Packaging is an interdisciplinary field in which scientific and engineering principles are applied to develop and produce packages that contain, protect and preserve, transport, inform, and sell a product. Packaging engineering includes the study of products, packages, materials, containers, structures, methods, machinery, and transportation. It involves such diverse disciplines as chemistry, physics, materials science, mechanics, machine design, industrial engineering, electronics, materials handling, and other specialized skills. Total employment in the packaging industry is estimated at over a million. Packaging engineers are employed in such areas as package engineering, development, sales, purchasing, structure design, production, research, and marketing.
In Spring 2001, Christian Brothers University began a packaging program with an elective course for engineering juniors/seniors in response to local and national industry needs. This elective developed into a undergraduate certificate program with four courses offered by Fall 2002.
The Packaging Lab was established in 2003 with almost $300,000 spent on packaging equipment, in addition to nearly $400,000 on related lab equipment in the Polymer Lab, Solid Mechanics Lab, and Manufacturing Lab. Since then, various packaging-related activities have been introduced, including the spring egg drop competition for high school students, a summer program for high school students, sessions at a regional annual engineering/science conference, and seminars for packaging professionals. In 2007 CBU announced two new packaging programs: B.S. in Engineering Management (Packaging Concentration) and M.S. in Engineering Management (Packaging Concentration). Packaging minor follows in 2012.
Packaging has become a department within the School of Engineering since the fall of 2012. The Department oversees not only the educational programs mentioned above but also an ISTA certified test lab (2009) and the unique Healthcare Packaging Consortium (2010). The CBU Packaging Lab is one of the seven labs and the only commercial lab in an academic setting in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, certified by the International Safe Transit Association. The Healthcare Packaging Consortium currently provides an excellent research opportunity to CBU packaging students.