Panel vs. Softwood: Which Industrial Wooden Box is Right for You?

How we make an industrial wooden box depends entirely on the product, its application, and destination. Timber Creek Resource begins with your specs in order to design a box that will get your products where they need to go safely and damage-free, while still being cost effective. There are many factors to determine what works best for you, but most boxes are either softwood or panel.

How We Use Industrial Panel Boxes

Panel boxes are constructed of OSB or plywood, depending on the customer specifications. These types of industrial boxes are ideal for when product needs to be fully enclosed for protection, especially for international shipments. Boxes can be built to fit any size and produced in any quantity, however, panel boxes tend to be the most cost effective in large sizes. Whether they are built from OSB or plywood, the sides of panel boxes are held together using softwood cleats so they can be securely nailed. Boxes can be designed to handle light or heavy-duty applications.

Where OSB is made from thin wood strands that are mixed with wax and adhesives and hot pressed into flat panels, plywood is constructed from thin sheets of veneer, cross laminated and glued together. While both have the same degree of strength, OSB is more cost effective while plywood is more water resistant and provides a smoother surface for painting or stenciling. A packaging engineer will take into consideration the environment the box will be exposed to and other usage information to determine whether OSB or plywood is the best fit.

How We Use Industrial Softwood Boxes

When the job requires additional strength and rigidity, a softwood box may be the better option. Softwood is exceptionally strong and adds superior protection. Softwood boxes may also be more suitable depending on the size of box needed. If one material lends itself better to the specs required, it can reduce the machining necessary, and those savings are passed on to the customer.

Softwood boxes are made of durable, kiln dried spruce, pine, or fir, and debarked to meet ISPM 15 standards required for overseas shipping. Depending on the application, a packaging engineer will suggest using either 1x or 2x softwood to properly support and protect heavier products. Like a panel box, packaging engineers can build a softwood box to any size and quantity, and we tend to recommend them for heavier materials or when certain board sizes fit with a product specification.

Logistics and Other Options for Industrial Boxes

There is flexibility in how boxes are shipped to customers. Boxes can be shipped knockdown (unassembled) or fully assembled, depending on the size of the product and the customer’s available storage space and assembly manpower. Logistics plays a major role on how to best utilize a truck to maximize the amount of boxes that will fit, which will minimize freight costs. Assembled boxes require additional space, resulting in a smaller shipment load.

No matter the material, all boxes at Timber Creek Resource can be ASTM/ISTA certified as necessary. At the end of the day, the customer’s specs and shipping needs dictate whether a packaging engineer will suggest either a panel box or a softwood box. If interested in exploring either of these industrial wooden boxes as a potential packaging solution, contact our industrial box expert, Paul Bova, at 414-755-4909 or paulb@tcrllc.com.