Unpacking the Value in a good Cardboard Crate

Apr 12, 2024 | Durability, Sustainability, Value, Why Ecorrcrate

History of Boxes and Crates

Did you know that a true cardboard crate is a recent, unique, and disruptive invention?

The first corrugated paperboard box was invented and used in the UK around 1874. They became available in the US in 1895. After roughly 150 years in use, and  modern improvements in paper and processes, there is now a solid understanding of the limits of what a corrugated box can do and what it cannot do to protect your products.

Wood shipping crates predate corrugated paperboard boxes by centuries having been in use for hundreds of years.  They have been the preferred shipping container for high value products; machinery, equipment, specialty metals, high-end component parts, and even some retail products (especially high-end products that ship via e-commerce). Wood crates are basically the same as they have always been. Any modern innovation within the wood crate market has been to the internal packaging, not to the crate itself.

Crates are Crates and Boxes are Boxes

The demand for more sustainable and lighter weight shipping crates has led to some “creative” marketing.  A simple Google search suggests there are many varieties of cardboard crates available for quick purchase. However, when you click on those product suggestions, you quickly find out that they are not crates at all, but just some variation of a heavy-duty box. Then how do you know what is actually a cardboard crate and what is just a box posing as a crate?

Heavy-duty corrugated box varieties include triple wall constructed boxes, multiwall gaylords, and octagonal bin boxes, which are great innovations. The cost-benefit is on point for lower value products. They are generally more affordable than wood crates because they are run on efficient box making equipment. However, the flutes are still only vertically orientated (top-down) for static stack strength.

Each of these heavy-duty corrugated solutions are still constructed in similar fashion to any other box; slotted, scored, folded, and glued or stitched with the corrugated flutes running in a single direction.

Cross Directional Strength

And this is the KEY differentiator between a box and a cardboard crate! If you can score (crease) the material so that you can fold it, then it won’t make a good crate. Think about it. A container that can be creased shows that it is easily compromised in the ship cycle with a simple bump of a forklift. One unexpected fold or crease and the container can collapse at any time. Single-direction fluting may provide adequate stacking strength when stacked in the warehouse, but to survive the rigors of shipping, it is imperative the materials have cross-directional strength.

Metrics show that even the heaviest version of a cardboard box won’t meet the performance characteristics of standard wood shipping crates. If you have attempted to replace wood crates with one of these versions, then you know the risks and have likely experienced negative outcomes.

Wood crates, on the other hand, are constructed by cutting individual pieces of material that are fastened together. These individual pieces have cross-directional strength. In other words, they are just as strong from right to left as they are from top to bottom. This is a key feature in a true shipping crate. This is necessary to manage the cross-tension forces applied to the crate in shipping. So, if you want an all-corrugated crate that performs as well or better than a wood crate, it must be made with a corrugated material that has cross-directional strength.

Strength Multiplied with a Cardboard Crate

Cross-directional laminating takes a material that by itself has no particular relevant strength and transforms it into a robustly strong and durable product.

Is there a corrugated material that has cross-directional strength? Well, yes and no. From the major corrugated paper mills, the answer is no. There is no corrugator that can cross-laminate (glue to together in opposing directions) while making the paper. This is similar to a wood mill that peels logs into  thin layers of veneer to be glued together to make plywood in a secondary process. To cross-laminate corrugated paperboard, the layers have to be glued together in a secondary process.

Is cross-laminating corrugated paperboard a new process? No, this technology has existed for 30+ years. There are a few companies that manufacture this material as a component for their other products, but no one ever thought to use it as a material for a shipping crate. That is, prior to the invention of patented Ecorrcrate®.

The Ecorrcrate®

To be an authentic shipping crate, it must be manufactured in a similar fashion to wood crates. The construction material needs to be robust with cross-directional strength. This material must be resistant to scoring and folding. It will need to be cut into individual component pieces and then fastened together.

Ecorrboard® is a robust, cross-laminated corrugated paperboard material. It cannot be scored and folded. Although uniquely different from wood, the performance is very much “wood-like”. This is the base material used to manufacture the Ecorrcrate. It has the additional benefit of being light-weight and easy to handle. It cuts as smoothly and efficiently as wood on the same cutting systems.

Cardboard Crates: Easy to Assemble & Load

Where Ecorrcrate really stands apart is in the fastening system. This cardboard crate requires no power tools to assembly; no metal fasteners, no screws or nails. The Ecorrcrate arrives in a convenient, knocked-down format with the four side and end components neatly tucked inside. Simply remove the top, take out the pieces and then place them vertically in their correct locations. They are then connected together with a high performance two-sided and pre-applied tape, peel the liner, and stick. Load the contents, put the top on and use the convenient hand-applied buckle straps to close it and it is ready to ship. You will have your crate set-up, loaded and ready-to-ship in minutes.

In conclusion, Ecorrcrate is the only valid cardboard crate available on the market for shipping. It is an all-corrugated, standalone crate that will perform as well or better than any wood crate. This bona fide shipping crate boasts a 99.99995% safe / successful ship rate, which is unheard of in crated shipping. View Ecorrcrate Durability Videos

In addition to maximized performance, the other characteristics that make the Ecorrcrate so ideal for today’s supply chain challenges are

  • Floor space reduction
  • 40-75% lighter
  • Sustainable, ease of disposal
  • Safe and Convenient
  • A Better Customer Experience

Reach out now to learn more about how Ecorrcrate could transform your crated shipping experience.