Smithers regularly undertakes projects, supporting clients worldwide, to help reduce damage during transit in the supply chain. This commonly involves a mix of field and lab-based activity. Field based work involves:
  • Observation of real life events
  • Damage quantification
  • Process mapping.
Consumer products (CPG / FMCG and slow moving goods) as well as industrial goods (machinery, electronics, and equipment) are all vulnerable to damage in the supply chain. For consumer packaged goods, damage causes reduced on-shelf availability which equates to loss of sales.

Common damage failure models

Breakage and fatigue failure
When vibration and shock events occur during shipment and handling, components, materials and bonds are subjected to stress. If the physical hazards encountered in the supply chain are greater than the performance threshold of the package or product then failure will result. Even for more durable materials, the repetitive nature of road and air journeys (vibration) can cause wear, puncture, rupture or fatigue.

Products at risk: Glass, metal and even plastic packaging.

Find out more about vibration and shock field data measurement.
Abrasion/print scuff and decoration damage
Surface damage occurs as a result of repetitive vibration from direct pack to pack contact during road or air shipment. Damage normally occurs to a printed surface, but in severe instances, abrasion or scuffing can result in punctures and leakage. ‘Pin-holing’ most commonly occurs during roll cage mixed load conditions in retailer distribution system.

Products at risk: Product packaging with exposed labels and thin-walled metal beverage containers.
Both vibration and impacts are known to cause leakage. Leakage from one container often causes contamination to other products being distributed so the implications can be significant. Package testing allows validation that leakage will not occur or can support resolving a known leakage problem.

Products at risk: Bottles and flexible packs.

Find out more about our package testing capabilities.
Accidental actuation
The more complex and innovative the dispensing component or closure for certain products, the higher the scope for leakage while under vibration conditions or as a result of increased point-loading during storage or distribution. Premature actuation is the dispensing of the product accidentally during distribution - this can be dangerous if the product is hazardous.

Products at risk: Cleaning products, chemicals, medical and healthcare products.

Find out more about our vibration testing and post-test integrity testing for medical packaging.
Stress cracking

This is failure of a pack (break down of the packaging material structure) from non-compatibility between the packaging material and the substance within the pack (normally a liquid). Environmental stress cracking normally occurs from long term storage combined with compressive conditions.

Products at risk: Packaging subjected to long-term stacked storage.

Find out more about our compression testing

Once a specific issue has been identified and resolved, many clients use Smithers to set up performance tests and specification improvement processes to ensure performance in transit is satisfactory for new packaged products in the future.

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