Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Video Reflections

Giving Packaging a New Life

Sorting Innovations 

How It's Made: Packaging

Cardboard Boxes 
Packaging Tubes 

All the videos in these two series are very insightful, informative and helpful. The 'How Its Made: Packaging' series goes through the manufacturing processes of various types of packaging (ie. cardboard boxes, packaging tubes, tetrapaks, aluminum cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles and jars). From watching videos similar to this previously, there were many things about these processes which I already knew, but it was good to be reminded of this, and learn some new things. The 'Giving Packaging a New Life' series looks at how different types of packaging (ie. aluminum, glass, plastic, sorting innovations, paper, tetrapak and tinplate) are recycled. Whilst I already knew how some of these types of packaging were recycled, there were many, such as tetrapaks, that I did not know could even be recycled, let alone how it was done. In these videos the things that impressed me the most was how recyclable waste is sorted into different materials in order to be recycled. Machines take advantage of the different properties that each of the materials have in order to separate them. For example, because tin is magnetic, where other recyclable materials are not, overhead magnetic conveyor-belts separate out the tin. The structure of tetrapaks make it a complex thing to be recycled, because it is made of thin sheets of different materials bonded together. This has to therefore go through several processes, each extracting a different material, thus being able to be recycled.

It is important for industrial designers to watch videos like these ones, especially if they are involved in packaging design, because they need to have a clear understanding of the process that their design will have to go through in order to be made, and then how it can be recycled at its end of use. It is important for designers to understand how different types of packaging are made, because their design has to be physically able to be made. If a designer has an understanding of the process, then they will know what is and isn't possible in their design. They also need to have an understanding of how different materials are recycled. This is important because design decisions they make, affect the recycle-ability of their design. If they are an environmentally aware designer, they will want to make sure that it is easy as possible to recycle their design, so that it is not contributing to landfill, and can in fact be used to make something new, reducing the amount of virgin material needed.   

Some main take away points from these videos:

- Packaging made from different materials have different properties, so when you decide what properties are needed in your design, most likely there will be a material with these desired properties.
- Most packaging can be manufactured at lightning fast speeds, so it is perfect for mass production.
- Most types of packaging can be recycled, you just need the right machines to separate and process.