THE HUMBLE CARDBOARD JUST GOT POSH: THANK YOU GOOGLE

There is something unique about the Google logo. Do you know what it is? If you look closely you will find that the innovative minds at this global tech giant have sneakily introduced ‘green’ – a secondary color – amidst the primary hues of red, blue and yellow. This stands for the subtle rebellion that Google is all about. The ability to stick to the conventional yet tackle the disruptive just as easily!

This time around an alliance has been forged between the humble cardboard and virtual reality to create a new age version of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ classic 3D Stereoscope. And unlike the Oculus Rift that costs a pretty penny for the stylish gear, Google’s offering will rely on the ubiquitous and environment friendly cardboard to take users on journeys through space and time.

one-cardboard.png

ABOUT GOOGLE CARDBOARD:

The Stereoscope allowed users to peer through two lenses at a specially taken photograph and enjoy the sensation of a first-hand 3D experience. In Google’s take of this tried and tested principle, a cardboard cutout costing a few dollars serves as the stand for the smartphone with the installed application.

Users who wish to have an immersive virtual reality session simply need to download the app from the Google Play Store or from the iTunes repository. It is free of cost and a lean little piece of work that won’t take up too much processing power. The cutout supports up to 6 inches of display without hassles.

Simply open the application, scan the Google QR code stamped on the cutout to trigger operation and then strap the mobile phone to it with the Velcro strips to hold it securely in place. Now you can choose the experience that you wish to have and hold the assembly to your eyes, just like a binocular to get started.

From a trip to the base of the Eiffel Tower to the rugged red surface of Mars, the app already has tons of scenarios to sample. Since it is an open application, independent developers will add their personality to the VR clips available and this almost free set-up is all set to bypass more expensive Virtual Reality alternatives in the market.

WHY IS GOOGLE CARDBOARD SO GREAT?

First and foremost, it uses nothing more than a smart device to work its magic. There is no need to produce fancy head gear and add to the waste on planet earth. Secondly because Google Cardboard is so affordable, it will find widespread use in education where students can go through wars and historical events or even scientific experiments in a 3D setting to develop an unprecedented understanding of concepts and theories. Text is already on the way out and Google Cardboard reaffirms dynamic learning’s importance for coming generations.

M&M Box Partitions salutes Google for this stroke of genius and for using something as simple as cardboard to usher in the future.

Posted in Cardboard | Tagged , , | Comments Off on THE HUMBLE CARDBOARD JUST GOT POSH: THANK YOU GOOGLE

M & M Box Proudly Participates in MFG Day this October 2nd!

The upcoming Manufacturing Day celebration is the go-to event showcasing modern manufacturing and was created to inspire those who are either established or starting out in the dynamic and ever-evolving field of manufacturing. MFG Day celebrates the next generation of those who will be leading the way in manufacturing innovation and greatness. Normally this event begins on the first Friday in October, but this year is pushed to October 2, 2015. Mark your calendars!

mfgdayMFG DAY has several purposes, but arguably the most important is to give those who are in the forefront an opportunity to collectively open wide their factory floors to not only illustrate what modern manufacturing is all about, but to also reveal what are common misperceptions and erroneous assumptions made by those who are not yet exposed to the reality of manufacturing today.

M & M Box & Partitions of Chicago is thrilled to be one of a group of industry sponsors and co-producers supporting MFG DAY. M & M Box understands how vital it is to get the proverbial word out about what individual manufacturers strive to achieve on a daily basis and to join in the collective chorus of manufacturers driven to trumpet the many opportunities for the future. MFG DAY, in a nutshell, is a vehicle for manufacturers to collectively address their common challenges and to help make communities and future generations all the more prosperous.

M & M Box Partitions Company has been manufacturing chip, corrugated and specialty board partitions since 1968. M & M Box has the machinery and capability to deliver on every design need, from cell sizes ranging from 1/4″ to 60″ in length and width to heights from 5/8″ to 24″. Give M & M Box a call today to find out more about its strict quality control program and its various premiere services and products.

