edge crush test - ect -burst test - mullen test - cardboard strength
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Edge Crush Test - ECT / The Burst Test
Corrugated Cardboard Boxes

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Look on the underside of your corrugated cardboard boxes. You may see the 'Box Manufacturer's Certificate' (BMC) clearly printed on one of the bottom flaps. The BMC will indicate the strength of the board used to construct the box as well as its size and weight limit.

Within this seal you may also see Edge Crush Test or The Burst Test. Both are procedures evaluating the strength of a cardboard box in lbs per square inch. Let's look at both.

Edge Crush Test (ECT) measures the stacking strength of corrugated cardboard boxes or fiberboard. Determining a finished box's compression strength is defined by the amount of force that is needed to crush cardboard by standing it on its edge. This test is also measured in lbs per square inch. For example, a box with an ect 32 lbs per square inch indicates that the board, standing on edge, can withstand a force of 32 lbs per square inch before crushing.

Think about the movement of your boxes during transportation. At some point during a move it is likely your boxes will be stacked on a pallet, in a container or in the back of a truck. Yes, stacking is the key concept behind ect. Know the strength of your corrugated cardboard boxes before stacking.

 -ECT = distribution & transportation of boxes and their stacking strength.

The Burst Test (aka Mullen Test) is the force of pounds per square inch required to rupture or burst the side of a cardboard box. This method indicates the box's ability to withstand external or internal forces and how the box will contain its contents during rough handling. For example, a box with a burst strength of 200 lbs per sq. inch indicates that the cardboard used to make the box can withstand 200 lbs of pressure per square inch.

 - The Burst Test = containment and handling ability of a box.

Which is the best test for deciding on corrugated cardboard boxes?

That's your call or that of a professional mover. Factors to consider:

  • nature of the product being packaged
  • total weight and size of the box
  • how the dimensions relate to each other (i.e. large depth relative to the length and width of the box)
  • how the corrugated cardboard boxes will be stacked, stored and transported.
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