Packaging company opens test lab

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Technicians in the ISTA 6 Lab perform a drop test.

Packaging and display company Great Northern Corp. has launched a test lab to put packaging through its paces, testing the integrity of existing packages or new designs before they brave the elements of e-commerce shipping.

Appleton, Wis.-based Great Northern works with several private label manufacturers to develop their packaging and displays, and the company knows retailers are looking for battle-tested packaging from its private label suppliers.

“In the e-commerce marketplace, we understand that it’s not just our customers’ products we are protecting,” said Jeff Michels, president of instore and packaging at Great Northern. “It’s also the reputation of their brand and the potential for future purchases.”

The lab is called ISTA 6, a state-of-the-art lab in the Appleton location with certified technicians to expose packages to various tests like vibration testing, incline testing, material handling, free-fall drop testing and compression testing. 

Packages can be exposed to loaded pallets or put through automated tests that expose packaging to potential hazards that can happen throughout the supply chain, studying a package’s structure, integrity and ability to withstand certain impacts and motions.

“If additional reinforcement is needed to pass ISTA 6 tests, our in-house packaging designers can make modifications that optimize the package design and reduce overall cost and lifecycle waste,” Michels said . 

A technician performs a compression test.