A Brief History of Wood Crates
Wood-constructed containers have been utilized throughout recorded human history, dating back as far as five thousand years. Wood crates were first formally introduced as shipping containers in the 18th century and are still the preferred container today for single shipments needing high levels of protection or for unitizing small bulk loads requiring a robust solution.
What are the Benefits of Using Wood Crates?
The popularity of wood crates is a function of easily sourced materials, relative ease of customization, and better mobility of heavy or large delicate products.
Wood crates are durable. They can withstand many shipping stressors including the elements. They’re also great at protecting materials against the rigors of stressed supply chains.
Empty wood crates are easy to store as they can be stacked before or in between uses.
Wood crates allow the user to unitize and contain many small objects in a shipping-friendly format, making otherwise odd-shaped loads stackable.
Wood crates are made from renewable resources.
The Downsides of Using Wood Crates
While there are many benefits to using wood crates for shipping and storage, there are even more downsides.
Decay Over Time
Wood is a natural resource and as such will naturally wear and break down over time. The rate of breakdown may surprise you as atmospheric conditions can accelerate the process. Even heat-treated wood will age quickly. The more brittle the wood becomes, the more the potential for epic shipping failure.
Those companies that reuse their wood crates and store them outside between uses will attest to the rapid breakdown. The nails, screws, and other metal braces or components rust quickly, the wood first discolors to black, and then mold rapidly forms on the surfaces. At this point, the wood crate is often no longer usable after a few uses.
If you aren’t careful with the wood used to construct your crates, you may end up with invasive pests. Wood attracts insects. Insects attract rodents. Rodents attract snakes. No one wants to open up a wood crate from their storage and be startled by unwanted guests. Even worse, these infestations can move into your building structure, especially when the empty crates are stored near to an outside wall, and the damage that can be done by just one colony of termites can be devastating.
Are wood crates fragile? Yes, they are in some ways. Wood is a stiff and brittle material with little flexibility and near-zero rebound memory. Rebound memory is a measure of the ability of the material to sustain an impact, flex under that impact and then rebound to, or close to, its original state.
The issue is that wood will most often break or split when impacted by a forklift, another wood crate, or some other object such as a structural beam inside of your building. We all know that freight companies and material handlers move products and crates around quickly and often too carelessly in the never-ending pursuit of increased efficiency.
When a wood crate fails it is often an epic failure, oftentimes referred to as a catastrophic failure. Once the brittle wood splits or breaks it significantly compromises the strength of the crate. Most failures occur when the freight company stacks a heavy item on top of a compromised wood crate. When it reaches your or your customer’s door, the crate has collapsed and the products inside are damaged or ruined beyond repair.
There are many reasons why wood shippers are not ideal for export shipments.
First, wood is closely scrutinized because of its susceptibility to insect and rodent infestation. Just the appearance of an issue can land your shipment in a 10+ day export quarantine. After quarantine, your product is often exposed to harsh chemical treatments to eliminate any potential for an invasive species to flourish.
Second, a large number of other industrialized nations do not have a good use for empty crates and no good way to dispose of them. In many cases, there is a high cost of disposal of wood packaging and in other cases, they won’t even allow disposal, the packaging has to be shipped back out of the country.
Lastly, wood crates are most often disposed of in the waste stream, there is no “recycle program” for wood crates. For island countries, such as Japan, with extremely limited disposal methods such as landfills, wood crates are a menace.
Why Ecorrcrate Is Better Than A Wood Crate?
Proprietary Ecorrboard®, the main building block of Ecorrcrate, is a robust and highly durable material that is proven to withstand the harshest of shipping conditions. In fact, Ecorrcrate is so resilient that customers that reuse Ecorrcrate have reported an increase in their number of reuse turns at two times, three times, and even more as compared to their wood crate turns. This can be a huge cost saver.
