2017 TransPack Forum SPEAKERS

We are happy to announce that ISTA's TransPack Forum program is available. New to the program this year is an afternoon of dedicated tracks on sustainability, cold chain and testing of tomorrow. We will continue to update this page and share more details as they develop.

Study of Less-Than-Truckload Freight Density and Stacking
David Leinberger,
Senior Manager - Packaging Engineering & Material Handling
ABF Freight

While it is common for freight to be stacked during transit in the less-than-truckload distribution environment, little is known of the distribution of size, weight and density of the potential top loads. These characteristics of top loaded freight are important to understand when designing the ‘Just Right’ package or performing a pre-shipment package test. This study will provide detailed information about top loading conditions that can be used to improve package design.

Understanding of LTL distribution environment. Understanding of top load conditions.

Biography: Education: BS & MS in Packaging - Michigan State University Activities: ISTA Testing Council former chair, ISTA Technical Commitee, ASTM D-10 Committee. Achievements: IoPP CPP-Lifetime, IoPP College of Fellows, ISTA CPLP- Professional, US patent holder.

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Designing Packaging for e-Commerce to Reduce Damages and Delight Our Customers

Suzanne Fisher, Senior Program Manager, Special Handling Packaging



Caitlin Harren, Manager, Sustainability


• Understanding e-Commerce and the branding shift that is driving a different first moment of truth for customers.
•The journey of a package through online fulfillment.
• Designing packaging for e-Commerce that reduces waste, minimizes damage and delights customers.

1) Clear understanding how the demands on an ecommerce packaging are so different than brick and mortar packaging.
2) How Amazon defines certified e-Commerce ready packaging.
3) How to design packaging to reduce damages.

Caitlin Harren Biography: BA, Government and Environmental Science & Policy - Smith College; MS/MBA, Sustainable Enterprise - University of Michigan.


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Today’s Intermodal, What Packaging Professionals Need to Know
Tom Feltault,
Director, Damage Prevention & Loading Services
Association of American Railroads; Transportation Technology Center, Inc.


Biography: Tom is a 1980 graduate of Iowa State University and began his railroad career in 1981 with the AAR Damage Prevention & Freight Claim Section in Chicago. In 1985, he transferred to Pueblo, Colorado to manage the closed car loading test program. In 1998, Tom left the AAR and worked as a consultant in freight loss and damage prevention. Tom returned to the AAR/TTCI as the Senior Manager Damage Prevention Engineering in May of 2011 and currently holds the position of Director DPLS. Tom’s work has been published by an alphabet soup of organizations, including ASTM, ASME, IOPP, CCMTA and others. Tom resides in Pueblo with his wife Johanne. He has 3 children and 6 grandchildren.

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Elimination of Shipping Damage Through Stretch Film Optimization
Kyle Pischel,
Technical Director, Atlantic Packaging


The topic of this presentation is the effective application of machine stretch film for load integrity and security of goods in-transit. Improper stretch wrapping is the primary driver of break, damage and loss during shipping for manufacturers of consumer goods. The goal of this course is to illustrate the science of proper stretch film application through the optimization of stretch film, the wrapping machine and the load.

With an endless variation of inputs in the wrapping process - it is critical to understand the function of each to yield an effective combination. We will cover: How gauge, roll width, and resin blends effect the operational window of each film, key differences between pre-stretch carriages styles - exposing strengths and weaknesses of each, and specific load dynamics and how they effect inherent stability.

Stretching of the film is paramount to load success in transit, but it is critical to understand the effects of both pre-stretch and secondary stretch in the sum of ‘on-pallet stretch’. Covered will be a technical explanation of the benefits each provide and how load characteristics dictate their ratio to each other. Load stability is the sum of all parts and testing to confirm success will be discussed in regards to current and future methods.

Biography: Education: Michigan State University - School of Packaging. Activities: ISTA, ASTM, PMMI.

