Glossary of packaging termsPackaging terms from A to Z: Here are the most important terms related to corrugated cardboard, packaging and its manufacture.
Corrugated cardboard consists of one to three corrugated sheets that are glued together, making them extremely stable. Different types of corrugation can be combined starting with two corrugated sheets (Double-wall cardboard). You can read detailed information about different combinations and their advantages here.
The stacker is the last machine in the corrugator. It stacks the individually produced sheets of corrugated cardboard. These stacks leave the storage area via conveyor belts and are ready for further processing into finished boxes. This means they are printed, punched, folded or glued.
Acrylate adhesive is available as a solvent-based and solvent-free version. The latter is more environmentally friendly because it is water-based. You will often find acrylate adhesives on packaging tapes. The adhesive is temperature and aging resistant as well as insensitive to UV radiation and oxidation. If you use it in connection with cardboard, however, acrylate adhesive needs 48 hours to develop its full adhesive strength, because it only gradually penetrates the cardboard.
Paper and cardboard waste (waste paper) can be recycled several times. At Model, we use waste paper again and again in a closed paper cycle.
This punching machine can process large quantities of cardboard in three-shift operation. Autoplatine® can deliver different blanks: separated, stacked, punched or completely broken out. Autoplatine is a flatbed die cutter.
Bag-in-Box (BiB) is packaging for liquid foods, such as juice, wine or salad dressings. The packaging consists of a cardboard box and an inner plastic bag with an integrated tap. Bag-in-Box is a lightweight alternative to glass bottles and offers ease of use. Due to the closed system, oxygen, light and impurities cannot penetrate and liquids remain stable for a long time. The outer box can also be printed as desired and serves as advertising space at the point of sale.
As a biodegradable filling material, Bio-Chips are a good alternative to polystyrene packaging chips. The compostable packaging chips are made from plant starch (e.g. corn) and water.
Blind embossing is a printing process. Motifs or lettering are pressed onto the packaging with an embossing stamp without using coloring. With deep embossing, the relief goes into the cardboard. With raised embossing, the relief is raised. This print finishing is particularly relevant for medical packaging: For example, when important information is embossed in Braille so it is haptically accessible.
BOPP film is mainly used as packaging for food. BOPP is the abbreviation for “biaxially oriented polypropylene”. “Biaxially oriented” means that molecular chains are stretched in two directions, giving the film high stability.
A type of paper used in corrugated board manufacture. Linerboard has two layers: a top layer made from long-fiber pulp and a base layer made from recycled fibers. As a result, linerboard is stronger than other types of paper (e.g. testliner), can be processed more easily in the corrugator and is better to print on.
With this printing process, a computer transfers the print image directly from a file to the printing machine. No printing units or printing plates are used.
Display packaging is promotional packaging and is used to promote sales at the point of sale. The packaging presents small products in an attractive way and is intended to encourage impulse purchases (e.g. Christmas or Easter items such as Advent calendars and chocolate bunnies).
Printing plates are part of offset and flexographic printing. A plate is made for each individual color. Printing plates can be made of different materials - in flexographic printing, for example, photopolymer or rubber.
Printing units are individual machines within an inline machine. They can be used, for example, to implement flexographic or offset printing. Each color to be printed needs its own printing unit. For this reason, several printing units are arranged one behind the other within an inline machine, which successively print the sheet of paper with the desired colors.
Interior fitments offer additional protection in a package (e.g. for bottles). They are punched out of corrugated cardboard and optimally adapted to the box. In addition, the content can be presented advantageously with an interior fitment (e.g. in packaging for mobile devices).
Inserts in postcard format in shipping packaging serve, for example, as a greeting to the customer (“Thank you for your purchase”) or as a call to advertise a friend.
Disposable packaging can only be used once and must then be disposed of (e.g. to-go packaging made of cardboard or beverage cans).
You can easily pack long or bulky packages with continuous corrugated cardboard because it can be cut to various sizes.
