The Nelson Company launches packaging design center

The Nelson Technical Center offers expertise in the field of pallet design, testing and custom packaging.
By Modern Materials Handling Staff
October 22, 2012 - MMH Editorial

Companies looking for sustainable packaging solutions to cut packaging costs, reduce waste and decrease product damage have a new resource in The Nelson Technical Center. Recently launched by The Nelson Company, an international pallet and transport packaging solutions provider, the new Technical Center offers expertise in the field of pallet design, testing and custom packaging.

One example of The Nelson Technical Center at work is with a large electronics client. This client shipped tall top-heavy metal units on solid wood pallets with protective packaging made from corrugated and wood pulp. The pallet base was not compatible with some international material handling equipment, the packaging design limited carrier options, and longer distribution lanes were leading to increased damage rates. Shipping damages to these units could result in significant delays at time-critical facility startups. The Nelson Technical Center worked with a cross functional team of engineering, logistics, operations, and purchasing to design, lab test, field trial, and implement an overall pallet, packaging, and logistics solution. The new unit load design is rarely damaged, it is compatible with all material handling equipment, and there are significant packaging and freight cost savings.

The capabilities of The Nelson Technical Center has been built over the last few years as The Nelson Company provided more and more of its clients with this type technical assistance. The Nelson Technical Center will continue these efforts with a focus on packaging design assistance, pallet design, laboratory testing, custom packaging development, opportunity analyses and packaging project implementations.

The Nelson Company, established in 1921, has a long history of innovation with wood packaging, packaging return programs, plastic pallets and unit load design. John Clarke, who will serve as Director of the Center, has been the Technical Sales Director for The Nelson Company for the last eight years. Clarke said, “Our customers are running with leaner packaging and sourcing personnel today. We are being asked to take a more integrated role with our partners to assist with many of these activities. The Center expands our capabilities to assist customers – allowing them to focus on their core activities while we manage packaging projects for them.”

John Clarke has his master’s degree from Virginia Tech, and worked in the Virginia Tech Pallet Research Lab for 10 years under the direction of Dr. Marshall White. His last six years at Virginia Tech, Clarke was Director of the Virginia Tech Center for Unit Load Design. In that role, Clarke gained significant experience in solving a wide variety of pallet and packaging challenges. “It was nothing to have 10 to 15 inquiries per day about a variety of packaging related issues such as insects on pallets, mold, international regulations, and how to lower packaging costs,” said Clarke.

Also working in The Nelson Technical Center is Kent Longardner who has a package engineering degree from Michigan State University. Longardner has many years of experience as a packaging engineer with Fortune 500 companies, and he also managed a package testing lab for the past five years.

The Nelson Technical Center is ready to assist the pallet, packaging, and cost savings challenges of the manufacturing and distribution communities. More information can be found at

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