Contest shells out packaging prowess

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

Pregis sponsors the annual egg drop competition in which Cal Poly packaging students test try their hand at protective packaging.
Pregis sponsors the annual egg drop competition in which Cal Poly packaging students test try their hand at protective packaging.

Related tags Protective packaging Pallet Packaging and labeling Unit load

Pregis is challenging students to create the perfect protective package—one that can guard a delicate egg during a 30-foot drop—and prove their packaging prowess.

Students with the packaging program at Cal Poly State University will face off in an annual egg-drop competition sponsored by protective packaging provider Pregis. The event gives the future packaging professionals the chance to put the skills they’ve picked up in the program to the test.

The event, while fun, is a serious chance to apply packaging knowledge to a real situation. Jay Singh, professor and packaging program director at the school’s Orfalea College of Business, said the hands-on experience is a prime example of how the program exposes students to practical knowledge.

We believe in immersing the students into the university’s ‘learn by doing’ motto, both in and outside the classroom​,” he said.

Broad education

The egg-drop competition is part of the Poly Pack Symposium, an annual day of networking that gathers packaging professionals to share emerging topics and techniques with students and colleagues. Singh told FPD the symposium serves to provide students in the packaging program the broad base of knowledge necessary to survive the competitive industry.

Typical job functions now demand a balance of science, technology and management based disciplines; this trend has been enabled by new approaches to value chain management, product development and packaging technology as the US packaging industry follows new business opportunities in different global markets​,” he said.

The synthesis of technology, science and management delivered through the packaging program at Cal Poly aims to provide the packaging industry with exceptional employees that would be able to function across workplace silos from the onset​,” Singh added.

Packaging competition

Each competitor is given an identical kit, with materials they must use to create the egg’s protective package. To be declared victorious, the container must prevent a raw Grade-AA Large chicken egg when dropped from a height of 30 feet.

As with real-world packaging projects, the competitors must work within set parameters. Using only the materials provided and supplied eggs, the final container should be no more than 512 cubic inches, no dimension can measure longer than 8 inches, and the container’s total weight cannot exceed 1 lb.

Future packaging pros

According to Pregis representative Cherie Barnier, the supplier benefits by furthering the future of the protective packaging field.

We want to support the next generation of packaging professionals as they develop their skills​,” she said. “Today’s students will eventually be responsible for creating tomorrow’s game changing packaging materials and systems​.”

Dache Davidson, director of marketing for Pregis, told FPD the company firmly supports building skills in the next generation of packaging professionals.

Pregis has always prided itself in being a technology leader in for protective packaging solutions; as such we want to lend our support to students who will one day be taking this technology to a new level​,” she said.

Davidson added the egg drop competition is a fun, creative way for packaging students to apply their classroom knowledge to real-life situations.

Because Pregis is a leading manufacturer of protective packaging materials and systems it was the perfect educational challenge for our company to support​,” she said.

The top three entrants managing to keep the precious cargo intact will be declared winners. The prizes at stake include American Express gift cards, and an iPad Air.

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