EPAL is the abbreviation for European Pallet Association and the test mark of the association of the same name for euro pool pallets.
The euro hole is a standardized recess at the top edge of packaging. It is used to hang up packaging or other products on goods presentation systems.
This machine can fold and glue heavy envelopes, such as medical files.
The folding bottom is part of packaging of the same name: folding-bottom packaging. It is already pre-glued by the manufacturer. Together with collapsible boxes, they form the FEFCO-ESBO group of “Ready-glued boxes”.
One of the most popular corrugated box types with the FEFCO code 0201. It is the normal version of a box with butting outer flaps. The inner flaps do not touch each other, there is a gap.
Slotted boxes are industrially prefabricated and delivered to companies by the manufacturer folded to save space. They can be set up in a few simple steps or by machine. Most of the time, the customer just needs to press lightly on the side of the folded box and it will stand up.
FEFCO is the abbreviation for the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers. The Brussels-based organization has existed since 1952. The FEFCO code serves as an international standard in the manufacture of corrugated cardboard packaging. It divides boxes made of solid and corrugated cardboard into different types and gives them a four-digit code. This facilitates communication about the design of a box. You can find out more about the FEFCO code and its benefits here.
The fine flute (also B-flute) can be printed on very well. It is 2.2 to 3 millimeters high and has a smaller corrugation pitch than other corrugations (that is, a smaller distance from one corrugation space to the next). It has a fine surface.
The machine glues film in packaging with windows, also known as transparent packaging. These packages have the advantage that customers can take a look at the product (e.g. chocolate boxes and toy boxes). An Autoplatine first punches out the recesses for the windows. Then the packaging is further processed in the window pasting machine.
Window boxes are boxes with windows. These cardboard boxes are popular, for example, for bottle or pasta packaging.
Filament tape has a particularly strong adhesive power under high loads. It is particularly suitable for corrugated cardboard and must be used for dangerous goods packaging. You can find out more about the right adhesive tape for your packaging in our practical guide.
Flat printed products are printed according with the surface-on-surface principle. This process has been around for a very long time, it is typical for letterpress printing: A flat counter-pressure plate (plate) presses the printing material powerfully onto a flat printing form plate, thereby transferring the ink.
The flexographic printing machine uses a direct letterpress process (as opposed to the indirect process used in offset printing). This offers optimal print quality, especially when printing on corrugated cardboard. The ink is applied directly from the printing form to the material to be printed (corrugated cardboard, foil).
Flexographic inks are environmentally friendly because they are mostly diluted with water. An ink pump pumps the thin ink from an ink container into the printing unit. The ink is then transferred to the printing plates (clichés).
Fluting is the English term for corrugated paper in corrugated base paper.
This machine ensures that a layer of foil adheres to a package. To do this, it applies toner in the desired form to a substrate.
Foil thickness means the thickness of a foil that is used as packaging material. The unit of measure for foil thickness is micrometers (µm) = 0.001 millimeters.
Fresh fibers (including pulp) are made from wood. This wood is a by-product, for example when forests are thinned out. It uses logs that are too thin or not of high enough quality to be processed in any other way.
The abbreviation FSC® stands for Forest Stewardship Council®. This is an international certification system for sustainable forest management.
Filling material is used to fill spaces in a package and thus fix the contents of the box in place. Packaging chips, for example, are a popular filling material. In addition, you can use padding material to protect the contents during transport. You can find out more about filling material and padding material in our practical guide.
Product dividers in a carton are called compartments. They prevent the packaged goods from touching and thereby breaking. Specifically, compartments are interlocking sheets that also stabilize packaging.
Dangerous goods are objects that pose a risk during transport. The dangerous characteristics of the goods can affect humans, animals or the environment. Anyone who packs and transports or ships dangerous goods must comply with certain regulations for the safe transport of dangerous goods. Detailed information on packaging dangerous goods can be found here.
