Package handle

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Paint can with bail handle

Package handles, or carriers, are used to add convenience to packages. They are designed to simplify and to facilitate the ergonomic interactions people have with packaging, the effect of handles on package material costs and the packaging line efficiencies are also critical. A handle can be defined as “an accessory attached to a container or part for the purpose of holding or carrying.”[1]

Handles can be built into a package, sometimes in the form of hand holes or hand holds, they can also be attached to a finished complete package after filling and closing, or even at the point of purchase.

The performance and design criteria for handles are often detailed in a contract or specification, for example handles for some US government containers are specified in Mil-Std-648.[2]

History[edit]

People have long seen a need to have package forms which are easy for people to carry and to use, some of these, such as amphora, date from the Neolithic period.

Boxes[edit]

Wooden boxes often have metal handles nailed or otherwise attached to the ends to facilitate handling. Steel boxes also frequently have attached handles or hinged bails. Corrugated boxes can have hand holes die-cut into the ends. Several designs are in use.[3] Care must also be taken for the hand holes not to weaken the strength of the box.[4][5][6] Depending on the contents and the degree of handling required, reinforcement is sometimes needed to prevent tearing. Reinforcing tapes, whether pressure -sensitive or heat-activated, can be applied to boxes in the vicinity of hand holes.[7]

Separate plastic or composite fitments are also available for corrugated boxes.[8] [9]

Plastic bottles[edit]

Many plastic containers have built in handles. Plastic shipping containers and storage tubs often have handles molded into them. Consumer blow molded containers often have integral handles.

Ssparate handles are sometimes added to a bottle, usually around the neck at the closure. Several methods have been developed.[10] [11] [12] [13] [14]

Bags[edit]

Many types of bags have handles to assist in carrying them.

Multi-packs of beverage containers[edit]

Shrink wrapped Multi-packs often have open ends (bulls eyes) which can be used as handles. Methods are available to reinforce the film, if needed. [15][16] Handles are often used on beverage carriers.

Tape handle[edit]

Six water bottles with tape handle: transparent tape and red foam

Pressure sensitive tape is often used as a handle: filament tape or strong film backed tapes (polypropylene or polyester). A loop can be applied over a package with paper or film used to cover the adhesive in the center portion. Another example with a shrink film package is for a tape to be applied to a film with slits cut in the film on either side of the tape. When the film shrinks, the tape does not and a handle is formed.[17] PSA tape handles can be built into the package structure or can also be added after package completion.[18] Specialized application machinery is sometimes available.[19]

Testing[edit]

Several package testing options are available to packaging engineers to help determine the suitability of package handles.

People can be used directly in an evaluation. Several different people can carry (and even abuse) handle and package options for subjective ratings, these can be compiled in a report.

More objective laboratory procedures are also used. Fixtured ‘’hands’’ of various designs are used to hold a handle (sometimes two handles for a box). ASTM International D6804, Standard Guide for Hand Hole Design in Corrugated Boxes, describes “jerk testing’’ by modified drop test procedures or use of the constant pull rates of a Universal testing machine. Other procedures use a static force by hanging a heavily loaded package for an extended time or even using a Centrifuge.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Soroka, W (2008). Glossary of Packaging Terminology. IoPP. p. 103. ISBN 1-930268-27-0. 
  2. ^ MIL-STD-648D, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE DESIGN CRITERIA STANDARD, SPECIALIZED SHIPPING CONTAINERS (PDF), 10 April 2008, pp. section 4.17, retrieved 26 April 2018 
  3. ^ ASTM D6804 Standard Guide for Hand Hole Design in Corrugated Boxes, ASTM International, 2015
  4. ^ Han, Jongkoo; Park (January 2007). "Finite element analysis of vent/hand hole designs for corrugated fibreboard boxes". Packaging Technology and Science. 20 (1): 1–76. doi:10.1002/pts.741. 
  5. ^ Singh, J (2008), "The Effect of Ventilation and Hand Holes on Loss of Compression Strength in Corrugated Boxes", J Applied Packaging Research, 2 (4): 227–238, retrieved 2 April 2018 
  6. ^ US4037777A, Maughan, "Handhole closure for containers", published 1977 
  7. ^ US4567070A, Karass, "Fibrous material reinforcing tape, method of making the same and containers reinforced by said tape", published 1986 
  8. ^ US20040007612A1, Johansen, "Box hand hole reinforcement and method of use", published 2004 
  9. ^ US3774836A, Nunn, "Carton having tape handle", published 1973 
  10. ^ EP0026557A1, Newman, "Combination of a carrier assembly and a pair of containers", published 1979 
  11. ^ US4509639A, Thompson, "Multi-container carrier package and a method of assembly therefor", published 1985 
  12. ^ US4093295A, Erickson, "Bottle carrier", published 1975 
  13. ^ US4257525A, Thompson, "Bottle with attached handle", published 1979 
  14. ^ US5788302A, Barrash, Ferguson, "Bottle carrier", published 1997 
  15. ^ US7775349B2, Walker, "Shrink-wrap packaging incorporating reinforced integral handle", published 2010 
  16. ^ US20070215504A1, Walker, "Shrink-wrap packaging incorporating reinforced integral handle", published 2007 
  17. ^ US4700528A, Bernard, "Heat shrink package handle", published 1987 
  18. ^ US6647649B2, Lawrence, "Pressure-sensitive adhesive tape handle construction", published 1962 
  19. ^ US5186542A, Siebold, "Tape handle for a container and method for construction thereof", published 1992 

Further reading[edit]