Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Should Oranges Be Packed Pyramid Style?

Before you think we have lost our minds, let me explain this subject in a bit more depth.  There are people who dedicate their professional lives to the study of the more efficient way to package and ship the goods we buy.

A very recent example of this is how those ubiquitous half-liter plastic water bottles are packed and shipped.  First they found that they could make the plastic bottles with thinner walls and remove the cardboard bottom to save weight.  Then they found they could save storage space by re-arranging their placement within the twenty-four bottle wrapper.

Now we all have noticed that the arrangement has changed from the side-by-side placement to an offset style that fills the empty spaces left by the old style arrangement.

How does the water bottle story apply to oranges?

Being a near perfect sphere oranges and other fruit present unique challenges when it comes to hyper-efficient packaging.  Your local grocery store may have shown the way, even before the packing gurus tackled this problem. That style of arrangement is correctly called a face-centered cubic lattice.

If you wonder how long this particular question has been discussed or thought about there is evidence that Johannes Kepler (a 17th century German astronomer and mathematician) wrote about it. Kepler conjectured in 1611 that the densest configuration of spheres is the one you observe with oranges at a fruit market.

After careful study and scientific testing the packing gurus found that a box (cubical or otherwise) wasn’t the most efficient shape for packing spherical objects, be it basket balls or delicious Sunburst Navel Oranges.

To put this new packaging idea into operational reality we need to find boxes in the shape of a pyramid.  I guess the first question is; are pyramid packages going to be called boxes? 

And maybe have a few sleepless nights wondering how they will be handled by the folks that need to load, unload and deliver these same new packages.  On second thought we think that a box may just be the way to go, or is that stay?

As long as we are thinking outside of the box I guess we can steal an idea from the Japanese growers and modify the orange itself. Square (make that cubical) grown oranges would also solve the packaging problem.

Should you have the need to look at this information from an in-depth mathematical point of view you could take a moment to read this article;

Are you looking for the perfect gift for business associates, family or friends? A quick visit to can solve all of your fresh gift giving adventures. We sell only the finest selections and the freshest citrus you can buy.

Presented By:
Sunburst Packing Co.
180 South “E” Street
Porterville, CA  93257

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