These days, packaging engineers contend with a number of challenges. They must constantly ensure that packaging systems perform such tasks as wrapping, sealing, cutting, forming, pouching, blister packing, folding, strapping, trimming, filling, and conveying. All must work seamlessly and without a hitch.
On the materials side, packaging products in boxes has grown increasingly complex due to increased automation. Engineers must choose between manual or automated packing, peanuts or air pillows, and hot or cold sealing. The options keep expanding, challenging packaging engineers to choose the best and most cost-effective combination of materials to ship a given product.
Packaging engineers now face issues that require some (pardon the pun) "out of the box" thinking. One of the biggest challenges is maintaining quality control over packaging materials. Many importers are suffering from damaged goods shipped from China because of inferior packing materials. While China recycles much of its own paper, and imports a significant amount from developed countries, it turns to wheat, rice straw and bamboo for nearly 85% of the pulp for the boxes it produces. This kind of packaging lacks the strength and durability of wood-fiber packaging.
Stateside, packaging engineers face other problems. At many companies, product and packaging engineers are no longer in the same building, and often not even on the same continent, making it more difficult to dovetail a product with it's unique packaging needs. The growth in the number of third parties involved in packaging design creates additional headaches.
For an additional perspective, check out this video:
Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.