The term "packaging" refers to means (materials, objects, devices) that form a kind of shell around the product and provide proper conditions for its storage, transportation and use. In this article we will look at some of the historical aspects of the evolution of packaging, its functions and classification. Let's start with the functions, because it is they that determine the properties, appearance, design features and the very essence of packaging, as an integral part of human culture.
Packing Protective function
Packaging provides protection: from mechanical stress Shocks, friction, pressure, vibration, everything that can harm the contents is docked with proper packaging. In this case, not only the outer cover plays an important role, but also specially designed inner inserts and cradles, from climatic influences moisture, temperature extremes, ultraviolet rays can affect the contents of the package. Also, some products tend to accumulate internal moisture. Moisture-resistant materials, thermal insulation and hygroscopic inserts solve this problem. against biological threats the packaging prevents unwanted contact of the contents with animals, insects and microorganisms, from social threats the packaging is often equipped with tamper evident devices (for example, a device for sealing, the most primitive are sealing stickers). But often a single-use package is itself a means of opening control, for example, a regular plastic bag, once opened, cannot be resealed.
The packaging optimizes space as follows: groups and organizes products that consist of multiple items Various sets, children's designer, instant noodles with seasoning and butter, mobile phone with instructions, charger and other accessories. Strictly speaking, any kits. gives shape and final volume to bulk, liquid and gaseous contents Flour, sugar, cement, nails packaged in bags, water, juice various chemicals bottled, acetylene, oxygen in cylinders, all this without packaging would simply be impossible to store, transport, and in some cases even use. Also, packaging optimizes processes: optimization of logistics Packaging is designed in such a way as to simplify transportation as much as possible. Consumer packaging is often supplied with carrying devices (handles, holes). The shipping container is equipped with loops for slinging, holes and openings for working with a loader, for fixing on platforms, etc. Sophisticated packaging contributes to the long-term preservation of the product. For this purpose, optimal storage conditions are created inside the package, from temperature conditions to vacuum, depending on requirements. The design of packaging and warehouse containers is developed for its quick formation and the most comfortable storage when folded, as well as for performing other logistics operations. optimization of use Depending on the properties of the content and the conditions of its use, the packaging can be adapted for consumer or industrial purposes, as well as for maximum convenience of its use in the process of trade and use by the end consumer. Consumer packaging is provided with means that allow it to be unpacked and closed again, thus ensuring the possibility of storing the goods during use. Consumer packaging is often an engineering product that not only preserves a product until it is unpacked, but also makes it easier to use throughout its life cycle. An example is a packaging for a safety razor, which, after unpacking, turns into a stand and at the same time into a case for replaceable shaving heads. Commercial and industrial containers are equipped with a variety of devices for dosing, filling control, loading and unloading. For example, octabins for bulk and liquid cargo are equipped with drain taps and valves, cable containers - with a reel lodgment for unwinding a coil, containers for a sales area - with perforations, which make it possible to reduce the height of the wall as it becomes empty. optimization of accounting Packaging goods into packaging simplifies accounting. For example, the most common packaging of flour for sale by weight and for use in small industries is 50 kg. Thus, having counted the bags in the warehouse, it is possible to judge the balance of goods without weighing. Information function Packaging may carry the following information: content information Product name, model, serial number, grade, net / gross weight, method of use. composition information List of ingredients and the percentage of some of them, or equipment. advertising information Brand name and logo, slogan, short description of benefits, information about the manufacturer, brand legend, etc. logistic information Necessary storage and transportation conditions, warnings (for example, "do not turn over", "do not throw", "do not stack in more than 2 tiers", etc. ") Often such information is presented in the form of special pictograms, they are called" manipulation signs ". recycling information Certain types of goods require special conditions for disposal (such as batteries, mercury thermometers, or daylight sources). Also, the packaging itself can be disposed of in one way or another. Packaging made from recycled materials and recyclable are also often marked with certain pictograms. Packaging history The first package was made from the most primitive natural materials. Primitive man constantly roamed and he needed, one way or another, to carry his belongings and supplies. This is how the first packaging materials appeared - skins, in which the cargo was wrapped to carry and protect it from rodents, lianas to tie the cargo, etc. Then they naturally transformed into more advanced devices, which can already be called a full-fledged container - bags sewn from skins with the help of veins, baskets woven from bark and flexible branches. The transition from the use of natural materials in their natural form to the manufacture of the simplest carrying devices marked a huge step in the development of mankind. It is difficult to overestimate it. In fact, the inventor of the bag brought no less into the history of transportation than his colleague who later created the wheel. One of the most difficult tasks was carrying water, and, before the advent of pottery, clay-covered baskets were used for this purpose, thus signaling the emergence of the primitive combined packaging. Later, dried pumpkins and vessels hollowed out of solid wood massifs began to be used for liquids. At the same time, the first leather skins appeared. With the development of crafts, packaging has become more and more perfect. It is still based on natural materials, but the result becomes technologically more efficient. Thus, a sedentary way of life, animal husbandry, cultivation of plant crops determined the appearance of high-quality fabrics from plant fibers and wool, which replaced skins (but did not completely replace them), pottery opened a new chapter in the creation of containers for liquid cargo, and the invention of paper simply unlimited field for packaging experiments. Suffice it to say that paper with its derivatives (cardboard, corrugated cardboard) is still one of the most widespread and demanded packaging materials today. As more and more technologies were mastered, the variety of types of packaging grew, various combinations of materials were introduced into everyday life. The glassblowing craft itself marked a giant step in the evolution of packaging solutions. The remarkable properties of glass, such as water resistance, resistance to active media and plasticity during the blowing process, transparency, made it possible to make vessels of any shape, capacity and purpose, from miniature vials for medicines to giant wine bottles. But the proverbial fragility of glass required the development of combined solutions. This is how cases for perfume bottles and braided bottles appeared, which are actively used today, for example, in traditional winemaking, or when packing valuable types of vegetable oils. The time of metals could not but affect the packaging business. Wooden chests, which had dominated the market for frame containers, being bound with iron, turned into strong chests for valuables. Leather hinges were replaced by metal hinges, and mechanical locks made possible the creation of modern safes. So the development of packaging gave rise to a separate branch that intertwined with the history of furniture. In general, packaging has changed little from the Middle Ages to modern times. Wooden boxes, paper bags, metal, clay and glass vessels changed slightly, largely due to the improvement and cheapening of the methods of their production, but fundamentally remained the same as in the days of the pharaohs or King Arthur.
