Corner Board: Maximize packaging protection and support

Corner board, at a glance

Business to business, business to end user, if the package does not arrive in good shape, the business has a problem. Damaged packaging means unsaleable, unusable, and unacceptable products. It means returns from unhappy customers, it tests customer loyalty, and it costs businesses billions every year. In these days, the internet offers new options and opens new doors. It also increases the demand for immediate and improved service. A supply chain depends on seamless operation, and logistics demands the best in delivery systems. After all, end users do not really care who is at fault when their product arrives in damaged condition. Every link in a supply chain has its own cost. And, each of those costs add to the price of the final product. Competitive businesses feel they are already working close to the bone, and their margins take a direct hit with every damaged container. The container may hold boxes of dry goods, fresh food, electronics and peripherals, glass or other breakables, or any of the goods that feed the economy. Corner board provides protective support to containers during storage, handling, and shipping. And, the following explores their make-up, applications, and values to originating business and end user customer.

Corner Board Values

The primary use of corner boards reduces damaged goods during shipping. A survey of wholesalers and retailers, sponsored by the Food Marketing Institute and the FMI/GMA alliance, found damaged foods accounted for 43.3% of their unsaleables. The Healthcare Packaging reports, “damaged products cost manufacturers 1% to 2% of their total gross sales. That’s an estimated $15 billion per year spent on preventable expenses.”

And, the American Express 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer opened eyes drawing, as it does, clear connections between business success and the poor customer service resulting failed logistics. Focusing on U.S. issues, the survey of end-users found:

  • 75% of U.S. customers are likely to remain loyal to suppliers because of their positive customer experience.
  • Over 30% of customers believe businesses are paying less attention to service – and that number increased 6% over the 2011 metric.
  • 47% of customers are likely to tell as many as 15 friends and family, but 56% will report perceived poor service to at least 24 people.
  • 55% of customers have decided not to make additional purchases because of their experience.

Now, not all negative customer experience has to do with packaging. But, in the world of B2B sales and logistics, Gallup.com suggests, “customer engagement is built on four hierarchical needs. The baseline requirement is rational satisfaction, which comes from satisfying a customer’s basic needs of price, speed, and efficiency. Companies that fulfill these basic needs will have customers that are more likely to be loyal, to recommend the company to others, and to continue as a customer.” In this hierarchy of needs leading to full engagement between vendor and customer, the next baseline is confidence that the originator will deliver as promised.

Corner board is the most efficient, simple, and reliable way to protect edges, strengthen boxes, facilitate stacking, and protect against strapping.

Corner board is the most efficient, simple, and reliable way to protect edges, strengthen boxes, facilitate stacking, and protect against strapping.

What is corner board?

Corner boards (or angle boards) are rigid angles that reinforce the edges on corners, tops, and bottoms of boxes. They may do the same to protect the corners of stacked containers. They may reinforce the interior corners of containers. And, they protect against the stress and friction of straps and restraints.

What does it do?

Packaging, shipping, and logistics – the most vulnerable places on packages at at the edges of containers. Lifted, moved, and shipped – packages of all sizes will collide, fall, and/or shift. Corner board is the most efficient, simple, and reliable way to protect edges, strengthen boxes, facilitate stacking, and protect against strapping.

What problems does it solve?

In logistics, damaged goods impact the vendors more than the customers. Any supply chain is only as good as its received goods. Originators – in food, healthcare, appliances, electronics, food, and everything else deliverable – know that, to customers, damaged packaging means carelessness, poor quality, bad service, and lost time. Vendors lose revenue when customers are not happy.

Uses for Corner board

Using corner board on packaging cost-effectively replace wood or metal protectors to strengthen containers and palletized goods. They protect against blows to the edges and corners and they prevent scratches and damage from cables and other wraps. They can be sized to any container and be used to advertise brand and logo.

Corner boards are manufactured from layers of 100% recycled paper formed with water-based adhesives and coated with biodegradable and water resistance coatings.