Due to their chemical, physical-chemical or toxic properties, hazardous substances can have a harmful effect on people and the environment during their production or use.
Grammage is the weight of paper. It is measured in grams per square meter. The most common is a grammage of 80 g/m2; this paper is usually used in copiers or printers. Lighter paper with a weight of 50 g/m2 is used for newspapers. If paper weighs 150 to 600 grams per square meter it is classified as cardstock, and if it weighs 600 grams or more it is classified as cardboard.
The production of grass paper is resource- and climate-friendly. The grass fibers are produced mechanically, without chemical treatment. It causes about 95 percent less CO2 emissions, requires less water and less energy than other types of paper.
Semi-pulp has a high rigidity. It is therefore ideally suited for the production of corrugated cardboard, because it gives the corrugated cardboard stability and shock-absorbing properties.
HDPE is the abbreviation for High Density Polyethylene, a plastic made of PE (polyethylene) with high density. This plastic is the basis for foils and other plastic objects. It is stable, robust and not very flexible. Extremely thin foils are also made from HDPE.
Thick-walled cardstock or cardboard can be closed with a stapling machine. For example, boxes with several top layers or with an inner layer of corrugated cardboard. These machines usually require wide crown staples of 35 millimeters.
Hot stamping is a finishing technique for packaging. With the appropriate machine, various designs made of thin plastic foil can be applied to two-dimensional surfaces.
Wood wool consists of fine wood fibers. It is created by planing log sections and produces very little dust. In addition, wood wool is elastic and antistatic. It is used, for example, as a soft base for bottle packaging.
Hotmelt adhesive can be found on cheap adhesive and packaging tapes. It sticks very quickly (immediate adhesion), is mostly free of solvents and adhesive tapes with hotmelt adhesive can be easily unrolled. Read more about the optimal adhesive tape for your packaging here.
Industrial packaging is used immediately after the production of an industrial good. The goods are either packed directly in the production plant or at an external packing location. Industrial packaging is used both for factory traffic and for transport.
The inline machine is the classic processing machine for corrugated board. It creates packaging from a sheet of corrugated cardboard. “Inline” means the rowing of several individual machines, for example printing units or punches. Looking at the entire manufacturing process, the majority of the corrugated cardboard packaging is produced on inline machines.
Cardboard packaging is made from waste paper, (semi) cellulose and ground wood. It protects the contents during transport or serve as containers, for example during storage.
To put it simply, laminating means sticking foil on something. A laminating machine produces corrugated cardboard with a high-quality printed surface. Rolls or individual sheets of corrugated cardboard are the base material, the top cover is usually made of coated paper.
The term “laminated” refers to packaging that is not printed on directly but has a printed sheet of paper stuck to it.
With transparent packaging, the customer can already take a look at the contents before unpacking the product. Most of the time, this packaging consists mainly of corrugated cardboard with recesses (windows) made of transparent foil.
Cliché costs (= printing plate) arise when packaging such as slotted boxes, bags, carrier bags or packaging tape are individually printed. Like a large stamp, the cliché applies the desired color to the packaging.
What is meant is packaging with complex geometric contours. You can optimally fix a product in place and transport it safely. In addition, with their exciting shapes, they attract attention at the point of sale.
Packaging for cosmetics is hygienic, functional and aesthetic. It protects and presents products such as creams, serums or ointments. Cosmetics packaging should be produced according to good manufacturing practices or a comparable quality assurance system, for example ISO 9001.
Kraftliner (also kraft liner) is a particularly robust type of paper for the manufacture of corrugated cardboard. The kraft paper consists of at least 80 percent new wood fibers (primary fibers) and a maximum of 20 percent recycled fibers (secondary fibers). Compared to testliner, kraftliner is the more expensive paper variant.
Food can be shipped in refrigerated packaging without interrupting the cold chain. The prerequisite for this is that the prescribed temperature ranges are always observed during storage and transport. You can find out more about how to pack food properly here.
