(Nov. 12, 1:17 p.m.) CHICAGO — Smurfit-Stone, Creve Coeur, Mo., has redesigned a packaging line to provide a stronger box using less materials.

During Pack Expo, Oct. 9-13 at McCormick Place in Chicago, the company exhibited three new machines in its Meta packaging equipment line — two with direct fresh produce applications — and two new “eight-sided” box designs for the first time.

The inside of the eight-sided box “gives you an enormous amount of support in areas where boxes always (seem to) fail,” said John Eaton, vice president.

“We’ve redesigned our entire line to run both four-sided and eight-sided boxes, offering significantly improved compression and lower supply-chain costs,” Eaton said. “We’ve spent the last year looking at our case erector, wrap-around machine and eight-sided box machine. We strive to take the lowest-cost equipment solution to the market.”

The eight-sided box meets Wal-Mart’s Packaging Scorecard sustainability standards, said Mike Mullin, director, media relations and public affairs.

The unique eight-sided Meta Tray-8 case, run on Smurfit-Stone’s new machine of the same name and patent, tests much stronger than other corrugated, regular slotted containers while using up to 21% less fiber. A company news release said the Meta Tray-8 can deliver compression strength of a regular slotted container, or can provide 127% more stacking strength. Eaton said the Meta Tray-8 lists for about $115,000.

Smurfit-Stone also launched the Meta-FS machine at Pack Expo. It’s ideal for tray packing of tomatoes and other fresh produce commodities and is an upgrade of the Meta 170 machine customers like Ready Pac have been using for about two years, Eaton said. The Meta 170 lists for about $180,000, Eaton said.

The Meta-FS forms the eight-sided case around a fixed mandrel, allowing quick changeover to different heights for boxes that share the same footprint. The Meta-8 box uses 17% less fiber as tested to provide the compression strength of a regular slotted container or can provide 18% more stacking strength using 5.7% less fiber, according to the release.

Smurfit-Stone makes stronger box with less fiber
During Pack Expo Nov. 9 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Smurfit-Stone displays its unique, eight-sided Meta Tray-8 case. Run on the company's new machine of the same name and patent, the case tests much stronger than competing corrugated, regular slotted containers while using up to 21% less fiber, adding to Smurfit-Stone's sustainability resume and helping to cut costs, the company says.