Corrugated Packaging Design Now at Rutgers and Western Michigan University

Rutgers' corrugated packaging lab upon installation this past summer

Working with the Rutgers Packaging Engineering Department and Western Michigan University’s (WMU) Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering, the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation (ICPF) recently launched two new corrugated packaging design labs. The two undergraduate computer design labs were enabled by an Arden Software donation to ICPF that included installation of 80 seats of Impact design software and training for faculty. In conjunction with the launch of the design labs, both universities have committed to expand their curricula to specifically address corrugated packaging.

The two new design labs at Rutgers and WMU are part of the ICPF Corrugated Packaging University Endowment Awards program in which ICPF’s 25 partner universities, as well as other colleges around the country, were invited to submit proposals to expand or create new corrugated curricula. Nine campuses that submitted proposals will receive funding and donations over a four-year period to create or expand curricula.  Additionally, all universities across the nation have been invited to annually submit additional corrugated packaging curricula proposals for ICPF’s packaging award assistance.

Rutgers Packaging Engineering currently offers two programs, a Packaging Engineering Major and the Packaging Engineering Certificate. The program currently has 200 students enrolled in the two tracks. These figures do not include freshman students since they declare majors at the end of their freshman year. Students majoring in packaging are required to complete a minimum of 70 credits in packaging and additional engineering courses. The undergraduate curriculum also covers a wide range of packaging disciplines including corrugated board fields. Moreover, the program began offering an M.S. degree in Packaging Engineering in January 2017.  "The Rutgers' Packaging Engineering Program wishes to thank ICPF and Arden Software for this contribution, said Euihark Lee, Associate Director. Impact design software will provide more hands-on experience in corrugated packaging and display design, making our students better rounded packaging engineers, especially for the corrugated industry."

Western Michigan University’s Graphic and Printing Science (GPS) along with Paper Engineering (PE) and Chemical Engineering (CHEG) is located within the Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering.  The paper and printing student body represents about 120 students. The program has laboratories equipped with standard pulping digesters, paper making and paper testing laboratories, recycling and deinking equipment, ink making, and standard printing pilot plant and laboratory proofing presses for rotogravure, flexography, offset lithography and digital technologies. The program has equipment to evaluate print quality, such as image analysis, spectrophotometers and optical densitometers, along with prepress and color management software. GPS students can elect a minor in Business or Communications and PE students can elect a minor in Chemical Engineering (CHEG). GPS and PE students can take elective classes in CAD design, industrial design, package goods marketing, advertising and promotion, communications and graphic design. WMU professor Alexandra Pekarovicova headed up the team that worked with ICPF in establishing the lab, "The new packaging design lab, that has been jumpstarted by ICPF and Arden Software, is the first step in our plans to expand corrugated curricula at WMU".

Working with Arden, Gerber Technology and Esko (which provide donations or discounts through ICPF), ICPF has been instrumental in initiating or expanding over 25 packaging design labs at universities across the nation. Visit for a listing of these ICPF partner campuses.