The short sheeter is part of the corrugator. For example, if faulty material comes out of the system, the sheeter cuts out the unusable area. If the format or the order changes, the sheeter completely cuts through the roll and leaves a gap. Then, for example, creasing and cutting tools can be exchanged.
LDPE is a plastic and stands for Low Density Polyethylene.
Glue is an adhesive that connects materials such as wood or paper. Natural glues consist of proteins, starch, dextrins or plant gums. Synthetic glues consist of polycondensates and polymers.
Lithography is a planographic printing process. The motif is drawn in reverse on the surface to be printed, which is then treated with etching liquid. In those places where there is no image, the liquid penetrates the cardboard. When the printer’s ink is rolled on, the ink only sticks to the drawn lines. The area treated with etching liquid repels it.
Low noise is a special property of an adhesive tape: It unrolls quietly and easily.
Bubble wrap is a padding material, has at least two layers and is made of plastic. It is elastic and mostly transparent. The material is suitable for wrapping fragile items. You can find out here how you can optimally pad your packaged goods in the package and fill out the empty spaces.
This packaging can be used several times. Reusable packaging protects the environment because it saves natural resources and reduces waste.
Reusable packaging made of polypropylene (PP) has a long life cycle and can be reused particularly often.
M-Fold is a folded continuous corrugated carton. This flexible packaging solution is suitable for packaged goods of various sizes because it can be cut to size as required. M-Fold is a product of the Model Group.
A handy machine that quickly creates air cushions and air chamber mats at the push of a button to pad or fill packages.
The wet end is an element of the corrugator, but not every machine has it. The components of the wet end are the unwinder, splicer, single-sided machine, triple preheater and laminating glue unit.
This solvent-based adhesive is used for various adhesive tapes. Natural rubber adhesive has a high initial adhesion, which means: Immediately after unrolling and applying the adhesive tape, it develops 100 percent of its adhesive power. However, this adhesive dissolves faster than other types. Find out more about adhesives and the optimal adhesive tape for your packaging in our practical guide.
Single-face cardboard is only covered on one side. As fine flute (B-flute) in the form of corrugated cardboard roll, it is used for packing and filling, for example. As a micro-flute (E-flute) it is well suited for lamination.
In offset printing, an intermediate carrier is used, i.e. the printing plates do not print directly on the paper, but first on a rubber sheet. This is then used to print onto the final paper. Offset is therefore an indirect planographic printing process. Offset printing allows high-quality print media to be reproduced quickly and is therefore suitable for large print runs. It is the most commonly used printing process today.
You can use packing tape (also adhesive tape) to seal your packaging and additionally strengthen the box. You can find out exactly how best to do this in our practical guide.
Any goods that are packaged are referred to as packaged goods.
Packaging aids include, for example, adhesive tapes, clips and straps. They increase the stability of packaging or hold crates and boxes together.
Packaging includes all products that are used to package goods. These include boxes, bags, bottles or foils.
Packaging materials are all materials that are used in the manufacture of packaging or packaging aids.
A pallet is a means of transport. It is a flat structure on which multiple goods or heavy items are bundled, stored or transported. To move pallets, you need industrial trucks, such as a forklift.
A Euro pallet has the format 800 x 1200 millimeters and a height of 144 millimeters.
Duct tape or 100 MPH tape is a particularly stable adhesive tape. It is heat resistant and water repellent.
Paper cycle means the recycling of waste paper and old cardboard or the production of new boxes from used cardboard. It is an important part of sustainable management. Find out more about sustainability in the Model Group here.
A recyclable alternative to padding materials such as bubble wrap or plastic packing chips.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET for short) is a thermoplastic material and belongs to the polyesters.
The point of sale (POS) describes the place of sale or purchase.
Padding material protects fragile contents during transport or shipping in a package. An environmentally friendly padding material is paper padding. In addition, you can use filling material in your package. You can find out more about filling material and padding material in our practical guide.
