Package Design Optimization

  • *Although this article focuses on the example of the HL-L2365DW black-and-white laser printer, Brother has been seeking to reduce environmental impact by striving to optimize all types of packaging.

ABOUT PACKAGE DESIGN OPTIMIZATION

Brother has been constantly seeking ways to reduce CO2 emissions during transport of our products, in addition to during the manufacturing process and when products are in operation. One of our projects is package design optimization, which enables us to improve transporting efficiency while reducing environmental impact. A comparison of two models of printers, the HL-2270DW (2013) and the HL-L2365DW (2014), will show how we succeeded in reducing CO2 emissions during transport by approximately 550 tons(*1).

In the case where the reduction of CO2 emissions is converted into the amount of CO2 absorbed by cedars.

  • *1Based on a comparison between the HL-2270DW (2013) and HL-L2365DW (2014) when transported to the same destination under the same conditions.
  • *2According to the Forestry Agency, approximately 550 tons of CO2 emissions reduction is equivalent to the amount of CO2 absorbed by approximately 40,000 Japanese cedars in a year.

ADVANTAGE

The package size is now even smaller!

The strength of the packaging depends on its structure as well as its material. We successfully developed the optimal structure by reducing the volume of the package by approximately 5% while maintaining enough strength to prevent any damage to products. In other words, we considerably reduced the amount of packaging materials needed.

Placing it upright instead of flat.

By optimizing the dimensions of packaging to fit the container and stacking each package vertically rather than horizontally, we achieved an approximately 7% increase in load capacity.

  • *Some countries have not yet adopted this vertical-stacking method.

Results

By stacking the resized packages vertically (when using the same type of container), we increased load capacity by approximately 7%(*1) compared to the previous model in 20131. CO2 emissions during shipment were also reduced by approximately 550 tons(*2). This allows us to provide Brother products to our customers even more efficiently, using even less energy.

  • *1Based on a comparison between the HL-2270DW (2013) and the HL-L2365DW (2014) when both are loaded on a 40FT HQ container.
  • *2Based on a comparison between the HL-2270DW model (2013) and the HL-L2365DW model (2014) when transported to the same destination under the same conditions.

THE ENGINEERS' STORY

Our packaging Optimization technology is important for shipping Brother products safely while considering the impact of environment. Our goal is to resize the package while maintaining its strength. Lead by one Chinese engineer, Brother engineers from China, Japan, and Vietnam have collaborated on this project to seek an environmentally friendly solution.

  • From Flat to Upright
    A Simple yet Ingenious Idea for Changing Conventional Packaging

    Brother System Technology Development (Hangzhou) Ltd. Mechanical System Development Dept.
    Senior Engineer Zhang Enxie

  • Reducing CO2 emissions by improving the packaging that protects Brother products.

    Brother Group has an extensive network of production facilities as well as sales and service offices in forty-four countries and regions (as of 2014) that distribute Brother products to customers worldwide. Reaching some destinations requires a journey that covers thousands of kilometers. By ship, air, train, or truck, our products are securely protected by our packaging until the moment our customers safely receive them.
    My role was to redesign the package and make it even smaller. Through this project, we sought to save packaging materials, increase load-carrying efficiency, and reduce CO2 emissions during shipment. Our goal of this package design optimization project is to resize the package to a 5% smaller volume than the previous one. In addition, after resizing the package, it has to pass several impact tests. Basically, the smaller the package is, the weaker it becomes. How did we seek to find the optimal dimensions and durability? It was a tough but challenging task for us as packaging engineers.

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  • Placing the Package Upright instead of Flat.
    Our Tireless Effort to Make our Vision a Reality.

    We continued to examine a variety of possible materials, structures, and configurations of packaging in order to make it smaller. In doing so, we realized that packages could be loaded and stacked in a different way—by placing them in an upright position instead of a flat position. Although it seemed a tiny change, it was in fact a revolutionary idea. Our simulations showed that the stack size could be reduced, and the required strength of the package could also be lightened. In other words, the packaging size could be made smaller, which would lead to lower materials costs. The problem was how to make this vision a reality. Even if the idea worked on computer, our ideal package would still have to pass drop tests and various other tests. This was where my real struggle began.

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  • The Function of Packaging is to Protect Products.
    We Promised to Improve it while Maintaining its Quality.

    Since the newly developed packaging was smaller than the previous one, it could be made using less material. On the other hand, this change caused concern that the packaging could lose its durability. If packaging cannot protect products, there is little point in making it economical. We kept working with the vertically-positioned package design while performing safety tests over and over. In drop tests conducted in Vietnam, we introduced a new analysis method. Through repeated tests and studies, we sought to create even safer and more solid packaging. Finally, after all tests were passed, our revolutionary package design was completed. We achieved an approximately 7% increase in container load capacity, reduced the surface area by 20% compared to the previous design, and also saved packaging materials. This is how Brother’s even more eco-friendly packaging finally came into the world.

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  • Beyond National Borders,
    Brother Engineers will Work Together to Reduce CO2 Emissions.

    As we at Brother continue providing products to our customers worldwide, the reduction of CO2 emissions during transport will remain a major issue. We will continuously devote ourselves to developing more optimal packaging. By making packages smaller and lighter, more can be loaded at once. Our achievement in this package design optimization project exceeded our initial goal. To me, this was also a remarkable accomplishment because we came up with something revolutionary. By working with engineers in Vietnam and Japan, we at Brother in China will continue looking for ways to save more packaging material and reduce CO2 emissions during transport.

    By working with engineers in Vietnam and Japan, we at Brother in China will continue looking for ways to save more packaging material and reduce CO2 emissions during transport.

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PROJECT MAP

Package design optimization is still in progress as a global project involving three countries: China, Japan, and Vietnam. Whenever we discover a new challenge and possible improvements, our team will unite across boundaries to develop even better quality packaging.

We have introduced all new packaging which reduces CO2 emissions during shipment as well as saves on packaging materials.

Putting our ideas into action, we ship our printers using ingenious eco-friendly packaging.

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