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Aligning Test Requirements with Distribution Hazards
Travis Norton,
Technical Director
Bureau Veritas, Consumer Products Services


Set minimum packaging test standards for shipments with the goal of reduced damages based on a review of actual distribution hazards vs. current/proposed test scope.

Reducing overall packaged product damage through pre-shipment testing that has been aligned to distribution hazards.

Biography: Education: State University of New York at Brockport. Activities: Service Development, Supply Chain Risk Management, Standards R&D (ASTM, CGSB, EN, etc). Achievements: Global Quality Program Development for Leading Brands / Retailers, 16 years living outside of USA.

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Innovating Your Innovation
Robby Martin,
Sr. Commercializations Mgr.
Bush Brothers & Co.


Pursuing innovation is at the forefront for many organizations these days. Recent industry news items include organizational changes to better achieve innovation goals. But, with the feelings of discomfort, angst, and even fear many organizations experience with these changes, do we have to get this change right the first time?

Thoughts and lessons learned from a core member of one company’s experience as it learns to embrace change in different ways, and explores products and business pursuits for the future.

Biography: Education: BS in Industrial Engineering Technology. Activities: PMMI Packaging Managers Council; IOPP member; ISTA member.

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Bulk Packaging Satellite Television Receivers
Brianne Pluta
Packaging Engineer


Kara Rutherford
Senior in B.S. Industrial Technology and Packaging
California Polytechnic State University

Idan Tal
Senior in B.S. Industrial Technology and Packaging
California Polytechnic State University

Currently bulk packaging for satellite television receivers are comprised of either:
1. polyethylene (PE) foam or
2. corrugated fiberboard (CFB)

Both packages utilize a regular slotted container to house all components. EPE USA has identified a need to investigate various combinations of protective packaging solutions for both PE foam and CFB inserts. The objective of this study is to gain an understanding of shock levels experienced by these receivers in various bulk packaging formats. Dummy receiver payloads will be instrumented with tri-axial accelerometers to record peak G as a result of multiple drops in accordance to ISTA 2A. A comparison of shock results will be conducted between the various bulk packaging formats to identify the most optimum form of packaging solution with regard to performance, cost and minimal usage of protective packaging components.

A packaging engineer can utilize the findings and methodology of this study to create a bulk packaging solution for electronic goods while utilizing the synergies of different forms of protective packaging components.

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The Effect of Pallet Stacking Patterns on the Deflection of the Pallet Under Common Support Conditions
Laszlo Horvath,
Assistant Professor / Director
Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design - Virginia Tech

In the design of material handling operations, optimal pallet loading configuration is a common concern for maximizing cube utilization and increasing unit load stability, but little is known about the effect of the stacking patterns on the performance of the pallet. The load carrying capacity of a pallet can change depending on the stacking patterns used due to the load redistribution as part of the effect known as load bridging.

The presentation will cover the results of the latest research on the interaction between the packages, the pallets, and the material handling equipment focused on the effect of the stacking patterns in the pallet performance and load carrying capacity. During the study, five pallet stacking patterns were investigated using three pallet stifnesses and four common support conditions.

• Interlocking package layers contribute to significantly increase pallet deflection.
• The effect of the pallet pattern on pallet deflection is dependent on the support conditions.
• Choosing the optimal pallet stacking pattern, considering the influence on pallet performance as an additional factor, can lead to a more efficient logistics operation.
• Current pallet design methodology doesn’t account for the influence of the load characteristics, which can lead to overdesign.

Biography: Education: MS in Wood Engineering, MS. in Engineering Management, Ph.D. in Forest Biomaterials. Activities: VP of TAPPI Virginia North Carolina, IoPP premium member, ISTA CPLP Professional. Achievements: Chair of ASTM D1185, Member of ANSI MH1 and MH10.

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Solving Supply Chain Issues Utilizing a Packaging Testing Approach
Tom Blanck,
Principal & Practice Leader - Packaging Optimization

When customer complaints are increasing or if damage warranty claims keep creeping up, it is often a signal that something has changed in the distribution supply chain. Often, causes of packaging damage can be difficult to determine when these packaging systems have worked in the past and if they have passed current test protocols.

