In late February the internet was awash with speculation around Volvo’s sneak preview of their pioneering home delivery concept Roam. Rajapack gathers some expert opinions on whether Roam could really revolutionise the way we receive our online shopping.
It’s an all too familiar sight for many of us, coming home to stumble over that cardboard slip containing the words “Sorry we missed you”. As well as being an awkward inconvenience, it’s also a problem that creates a huge financial burden on the courier businesses, estimated to have cost the industry £820 million over the last year alone. Volvo believes its latest Roam concept, which was officially unveiled at Mobile World Congress this year, could be the answer to all of these troubles.
Roam works by utilising Volvo’s existing ‘On Call’ technology, transforming a customer’s car into a parcel drop off point and by doing so removing any need to alter your schedule around expected deliveries. Couriers are provided with a digital key that allows access to the car’s GPS co-ordinates, colour, registration plate and grants one time entry to the car, allowing the courier to drop off the goods. Once deposited, the car then re-locks and sends an acknowledgment message to the customer, notifying them their parcels have been delivered.
The Packaging Innovations show 2014 was a great success with visitor numbers at a record high. It was great to see so many faces around the NEC Birmingham; highlighting the increased confidence that is coming back into the packaging industry. Thanks to all those who came to say hello at the Rajapack stand. As well as speaking with everyone who came to see us, we managed to squeeze in time to see what innovations the packaging industry has in store.
With more promotional demos popping up from Amazon, Rajapack looks at a few of the more creative packaging and delivery based stunts from the past few years and answers a few key questions; for example, how many Amazon “Octocopters” would it take to lift the recently delivered “giant box”?
Amazon are at it again: earlier this year an enormous parcel with the Amazon logo printed on the side was spotted in a Wisconsin street – arguably one of the biggest boxes anyone’s seen in a long while. What could they possibly have been delivering? Thinking about Amazon products, it could be anything: 900 books, 1000 DVDs, a pair of scissors, endless second-hand digital cameras – anything. Not many people could figure it out, until it was later revealed that inside the giant box was…..a car. It was a Nissan Versa Note in fact – part of their ambitious advertising campaign which allowed customers to purchase the car by clicking a link on Amazon, with a selected few having their vehicles delivered inside the big box.
To be honest, some of us preferred the mystery. But after the big reveal, many were left wondering what Amazon were going to do next; first we see automatic drones delivering directly to the customer’s door, and now this.
Single, Double and Triple wall boxes are all designed to fit different purposes and for use in different circumstances. Triple wall is the strongest and most heavy duty of the three options, so what is it that makes the triple wall box so strong, and what are triple walled boxes best used for?
The strength of any corrugated box lies within its material and its construction. Standard fibreboard corrugations have two components: the liner board and the medium. The liner board encloses the connected mediums of arched material, all cemented with strong adhesive – the sandwich like construction is where the strength of corrugation lies.
There are 5 types of standard box wall construction: these range from A-flute to F-flute – examples of the formation of A, B and C-flutes can be found below:
A-flute is the thickest gauge of corrugated card, followed by C and then B to F in alphabetical order. C-flute is the most commonly found size due to it being a happy medium between A and B-flutes. As a compromise it offers good strength but without compromising ease of use or storage.
When making multi walled boxes it is common for a combination of different flutes to be used as each category has different characteristics which can help to strengthen a box. A frequently used combination in corrugated boxes is BC, which consists of one B-flute and one C-flute – it’s usually regarded as a strong box-type and can hold very large items safely.
With Amazon’s parcel drone demo still fresh in our minds, Rajapack gets some expert views on whether delivery by automatic drone is really as close as we think.
Back in December a small robotic delivery-copter flew out from a product depot with a parcel strapped to it and headed to its destination; it then carefully placed the package down on to the patio of an eager customer who was waiting a few miles away. There was no knock on the door, no slip of paper saying “sorry, we missed you”, and no van waiting outside with the engine still running. There was very little human involvement at all.
The automatic parcel drone in question had “Amazon Prime Air” written on the side – it was a recent demonstration by the online giant showcasing their game-changing drones (or “Octocopters”) that fly directly to a customer’s home to deliver a package in thirty minutes of the order being placed.
Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos says that the drones can carry items of around 5lbs (which accounts for most of the products bought on Amazon) and insists that they will be able to deliver those parcels in the promised half hour.
It’s bold and it’s impressive, but is it the first step towards a world in which endless Octocopters sail overhead while you’re doing the shopping? Could the flying robots soon be as commonplace as other technological paradigm shifts, such as the UK’s giant web of power lines that dominate the countryside? Well, it might not be that simple – there are a number of challenges to face before this idea really inserts itself in to the normal running of society.
We are excited to announce that we will be exhibiting a range of new protective packaging machines at the Easy Fairs exhibition, which will be held at the NEC Birmingham on February 26th and 27th!
The Opus Mini
At Packaging Innovations we will be displaying the Opus Mini, a void fill, air cushion machine which is brand new to our machines range. The Opus Mini is a lightweight and compact machine, suitable for the smallest work stations whilst robust enough for the most demanding packaging applications. It has a streamline design and offers variable speed settings.
Available to both purchase and rent*, the Opus Mini is our cheapest cushioning machine and also environmentally friendly, as the machine rolls are biodegradable.
We will also be exhibiting a wider range of machines, including the FasFil EZ paper void fill machine, which is one of the most cost effective machines for those who want to protect and secure their goods during shipment. The FasFil EZ is available to rent from just £15 per month*.
Our Managing Director John Taylor says: “We are very enthusiastic to be exhibiting at Packaging Innovations again this year; this fair will provide us with an opportunity to showcase a number of new products we have just introduced to our range and we hope to meet with lots of businesses to demonstrate our products and expert knowledge of packaging to all businesses – small or large.”
I’m delighted to report that Rajapack‘s fundraising day for the charity Refuge proved a roaring success!
We raised exactly £200 to help buy Christmas presents for women and children who sadly have to spend the festive season in refuges, having fled the family home after suffering domestic violence.
Rajapack raffle prizes
On November 29th we wore Christmas jumpers to work, festively decorated our desks, and held a raffle and food sale to raise much-needed funds for women and children forced to spend the holiday season in a refuge.
There were an exciting array of raffle prizes on offer, including champagne, wine, luxury chocolates, and a watch set.
Christmas will be coming early to Rajapack this year, as on November 29th we will be hosting a festive fundraising day for the charity Refuge.
Refuge provide support to women and children who have suffered the trauma of domestic violence, a form of abuse which is distressingly common – as members of staff discovered when the charity gave a talk at our offices in June.
The talk had a big impact on us as it was revealed that, shockingly, one in four women experience domestic violence and two women a week are killed by abusive partners. Although Christmas should be a time for family and celebration, sadly many women and children will be spending the festive season in refuges, having fled violence in the home.
Retail giant Marks & Spencer is to donate £3 million raised from its 5p charge on plastic bags to a charity dedicated to fighting litter on the UK’s beaches and helping to save endangered marine animals such as dolphins and turtles.
M&S were among the first national retail chains to impose a fee for plastic bags in order to give people an incentive to switch to reusable bags. The charge has had a profound effect on the habits of shoppers, and, since the fee was instituted, M&S has been able to cut down its plastic bag use by 80%.