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From four wheels to two corrugated is the driving force

Corrugated’s track record as a versatile, robust and space saving packaging solution for goods in transit has taken on a whole new meaning following the latest innovative creations using the UK’s favourite packaging material.

This exceptionally flexible material has been engineered into eye-catching structures such as a full-scale working model of a luxury car, protection for an iconic bicycle and a huge model to help plan a new extension for a children’s hospital in the United States, to name but a few.

A full-sized corrugated replica of a Lexus(1), on show at the recent Grand Designs Live exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham, was made of 1,700 sheets of cardboard glued together. It had a fully fitted interior, functioning doors, headlights and wheels, with an electric motor mounted on its steel and aluminium frame.

Meanwhile, from four wheels to two! The material’s inbuilt versatility and cushioning qualities are providing the optimum protective solution during transportation for arguably one of the UK’s most used and best-loved folding bicycles, the Brompton.

A one-piece corrugated transit solution has been developed to secure this iconic bike within a compact package by creative use of an extended glue flange and precise flap arrangements. The internal base flaps fold to form a supportive, cushioning structure which delivers extra protection to vulnerable areas.

There are other striking examples of the practical applications that corrugated is being developed for – such as the 40,000 sq ft cardboard mock-up(2) of a new building that Boston Children’s Hospital is planning. It was created as part of an exercise by hospital executives and architects to test the most efficient use of space.

The cardboard set-up allows clinicians to move doorways, walls and equipment around while they consider how big the doors should be, for example, which way patients should be facing and where to place the many trays of surgical tools. Such details are critical, during complex medical procedures, which require that both personnel and tools be optimally placed.

Other novel uses of corrugated include the world’s first usable recycled cardboard treadmill(3). Made completely with cardboard, the designer, who runs a popular YouTube channel where he broadcasts “how to” videos related to his cardboard creations, claims that the fitness accessory can take up to 250lbs.

Corrugated is also strong enough to ferry people across water. Six cardboard boats took part in Belfast’s annual Harbour Fest’s Cardboard Boat Challenge(4). All the diverse vessels had to adhere to the event’s strict guidelines, including specifics about the type of cardboard and glue allowed. All made it around the course.

The Confederation of Paper Industries’ (CPI) Director of Packaging Affairs, Andy Barnetson, said: “From helping to save lives in a children’s hospital to creating a working luxury car, corrugated’s tremendous versatility knows no bounds. It is delivering a range of complex structures as well as playing a pivotal role in supply chain sustainability by protecting goods in transit and providing on-shelf stand-out appeal for retailers.”

CPI represents a multi-billion pound industry, thousands of UK jobs and the best packaging recycling record in the country. It is not only economical but also has a superb environmental record – over 80% of the material is recycled every year, which if laid flat would cover an area the size of Greater London three times over.

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