Crate Pro 6

Technical White Paper

Perspectives and Dimensions


Crate Pro states dimensions differently depending on the item, component, panel or container being referenced.

Although it's not technical sounding, 'thing' is used in this document to refer to a tangible item. Any reasonable synonyms have specific meanings, some of which will be explained here.

This document is important in understanding how things in Crate Pro are referenced and how their dimensions are calculated. A residential door panel for a house, for example, will have a particular length and width, however once the door panel is shaped, framed and hung from hinges, the opening that the door fills is often considered to be the height and width. You may be familiar with many of the perspectives and dimensions used in crating however Crate Pro has a specific and unique way of conveying them to the user.

Item: An Item is a raw material and is referenced as a stand-alone thing, not used on any crate or as any part of a design. The length, width and thickness of an Item is defined by local standards. They are the only things defined in this document that don't require special explanation. Items are accounted for in Inventory and are added to crate or pallet designs. Once added to a design, an Item becomes a Component. The same Item may be used in many places on a single crate such as 1/4" plywood that is used on all six panels. Once applied to a design, all instances of an Item are a Material. Since a Material is simply a collection of all like Items, they don't have a unique perspective and aren't further discussed here.

Component: A Component is an Item that has been added to a design in a specific location*. The Top Plywood, Skids, and Side Panel Left Vertical Cleat are three examples of Components. The name of a Component identifies its specific** placement on a crate or pallet. Since crates have a Front Side and an Aft Side, there are typically 2 Side Panel Left Vertical Cleat Components on one crate. A Components thickness is always measured from the inside of the crate to the outside. (On pallets, the thickness, length and width are all inherited from the Item.) A 4x6" Header, for example, is a Component of the Base Panel so when a 4x6" lumber Item is applied as the Header, the Header is then 5-1/2" thick.

When referring to a lumber Component, the length is the cut length of the lumber Item. The width is the third, remaining dimension.

Some Components may not explicitly have a stated length or width, or their length and width are inherited by the panel that they are attached to. Dimensions for foam padding, for example, is often stated as Left-to-Right or Front-to-Aft in reference to their orientation in relation to the crate as a whole. Because a foam Item (raw sheet material) doesn't have a preferential orientation, nor do the dimensions of the cut Component necessarily match any other dimension, call-outs such as Front-to-Aft reduce confusion.

*Components that are added as Other Packing Items aren't assigned a position by Crate Pro however you as the user can identify how their dimensions will affect your design.

**Component placement isn't always specific. For example, Crate Pro doesn't specify exactly where Intermediate Support Cleats are applied however it's reasonable to consider that Top Panel Intermediate Support Cleats will be positioned within the Top Panel Framing Cleats.

Panel: A Panel's perspective is always as if a person were standing in front of the panel or directly over the crate or pallet. When referring to a Side Panel or End Panel the vertical dimension is most often referred to as Vertical. When referring to a Top Panel or a Base Panel, the front-to-aft dimension is most often referred to as Vertical because if you were able to stand over a crate and look down, that dimension would optically appear vertically. The opposite direction is obviously referred to as Horizontal.

In some instances, the term Vertical or Horizontal don't seem clear so Top-to-Base, Left-to-Right or Front-to-Aft may be used. These are in reference to the orientation of the container and are based on industry standards.

Container: The dimensions of a wooden shipping container are stated as follows: Length is left-to-right as viewing the container from the front, Width is front-to-aft, and Height is from the ground upward. The front is defined as panel that provides a primary point of entry for forklifting once considering the container's structural composition. When a container is properly designed, the panels with the greatest horizontal dimension are the Front and Aft (Side) Panels. The Left and Right (End) Panels are typically identified as being set within the Side Panels. Crate Pro's generic diagram of a style will always show the container from the Front Panel (or the inside of the Aft Panel if the Front Panel is removed).

Pallets: The length and width dimensions of a pallet are reversed from those of crates. The length of a pallet is front-to-aft. The width is left-to-right.

Piece: A Component may be comprised of multiple Pieces. When a plywood panel is larger than a sheet of plywood, then multiple Pieces will be applied. In discussion and on paper, a Piece is typically referred to in association with either the Panel or the Component that it's a part of. For that reason, the perspective of a Piece is either that of its Panel or Component depending on the context.


Blue Lines: In Crate Pro 6 you will see blue lines on the left, bottom or top of various fields. These blue lines are to assist you in quickly identifying the orientation and relative position that the field represents. The screen capture above shows a plywood Top Panel section.

Most often, blue lines will simply be horizontal or vertical. Because the tab panel you are viewing represents one Panel, the orientation of the line is the orientation or direction for that Component's dimensions for that Panel.

In the plywood sections, blue lines may appear at the top of a field or short lines may appear at the left or right sides of the field. These are used to represent not only the orientation but also the relative position with the other local components. If a blue line appears above a field, for example, that indicates that the Piece is positioned vertically above the others. 

Some fields include a diagonal line or crossed diagonal lines near the left edge of the field. These appear in the Diagonal Batten Cleat fields for lumber sheathed containers. Fields with single diagonal lines indicate a Primary Diagonal Batten Cleat field. Those with crossed blue lines are the secondary or cross-diagonal fields.

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