Esoteric/Geeky Styro Shipper Question...

of no earthly value to anyone…but just curious.
As most of you have noted, many wineries are abandoning styro shippers in favor of recyclable egg-carton shippers. But there are
still a few holdouts.
Just got thru unpacking my latest Carlisle shipment in my wine receiving warehouse. Styro shippers. After I got it all sorted out,
as always w/ styro shippers, the floor was littered with these small styro triangles. The come from the bottom half of the styro insert.
I thought it might be the female insert part for a corresponding male insert on the top half. But looking at the top insert, that does not
appear to be the case.
These little styro triangles cling to the btls when you remove them and then litter the entire floor. My janitorial staff get annoyed having to sweep them up.
I’m sure the janitorial staff the rest of you have get equally annoyed.

Anybody have any idea/know what purpose these little styro triangular serve in those shippers?
If you want to be a LosAlamos type and make stuff up…that’s OK, too.
It’s a slow Monday in LosAlamos!! [snort.gif]

Do you have a picture, because I have no idea what you are talking about?
I always thought styrofoam was gender neutral. [cheers.gif]

I threatened my janitorial staff with outsourcing their job, and have heard no complaints since.

I don’t know what you’re referring to with the styro triangles, but I despise the non-styro shipping options. The cardboard and egg crate options are undoubtedly less protective of the wine, and there is evidence that they are not more environmentally friendly (potentially worse than styro). I have dropped off mailing lists where they refuse to use styro.

Ystrday, we put the best minds in Science to work on this puzzle whilst my janatorial staff completed the cleanup.
Problem is now solved.

The little styro triangles are equilateral (that means all three sides are equal length…for those who flunked 9’th grade Geometry),
about 1.5 cm on a side. They are about 3/4’th cm thick.When the styro inserts come from the manufacturer (I presume), these are
little male appendages on the top insert (10 of them) that are designed to fit into corresponding female receptacles in the bottom styro insert.
Apparently to prevent the two styro inserts from sliding around against each other and to better protect the btl. However,
during the jostling during the shipping, these 10 male appendages almost always break off and fall into the interior of the bottom insert.
When you look closely at the small triangle detritus, you can see that one surface is jagged from where the triangle ripped away from
the top insert. I looked thru about 10 of these types of shippers and there was only one that the male appendage was intact in the
top styro insert. So…a huge design fail from this manufacturer.
I looked at a few other shippers from obviously different manufacturer. This design has a male rim on the bottom insert around each
of the 12 btl holes. Designed to fit into a female collar in the top insert. All of these were intact. Obviously a better design.

So now you know the rest of the story on these mysterious styro triangles that litter the floor in my wine warehouse receiving area.
You can now go back to wasting your time on reading (short/boring/long/boring) TN’s here on WB’s. Beats me why there have
been over 200 views of this important thread!! [snort.gif]

No need to thank me for this bit of research.


No idea what you are referring to. I have never seen such a triangle.

Maybe your janitorial staff can expedite their cleanup by carrying inflated rubber balloons in one hand, a cat in the other and rub them together, using the electrical charge of the then static filled balloon to pick up the styrofoam nubbins. You’re welcome

Photos, Tom, we need photos. None of us know what you’re talking about.

Tom, even someone as dogmatic as you must know how to use a camera.
You’ve heard the expression “a picture is worth A THOUSAND WORDS”?
And what is all this “male” and “female” stuff? There is a “top” and a “bottom” and that’s all you need to know.

well, I think male/female is pretty established language for connectors (computers, electrical, plumbing, etc) and either could be on top or bottom.

Just checked several shippers, found one from Duratherm that had these triangles. Will see if I can figure out posting

the triangle
styro 1.JPG

where male broke off
styro 2.JPG

Never seen that.

styro 3.JPG

Looks like someone didn’t know a lot about shear forces and styrofoam.

Thanks for the pix, Dale! Finally I know what Tom was talking about.

OhOhOh…those pics of male & female styrofoam shipper parts…whatta turn on!!! [snort.gif]
Thanks for posting those, Dale. Exactly what I was talking about.

I would be curious to see this evidence of which you speak.

Considering the paper derived shippers are imminently more recyclable (At least with less effort in finding a recycler) and even compostable, and I have personally seem no damage or heard of anyone experiencing damage due to cardboard shippers. Just curious if your evidence is just as anecdotal as mine, and ultimately attributable to pre existing bias.

I’ve never done any experimentation (but vaguely recall that someone here did), it seems almost beyond doubt that styro does a better job of stabilizing temperatures en route. Assuming the bottles are cold when shipped, the styro will hold that temp longer, resisting environmental temp increases. Works the other way too; if the wine gets warm, it will hold that temp longer b/c of the styro.

It also seems intuitively correct that the styro is more protective in a fall than the egg carton inserts, but that is something that can be proved, one way or another, and not something I have done

Scott, as Neal says, I don’t know why you would think that styro wouldn’t be more effective since it’s a much better insulator than cardboard per weight unit. In any case, Rico on the old Parker board did some empirical testing with styro vs. cardboard and showed the time for temperature changes in the wines in hot vehicles. I can’t access it anymore but styro made a major difference in the Tmax and the time it took for temperatures to rise. I have seen other data supporting this conclusion but I don’t have it at my fingertips. Considering that the wines frequently are in delivery trucks for a period of hours, it was apparent that styro could make a significant difference in how hot the wines get. It can’t protect against everything, but when dealing with a very expensive, perishable product, I’m going to take styro. I can’t imagine how you can conclude that neither you nor anyone you know has experienced wine damage from cardboard. Have you never had a cooked wine?

As to environmental impact, if you do a google search, you will find articles evaluating this issue. There is some dispute about which product is more environmentally “friendly.” I do not see convincing evidence that styro is significantly worse than cardboard and it might be better. There are lots of factors that go into that analysis, including the energy costs of production (much higher for cardboard as I recall), transport, and disposal. It turns out neither really decomposes in a landfill, and recycling comes with its own energy cost, so unless you are composting every wine box and shipper, which I’ll bet 99+% of people aren’t, cardboard may not have an edge.

Not sure if you are really seeking an answer on the bias issue or just being snide, but I don’t have any bias, just looking to make a reasoned decision based on facts.

This thread had more actual data on temperature protection styrene vs cardboard

I think cardboard has a better footprint than styrene (though certainly not perfect). It breaks down faster than say coated paper cups that are especially resistant to decomposing in landfills. In my village there is a regular weekly pickup, so marginal energy increase for recycling cardboard is minimal.

Instinctively I’d agree that styro is a better protector against physical damage. . But I’ve had several thousand bottles delivered over the years and never actually had breakage. I’d guess at least 1000 were in cardboard or cardboard pulp.

I’m lucky to have a couple of local shops that will re-use old styrene shippers. So happy with either. A much bigger issue for me is retailers or wineries paying attention to shipping temps and instruction. If someone ships in 95 degree weather one packaging or the other won’t affect my panic.