Smurfit Kappa has announced the opening of a new International Safe Transfer Association (ISTA)-certified lab at its new e-commerce facility in Northampton, UK.

This brings with it an expansion of Smurfit Kappa’s network of packaging testing labs and centres that support retailers and producers to develop, test and launch packaging solutions for e-commerce. ISTA certification is often required by online selling platforms such as Amazon, Alibaba or eBay.

From its ISTA lab in the Netherlands, Smurfit Kappa has over 14 years of experience and data from testing new solutions to ensure they are fit for purpose and meet the challenges of the e-commerce supply chain.

Most recently, Smurfit Kappa was the first to secure Amazon’s ‘Frustration-Free Packaging’ pre-certification for a three-litre Bag-in-Box solution.

At the unit, a team of experts works with customers with the aim of developing new packaging solutions to minimise and prevent product damage from occurring during distribution. The prototype designs are then tested to ensure that the required performance standards concerning compression, drop and vibration are met to secure certification. Following certification, the packaging solutions are then put into production for customers.  

Speaking at the launch, Eddie Fellows, CEO at Smurfit Kappa UK & Ireland, said: “Our customers need innovative and sustainable packaging solutions to meet growing demand from online sales. The lab is an ideal environment for us to work with customers to develop new packaging in real-time.

“Whether our customers are moving to online retail to increase their customer base, or introducing new packaging solutions, by securing the necessary certifications in our lab they have a clear path to develop solutions quickly that are resilient to supply chain damage.”

Also commenting on the launch, Arco Berkenbosch, vice president of innovation and development, said: “Our network of innovation centres ensures sustainable, adaptable and scalable solutions and underscores our focus in e-commerce. We are committed to continuing our investment in laboratories that directly benefit our customers, providing a real advantage over their competitors and offering customers even greater value.”