When you search the web you find conversion calculators for almost everything. The problem is you have to visit various websites to come to the end of the calculation you wanted to make. Sticking to packaging, you find hundreds (impossible to count and as such to test them all) of websites offering an eco-calculator, a carbon footprint calculator, CO2 calculator, recycle glass carbon calculator, even a packaging waste obligation calculator (UK).
All online eco- and similar calculators allow (more or less) businesses to determine their total CO2 output, and some provide advice on the steps managers can take to reduce their companies’ carbon footprints.
That’s all nice and dandy, but the question arises: Is this all we calculate when developing a new packaging?
You can’t find an on-line calculator, which helps the packaging designer or engineer with the actual development of the structural design of a new packaging or the make-over of an existing one.
I found one website with Volumetric Calculators for Packaging. Simple, a bit too simple. And one more: an Intrinsic Viscosity Calculator for when you work with plastic resins.
Fortunately there is light at the horizon. Sanford Fitelson created a beautiful and simple user-friendly packaging calculator with a variety of functions. And fortunately Sanford had the brilliant idea to put it on a website for all packaging professionals to use freely. Users can perform basic units conversions and calculations as they relate to packaging. Some of the highlights are:
– Corrugate weight estimator
– Various calculations relating to product density
– Moisture Vapour Transmission Rate estimator (MVTR)
– Theoretical case compression calculator
– Circle and cylinder calculations
There also are some quick conversions and a calculator on the left side of the page, so that you don’t need to keep going back and forth, as it allows to do some quick conversions without leaving the calculation page you are on.
Sanford told me, that the calculator is in its infancy and while a pallet pattern generator with graphics is already in the works, more new features are added in the next months, such as:
– Metric conversions will be added to the pages that are currently missing them such as the corrugate calculations.
– New help buttons will be added to each page and will contain the basic instructions on how to use the calculator as well as the assumptions being made. For example, the material thickness assumed for the MVTR is about 0.03 to 0.04 inches.
There is more to expect in the long term:
– Adding more materials and the ability to select material thickness for the MVTR estimator,
– Adding the estimator for Oxygen Transmission Rate,
– Adding more functionality to the Corrugate weight estimator which will have more materials to choose from as well as allow the user to enter the basis weight for each layer of the corrugate.
Sanford also intends to make the calculator more user-friendly for those in Purchasing and other packaging related departments.
At WestPack in Anaheim from Feb 8-10 2011, Sanford will handing out free pens, magnets and business cards at booth 5915 in the Green Packaging section. Worth a visit and test with him the calculator. Not going to Anaheim? Visit the Packaging Calculator website. Worth a test-run.
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