When you’re new to cardboard box manufacturing, the acronyms and jargon (or common packaging terms) can make it seem complicated. We promise you that it’s not. To help customers break down the terminology and find the best packaging solutions – here’s Echo Cartons’ A-Z glossary of common packaging terms.
Also called automated assembly lines, these are a production line run entirely by machines. It takes very precise boxes to keep these lines running smoothly – which happens to be one of our specialties. Check out our carton packaging for automated lines.
An industry standard that measures the amount of force required to burst corrugated boxes or flexible packaging. It is commonly measured using the Mullen Burst Test. Need a tough box? Read our blog for tips on how to design strong boxes.
A paperboard with a wavy profile that is used in the centre of your corrugated cardboard boxes. Corrugated board is layered between sheets of linerboard.
Custom boxes are ones which have been specially designed to meet your product or business needs. Their size, branding and other elements have been customised to help you stand out. (See Also: Stock Size Boxes)
This common packaging term refers to a type of box that has been specially cut, scored and shaped for easy assembly without the need for glue or tape. Die cut boxes are another specialty of Echo Cartons and very common for eCommerce businesses.
Also known as POS (Point of Sale) or POP (Point of Purchase) Displays. These are cardboard stands designed to be eye-catching in store, promote your products and make them easy to purchase. Read our guide to cardboard POS displays for more.
Cardboard inserts designed to keep products separate during transit and provide light cushioning (See Also: Partitions and Pads in this list of common packaging terms). Commonly used in the beverage industry for neater packing.
A box featuring two layers of corrugated board. Double wall boxes are highly customisable as the corrugated layers can include different flute sizes.
This is an acronym for the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers. They manage the FEFCO codes – an internationally applied system for corrugated packaging design. For example, FEFCO 0471 is the code for a very common style of mailer box that many online retailers use.
A method for printing designs and artwork onto corrugated cardboard boxes. Part of the Flexo Folder Gluer process, the machine uses big plates similar to stamps to create consistent, quality designs.
Flexo Folder Gluer
A machine which cuts, prints and assembles your boxes at high speeds. We use it regularly at Echo Cartons to manufacture up to 300 units per minute.
The name for the size of the waves which make up corrugated board. Sizes range from E which is very small to A which is thick. Choosing the right flute size helps provide strength and rigidity to your box.
Flutes can run either vertically or horizontally, which is the flute direction. Choosing the right direction can also assist with the strength and durability of your box.
Any kind of box design which may be flattened for ease of storage and transport.
A type of box which is supplied to you flat so that you may wrap it around your items with ease. Ideal for transporting long and thin items. Learn more about folder style boxes.
A measurement of the weight of the paper used to make your boxes. There are many weight options from lightweight recycled fibres (100gsm) to heavier kraft papers (300gsm). Echo Cartons can help you determine the ideal weight to package your products while still keeping freight costs low.
Half Slotted Container (HSC)
A regular 4-sided box with flap closures on the base and an open top. The HSC has many uses, but one of the most common is displaying product in bulk. Some retailers even specifically request this box.
Printed brand logos, text and other designs that appear inside your boxes. Commonly printed onto box flaps to elevate the unboxing experience of your customers. Learn more about internal printing.
The edges of the box which have been taped, glued or stitched together. Sometimes called a manufacturer’s joint as the assembly is often completed during manufacturing.
Kraft is a German word meaning ‘strength’. In the box world, it refers to paperboard made from virgin pulp. It is a strong material that is fully recyclable at the end of its use.
The packaging lead time refers to how long it takes to produce your packaging. This may or may not include delivery timeframes – so be sure to check. At Echo Cartons, we have a 5-day lead time on new packaging orders, which applies to all the standard board grades.
A flat paperboard, sometimes called liner, which makes up the outer layers of your corrugated box. Linerboard is layered on top of and in between corrugated cardboard to create your box walls.
OCC stands for Old Corrugated Containers. It is the term used to classify paper for recycling. Echo Cartons recycle 100% of our offcuts and waste. Our OCC is processed offsite to create recycled papers which we then use in new boxes.
Partitions and Pads
Like dividers, partitions and pads are a form of box insert that is designed for extra cushioning, protection and packing efficiency for your products.
This is the final thing a consumer will open before handling their goods. In other words, it is the product packaging. Primary packaging may be made from many materials such as cardboard, glass, paper or plastic.
Regular Slotted Container (RSC)
A regular 4-sided box with flap closures at both the top and base. The most common box style manufactured around the world, the possibilities of an RSC are endless.
Paper fibres which have been repurposed into the liner or medium for new cardboard boxes. At Echo Cartons, we recycle 250 tonnes of manufacturing offcuts per year. That’s equal to 750,000 boxes. Learn more about recycled packaging.
Seasonal packaging is any packaging that has been designed for a special time or year or a limited run. The most popular time is Christmas, but other options include Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Halloween or even springtime. Read our guide to seasonal packaging for more.
This is the packaging that is used for delivery. It carries multiple units of a product to stores. Corrugated cardboard is often used for secondary packaging, since it is strong and lightweight.
Shelf-Ready Packaging (SRP)
Shelf-ready packaging is a carton featuring an outer transit box which then converts into a unit for display on retail shelves. This means it can go straight from factories to stores. Features of shelf-ready packaging include bold branding to make your box stand out and tear-away sides for easy opening. Check out our guide to retail packaging for more.
Shelf appeal is a common packaging term and refers to how a product looks at the point of sale compared to competitors nearby. It’s important for your boxes to stand out on shelves while also being easy to shop – making consumers more likely to purchase.
A box featuring a single layer of corrugated cardboard. Single wall boxes are great if you need a lightweight option with plenty of strength.
Small Run/Short Run
The minimum amount that can be ordered from a particular manufacturer. At Echo Cartons, we have the capabilities for all kinds of small run orders. Get in touch to learn more.
Stock Size Boxes
Plain boxes that have been manufactured to standard sizes. Great for generic uses, such as shipping boxes or last-minute orders. You can order stock size boxes in our online store with delivery available in metro Melbourne. Learn more in our blog on stock packaging vs custom packaging.
Most corrugated boxes are glued together however, when you need extra strength – they can be stitched. We have a machine that applies staples along the join. It’s a technique we use for when clients need a heavy duty box.
The moment a customer opens their package is known as the unboxing. An unboxing video is a popular trend on social media and YouTube. Many businesses, especially online ones, choose to design a box for the unboxing experience. Read our blog on how to design a memorable unboxing.
Papers that have not been processed in any form, other than by the original manufacturer. For example, virgin kraft paper are new fibres made from wood pulp. Virgin papers tend to be stronger than recycled papers. We often use a mix of papers in our boxes to improve durability.
Need more help with common packaging terms? Ask our experts
With over 20 years of manufacturing experience, the Echo Cartons team are able to answer all your questions about corrugated packaging and common packaging terms. When you need advice on the best box, contact our team.