Our Research: Production Engineering Research: Container and Packaging Development

Developing New Simulation Technology: Simulating Shipping

When developing a new product container, narrowing down the proposed designs requires wide-ranging evaluations. To this end, Lion uses computer aided engineering (CAE, a kind of engineering simulation) technology to develop methods for predicting the functions and characteristics of individual product bottles. Building on this technology, we sought to develop new CAE analytical simulation technologies to tackle the issue of bottles becoming jumbled inside their cardboard shipping boxes.

What is Product Jumbling?

Retail outlets are increasingly cutting off the top part of cardboard shipping boxes to make trays and putting them on store shelves as-is. To ensure that product displays look appealing in stores, shipping packaging must be designed to ensure an orderly display when the shipping boxes are opened. However, depending on bottle shape and box specifications, the bottles can become jumbled, as shown in Figure 1, resulting in an untidy appearance.

If such issues can be foreseen at the design selection stage, the selection process can take into consideration the costs of circumventing them and problems at later stages of production can be prevented.

Multibody Dynamics Technology

To solve these issues, Lion uses simulations based on multibody dynamics (MBD). MBD is an area of simulation technology that is currently attracting a great deal of attention. In particular, technologies in this area are advancing, enabling the automatic porting of data on package shape and load from 3D-CAD software to MBD analysis software and making MBD software easier to use effectively. Rather than simply analyzing the behavior of individual components, MBD simulations enable the precise analysis of entire systems.

The MBD simulations used by Lion are based on three configuration elements. The conditions that we use for these simulations are laid out in Table 1.

Table 1. MBD configuration elements
Element Description Parameters
Body Objects Bottles, cardboard boxes, dividers
Input Shaking direction and strength Shaking amplitude, number of shakes, shaking waveform
Contact Conditions for contact between bodies Coefficient of restitution, coefficient of kinetic friction, coefficient of static friction

Of these elements, input (shaking) is the key factor that causes jumbling. We therefore carried out simulations to better understand the effects of different shaking conditions. Table 2 shows five simulations, each with different amplitude, waveform and frequency conditions. Analysis of these simulations found that the directions of shaking most likely to lead to jumbling were diagonal across the box or rows. By providing simulations equivalent to trial packaging and shipping at an early stage, this technology enables precise container design from the design selection stage.

Table 2. Simulation results
Simulation 1 Simulation 2 Simulation 3 Simulation 4 Simulation 5
Direction of shaking Along the long axis Along the short axis Up and down Diagonal across the box Diagonal across bottle rows
Amplitude 30mm 30mm 4mm 30mm 20mm
Waveform Sine wave
Frequency 3Hz 3Hz 10Hz 3Hz 5Hz
Results of analysis
Description of results Bottles tilt together along the axis of the shaking Bottles barely move Some bottles rotate Bottles in the corners of the case tilt significantly along the axis of the shaking Bottles in the corners of the case tilt significantly along the axis of the shaking

Figure 2. Simulation of bottle jumbling

R&D Case Study—Container and Packaging Development