Packing an espresso machine - an example.

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
User avatar
Team HB

#1: Post by baldheadracing »

I recently purchased Matthew's 1983 Olympia Cremina (Bay Area) and TomC was kind enough to box up the machine and send it eastward.

I thought that this would be a good example of how a machine is packed for transport. Start at the bottom if you want to go in packing order :-).

1. Picking up:
I had the machine shipped within the States as shipping across the USA:Canada border can get expensive compared to shipping within the USA - shipping was about half the cost in this case ($100 vs. $200). That difference doesn't include the brokerage and other fees that the shipper will charge. Crossing the border myself does mean gas, border bridge tolls, and warehousing charges, but these come to less than the shipper's brokerage charges for an item of this price.

Here is the box at the upstate New York warehouse, a leisurely hour's drive away. Everything that you see are parcels bought by Canadians waiting to be picked up, and you're seeing about one-third of the warehouse.

Note that the box has landed on (your) right corner, has been dropped on the left side, and is bowed out on the right. Espresso machines are relatively heavy for their size, and boxes get dropped and thrown around. Not evident in the pic is the tape at the bottom has been torn and is no longer holding the bottom of the box to the sides. You can never use enough tape.

2. At the border:
A few hundred dollars in taxes later, and we're good to go.

3. Back home and into the mud room:

Despite showing signs of rough treatment, the box is still holding its form. The reason for this is the box is made of double-walled corrugated cardboard. You can see the difference from single-wall below. Double and triple wall cardboard is available in various strengths. The outer box is the first line of defence; don't scrimp on this box.

4. Outer box stress:

With the outer box opened, you can see all the stress that the outer box took - the corners are all compressed, and the inner packing has even marked the inside of the outer box. The inner box itself shows compression marks.

5. Inner box:

Opening the inner box reveals two more layers of impact absorption. First, crumpled paper and free-floating cardboard, and then bubble wrap.

Note where there is no crumpled paper, as seen in the corner of the drip tray.

6. Inner box stress:

With the machine removed, you can see where the corner of the drip tray - and the group - impacted the inner box. Parcels get thrown around during transit, and multiple layers of protection sacrifice themselves to reduce the impact force on the machine.

7. Bubblewrap:

Every accessory has been protectively wrapped. Note the water on the top surface of the machine. It can be quite difficult to remove all the water from a machine. This is why shipping machines during the winter months can lead to damage from frozen water, even if the boiler is drained and steam/hot water valves are kept open. The one thing that I would add to this packaging would have been to enclose the machine inside a plastic garbage bag or similar so that any water leakage will not compromise the paper packing. On another machine that was shipped to me, the water had leaked all the way to the outer box. What kept that box was failing was that the outer box had been taped all over.

Proof of the careful and thorough packaging is that the original Olympia plastic milk frothing jug and funnel survived:

8: Unpacked:
Finally, note that the Cremina is a mechanically simple machine, and components inside the machine like the boiler do not need additional securing. This is not usually the case. Boilers and pumps are often floating in larger machines and need additional support to avoid damage. Groups are often best removed. I've had other machines arrive damaged. Zip-ties - many zip-ties - are good for this, but were not needed here.

Thanks Matthew for the opportunity to complete my Olympia Chiasso lever collection, and TomC for the awesome packing job! :D
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada


#2: Post by austinado16 »

Nice job, all of you!

In January I had a Livia 90S shipped from Chicago to me in SoCal. The seller took it to a UPS shipping store, and I paid to have it packed by them. They encased it in thick, large-bubble, bubble wrap, to the point that it almost looked like a ball, and then put it into a single box, with more of that large-bubble wrap and styro peanuts. It arrived in perfect condition.

User avatar

#3: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

Glad it arrived ok. Here's another lesson. Fully insure the machine for the value you think it is. The picking and packing is only part of it. The delivery service has to execute.

When UPS decides to ditch all that double packing and re pack it, this is what you get: a 65lb espresso machine on its side packed with some really great brown paper that the cats love to play with.

Needless to say, I have a claim in. They take forever. Their terms say they get six months. I did get Amex to reverse the shipping charges.

The best laugh of it all. The day after it arrived, whatever box they put it in was one inch longer and taller, so they charged me an additional $4.26, and yes Amex refunded me that as well.

Artisan.Plus User-
Artisan Quick Start Guide