The Shipping Dock: Glossary of Packaging Terms
Boxboard: a paperboard used in the manufacture of light noncorrugated containers. It can be plain, lined or clay-coated.
Bursting strength: paper's strength to resist pressure; the resistance of paper to rupture as measured by the pressure required to burst it when a uniformly distributed and increasing pressure is applied to its top or bottom side.
Carton: a container made from thin paperboard that typically measures between 0.25 and 1 millimeter in thickness. Cartons are primarily used for displaying products on store shelves. They typically feature a chipboard stock that can support printing and graphics.
Cartonboard: a paperboard that is used to make folding boxes or cartons.
Cartoner: a machine that erects and closes carton blanks or folded and side-seam sealed cartons.
Case: a container made out of corrugated cardboard that is 3 to 6 millimeters thick.
Case packer: a machine that is similar to a cartoner, but it typically works with a heavier type of paperboard.
Changeover: the process of changing a packaging line from one product or type of package to another. It typically involves switching parts or fixtures. Changeover is an important indicator of lead time. Longer changeovers increase lead time and increase time to market; shorter changeovers reduce lead time and reduce time to market. Also called "set up."
Clamshell: a rigid thermoformed plastic container that features a hinged lid with a positive snap closure so the package can be opened and resealed. An insert card is included to explain the uses and features of the product.
Closing machine: a device that seals or closes filled packages by crimping, folding or tucking. Adhesives, gummed tape and ultrasonic welding are often used, in addition to heat sealing.
Containerboard: solid fiber or corrugated and combined paperboard used in the manufacture of shipping containers.
Corrugated: a durable, lightweight material used for making cases. Corrugated packaging has an arched layer, called fluting, between smooth sheets, called liner. The corrugated cardboard most commonly used to make cases has one layer of fluting between two smooth sheets.
Delamination: separations or splitting, usually caused by lack of adequate or sufficient adhesion in laminating or plied goods.
Elasticity: the ability of paper or plastic to rebound back to its original state after being stretched.
End-of-line packaging: the final step in most packaging lines; the process consists of cartoning, case packing and palletizing.
Extensibility: the ability of paper or plastic to be stretched without breaking.
Filling machine: a device that measures a predetermined volume, weight or number of product and fills it into a bag, bottle, box, container, sack, tube or other type of package.
Low-density polyethylene (LDPE): a polymer that, when coated onto paperboard, creates a moisture and vapor barrier and improves heat sealing. Because it is inexpensive, LDPE is a widely used polycoating for paperboard.
Pallet: a portable, horizontal, rigid platform used as a base for assembling, storing, stacking, handling and transporting goods as a unit load. A pallet typically contains a raised superstructure that allows it to be lifted and moved by a forklift without damaging any cases.
Palletizer: a machine that forms, dismantles or secures pallets and other loading units. Can be either conventional (fixed) or robotic (flexible).
Plug-and-pack: a multi-vendor drive-controller interface for packaging machinery that is based upon the Open, Modular Architecture Control (OMAC) standard.
Primary packaging: refers to packaging that immediately envelopes a product. It provides most of the strength and the moisture, vapor or grease barrier needed to safeguard a product's purity, potency and integrity from the time it leaves the assembly line until it's used by the consumer. Examples of primary packaging include blister packs, clamshells and trays.
Radio frequency identification device (RFID): a smart tag embedded with a microchip transmitter that allows unprecedented access to consumers. The technology allows manufacturers to capture accurate information about the location and status of products and track them as they move from the assembly line to the retail store.
Secondary packaging: the outer package into which the primary package is placed. Its major function is to protect the product during shipping and distribution. Examples of secondary packaging include cartons, containers and pallets.
Shrink wrapping: a technique of packaging in which the strains in a plastic film are released by raising the temperature of the film, thus causing it to shrink over the package.
Thermoforming: a process of forming thermoplastic sheet that consists of heating the sheet and forcing it into a mold by vacuum, air pressure or mechanical pressure.
Tray: a multicavity package thermoformed from plastic that holds numerous parts or products. Trays are often used as standalone retail-store displays.
Wrapping machine: a device that wraps a flexible material, such as plastic film, around a product or group of products.