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Corrugated Packaging 101

The purpose of this paper is to help businesses (large and small) develop an appreciation for the science of corrugated material and understand the purpose behind different box designs. Both corrugated material and the boxes and trays that are formed from it are constructed for the specific packaging and shipping needs of businesses in various industries.

Once the science of corrugated material, the standards that govern the corrugated industry and the purpose box and tray construction has been explained, it will dispel the myth, “any old box will do.”

The Challenge

Each business in each industry faces its own unique challenges when it comes to packaging and shipping its products, but they share the same goal: To get its products to market safely.

Proper packaging, which includes choosing the proper corrugated material and box (or tray) design, is an important factor in reducing the cost associated with losing products to damage.

What is Corrugated?

Corrugated material is comprised of two main components: a liner and a wavy, fluted material. The fluted material is inserted between two liners and gives the material its strength, similar to the way arches provide strength to a bridge. The liners and fluted material are then glued, pressed, cut and scored on a corrugator.

Basic Box Construction

All corrugated boxes and trays start out as flat sheets of corrugated material. If a box requires printing, it is transported to a press, which prints graphics directly on the flat sheet. Once printed, the box is fed through a flexo-folder gluer, which applies cross slots and cross scores to create the individual flaps, and applies cold glue on the manufacturer’s joint (the end flap used to glue the box together), folds, and compresses the box.

Corrugated boxes are popular because of their strength and because they can be produced in high volumes very quickly and easily.

Standards of Corrugated Material

There are four basic standards used in constructing corrugated material:

  • Board Styles
  • Flutes
  • Dimensions
  • Edge crush test

Board Styles

There are four standard thicknesses of corrugated material:

To read the rest of this white paper on corrugated packaging, click on the link below.