Honeycomb Core Sleeve Packs Set New Performance Standard

Sleeve packs produced with EconCore’s ThermHex technology outperform alternatives in container box compression tests. 

Within the last year, I have blogged about the ThermXex technology from Belgium’s EconCore and its extended capabilities to produce continuous honeycombs from several high-performance thermoplastics, as well as the emergence of several commercial applications in both packaging and transportation.

Among those in industrial packaging, is Japan’s Gifu Plastics, which has developed a variety of sleeve boxes to meet specific customer needs, including boxes with four-side opening and closing, sleeve boxes with transparent view section integrated into the packaging, and boxes with aluminum frames for exceptionally heavy goods. EconCore recently shared some data comparing its honeycomb-based sleeve packs to alternative solutions, which show the former outperforming the latter.

Related Stories

More specifically, the data results are of a compression test, carried out by an independent packaging institute in accordance with ISO 844 guidelines, which analyzed the maximum compressive loading capacity of reusable sleeve packs made using honeycomb core materials and various other core structures generally referred to as cup-shaped core structures. All of these packaging products tested had the same panel weight (3000 g/m(2)), same dimensions in height, width and depth and were preconditioned for 24 hours.

Results show that the EconCore honeycomb sleeve packs outperformed all the other alternative technologies and core structures, ranging from 23% up to 87% higher compression loading capacity. According to EconCore, the honeycomb core better supports the skin of the sleeve pack under load and, being better in out-of-plane compression strength, the honeycomb core serves to resist skin wrinkling.

This performance advantage is said to be the key reason for the significant growth in the European OEM market where such reusable packaging systems are used for inter/intra site transport. EconCore estimates that over the last three years the share of the market has grown to around 20% in this most demanding of applications. The company sees the market as strong in Europe. Looking beyond, particularly in North America, EconCore sees the market—currently served by sleeve packs made using core materials other than honeycomb--as gaining momentum.  Said business development manager John Sewell, “The opportunity is ripe for a new producer using EconCore honeycomb technology to leap-frog existing producers in the region.”

Honeycomb core based packaging materials reportedly enable manufacturers to deliver the highest performing solutions in terms of strength, but also present the opportunity to reduce weight per piece. Compared to alternative solutions, according to EconCore, this technology can be implemented at similar and likely lower investment cost.