Over the past several decades, Smithers Pira has become a valued resource for well-established, industry organizations to assist in the development and improvement of standard test protocols. With experience with associations such as ISTA and ASTM, Smithers Pira expert, Mike Kuebler embarks on a new project with AIAG to enhance a common test procedure for returnable shipping containers.
The guidelines in AIAG’s RC-9 Returnable Containers Performance standard details the testing procedures for various types of returnable shipping containers including plastic bins, totes and pallets among others. In recent years, AIAG has sought input from the industry on ways to improve the procedure and after careful consideration the decision was made late last year to move forward with an improvement project to clarify and streamline the procedure and to establish best practices.
Michael Kuebler, technical director for Smithers Pira, was chosen to lead the project with the support of the Packaging Oversight Committee . “The team’s objective is to develop a common test methodology by which containers can be compared on an objective one-to-one basis,” explains Kuebler. “The tests are intended to challenge the containers with external forces that are related to the hazards present during typical handling conditions.” Because the tests outlined in this guideline are not validations, working load limits should be defined by the trading partner agreement and confirmed by conducting validation testing with representative contents.
Purchasing parnters will now be able to leverage the results of RC-9 testing to compare various packages with respect to impact resistance, base strength, leg strength and overall compression resistance. This data will allow Buyers to choose packaging based on objective data vs. a subjective rating.
AIAG is a non-profit association compromised of a diverse mix of industry professionals - retailers, suppliers, manufacturers, service providers, government, academic and others – who collaborate to develop global industry standards. They focus in the areas of Quality Control, Supply Chain Management and Corporate Responsibility, i.e. sustainability, social and economic responsibility, etc. AIAG was originally established in 1982.
About Michael Kuebler
With more than 15 years of experience in the transportation and packaging industries, Michael Kuebler, technical director of Distribution and Package Testing for Smithers Pira, leads a team of packaging experts who analyze the true impact that the supply chain has on a package. Kuebler’s expertise spans many supply chain environments across various industry sectors.
Learn about Smithers Pira Distribution Package Testing Capabilities