What is a Packaging Engineer and Do I Need One?

Packaging Engineer

So you have a great product idea, and you are getting ready to launch your line, however, there are some details that you are just not sure about like how you will package your products, enter the packaging engineer.

Most people have never heard about packaging engineering until they get involved in an industry that needs packaging solutions. Package engineering is a niche profession that plays a vital role in how products make their way from the assembly line to the consumer.

Packaging Is Vital

Most end users rarely think about the packaging that their goods arrive in, but packaging plays a crucial role in the condition that those goods arrive in to the end user. The right packaging is critical to the safety of the products and ultimately on how the product performs when it gets to the end users.

Packaging really does sell the product. A product that arrives to the end user in pristine condition are products that are rated highly by the consumer. A packaging engineer puts a great deal of time and effort in developing the perfect packaging for every product to ensure all the design hard work and development is not lost in the transition from the assembly line floor to the point of destination.

If you have no idea what a packaging engineer is and how important that are to every area of manufacturing and product development continue reading below to learn more about this profession.

What Does a Packaging Engineer Do?

Packaging engineers are engineers that design packaging for a wide range of products. They develop a strategy for protecting products during the shipping and storage stage to ensure that the products are protected.

They incorporate different cost effective materials to help the producer save money while getting the high-quality protection they want for their products. They assess the need of the product, regulations regarding packaging, and come up with the design that protects yet makes it easy for the end user to unpack.

This type of professional provides solutions to business owners that fit product need, storage space, and conveyance of the product. They utilize their training to develop packaging that is custom fit to a product design.

If you are not familiar with what packaging engineers do all you need to do is exam the packaging for car parts, appliances, technology to learn what do packaging engineers do. They design the packaging for precious cargo that has to be protected from the jolts of movement and transportation.

Consider them the experts that help to keep products moving from one stage to the next while ensuring product safety.

A Brief Packaging Engineer Job Description

Packaging engineers develop custom designs to create functional, highly cost-effective packaging concepts that protect goods. They evaluate products, create strategies for protection, and test out different packaging.

The duties of a packaging engineer include:

  • Working as part of a team to develop the packaging including working side by side with other engineers in product development.
  • A primary duty is to develop packaging that is compatible with the product and the corporate culture that developed the product. For example, a company that is aiming for a low waste ratio would require complete recyclable packaging.
  • They work with all teams involved with product development.
  • These engineers prepare all documents that are necessary for protocol and compliance to comply with all worldwide ISO regulation.
  • A packaging engineer also provides technical support to manufacturers.

In other words, packaging engineer consultants work with the development team and manufacturer from inception to completion. They are a part of the process every step of the way.

This position is a key position in product development, logistics, shipping and storage. They bring a valuable insight to the manufacturer.  A packaging engineering consultant can easily manage all the packaging needs on a wide range of products.

Packaging Engineering

How Much Does a Packaging Engineer Make?

The salary of a packaging engineer is largely related to their level of experience, the type of projects that they specialize in and where they are located. For example, in the US the average salary of a packaging engineer job is about $70,000 base salary.

Many of thee specialists also enjoy bonuses for a job well-done. Most positions come with benefits like life insurance, health care, paid holidays and more. This is a professional position that comes with plenty of perks.

Also, because this is a niche profession, package engineering jobs are usually widely available. The special skill set that these professionals have developed through formal training and job experience.

How Do You Become a Packaging Engineer?

To become an engineer of any kind you must have a formal education. In this case you can expect to spend a lot of time taking advanced mathematics, physics, material understanding classes and other relevant classes.

The packaging engineer has to have a good understanding for mathematical equations used to predict force, movement, energy displacement, and more. This is not a career for someone that does not appreciate physics.

After the formal education typically and entry level engineer will work with more experienced engineers to get real world experience. At a minimum becoming this type of engineer requires a specialty undergraduate degree. The top people in this field typically continue their formal education beyond the undergraduate level.

Of course, to maintain your standing as an engineer continuing education is expected. Keeping up to the minute with new materials to better facilitate protection and cost savings requires continued evolution of your education.

Packaging Desighn

What Skill Sets Does a Product Engineer Need to Develop?

For this career path developing just one set of skills is not enough. The package engineer candidate will have to develop a range of skills including:

  • Ability to think outside the box! As any engineer will tell you being able to think creatively is an important skill in meeting the demands of the position. Creative thinking is a must for a career in packaging engineering. Innovative thinking, thinking outside “the box” are talents that are seemingly innate but they can be developed.
  • Problem solving. As a packaging expert you will be expected to overcome problems with packaging and quickly troubleshoot any issues that crop up. You will be consulted whenever a problem crops up.
  • The details really matter. A good packaging expert understands that every detail matters in the process. One detail overlooked can result in package failure.
  • Being able to communicate. Working with teams that are looking to your for solutions means having to have sharp communication skills. You will need to work with a diverse population from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, it will be important that you can communicate with everyone on the teams that you work with.
  • Technical abilities. The right candidate will have well developed technical skills. Packaging engineers work with high tech computer software and other technical equipment as part of their daily duties. You have to have the technical abilities to work with this type of equipment.
  • An keen eye for possibilities. Packaging materials constantly evolve. One of the ways a packaging engineer can become successful is by having an eye for what is possible.

Building the right skill set takes time. Some of the skills that a engineer has are innate skills like creative thinking and an eye for detail but they can also be developed. It takes a great deal of commitment and time to build the skills that are necessary to master this position.

Who Needs This Expert On Their Team?

Any manufacturer that is getting ready to launch a new product that wants to be sure their packaging is protective, affordable and in line with their corporate culture would do well to have this expert on their side.

The best time to consult with a packaging engineer expert is in the earliest stages of product development. They can make recommendations and help you to build the perfect packaging solutions. Of course, having an engineer on board from the onset of the project also will make managing documentation easier and help to ensure compliance with regulatory bodies.

Even small operations can benefit from having a packaging engineering consultant. Perhaps a full time team member is not in the cards right now, but connecting with a consultant can give you the same benefits without the full time salary costs.

Packaging Construction

Consultation Services

Not every small business can afford to hire on a full time packaging engineering expert. Consultants are an excellent substitution for full time engineers. They will evaluate your project and make suggestions. They can design the packaging that you need that is cost effective.

You do not have to hire a full time engineer to get the full time engineer benefits when you work with a team of packaging experts that are dedicated to helping you find the best solutions. As your company grows than you can get that full time expert on your team.