Use of recyclable packing materials
USE OF RECYCLABLE PACKING
MOCHIZUKI Masahiko*1 WADA Yasushi*2 KAKU Kunio*3 TOSHIMA Takeaki*1
Environmentally improved packaging can increase customer satisfaction
significantly. We have been striving to develop creative packaging and distribution
methods that safeguard product quality while reducing the impact on the
environment. We replaced approximately 50% (in gross weight) of packing
cushions for measuring instruments from traditional styrene foam (expanded
polystyrene) to a combination of easy-to-recycle pulp mold and film cushions made
of 100% recycled material by the end of fiscal 1999. Also, we have been
continuously improving the way of delivering products to our customers, such as
developing and testing more effective shipping methods that use less packaging,
maintain product quality, and result in less waste.
delivery method using returnable, reusable plastic containers areunder study.
Traditionally, Yokogawa has used styrene foam (expanded
polystyrene) as cushioning materials to ensure that products are
PULP MOLD CUSHIONS
transported safely. Since different styrene foam cushions arerequired for different products and Yokogawa is a typical
Pulp molds are molded from liquefied waste paper and used
manufacturer producing small quantities of many models, we
as packing cushions. We use pulp mold cushions to pack
have had a vast stock of cushions of different shapes and sizes.
products that weigh 5 kilograms (11 pounds) or less, that are
However, as environmental issues have become a major concern
manufactured in quantities of at least 300 per month, and that can
for corporate management, such stock has become a problem in
withstand at least 588 m/s2 (equivalent to a free fall from a height
terms of resource preservation, recyclability, and disposability.
of 120 cm). This is because a pulp mold cushion may not be able
We therefore focused on electronic measuring instruments
to withstand the impact of a drop for a product heavier than 5
first since particularly large amounts of styrene foam were used
kilograms; and also because it is difficult to recoup the
for them among Yokogawa’s products, and studied the feasibility
investment needed for producing the mold for a product of which
of using pulp mold and film cushions. Various tests to assess thereliability showed the feasibility of such cushions. Figure 1
shows the plan and progress of phased replacement toward using
packing materials of higher recyclability and reducing the types
of materials. Regarding minimizing the amount of packingmaterials used, techniques for reusing packing materials by
developing a packing material recovery system as well as a
*1 Dept. 1, Manufacturing Engineering Div., Servicing and Man-
*2 Environmental Conservation Promotion Dept.
*3 Development Dept., Manufacturing Engineering Div., Servic-
Phased Reduction of Styrene Foam
Yokogawa Technical Report English Edition, No. 31 (2001)
Pulp Mold Cushions
Film Cushions Used for Packing a DL1500 Digital
fewer than 300 are manufactured per month.
products with fragile surfaces and can be used for a large number
Figure 2 shows the pulp mold cushions for the µR1000
of products provided the film is appropriately elastic for the size
and weight of the product (20 kilograms [44 pounds] or less).
Table 1 shows the experimental data.
The greatest merit of film cushions is their versatility: the
same film cushions can be used for different products that slightly
Figure 3 shows an example of packing with film cushions.
differ in external shape and dimensions. Besides, the sheets of
Film cushions are made of rugged, elastic, non-slip sheets of film
film can be easily pealed off from the cardboard to facilitate
adhered to a cardboard frame. The product is supported by two
recycling of the cardboard and, above all, they can be incinerated
sheets of film that absorb shock, and floats in a package. Due to
at a low temperature since the film produces no toxic gases.
their flexibility, film cushions are widely used for computer-
Film cushions offer superb workability for packing,
related devices in the United States and Japan including Hewlett-
unpacking, and segregated disposal including when the
Packard products. Film cushions are suitable especially for
customers dispose of the packages by themselves. Although thecost of the film is high at present, the cost will decrease if the filmbecomes widely used as a mainstream cushioning material, thus
allowing it to be used for more products of Yokogawa.
Result of Assessment Test for Packing Material Properties
Pulp mold and film cushions that have already been proven
and used by Yokogawa are examples of easy-to-recycle packing
materials. Nevertheless, to create a sustainable society it is
critically important to reduce the total amount of packing
materials. We must therefore devise a system to deliver products
Impact acceleration applied to model (m/s2)
using plastic containers that can be reused repeatedly and recover
the containers, and should create a delivery method that ideally
uses almost no packing materials. And when packing materials
must be used, the materials should be picked up and reused by the
manufacturer, the same as for returnable plastic containers.
Improvement of packing materials has emerged as a crucial
theme that must be tackled by many companies globally. Efforts
to harmonize business development with ecological needs will
surely result in the invention of new methods such as film
cushions. But in addition to the packing materials, it is also
important to design suitable products that are economic and
Drop Test after High Temperature and Humidity Test
We shall not be complacent with our success to date, but will
continuously strive to reduce, reuse, and recycle packing
materials while assuring quality and suppressing cost.
Impact acceleration applied to model (m/s2)
Use of Recyclable Packing Materials
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