Hello and happy Wednesday! I was thinking about some past posts I have written where I’ve introduced myself. Since then I know some more readers have found my blog (hi!) and I wanted to do a little reintroduction. For those that don’t know, I am a packaging engineer and that is what my degree from Rutgers is in. In my everyday life, I get people who are baffled by what a packaging engineer is and once I explain to them they find it interesting. Let’s be honest, for a while I’m pretty sure my mom just told people that I dropped stuff to see if it broke ha! It’s definitely not a field people often think of but it’s involved in everything. I thought it could be fun to explain it to all of you and I hope you find it interesting as well!
What is a packaging engineer?
A packaging engineer (PE) is someone who works on every product imaginable. Even if you don’t think there is a package involved in a product you are buying there is. A PE is involved with everything from the design of the package to user use to graphics to how it will work on a machine to fill with product. They can be found in every industry and most companies have them.
How did you find out about packaging?
Since packaging engineering is such a unique field, most people assume that I went to Rutgers University on purpose for this major. That is so far from the truth though! I knew I wanted to be an engineer but didn’t discover packaging until the end of my freshman year. At most engineering schools, you do not declare a specific major until the end of freshman year. When it came time to pick my major, I actually declared as a materials science engineer and found out about packaging after.
I signed up for the packaging certificate (4 classes about packaging are required to get this) and thus took the Intro to Packaging class in the fall of my sophomore year. By mid October, I had filled out a form that said I was changing my major. To me, the packaging classes was a lot more interesting than my actual major classes and I loved the opportunities the packaging would provide for me.
Where can a packaging engineer work?
Name an industry and 99% will have a spot for packaging engineers! Personally I have worked in four different industries. In college, I gained experience in the cosmetic and consumer goods industry. After graduating I worked in the chemical industry very briefly before taking my current role in the automotive industry.
Right now, I am a PE for a major car company in New Jersey. This means I take the repair parts (like a hood or door) and create the packaging so it can be shipped to dealers across the US and Canada without any damages occurring. It’s definitely very different from my first experience where I worked on a carton for liquid bronzer. In each of the roles I’ve had there has been a ton to learn. The general process for creating a package are the same but different companies have different ways to go through the process and their own unique systems involved.
What does a packaging engineer do?
A PE works on a variety of tasks. At my first internship, I worked for Shiseido which is a cosmetics company. They own a few brands with some of their most commonly known ones being Bare Minerals and Nars. There I worked mainly on the Nars brand. One of the projects I had involved testing to see if any changes to packaging had to occur when the brand was introduced in China. China has stricter rules about waste in products so paper instructions couldn’t be used. Another thing I worked on was for a new product that was launching. I designed the liner (the corrugate piece inside the box) and worked with the supplier to get the desired look and feel. When I left, my boss let me take some products (amazing!) so obviously I took one of the liquid bronzers (and any other product imaginable) since I worked on it.
In the summer leading up to my senior year and throughout the entire fall, I worked full time at Church & Dwight. They own brands like Arm & Hammer, Trojan, First Response, Oxi Clean, Vitafusion and so many more consumer goods. My biggest project there involved working on the redesign of the Oxi Clean liquid laundry detergent. This ended up being 7 months of hard work and I was involved from when they conducted focus groups to nail down the design consumers most responded to all the way to when production of the bottles started. I saw all of the ins and outs of a big product launch. When I saw the new bottle on the store of a Walmart I was beyond happy. I took a picture and sent it to a ridiculous amount of people since people could finally see what I worked on.
There you have it friends! That’s just a quick look at what a packaging engineer is and what they do. I hope you enjoyed it 🙂
Question of the day: What does your job involve?