Lab measures package handling during increased shipping amidst Covid-19
Category: research Video duration: Lab measures package handling during increased shipping amidst Covid-19
Researchers in Virginia Tech's packaging center investigate how an increase in e-commerce during Covid-19 is impacting how packages are handled. They measure the impact packages endure to determine whether testing standards need to be revised.
The growth of e-commerce is surging during the pandemic. "We already had a shift towards online sales and in the past, in the previous couple of years. But now everything just moved five years into the future." As result, Virginia Tech researchers are looking into the impact on packages being shipped. "Our hypothesis was that the distribution is harsher because we have less people and we have more packages." Testing in the university's center for packaging includes equipping the inside packages with sensors that measure drops and shocks. "Once these packages go through the distribution, we record how many times they are dropped, what orientation they get dropped from, how harshly material handling equipment hits those packages, and then we take those and then we compare it to the current testing standards to see whether the testing standards needs to be changed due to the increased harshness." If the data shows packages are going through harsher conditions... "Then we can start designing packages differently." "Being part of this project is, at least for the student's standpoint, is really insightful." Their insight will then be shared with the organizations whose goal is minimizing product damage during distribution. "It changes need to be made, now they can make those changes or further investigations need to be made. We can start scaling of the project to send out more packages and do a more thorough investigation." The end result is a win for anyone who sends or receives a package. "Consumers are benefiting because they're not going to get broken packages. Businesses also benefit because companies don't lose products."