Packaging optimized for mailing, i.e. postage-optimized.
PP stands for Polypropylene. This plastic does not contain any plasticizers. It is therefore considered to be less harmful to health than other plastics.
An embossing machine presses a figure or motif into the paper. This is contrasted with a punch (punching machine) which cuts a figure out of a piece of paper.
Primary packaging touches the packaged product directly and is the last thing removed by the end customer. Some primary packaging, for example for food or medicines, is subject to strict regulations: For example, which ingredients may be used in the manufacture of the packaging. Primary packaging must be precisely matched to the respective product in order to protect it in the best possible way.
Promotional packaging is used for marketing and advertising purposes. For example, eye-catching displays at the POS can encourage the end customer to make a purchase.
A proof is a test print that simulates the desired print result and can be evaluated accordingly before the actual print.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC for short) is a polymer for plastics. PVC plastics can be divided into hard and soft PVC.
A part of the corrugator: Sheeters cuts the continuous corrugated cardboard to length.
A product is recyclable if it can be reused after waste processing.
Recycled fibers are made from waste paper or cardboard.
How tear-resistant a material is is determined by the maximum tensile stress up to the moment of tearing. Synthetic fibers are generally more tear-resistant than natural fibers.
Producing in a way that conserves resources means, for example, using natural (= finite) resources as sparingly and efficiently as possible.
Corrugation provides surfaces with fine, parallel grooves.
This machine is part of the corrugator. The machine can slit, cross slit and crease paper.
This punch separates material via rotating tools.
Foam foil is a packaging material and protects sensitive packaged goods from scratches.
Bogus paper is cardboard made from inferior raw materials. The term comes from bookbinding.
With tissue paper, or packing tissue, you can cushion packages or wrap glass, jewelry and china to protect products from scratches. The material looks classy and is pleasant to the touch. You can read more practical tips on padding material here.
The secondary packaging follows the primary packaging of a product. For example, the bottle is primary packaging for wine. If several bottles are packed in a carton, the carton is the secondary packaging.
Service packaging includes paper bags for rolls or to-go cups for coffee. It is packaging that is filled with the food or product at the point of purchase.
SizzlePak is a decorative filling material made of paper in different colors. You can use it to fill spaces in your shipping packaging. You can read more practical tips on filling and padding material here.
A slotter (also scoring station) creates grooves (slots) in corrugated cardboard. To do this, it uses rotating creasing bodies. The slots are used to fold the corrugated board into the desired shape (box) in a later work step.
Instant adhesion means the adhesive strength that an adhesive tape unfolds immediately after unrolling and sticking.
Bulky goods is a shipping method. It is relevant for packages that exceed the standard dimensions but do not weigh more than 30 kilos. These packages must be marked as bulky goods when they are sent by mail.
The splicer is part of the corrugator. It ensures that paper rolls are changed automatically in the system.
The punch (or punching press) can cut through different materials (cardboard or sheet metal) in order to produce individual flat parts from them. This is done by hitting a cutting tool with a hammer head.
Punching tools are used in punches and consist of a die and a punch. You can punch and form materials this way.
Starch is an ingredient used in the manufacturing of paper. For example, potato starch, corn starch and wheat starch are used. Sometimes also pea starch, rice starch and cassava starch.
Dividers divide the interior of a box into multiple compartments, keeping the contents separate during transport.
Stretch foil secures the goods on the pallet and protects them from dirt, weather, excessive heat or cold. It can be stretched up to five times its original length. Depending on the size of your packaged goods, you can use different types of stretch foil: Hand stretch foil, machine stretch foil and mini stretch foil.
Styrofoam chips are used as filling material for packages. Find out here which sustainable alternatives you can use as filling material.
This adhesive is based on synthetic resins and rubber. It has strong, long-lasting adhesion.
