There are plenty of sophisticated tests you can have done in a lab to make sure all is well with the quality of your packaging, but here are some you can do yourself for free!
Does Your “Case Pack” Protect Your Product?
Take a case of your product to a loading dock and throw it up in the air to land on the concrete driveway below! If you think this is an unrealistic level of protection, it’s not. I’ve seen guys unloading a trade show or warehouse shipment by doing exactly that – throwing cases on to the loading dock from inside their trucks.
It’s OK if the case pack corners get smashed, what’s important is that the individual packages inside are not. Most of the case packs coming from China are low grade corrugated and will not pass this test. I had to specify a better grade of corrugate to pass this test for some of my imported products.
How’s Your Ink Adhesion?
On your individual packages, if your printing does not have a protective coating and fails this test, that means individual packages can get abraded during shipment and end up looking bad in the store.
To do the test, take some scotch tape and put it on your package and then rub it with your fingernail to make sure it’s stuck on the package as firmly as possible.
Then, holding the other end of the tape sharply pull off the tape. If any ink shows up on the tape your ink adhesion or protective coating is not good enough.
Another test for your individual product packaging is to simulate abrasion in shipping and handling. All you have to do is take a pencil with an eraser on the end and try to “erase” your printing. If you can erase the ink, not good.
If your product is packaged in a blister pack, is the blister attached properly? All you have to do is hold it at one end and then slam it against a table top sideways. This will create a lot of shear and if the blister was not adhered properly, it will pop right off.
Does Your UPC Code Scan?
There are a lot of specifications about how to print UPC codes, the size & type of film master depending on the print method and so on, but all you have to do is take some printed packages to a grocery store and ask them to scan them and see if it works.
These simple tests are all free and easy and I’ve had products of my own fail every one of these tests at one time or another, so do these yourself to make sure your products are properly packaged!