Video – PadCAD: Protective Cushion Design Calculator


Transcript of the video "PadCAD: Protective Cushion Design Calculator"

Video length: 00:03:23

Safely shipping packages around the world or even across town can be a daunting exercise as the packages can get shaken and bumped or may tumble more than a few times while in transit.

A short drop from a few centimetres, or a moderate impact, can be enough to damage fragile items and even more durable ones.

To help art packers protect the most vulnerable heritage objects during shipment, the Canadian Conservation Institute developed the PadCAD calculator to design protective cushioning using readily available cushioning materials.

An essential part of any package, cushioning can take the form of padding, springs, membranes, bubble pack and other materials.

Foam cushions are a popular choice because they can perform well and can be reused several times.

An object suspended on foam cushions will be protected from shocks from all directions.

This unfired clay goblet just survived a 75-centimetre drop!

When the foam cushioning inside a package is correctly designed, the object will sink into the cushioning upon impact. This reduces the intensity of the shock and spreads it out over time.

If the cushioning is too soft, the object may hit the inside of the case.

If the cushioning is too firm, the object cannot sink into it enough to limit the shock.

To manually design effective cushioning for an object, the loads applied to the cushions must be calculated, tables and graphs must be consulted, and this process must be repeated until the necessary protection can be achieved.

The PadCAD calculator on the CCI website simplifies this work for you.

First you choose the cushioning system layout from several object shape categories, or you can specify your own.

Graphic (visual only) - Step 1

Then you enter the basic design information, such as the dimensions and weight of the object, as well as the protection requirement based on the object’s fragility.

Graphic (visual only) - Step 2

The shipping case selection in step 2 allows PadCAD to predict the height from which you could accidentally drop the package based on its total weight.

Graphic (visual only) - Step 3

The amount of cushion coverage can be adjusted on all sides with simple design parameters to provide good object support, and to reduce the amount of material used.

Graphic (visual only) - Step 4

With this information, PadCAD scans its database of 17 materials and thickness options that work for the chosen layout and that meet or exceed the protection requirement.

You can limit the output to one material but if a result does not display adjustments to the cushion coverage in Step 3 should be made or a different material choice may be necessary.

When results appear, click on any one for a detailed package summary, which includes a convenient cut list for the protective cushion parts.

By using PadCAD, packers can make sure that their cushioning design is adapted to a variety of applications and that materials are used as efficiently as possible.

Visit to find the PadCAD calculator for your next shipment!


This video describes our PadCAD application, a tool that helps you design protective cushioning for the shipment of fragile objects. This video was created by the Canadian Conservation Institute.

Cat. No.: CH57-4/31-2022E-MP4
ISBN 978-0-660-41877-3

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