Tertiary packaging is the third level of packaging after primary and secondary packaging. Examples of tertiary packaging include stretch and shrink wrap that secure and protect multiple boxes on a pallet for shipment.
Testliner (also test liner) is a type of paper made from recycled fibers (waste paper) and is used in the manufacture of corrugated board. Testliner is the cheaper paper variant compared to kraftliner.
This printing process is suitable, for example, for food packaging or labels. With the printing technique, the form is first completely colored and excess color is later removed. The color only sticks in the desired indentations (motif).
Also called thermal packaging. This packaging is suitable for frozen products. Want to learn more about food packaging? Just keep reading here.
A platen is a flat backing plate in letterpress printing. It is an older process and is now only used for small quantities.
Goods can be transported safely and securely in transport packaging. This includes cardboard boxes, but also foils, for example.
A tray is a type of promotional packaging. It consists of high-quality corrugated or solid cardboard and has an open design. Products can be transported to retail stores and presented at the point of sale in a tray.
A corrugator is divided into wet end and dry end. The dry end includes the short sheeter, creasing and cutting machine and sheeter.
Cardboard packaging is covered with different types of paper: This can be uncoated or printed fine paper that is coated, laminated or embossed and thus upgraded. A coating machine is used for this.
This machine makes coated packaging. These can be covered completely, from above or from below.
Outer packaging is a larger package that bundles small packages together. An example are small packs of gummy bears that are sold in a larger bag (outer packaging).
Retail packaging protects the product and enables it to be handed over safely to the end customer. It is in direct contact with the goods, such as a jar of cream.
All packaging used to ship goods.
Solid board consists of several layers that are pressed together while the fibers are still moist and malleable. This is what distinguishes solid board from corrugated cardboard. Solid board is very strong and durable due to the layers being pressed together.
Due to its smooth structure, packaging made of solid board is very good and can also be printed in multiple colors. In addition, solid board can be coated or laminated with aluminum, for example for beverage cartons.
Even light paper becomes extremely stable when it is corrugated or fluted and glued to smooth paper sheets. Corrugation of the cardboard is the first step in the corrugator. To do this, paper sheets are run off a roll, moistened, warmed up, processed by heated corrugated rollers and then shaped into the desired flute type. You can read detailed information about the wave here.
The flute type - and its properties - is determined by the corrugation height (h) and the corrugation pitch (t). In the single-wall range, the C-flute (medium flute), the B-flute (fine flute) and the E-flute (fine or micro-flute) are the most common. You can read a lot more information about different flute types and their advantages here.
The corrugation height (h) is the measure between wave crest and wave trough.
Corrugated material is made from waste paper and contains portions of semi-pulp.
Corrugated cardboard sheets are the basis of many different types of packaging. They are further processed into boxes in an inline machine. The sheets of corrugated cardboard also function as dividers or cover sheets.
Corrugated cardboard is made from corrugated base paper. Base paper consists of wood or waste fiber. The fibers are suspended in water and mixed with glue, fillers and dyes. This mixture is pressed into a web and dried. Depending on the composition, this creates kraftliner, testliner or bogus paper.
Interior fitments offer additional protection in a package (e.g. for bottles). They are punched out of corrugated cardboard and optimally adapted to the box. In addition, the content can be presented advantageously with an interior fitment (e.g. in packaging for mobile devices).
Corrugated cardboard is so popular for packaging because the corrugation provides stability. Due to its shape, the fluting absorbs pressure and shocks and distributes it to the outer cardboard. The more layers corrugated cardboard packaging has, the more stable it is.
Corrugated cardboard or corrugated board is a light cellulose product and very stable. In the packaging industry, corrugated cardboard is one of the most widely used materials. Its basis is corrugated base paper. This is glued together in at least one smooth and one wavy strip (single wall).
The corrugator consists of several parts and is used for the production of corrugated cardboard. The individual high-precision machines in the system each have their own drive and can be controlled independently of one another via process computers. The corrugator consists of a wet end and a dry end.