Today’s supply chain is ever evolving and new hazards and events can work their way into proven distribution systems. When these situations arise, some basic principles can help identify what has changed and what has gone wrong. This presentation is a look into situations where companies had to figure things out fast – and solve for new shipping damage situations.

Insight into solving supply chain problems and reinforcing basic tenets of packaging testing for solution development.

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Vibration Analysis of Motorcoach Buses Used in the Transport of Goods

Taylor Warren , Student
Clemson University



Paige Watson , Student
Clemson University


Packaged products are commonly shipped using a variety of vehicles types including truck, train, and airplane. Each type of vehicle has been thoroughly studied to understand the motion associated with each. Recently, motorcoach buses have been used to transport packaged products, however no published analysis of their motion is available.

Greyhound Lines ships packages daily through their Package Express Service. There are over 2,700 hundred Greyhound Package Express headquarters around the country, and approximately 20 packages are shipped from every location daily. Amazon.com has also explored using bus transportation to ship packages and has filed a patent for this type of delivery under “Mobile Pickup Locations”.

This study focuses on the collection and analysis of motorcoach motion with a goal of developing a comprehensive understanding of their vibration input to packaged products. With packaged products being shipped daily via motorcoach buses, vibration data from these vehicles can prove useful in package design. Once collected and analyzed, this data can be used for laboratory replication of bus vibration and the testing of products encountering this environment.

1. Familiarity with current and proposed mechanisms for packaged product distribution using motorcoach buses.
2. Vibration spectra suitable for laboratory simulation of motorcoach bus motion.
3. Comparative analysis between motorcoach bus vibration spectra and that of other common vehicles.

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Temperatures in Transport between Europe, China, Africa and USA: Data and Predictive Model
Florian Dramas,
Research and Development Packaging Manager
Materne North America - GoGo squeeZ

This presentation will review the analysis made in previous research papers and complement it with additional measurements done during the summer 2016. From this review, a model will be presented to calculate inside-container temperature function of outside min/max temperatures during ground and sea transportation.

A model description and a tool (Excel sheet) to calculate the in-container temperature profile during oversea and ground transportation.

Biography: Education: PhD.

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Flipping the Formula: Rethinking How We Stretch Film
Lucas Venechuk,
Senior Packaging Engineer
Highlight Industries


Setting up a stretch wrapping pattern typically starts with setting a prestretch level and then applying the highest wrapping tension that’s possible without tearing the film. Doing things in this order limits the range of wrapping tensions that are possible, and potentially excludes the most efficient solution from the pool of choices. This paper takes a look at film behavior over a range of prestretch and wrap tension combinations with a focus on containment force and load stability. Should the formula be flipped?

Keeping loads more stable by ignoring the conventional process. Stretch wrapping more efficiently. In-depth look at stretch film behavior over a range of pre-stretch and post-stretch levels.

Biography: Education: BS in Packaging from Michigan State University. Activities: Vice-Chairman for ASTM subcommittee D10.25 on Palletizing and Unitizing of Loads, member of IoPP's Transport Packaging Committee, contributor to ISTA testing protocols for unitized goods.

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Know Your Environment – The Power of a Distribution Mapping
Michael Pagel,
Sr. Staff Packaging Engineer
Kohler Co.

ISTA and ASTM standards do not replicate the distribution environment seen by every product. Understanding your environment is critical to the success of the packaging system. This presentation will provide examples of distribution maps and test plans created from these maps as well as showing what a powerful communication tool these maps can be.

Attendees will gain insight into creating a good distribution map and test plan from that map. Along with using the map as a communication tool and decision making tool for packaging design and supply chain optimization.

Biography: Education: B.S. Packaging, University of Wisconsin – STOUT. Activities: Member of ISTA and IOPP. Achievements: UW – STOUT Packaging Program Advisory Board, Six Sigma Certified, Created a packaging consortium team with outside companies.

