Clip-Lok supplies the auto industry with reusable transport packaging for CKD kits
Clip-Lok was recently contacted by a leading auto industry magazine about the company’s engagement in packaging for the auto industry. Of particular interest were practical, cost-saving solutions for shipping CKD (complete knock-down) kits.
Anders Lassen, managing director of Clip-Lok International Ltd, explained, "On the basis of proven, patented solutions and a network of partners spanning four continents, Clip-Lok offers the automotive industry a full service solution. Beginning with a dialog with the customer, we provide extremely durable reusable packaging including custom crate design to optimize packing density and thus reduce transport costs and custom dunnage design for optimum support and protection of the goods. An important factor in making the Clip-Lok box a cost-saving solution is that the engineers at Clip-Lok use 3D design technology to optimize the number of parts per box. The dunnage can be made from a wide selection of materials including plywood, steel, polyurethane, plastic and foam. All of this is designed with a focus on ergonomics for the safety and comfort of the handlers during packing and unpacking."
Mark Beck, CEO of packIQ which is Clip-Lok’s North American partner, headquartered in South Carolina, continued, "Global support is another important factor. We support our automotive customers both in the country of dispatch as well as the country where the CKD plants are located. This is one of the greatest advantages of Clip-Lok’s presence on four continents."
The men continued to explain that Clip-Lok offers patented 2P (2 Piece) solutions in plywood with no loose parts. All of the box sides as well as the clips that make up the closing mechanism are hinged on a 2P box. There is also the standard solution, where all parts can be individually built up or taken off depending on what is the most convenient and ergonomic solution when packing and unpacking the goods.
They also addressed a clear challenge in the use of returnable packaging for CKD operations: The relatively low yearly number of uses or frequency per packaging which can be achieved when sending parts between continents.
Mr. Lassen explained, "In the past it was primarily European, American and Japanese automotive industries which established CKD plants in Asia, South America and South Africa. Now an ever greater number of especially Asian automotive industries establish CKD operations in Asia, Europe, South Africa and the Americas.
As a consequence, an opportunity exists for reusing the packaging more times per year and for reducing the cost of packaging relocation – similar to the way 20’ and 40’ sea containers are being relocated today. Traditionally, a reusable CKD box is flatpacked after use and returned to the sender for a new use. Instead of returning the box to the sender, the flatpacked box can be "taken over" by another OEM in the same area and shipped to a CKD plant in another country and so on. The end result would be lower packaging costs per part, reduced relocation costs as well as lower CO2 emissions."
Clip-Lok sees good growth potential in terms of CKD packaging products and services. In particular they see potential within the field of reusable packaging for shipment of large, sensitive parts such as metal or plastic body panels with a surface coating and fittings for cabins or engines.
"Growth is very much based upon the Clip-Lok 2P system such as that developed for shipping parts for the Mercedes C-class from Germany to South Africa. The same boxes have now been in operation for 10 years and have been used for two generations of the C-class. The boxes may even be used for the next generation of the C-class." says James Milne, chairman of Clip-Lok SimPak® South Africa Pty Ltd.
A final point made by Mr. Lassen was that Clip-Lok boxes are an environmentally efficient solution. Research made by the independent consultancy company Ramböll shows that the environmental impact of reusable Clip-Lok boxes from cradle to grave is significantly less than that of comparative one-way packaging.