  • Recyclable materials save shipping dollars as does the ability to stack containers more securely and efficiently when filling trucks or other carriers or racking pallets higher in warehousing.
  • Stacking strength is improved with corner boards by moving the stress to the edge of the container. With stacking, the support multiplies.
  • Using corner board along the edges of containers tops and bottoms create a horizontal protection. Horizontal protectors effectively create a sort of shelving to distribute the weight.
  • Stretch wrapping and strapping may not be necessary where corner boards provide a enough support and protection. Used inside containers, corner boards can form corner posts, as it were.
  • Corner boards come in custom or stock lengths and are easily affixed with staples, tape, or adhesives.
  • Printed boards serve as a marketing tool when they carry business name, logo, or language.

Common Logistics Applications

  • Unitizing: When product containers are cubed-off, that is, configured on a pallet, corner boards stretched across the top edges all around will keep the stack configured as a column. The weight of the load and the pallet plus the number of pallets to be stacked would decide the caliper of the corner board.
  • Stacking: Corner boards at the vertical edges permit layers of stacks depending on the weight of the product, the weight of the pallet, and the means to secure the corner boards; that is, whether or not they are secured by sheet wrap or strapping. All these factors and the number of pallets stacked determine the size and strength of the corner board.
  • Internal Support: Corner boards support containers at the inside corners. These supports reduce the amount of corrugation in the boxing material.
  • Strap Protection: Cables and strapping are used to keep stacks secure and in place. Ironically, the tension used can damage the containers they mean to protect. Placement of corner boards at vertical and horizontal edges accept and redistribute that tension and pressure.
  • Edge Protection: Corner boards are placed to repel and absorb impact at vertical container edges. These protectors will also protect the horizontal edges of individual or stacked products. And, they will protect against forklift damage if placed on bottom edges.
Corner boards are ordered by leg length, caliper and length and are priced by the foot.

Corner boards are ordered by leg length, caliper and length and are priced by the piece, and sold by case or skid quantitiy.

Corner Board – How to Measure

To accurate measure your cornerboard, use the following:

Corner boards are ordered by leg length, caliper and length and are priced generally by the piece, and sold by case or skid quantity.

Corner Board Specifications:

A – Leg Length One – available from 1.5″ to 3″

B – Leg Length Two – available from 1.5″ to 3″

C – Caliper – available from .100″ to .250″

D – Length – available from 6″ to 240″

Things to Remember

Without understanding the application fully, product selection can be counter-productive. If the selection does not save freight weight, prevent container damage, and reduce related expenses, it is not specific to the application.

To gain confidence in the corner board’s “rightness” for the job, it makes great good sense to fully test the packaging with the corner board in place. Packaging should meet the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards for the product line. Burst tests, edge crush tests, and tear tests also provide guidelines for product selection. Corner board product size, thickness, material, and angle should, then, match the product need and the container quality.

  1. Container corners cause strapping to lose its tension. For example, if 800 lbs. of tension is applied to a strap, the amount of tension that goes around each sharp corner is only 160 lbs. But, with corner boards placed at the corner, that tension transmission increases to 660 lbs.
  2. In most applications, the optimum length of corner board is short of flush with the perpendicular edge of a unitized load. Each column of boxes has a point of deflection at maximum compression. Subtracting the edge protection’s deflection at maximum compression defines the length that can be shortened from the top of the corner board length.
  3. In any column of containers, the bottom containers take the greatest compression, the middle boxes absorb shocks from below and above, and the top containers are subject to repetitive shock. Corner boards support, absorb, and contain those pressures.
  4. Corner board Medium (.120) and corner board Heavy Duty (.180) come in various lengths at 2″ x 2″ and 3″ x 3″. The angles come in 10 thicknesses from .060″ to .250″.

Corner Board – Specific to the Application

Most companies use corner board for edge protection rather than stacking stretch. Too many companies use sizes and thickness of corner board for stacking and are over-spec for that application. The answers to the following questions help determine the best size of corner boards for the application at hand:

  1. What is the product?
  2. How is it packaged?
  3. What additional materials are used? Does the process include stretch film, steel strapping, wood, corrugated top and/or bottom caps?
  4. How is the corner board to be used? Is it used for load stabilization, unitization, edge protection, stacking or beam strength, horizontally or vertically, inside or outside?
  5. How much does a pallet weigh and how high will the pallets be stacked?
  6. Will packages be exposed to refrigeration, flat bed truck, or excessive humidity.
  7. Who long will the container be warehoused?
  8. How has the product been damaged in the past?
  9. Does the business have sustainability initiatives?
  10. Does the business see value in advertising on the boards?

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