One of the keys to Ecorrcrate’s success, and why we believe Ecorrcrate is better than a wood crate is that Ecorrboard materials are not stiff and brittle, but have high levels of rebound memory. So, the materials flex when impacted, reducing any opportunity for catastrophic failure. In our drop test, the wood crate was unable to withstand the impact of the fall whereas Ecorrcrate did not break when the same test was performed.
Adaptable: Versatile and Flexible
Ecorrcrates are highly adaptable, both to your environment and to your needs. They are superior in nearly every environment as they are not susceptible to insect infestation. This starves the infestation chain of virtually any opportunity to start or progress.
Ecorrcrates are virtually waterproof throughout the shipping cycle. Our product’s performance is not affected by rain or snow as it moves along to your customer, whether on a flatbed or in a humid overseas container.
Although Ecorrcrates travel well through all of the elements, it is best to store them indoors before use. Wood crates are best stored indoors too, as are most shipping containers, but wood crates are often heavy and too large and bulky to accommodate indoor storage. Ecorrcrate storage density is, on average, 350% better than wood crate storage density. In many cases, this allows for ideal indoor storage
Lower Cost: Easy to Use and Transport
The cost of an Ecorrcrate is lower than that of a fully encapsulating wood crate. You will spend less on your purchases, but the saving doesn’t stop there! Ecorrcrates also have a lower overall cost of use. These potential cost savings include:
- Lower cost freight charges because Ecorrcrates are 40-75% lighter than wood crates.
- Requiring no power tools to assemble, virtually no cost of injury risk.
- Ecorrcrate sets up in minutes saving valuable labor time and lowering labor costs.
- Ecorrcrate can also be broken down with little effort or time and with no risky tools.
- Ecorrcrate is easy to recycle in any standard corrugated paperboard recycle stream eliminating expensive disposal costs.
- In reuse, Ecorrcrate will have on average 2-3 times the turn rate of wood crates. You order less so you spend less.
Export-Friendly: ISPM15 Compliant
Ecorrcrate is quickly becoming the favored crate for export shipments. Corrugated paperboard by definition is ISPM15 compliant requiring no extra steps, stamps, or special container documentation. Ecorrcrate is highly moisture resistant on the outside, and humidity absorbing on the inside. There is less internal-external air movement in Ecorrcrate which means there is less chance for condensation buildup. Also, this feature will often improve the performance of corrosion-inhibiting products, like desiccants that you use to protect delicate products. Start shipping internationally, more confidently, in dependable and superior materials.
Eco-Friendly: Renewable and Recyclable
Both on the front end AND on the back end, Ecorrcrate is the most sustainable option in crated shipping containers. Like wood, corrugated paperboard is an easily renewable commodity, so the front-side sustainability is just as attractive as wood. However, the backside – the recycling side – Ecorrcrate is the clear winner.
There is simply no standard recycling option for wood crates. You have to pay for their disposal; there is no getting around it. Wood crates must be broken up and the pieces tossed in the dumpster. On the other hand, nearly every company has a paper / corrugate recycling program. If not, they are easy to set up. Did you know that if you generate enough paperboard scrap a recycler will pay your company for the material? Now that’s a win for everyone.
When an Ecorrcrate has reached its end of use, you simply place the pieces in the recycle container and you’re done. No tools. No risk. No mess.
Did you know that industrialized nations have paper and corrugated recycling systems set up too? So, it is just as easy for your customer across the world to recycle Ecorrcrate as it is for your customer down the street.
The world of crated shipping has evolved and today’s realities call for a better, more convenient, and sustainable crating solution. Our research shows that 90% of companies using wood crates can easily make the switch to Ecorrcrate and reap the benefits of a better shipping crate solution.
We have presented the pros and cons of using wood crates, now it’s time to complete the circle of analysis and order an Ecorrcrate to test!
Ecorrcrate® is a revolutionary, patented standalone all-corrugated crate that is setting the new standard in crated shipping. Originally proposed as a niche solution for wood packaging adverse clients, Ecorrcrate is rapidly becoming the crate of choice and is quickly displacing the need for traditional wood packaging.