This Dec. 11, 2012 photo shows holiday decorations that survived repeated drops of an impact taster at the UPS Package Design and Testing Lab in Addison, Ill. UPS tests new packaging designs by dropping, shaking and smashing boxes with brutal-looking equipment to see what type of packaging can withstand the trip from supplier to customer, protecting the delicate products inside. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)
ADDISON, Ill. (AP) — A team of experts in suburban Chicago makes it a mission to get fragile items from online retailers to customers during the holidays and all year long.
Their lab looks like a torture chamber for cardboard and bubble wrap. It's the UPS Package Design and Testing Lab in Addison where engineers test new packaging designs by dropping, shaking and smashing boxes with brutal-looking equipment.
A typical test takes four hours. Boxes get a 900-pound hug from the compression table. They crash 17 times from the drop tester. They endure the cruelty of the bridge impact tester. They shake for two hours on the vibration table, which mimics a bumpy truck ride
The point is to see what type of packaging can withstand the trip, protecting the products inside.