Posted in Manufacturing, Manufacturing Day | Tagged , , | Comments Off on M & M Box Proudly Participates in MFG Day this October 2nd!

Safety

It doesn’t matter what job you work – whether you are an office worker, working on a manufacturing floor, involved in the transport of goods, or any other profession – there is always the issue of safety. Staying safe at work should be the primary goal of all workers and companies, as the goals of both should be that all workers go home at the end of the day safe, and healthy. Roughly 11 workers die on the job each day in the United States – how can you make sure one of your employees is not added to that toll?

Know Your Data

To know where you need to improve your safety, you need to collect and analyze the hazards, near-misses, and incidents that occur in your workplace. Don’t rely on just on pen and paper, you’ll want to develop a database that is easily searchable and easy to modify as time goes by. A database can be organized and analyzed much more easily.

Engage Employees

The best way to develop plans that are effective is to engage those that the plans affect. Even the closest observer will miss some subtleties that workers may have to deal with, or miss rare events that could be high-danger activities. Get the opinions and input of employees to find out where some of the strengths and weaknesses are for your company.

Develop a Plan and Measure Progress

Once you know the problems you may be facing and the history of your facility, you can work on goals and processes to improve safety. Goals give everyone something to aim for. These could be a reduction in incidents, time lost due to incidents, a reduction of near-misses, or a variety of other measurements. Once you have those goals in place, work on developing processes and programs to reach them. This could include preventative courses, certifications, training, and ongoing safety curriculums. A comprehensive program that addresses the dangers found in your specific industry will be needed, as this is not a one-size-fits-all area.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and everyone within a company can work together to make sure we all get home safe at night. Through using resources available, whether through the National Safety Council or other organizations aimed at improving worker safety, we can reduce these incidents. At M&M Box, we have the aim of reducing our incidents to zero, and we hope that is the goal for all manufacturers. After all, a company is only as healthy as its employees.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments Off on Safety

Subscription Boxes: Marrying Doorstep Convenience With The Element Of Surprise For A Thriving Business Model

People love receiving surprises – the pleasant kind. There is the anticipation of treasures unveiled and the enjoyment of welcoming new gifts into life. And the subscription box industry capitalizes on this basic tendency to pamper buyers and earn profits.

It is extremely easy for someone – say a beauty product aficionado to go online and sign up for a monthly subscription of products from renowned brands curated with care and delivered in an attractive packaging right to the doorstep. While the actual contents remain a mystery, the theme of the boxes aligns with the niche of the subscription company.

A consumer expecting a goody box of organic food will not discover lingerie nestled in the delivered package. Subscription boxes satisfy the desire to acquire items of interest and they automate the process – ensuring delivery of a bundle once a month, without fail. However there is one aspect of this model that may deter customers from upgrading to the full sized products based on premium performance by the samples and that is visual appeal.

And this is where the importance of the design of subscription boxes – both aesthetic and structural comes into play!

WHY SHOULD SUBSCRIPTION BOX COMPANIES PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THEIR PACKAGING?

The answer is simple. The packaging here becomes prime real estate with which a positive impression can be made on the user. Since there is no flattering lighting, no rack cards and no expensive display cases, the actual delivery box itself must do triple duty to take over the job of these tools of influence. The best products don’t inspire desire if they are poorly ensconced in bubble wrap and dull brown cardboard that tends to turn soggy with moisture.

A subscription box is an experience. It is a small and carefully assembled medley of items the recipient has probably not tried before. Since they are opened and admired in the privacy of a bedroom or a living room, there is a huge opportunity to grab attention without the distraction of a hundred rival products screaming their presence.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE INDUSTRY LEADERS GOING WITH? 

Keeping this fact in mind, many innovative subscription box players choose to put in a great deal of thought where their packaging is concerned. The integrity of the structure must be maintained. It should be able to bear thumps, jostles and drops along the way without affecting the contents inside.

