The required minimum thickness of protective package cushions is predictable and can be calculated easily based on available data and fundamental engineering principles. The minimum cushion thickness is dependent on the product fragility, the design drop height, and the cushion efficiency. Minimum package dimensions and densities can be established prior to the development of prototype package designs and before the selection of packaging materials. This provides information needed to address package dimension and cost constraints for various product fragility levels. Cushioning materials can be directly compared based on their efficiency ratings that are easily derived from data normally presented in cushion curves for cushion materials. Examples of the relationship of these variables are presented along with the general equations. Cushion efficiency ratings are discussed and examples derived from published cushion data are reviewed.
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