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Over-the-Road Load Shift Investigative Case Study
Eric Joneson,
Vice President, Marketing
Lansmont Corporation


Biography: B.S. in Packaging from Michigan State University. Activities: ISTA Global Board of Directors - Past Chair; ISTA Technical Division Board Director; ASTM D10, US Random Vibration Expert for ISO-TC122-SC3-WG7; Editor International Journal of Advanced Packaging Technology (IJAPT); International Association of Packaging Research Institutes (IAPRI). Achievements: ISTA CPLP Professional, numerous technical presentations, publications and training sessions, Transportation packaging expert witness.

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Thinking Outside the Box, Literally – Ship Testing Products Without Packaging
Joseph Fair
, Packaging Engineer
Lexmark International, Inc.

On site installations and relocation of printers has become an increased source of “packaging” related field concerns in recent years for Lexmark.

This presentation reviews what the Lexmark Packaging team has learned by participating in installations and working hand in hand with product engineering teams at Lexmark.

Additionally, this presentation will cover how the Lexmark packaging team is adapting current specifications along with the ISTA standards to simulate the environments encountered during installations and the relocation of printers.

• It is critical to learn as much as possible about the environments your packaging/product encounters.
• The equipment in a packaging lab can have value beyond traditional style package testing.
• Just because your product leaves your site in packaging doesn’t mean it will arrive at the end user in that packaging or that a customer is going to retain that packaging for future shipments.

Biography: Education: B.S. in General Science Education from Michigan State University. M.S. in Packaging Engineering from Michigan State University. Activities: Member of ISTA TSG. Achievements: ISTA CPLP Technician and IoPP CPP.

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The Linear Effects of Vibration and Shock Across the Floor of Over-the-Road Trailers

Patrick McDavid,
Michigan State University School of Packaging


Hao Liu , Graduate Assistant
Michigan State University School of Packaging


Forced suspension bumps and over-the-road vibrations are being studied to determine how the forces change throughout the floor of the trailer.

Our industry is moving closer to vibration testing in multiple degrees of freedom. Can the floor of the trailer be treated as a flat plane. As we record vibration forces to drive simulations, can we alter the drive signal to simulate any location on the trailer based on recordings in one location.

Patrick McDavid Biography: Education: Bachelor of Science, Packaging, 1997, Michigan State University; Master of Science, Supply Chain Management, 2008, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL.; MBA, 2010, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL.; Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Packaging, Michigan State University. Activities: 18 years of distribution packaging and dynamics experience. Instructor at The Michigan State University School of Packaging. Chair of the ISTA Technical Division Board. ASTM D10 Committee Member. Achievements: Lifetime CPP. CPLP Professional. Crawford Fellowship Award Winner.

Hao Liu Biography: Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, 2008, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China; Ph.D. of Chemistry, 2013, University of Florida, Gainsville, FL.; Currently pursuing a Master's in Packaging, Michigan State University. Activities: 6 years as a research assistance and teaching assistant. Achievements: Graduate Student Research Abroad Award.

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Packaging and Transportation Challenges Air Shipment of Batteries
Dr. S. Paul Singh,
Packaging Forensics Associates, Inc.


The presentation will discuss packaging and transportation challenges and risks associated with shipment of batteries including lithium-ion and lithium-metal. The packaging, unitizing and shipment by air can have potential risks due to thermal runaway and will share some potential packaging outcomes being considered.

Solutions to a growing issue on air safety through packaging.

Biography: Education: Ph.D., (Ag. Engg) MS, (Packaging), BS (Honors - Mech Engg). Activities: ASTM, IAPRI, ASSE, ASME, ISTA, IOPP, NIPHLE, ISO, WFLO. Achievements: Military Packaging Hall of Fame, ASTM Award of Merit, Fellow IOPP and ASTM.