Chemistry opened a new chapter in the history of packaging. When humanity learned to synthesize materials with desired properties, packaging changed in leaps and bounds. The emergence of a whole range of polymers, the production of synthetic fibers and adhesives on an industrial scale allowed a new look at the classic forms. Plastic bottles and flasks have significantly pushed glass in the field of consumer packaging. Shatter-proof, cheap to make, shock-absorbing, and easily paintable plastic has become an ideal material for commercial packaging. And the good old materials have also changed a lot. Take a tree. Thin board is not very fracture resistant, especially along the grain, especially if it is not the best quality wood. But if you take three layers of millimeter veneer and glue them so that the fibers of adjacent layers are perpendicular to each other, you get plywood - a thin sheet, only three millimeters thick, with extraordinary strength for such a thickness. Or, say, paper. Two layers of ordinary paper are laid with a corrugated paper sheet, glued together, and a new material is simply amazing in its properties, well known to everyone today - corrugated cardboard. Types of packaging Packaging can take on a variety of different forms, it is infinitely variable in design and composition. What determines this diversity? The packaging design and materials for its manufacture are dictated by the following factors: What will be the content; In what conditions will it be operated; What processes will she participate in. According to the definition in Wikipedia, packaging has three aspects - materials, objects and devices. Let's consider each separately. Materials Materials that themselves can be classified as packaging are usually called packaging materials. The most common and familiar to almost everyone is wrapping paper. It is used both as a wrapping material and as a filler for containers. In general, most of the packaging materials play rather a supporting role. Some of them require special equipment (such as shrink wrap) for use as packaging. It is necessary to distinguish between the concepts of "packaging materials" and "materials for the production of packaging". Packaging can be made of any material from trivial polyethylene to precious metals. For example, a humidor (cigar case) can be made from precious woods, say, rosewood. But at the same time, rosewood is not a packaging material. Examples of packaging materials: Paper Stretch film Shrink sleeve Binding twine Single and double sided tape Metal strapping tape These and other packaging materials can be used both as self-sufficient packaging and as auxiliary elements. From the materials that are used for packaging in their original form, let's move on, in fact, to the packaging as such. Items All packaging can be roughly classified into two large groups: Consumer packaging This group includes all packaging intended for use by the final consumer. Everything that you buy in the store is packed in consumer packaging. Some examples of consumer packaging with an indication of possible materials: bag for chips (cellophane, waxed paper); concurrency with tablets (foil, plastic); milk bottle (glass, polyethylene); box with TV cradles (corrugated cardboard, polystyrene); cigarette pack (cardboard, foil paper, cellophane); jewelry case (wood, plastic, velvet, satin); envelope for postcards (paper); file for documents (polyethylene). Production, trade and logistics containers As the name suggests, this group includes an extensive family of packaging solutions designed for professional applications. Unlike consumer packaging, packaging, as a rule (but not always), is designed not for a specific product, but for a whole group of products. So, packaging for toothpaste (tube and cardboard box with a certain print and a certain size) is suitable only for a specific toothpaste. And the returnable container, in which 10,000 tubes of this paste are delivered from the manufacturing plant to the wholesale base, will be used more than once for the transportation of soap or shampoos. Some examples of industrial, commercial and logistics packaging: port container (metal); cable drum (wood, plastic, metal); pallet storage container (wood, corrugated cardboard); packing cage (wood, fastening hardware); vegetable box (wood, hardware, polyethylene, corrugated cardboard); octabin for liquid (corrugated cardboard, polyethylene); tank (metal); Devices Strictly speaking, any item consisting of more than one part can and should be called a device. An ordinary glass jar with a polyethylene lid is already a device for storing liquids.
However, there are individual representatives of a huge family of packaging and containers that absolutely deserve the right to be called devices. So, a striking example of an engineering device among consumer packaging is a mechanical case with lipstick or a bottle of window cleaner with a spray bottle. An example of a production container-device is an acetylene cylinder with a valve and a pressure gauge and a safety valve or a silo-type container with a bottom discharge equipped with a dosing system. Disposal of packaging It's no secret that the world today is on the verge of an environmental disaster. And one of the factors influencing pollution is the ill-conceived policy of manufacturers regarding packaging solutions. Many concepts that show amazing commercial value are extremely environmentally unfriendly. Major packaging manufacturers have already recognized the problem and are announcing seven-figure competitions as a prize for those who offer a practical solution. Fortunately, there are green solutions for many problems. In particular, almost all corrugated cardboard packaging is made from recycled raw materials, and at the end of the life cycle is subject to recycling. But even if a fragment of a corrugated cardboard box somehow falls into natural conditions, it will not cause pollution. In 3-4 months it decomposes without a trace, without harming the environment, since it consists of 99.9% cellulose, that is, it is identical in composition to wood. In this case, the decomposition period of wood products is from 4 to 10 years. The packaging industry is an industry so vast that it can become a topic for hundreds of articles, and one longread is not enough to fully cover all issues.