SmartCrate 3513-11 is meat industry’s first collapsible container

by Canadian Shipper

A collapsible, reusable container designed specifically for shipping bone-in-loin pork and beef primal meat cuts from primal source plants to case-ready plants is now available from IPL, it was announced today.

The IPL SmartCrate 3513-11, the first hand-held collapsible container for the meat industry, is designed to provide more rapid cooling, better product protection, less solid waste, reduced handling labor and better product tracking than one-time use containers for primal cuts of beef and pork, the company claims.

This is an extension of IPL’s proprietary line of SmartCrate collapsible containers, which feature an intuitive 2-step assembly for ease of use in manual or automated operations.

"Meat is an excellent application for reusable containers," emphasized Eric Fredrickson, sales and marketing manager, IPL Material Handling. "The high, year-round volume and limited shelf life of meat products drive high turnover of containers, and high turnover results in increased return on investment. In addition, reusable containers provide better cooling and product protection. Together, the increased ROI, quicker cooling, and improved product protection result in substantial savings for both the meat industry and retailers."

The adoption of reusables in the meat industry is on the rise due to changes in the supply chain. The industry is currently developing case-ready meat plants for preparation and shipment of retail cuts to grocery/retail chains, reducing the role of the traditional in-store butcher.

A driving factor behind reducing or eliminating in-store butchering is the industry’s desire to better control the preparation and packaging of meats, including the use of modified atmosphere (MAP) packaging. By preparing meat at case-ready plants, retailers can lessen their losses due to spoilage, ultimately saving money. However, they have been lacking a cost-effective container that provides adequate product cooling and protection for shipment of primal cuts to the case-ready plants.

The reusable containers currently available on the market are not suited for the primal bone-in-loin cut, one of the common cuts sent to case-ready meat plants. The cut is typically 32 to 34 inches long and about six inches in diameter. The industry has been reluctant to adopt reusable containers because plants would have to maintain two systems: corrugated containers for the bone-in-loin, and reusables for other cuts of meat.

The SmartCrate allows users to place the same number of cuts (four) in a container, and to put the same number of containers per layer on a standard 48" x 40" GMA pallet as before, thus requiring as few changes as possible in the existing system.

For more information, visit the company’s Web site at

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