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A Comparative Study of Fatigue Damages of Column Stacked Printed Packages between a Single Axis Vibration Profile and Field Vehicle Vibrations
Changfeng Ge,
Rochester Institute of Technology

This study investigates the difference in scuffing damages of printed kraft paper between a single-axis lab vibration and an actual field event. A special fixture was designed and built to contain 4-column stacked printed packages. The ASTM D4169 truck assurance level I / II tests and field truck test were conducted respectively, based on accelerated vibration formula. The optical density of printed papers after testing were measured and compared. Fatigue cycles were computed using Rainflow counting algorithm to correlate the scuffing damages to the vibration stress cycles applied upon printing surfaces.

Understanding factors influencing vibration equivalencies between lab based test and field data; Know the difference in scuffing damages of printed packages between a single-axis lab vibration and an actual field event; Know techniques of qualifying fatigue damage caused by vibration hazards.

Biography: Education: Dr.-Ing. from University of Dortmund- Mechanical Engineering, M.E and B.E. from Tongji University-Mechanical Engineering. Activities: Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Applied Packaging Research, ASTM D10.13 Chair, Board Member of IAPRI and member of TAPPI.

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State of Sustainable Packaging
Nina Goodrich,
Executive Director
GreenBlue/Sustainable Packaging Coalition


Biography: Nina Goodrich is Director of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and Executive Director of GreenBlue. GreenBlue’s mission is shaping the business of sustainability by arming the agents of change within industry with the science, technology and value propositions to help make business more sustainable. Nina came to GreenBlue with an industry and consultancy background in R & D management, innovation and sustainability strategy. Nina believes that innovation and sustainability are linked as key drivers for our future. Nina has held leadership positions in R & D with Alcan Packaging, Amcor, The Guelph Food Technology Center and Magic Pantry Foods. While in industry, as a lifetime student of the innovation process, she worked to develop a value innovation process for re-invention. This process has provided a key framework to link innovation and sustainability. At Alcan Packaging she held the position of Director, Sustainnovation in their Growth and Innovation Organization. It was in this role that she came to understand the opportunity side of sustainability and the role it can play in re-inventing competitive corporate strategy. Nina has worked to develop a value proposition for sustainability and to share it with all who will listen. She has done graduate work in technology management and holds a BA in Molecular Biology from Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Regarded as a thought leader in the field, Nina speaks and writes frequently on the convergence of sustainability, innovation, and technology.

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The Effect of a Non-Chemical Phytosanitary Treatment on the Packaging Integrity of Unitized Products to Prevent the International Spread of Invasive Plant and Animal Species
Marshall White,
Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech

In a global economy international product shipments have been a source of spreading invasive animal and plant species. The impact of these “invasives” are economic as well as a decline in human health and environmental quality. When international shipments of product are quarantined, the primary method of phytosanitary treatment is fumigation with methyl bromide. The pre-shipment and quarantine treatment of internationally shipped product is the second largest use of this fumigant in the US. Under international agreement the use of this ozone depleting and dangerous chemical is to terminate when an effective alternative treatment is identified. One targeted invasive, is the Mediterranean snail that has been detected in imported unit loads of packaged ceramic and marble tiles. The USDA Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service supported research at Virginia Tech to evaluate the use of steam and vacuum to heat sanitize the unitized and packaged tiles that were inoculated with this invasive snail species. The effect of steam and vacuum, using a 56 C for 30 minute treatment cycle, on snail morbidity and the properties of the tile, corrugated sleeves, shrink wrap, and gum labels was evaluated. The entire 775 kg unit load of tiles can be treated in about 50 minutes. Snail morbidity was 100%. By using a chamber design and vacuum, to control condensation and increase the speed of the treatment cycle, the physical and mechanical properties of the tile, paper and plastic packaging were not significantly altered by the treatment. The results indicate that this heat based treatment method can effectively sanitize certain packaged commodities that can tolerate temperatures in the 55 to 65 C.

Replacing an ozone depleting chemical with an environmentally benign and treatment to prevent the spread of invasive plant and animal species during global product shipment.

Biography: Education: BS in Packaging from Michigan State University. Activities: Vice-Chairman for ASTM subcommittee D10.25 on Palletizing and Unitizing of Loads, member of IoPP's Transport Packaging Committee, contributor to ISTA testing protocols for unitized goods.

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