Corrugated constructions are an extremely popular option because they are both sturdy and conducive to printing.

Design wise appealing motifs, colors and abstracts are common. They stand for the personality of the subscription box brand as well as the actual products being offered. Some packages are works of art with etchings on the inside too. It all depends on what is cost effective for the subscription company.

But with advancements in this industry, a polished, sleek look in keeping with the web/store presence of the brand is possible and the budget isn’t really a detriment.

M&M Box Partitions Co. has been a leader in this field since 1968. It assists myriad sectors by supplying high quality partitions that ensure uncompromised delivery of delicate products all over the world.

Posted in Cardboard | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Subscription Boxes: Marrying Doorstep Convenience With The Element Of Surprise For A Thriving Business Model

Cardboard Boat Regatta

When most people think about the durability of cardboard, they imagine how many bottles a particular box can hold and how heavy those bottles can be. But have you ever thought how well your cardboard box can hold up when it has to get two teenagers across a swimming pool? Probably not. But a physics teacher in Longview, Texas was and left it up to her students to answer.

The teacher, Jennifer Smith, hoped to teach the students about the Archimedes’ Principle which states that in order for something to float, it must displace its own weight in the water. So a student weighing 150 lbs. must be able to displace 150 lbs. of water to stay afloat. The students are allowed to use three layers of corrugated cardboard and can only use packing tape or duct tape on the seams of the boxes to help hold it together. Once they feel the boat is seaworthy, they put it in the water, get themselves in and try to make it across the 75-foot pool in the Lobo Aquatic Center. One boat almost made it across before sinking.

regattaSmith said that while she can teach all day in a classroom, it’s more important to get the students involved and learn things hands-on. The Lobo Regatta has been practiced for the last 15 years. This endeavor helped the students not only learn the Archimedes principle, but also the importance of teamwork to solve complex problems. The students said that they understood the principle but really enjoyed the activity because it was exciting and fun.

Posted in Cardboard | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Cardboard Boat Regatta

The TICCIT to Sustainability

One of the key buzzwords in manufacturing in recent year has been sustainability. As manufacturers, we have realized that responsible, sustainable manufacturing practices are the way into the future. Eco-conscious, sustainable production is good for our environment, our community, and our business. As part of a sector that can do great things with sustainability, we here at M&M Box & Partitions always keep abreast of developments.

TICCIT

ticcitThe TICCIT program is a yearly outreach program, held to honor Earth Day. The name stands for “Trees Into Cartons, Cartons Into Trees”, and helps to show the renewability and sustainability of paper and paperboard packaging. The event involves box and packaging manufacturing companies partnering with local schools.

The companies donate saplings of native trees, and have students bring in paper-based containers such as milk or juice cartons, a tissue box, or other similar box. The companies then show the children how to plant the saplings in their boxes, and instructs them on planting the units in the ground. The cartons work as both protection and as a water funnel for the trees, and will eventually biodegrade, helping to feed the tree. This helps to demonstrate the cycle to the children.

100% Recycled Chipboard

It’s not just once a year that we at M&M practice renewable, sustainable manufacturing. We aim to reduce the waste in manufacturing by utilizing post-consumer materials as much as possible in our processes. The chipboard used in our recycled packaging products is made of 100% recycled material, and is perfect for use in industries ranging from automotive to pharmaceutical.

On top of using recycled materials, we return scraps, paper, and box cuttings back to the paper mills. At the mills, these bits and pieces are pulped and filtered, blended, rolled and died, and then sized and sheeted and returned back to manufacturers. The resulting chipboard is just as high-quality and as useful as fresh chipboard, but with a sense of environmental responsibility.

At M&M Box and Partitions, we will continue to seek out ways to introduce sustainability and renewability into our manufacturing process. The packaging sector is one of the leaders in sustainable manufacturing, and we will strive to be one of the leaders in the packaging sector into the future.

