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Protect People, Product and Profits by Going Knifeless with Folded Edge® Technology

Joe Garvey, Product Manager for Shurtape Technologies, LLC

Using a knife or box cutter to open a box sealed with packaging tape can bring many risks with it, such as employee injury or damaged products, both of which will lead to loss of profits. Many companies have instituted safety programs to help eliminate knife injuries and damages. However, there is another simple solution to help eliminate box cutter and knife injuries and the costs associated with them —Folded Edge® Technology.

Some packaging tape manufacturers have developed tape application technology for both automated and manual packaging applications that allow for cartons to be opened without the use of a knife or box cutter. One example comes from Shurtape Technologies, LLC, an industry-leading manufacturer and marketer of adhesive tape and consumer home and office products. Shurtape offers Folded Edge® Technology on its ShurSEAL® packaging solutions. This technology creates a dry edge that allows workers to easily grasp the edge of the tape and remove it effortlessly by hand, removing the risk of knife and box cutter injury. The reinforced tape edge also provides an extra strong seal by increasing the strength of the tape, preventing it from shredding when removed.

Folded Edge® Technology such as this provides companies with three key benefits: safety of people, safety of product and increased profits.

Safety of People

In 2020, there were an estimated 102,350 on-the-job hand injuries in the United States alone, according to data from the National Safety Council. Of those injuries, 82% were lacerations, cuts and punctures. Nearly half of the injured workers were employed in service or production jobs.

Those workplace injuries come with a cost to employees and to the businesses. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the average laceration to an employee’s hand costs a business a total of $92,000 in direct costs, such as healthcare, and indirect costs, like lost productivity. On average, companies need to generate another $2.4 million in sales to recoup those costs.

If shippers utilized knifeless openings, the recipient would simply need to pull on the end of the tape to open the box — simple, easy and risk-free. By eliminating the need to use a knife to open a box, the number of lacerations to employees’ hands — and the associated cost and lost productivity — drop dramatically. This will benefit anyone who opens the carton, such as packaging stations, warehouses, retail locations, even consumers.

Safety of Product

Widespread use of knives and box cutters can also lead to damaged products. According to Loss Prevention Media, 98% of corrugated boxes are either single-walled or double-walled with an ¼ in. thickness. However, the average blade length on a box cutter is 1 in., which in turn creates a high risk of cutting into the packaged product. This leads to goods being damaged, contaminated or otherwise spoiled, making them unsellable or unusable. In fact, in the e-commerce industry alone, an estimated 30% of packaging-related returns are due to product damage, cutting into the overall profitability of the business shipping the items.

That leads us into the third key benefit of Folded Edge® Technology — increased profits.

Increased Profits

Reducing injuries and eliminating damaged goods can lead to a significant increase in a businesses’ profitability. As pointed out above, companies will need to generate an additional $2.4 million in sales in order to recoup the profitability lost from just one, often preventable, knife injury.

Likewise, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute estimate that damaged product and other unsaleable items cost consumer packaged goods manufacturers $15 billion annually or 1 to 2 percent of a manufacturer’s gross sales. Even recovering part of that money can make a considerable increase to a company’s bottom line.

There are many benefits to using Folded Edge® Technology for sealing end-of-line packaging. The tape diminishes risk and injury to workers while reducing waste, both of which can help lead to increased profitability. Additionally, the technology offers the same strength and durability as more traditional taping solutions, making it a clear and easy solution to many of the packaging challenges facing companies today.

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