What is cardboard engineering? The term does not exist in Wikipedia. Web searches for “cardboard engineering definition” and other similar questions find no results. You won’t find “cardboard engineering” anywhere in the US (they call it cardboard, but you can’t find “cardboard engineering” either). And yet, if you type “cardboard engineering” into Google.com, it returns over 3,000,000 results, while a search for “cardboard engineers” yields 1,740,000 results.
So back to the original question: what is carton engineering? To find out, let’s take a look at these diversified examples: they all produce quite different things, but each area describes itself as being involved in cardboard engineering.
Companies that manufacture cardboard boxes and packaging employ cardboard engineering skills to create products that can range from a fairly ordinary rectangular box to a highly innovative product that acts as a display package. The term “cardboard engineering” also seems to cover locking mechanisms with names like shock lock bottoms, side panel locks, and fold lock caps.
Companies involved in the production of point-of-sale products also use carton engineering techniques in the design of point-of-sale units, from giant floor-standing displays to countertop dispensers. Larger POS companies employ highly sophisticated CAD design systems, cutting plotters and wide-format printers in their design departments and work on a variety of materials that can include corrugated board, display board and folding carton board.
There are many cardboard engineers who use their skills as a hobby, creating models and automatons. This group is closely related to others with crafts and hobbies interested in paper engineering, card making, hand book making, and origami. These groups actually represent the largest number of participants with millions of enthusiasts around the world.
However, there is one area where carton engineering can create quite a stir, especially in the world of business-to-business promotional marketing. Using a combination of skills gleaned from the various worlds of paper engineering, promotional packaging, paper crafts, structural packaging, and the technology involved in pop-up book design; Engineered cardboard items produced for the promotional and advertising market are perhaps the most intriguing.
The products in this area have the most amazing movements. There are emerging products that work with elastic bands that come in all shapes and sizes. They are often used in direct marketing and pop out of the mail package to give the recipient a big surprise. There are other products with really fancy movements that get bigger when you open them or can twist and turn. There are many interactive products designed to keep the interest of the B2B customer. One UK company with a wide range of examples like these is Whitney Woods.
So what is cardboard engineering? Well, after perusing the top search results for “cardboard engineering,” it seems to boil down to a term that covers the design of any three-dimensional object that is made from cardboard, from boxes to displays. units to the manufacture of models and the production of promotional advertising products.