Posted in Recycled Packaging Materials | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on The TICCIT to Sustainability

How the Cardboard Box Was Invented

Sometimes to really appreciate something that is so simple, like a cardboard box, requires no more than a little imagination or, perhaps, some research into the past. That which we take for granted often can be the most sorely missed from the day-to-day.

Imagine No Cardboard

Imagine all those trips to the post office to mail something that won’t fit in an envelope, or pouring out cereal from that colorful box with the free game on the back, or that big move where you packed box after cardboard box of your belongings. Actually, how about imagining the alternative? This would be a life without cardboard. Likely the alternatives would be any combination of the following: Heavy, breakable and/or prohibitively expensive. Yes, this is the surprising importance of the ever so humble cardboard box.

Origins

As with so many things paper-related, (or with noodles and gunpowder), it all begins in ancient China, some three or four thousand years in the past. Apparently, citizens of the Han Dynasty utilized thick, treated sheets of tree bark to wrap and protect food items. After a long stretch of time, paper in general and cardboard in particular made it to European culture in large part due to the famous Silk Road. It would still be quite some time before we would see something taking the form of what we now know as the “cardboard box.” In 1856 a certain haberdashery wanted a material shaped as a box that could retain its own shape and protect the hats contained within. One might say that cardboard boxes perhaps owe their ubiquitous quality to the difficulty posed by storing and protecting something akin to Lincoln’s stovepipe hat.

M & M Box, which has been manufacturing chip, corrugated and specialty board partitions since 1968, owes its very existence to this invention. Call or email today to discover how M & M Box can help fulfill your shipping material needs.

Posted in Paperboard | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on How the Cardboard Box Was Invented

FOLDING CARTON BOOT-CAMP: EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CARTONS BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK

In every industry excellence comes with practice and the dissemination of the latest information around trends and processes. Cartons are no different. With several environmental concerns plaguing packaging in general, cartons made of recycled paper have been touted as a compromise between deforestation and non-biodegradable choke up or pollution.

The Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) is serious about keeping industry related organizations in the U.S and Canada updated in terms of the whole manufacturing time-line of a carton right from paper selection and prepping to customer delivery, without skipping any steps between.

The Folding Carton Boot camp is a bi-annual event. It is generally held once in winter and once during spring with the latter being the more popular edition. However December 2014 saw an unprecedented 35 individuals from companies far and wide attend the Boot Camp to glean knowledge around:

  • Paper production
  • The different kinds (grades) of paperboard available
  • The process of packaging creation
  • The intricacies and best practices of using presses to coat the paperboard with ink
  • The complexities of the pre-press process
  • The utilization of Computer Aided Design (CAD) in creation and visualization of new carton designs and prototypes
  • Colour theory and the direct interrelation between ink colour and consumption (absorption) by the different grades of paperboard
  • Creasing, windowing and gluing of cartons

June will see an encore of the event and enthusiastic participation is expected by the PPC.

A part of the allure of the Camp, over and above the detailed information and industry insights, lies in the free resources offered. Not only will students receive The Ideas and Innovation Handbook, the will also get their hands on a binder of paper and carton samples and a consolidated glossary of printing terminology to guide their solo efforts.

The Folding Carton Boot Camp is a certification event and participants have the advantage of going over the material discussed in the form of comprehensive take-home PDFs and worksheets.

Paperboard Packaging Council’s President Ben Marken expressed his delight at the keen interest shown in the Boot Camp and hinted at more value to be delivered to future attendees.

M&M Box participates in this PPC event regularly and is proud to invest in itself and its continued quest to be the best in the market.

Posted in Paperboard | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on FOLDING CARTON BOOT-CAMP: EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CARTONS BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK

Illinois Manufacturing Facts

In the whole of the United States, manufacturing provides an estimated 17.6 million jobs, which is approximately one in six of the jobs in the private-sector. This means that about 9 percent of the workforce is employed directly in manufacturing. In Illinois alone, manufacturing accounts for a whopping 12 percent of the state’s total economic output with a variety of types of goods being made. This represents a similar figure of 9.3 percent of the total workforce in Illinois being employed in this sector of the economy.

