The Plug & The Tie Wrap

September 17, 2009

I’m generally interested in the type of work that packaging engineers do. I enjoy unboxing a product and taking in how they were able to take a product and all it’s parts, fit it into a box that must be fit precisely into larger boxes, which must fit precisely into shipping containers, and all the while successfully navigate all the hazards that can occur during shipping.

Last night, it was with this wonder that I opened up a new George Foreman Grill that was purchased to replace my old one, which I had broken. Upon opening the box, I saw something that left me curious; and as the hours have ticked away since then, and I have pondered the reasons behind it, it has left me perplexed, confounded, and flummoxed.

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Why does the power plug have a tie-wrap wrapped between the holes of the two prongs? What purpose does it serve? It’s expected to be cut before first use, but why is it there in the first place? Does it help prevent the prongs from getting bent apart in manufacturing and transit? If so, why not use a protector that also prevents the prongs from being bent together, which this tie-wrap would not do? If it needs protection during shipping, why pack it so close to the top, without adequate protection, and I really don’t see what protection that little tie-wrap provides.

If you know or have a theory about why that tie-wrap is there and the purpose that it serves, please let me know.

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