1 (PRINTING ON LACQUERED FINISH)
A kitchen and bath cabinet manufacturer suspects inner packaging materials (corner and edge protectors) are leaving impressions on the lacquer top coat of finished products.
Step #1—Identified with the customer when the impressions were first discovered, for example, was it during the summer months or cooler periods of the year. It is important to determine if higher seasonal humidity levels slowed the curing time of the finish material. In this case study, the issue was occurring randomly at different periods of the year.
Step #2—Identified if any changes with the finish material or finish supplier had occurred. This is a critical point due to changes in finish suppliers can lead to variations in formulations from one supplier to the next. In this case, there was no change in finish material provider but it was determined that due to different levels of “sheen” that the manufacturer required in their topcoat material that this could be causing the periodic issue of the impressions on their products.
Step #3—Western worked with the customer to do an in-house test to attempt to replicate the “impressions” they were seeing on their products. This test consisted of taking a finished cabinet once it had been through their drying ovens and placing a variety of corner protectors on the cabinet and then placing weight on top of it to simulate the cabinet being under load during shipping. Under load, this test generally only takes from a few hours to yield results. The test showed that regardless of the packaging material used, all showed some type of “printing or impressions” on the cabinet.
Conclusion and Corrections—different sheen requirements resulted in inconsistent curing of the finish. The manufacturer worked with its finish supplier to adjust the material supplied and also increased its drying oven temperature to resolve the issue.
CASE STUDY #2 (PRINTING ON PAINTED FINISH)
A manufacturer of painted multi-use furniture suspects inner packaging materials (corner and edge protectors) are leaving impressions on black painted furniture.
Step #1—The discussion with the customer was the same as with Case Study #1, except it pertained to painted materials. Their issues first showed up when they started using black paint. This was a valuable point to understand since they had not had any issues before introducing black paint to the product line.
Step #2—The customer put Western in contact with their paint supplier. We interviewed the paint supplier regarding the formulation used for the paint, the amount of pigment, etc. The supplier confirmed everything was correct with the formula.
Step #3—Western worked with the customer to do an in-house test to attempt to replicate the “impressions” they were seeing on their products that had been through their drying ovens and allowed to air dry for several days before our arrival. Testing involved several product samples and a variety of inner pack materials. The product was packaged with weight placed weight on top to simulate normal distribution. Test packages were allowed to sit overnight. The following day, the packs were inspected and found that regardless of the packaging material used all showed some type of “printing or impressions” on the furniture.
Conclusion and Corrections—The customer called in their paint supplier and had them reevaluate their paint formula. It was discovered that the “pigment level” in the paint’s formulation was too thick and the paint was not completely drying before the application of a topcoat sealer, therefore the paint did not have enough time to cure. The formulation was corrected and the problem resolved.