In 2009, there were 14,722 manufacturing companies in Illinois, which represented growth of 83 percent since 2003. Machinery production in general and farm equipment in particular is the largest slice of the manufacturing pie in Illinois, with both Caterpillar and John Deere headquartered here. Other types of manufacturers in Illinois include food and beverage; such as Equal Sweetener, metal products, chemicals, coal, petroleum, print materials (books), electronics, plastics and even sunglasses, with Maui Jim being based in Peoria since 1996.

An impressive 92.4 billion dollars was the total output figure from manufacturing in 2012 in Illinois and represents compensation that is more than $20,000 higher than other forms of non-farm employment in the state. Manufacturers make up a significant driver of the overall Illinois’ economy and are therefore a vital source of employment for so many blue collar workers.

An outstanding example of this bustling activity in the state is M & M Box, which has been manufacturing chip, corrugated and specialty board partitions since 1968. M & M Box has a facility in Illinois that maintains a large inventory of roll and flat stock paperboard and many grades and flutes of corrugated sheets. With the latest in machinery technology, M & M Box capabilities are vast and varied, able to meet practically any and all design needs.

M & M Box is known for its strict quality control program. Call or email us today to discover how M & M Box can help in fulfilling your shipping material needs.

Posted in Manufacturing | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Illinois Manufacturing Facts

The 8th Largest Economy In The World And On The Verge Of Its Second Awakening

Manufacturing is the life-blood of a country. Without the continuous growth of this sector, the growth of an economy is far from possible. The United States has always been the home of the brave and the land of the free. As one of the super powers of the world, manufacturing has been an imperative of its government.

The last real boom in the manufacturing sector came in the 1950s when suburban USA woke up to its potential. However in the recent decades despite a whopping 340% increase in exports, manufacturing has sadly been pushed to the back burner. In fact in 1990 the service industry left it behind as a dominant contributor to the national income and the very next year finance, insurance and real estate followed suit.

WHAT WENT WRONG?

The gradual depreciation of the economic value of manufacturing was exacerbated by the trend of off-shoring. Because of the juxtaposition of low minimum wages and a number of lucrative tax benefits, China and other Asian countries beckoned investors and factories. The IT boom also added its two bits and turned the attention towards silicon chips and the ‘rise and rise’ of technology was born.

There has been a lot of ‘passing the buck’ where the apparent decline of US manufacturing is concerned. The fact though remains that without active factories and busy work floors, true economic progress is difficult to achieve.

THE 2007 RECESSION:

After the recent 2007 recession, a second awakening of American manufacturing and the blue collar work force has been in the offing. With the sudden inflow of ready cash from investors looking to develop everything from construction to real estate, manufacturing too has received a major boost. In a golden cycle of shared profits (this is called the Industry Multiplier Effect), manufacturing in return acts as the benign patron for these sectors bumping economic prosperity.

In 2013, manufacturing contributed $2.08 trillion to the economy at the rate of #1.32 for every buck invested.

Presently there are about 17.4 million manufacturing vacancies in the US beckoning both skilled and unskilled workers to make a living.

And topping all achievements, if the collective revenue of manufacturing companies is considered, it is equivalent to the 8th largest economy in the world.

THE FUTURE:

The future looks extremely promising! Because of several issues (the least of which isn’t a steep increase in hourly wages across China), transportation expenses are no longer being offset by tremendous profits. It is making more sense for industries with a large client base in the US to set up production units within the country.

The productivity of US workers is also phenomenal and surpasses that of any other country.

Manufacturing is truly a slumbering giant. If leveraged and encouraged with passion, the positive signs could well result in an era of abundance and a return to former glory.

Posted in Manufacturing | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The 8th Largest Economy In The World And On The Verge Of Its Second Awakening