Custom Packaging Terms and Definitions

Packaging Glossary


A Flute

Fluting of height 4-5mm.

Adhesive Tape Dispensers

Adhesive tape dispensers facilitate the process of sealing corrugated boxes and other packages through manual or automatic tape application.

Adhesive Tapes

Adhesive tape products consists of a type of base support (such as plastic or paper) and glue (adhesive), typically used for sealing corrugated boxes and other packages. There are a wide variety of tape materials in a range of thicknesses and widths.

Anti-Slip Paper

A disposable non-woven fleece placed between pallets to prevent the shifting of cargo during transport.

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B Flute

Fluting of height 2.1–3mm.


Barriers are available in the form of films or laminated foils (multi-layer) that protect against corrosion by preventing the entry of moist air into the packaging system.


Containers used for storage.


A substance or object capable of decomposing by biological means.

Block Pallet

A common type of load unitization solution, capable of full four-way entry and compatible with forklifts, pallet jacks, or other material handling equipment.

Blocking & Bracing

A method of securing a load to ensure minimal movement.

Blown Films

The manufacturing process that produces films of plastic sheeting and tubes.


A box describes a variety of containers and receptacles, typically with a flat base, sides, a bottom, and a lid.

Bubble Wrap®

A lightweight and pliable plastic material, containing numerous small air cushions designed to protect fragile goods. Generically known as bubble pack and bubble paper, Bubble Wrap® is a registered trademark of Sealed Air.

Bulk Container

A large container designed to carry bulk goods or cargo.

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C Flute

Fluting of height 3.2–4mm

Chip (C)

Chip is a liner material manufactured from uncontrolled recycled material.

Closing System

The method of closing a corrugated box to keep the unit as a one-piece solution.

CMYK Color

The CMYK color model is universally the most common method for colors to be built on press. CMYK uses four different pigmented inks—Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y), and Black (K).

Coated Paper

Paper made with a layer of clay on top of fibers.

Cold Chain

The related supply chain steps involved in moving temperature-sensitive shipments, including suppliers, resources, and logistics.

Conductive Materials

Materials that enable charge (electrons) to move freely across their surface or through their volume.

Connected Packaging

Connected packaging (also called smart packaging) is capable of direct communication with a smart device through integrated technologies such as Quick Response (QR) codes or Near Field Communication (NFC) tags.


A company that specialize in combining and processing raw materials to create new products.


Corrugated is made from paper made up of cellulose fibers, consisting of fluting faced with a liner on both sides.

Corrugated Board

Corrugated board consists of one or more sheets of fluted paper adhered to one or more liner papers.


The machine for making corrugated board.


A large container, often made of wood, used to transport large or heavy items.

Custom Packaging

Packaging solutions specially designed to meet a client’s specific requirements.

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Dangerous Goods

A designation for substances and products that can harm humans, animals, the environment, or property if mishandled during transport or storage.

Die Cutting

The process of cutting shapes through a die made out of steel rule, applied with a hydraulic or mechanical press.

Digital Print

A direct printing process. A print-ready artwork file is electronically transferred from a computer directly to the press and then printed onto the desired substrate. Digital presses transfer four or more colors of ink (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) simultaneously, producing full-color prints without the use of print plates.


The process of storing and transporting finished goods from the point of origin to the end retailer or consumer.

Double-Wall Corrugation

Two outer liners, one inner liner, and two layers of fluted paper between the layers and liners.

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E Flute

Fluting of height 1–1.8mm.

EPE Foam

Expanded Polyethylene (EPE) Foam is a lightweight, flexible, and widely used foam for packaging. It can absorb shock and provide cushioning to delicate objects.

EPP Foam

Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) Foam is a tough and resilient closed-cell material that is moisture- and chemical-resistant and can be used throughout a wide temperature range.

EPS Foam

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Foam, sometimes referred to by consumers as “styrofoam,” is a commonly used material with shock absorption properties, making it ideal for storing and transporting fragile items. STYROFOAM™ is a trademark of the Dow Chemical Company.

Extruded Film

The process in which the extrusion of molten resin pushes through a die to produce a film.

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F Flute

Fluting of height 0.75mm.

Flute Size

Corrugated material is available in different wall thicknesses, known as flute size. Each flute size has a unique function or purpose, depending on the customer’s packaging needs, ranging from A-flute (the largest) to F-flute and below (micro flutes).

Flexible Packaging

Flexible material, such as paper or foil, used to form packaging for items such as bags, pouches, or envelopes.


A rotary relief printing process that uses print plates to transfer the image onto the desired substrate manually. The plate features raised rubber or photopolymer molds that depict the desired artwork. Ink is applied to the raised areas of the plate, which then rotates on a cylinder at high speeds to transfer the image to the substrate.


A widely used protective packaging material with unique shock-absorbing properties. Foam comes in a variety of different types and styles and can be customized to fit the specific design of a product.


Full truckload, where finished goods being shipped occupy a complete truck.


The process of receiving, processing, and delivering orders from the warehouse or point of origin to the end retailer or consumer.

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Glue is an adhesive used for adhering or securing objects or materials together.

Gram Weight

The weight of paper specified for corrugated.

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Hazardous materials, see Dangerous Goods for more details.


High-Density Polyethylene, a recyclable thermoplastic polymer known for its high strength-to-density ratio.


A material consisting of kraft liner formed into a continuous hexagonal cell pattern. The hexagonal structure, similar to that of the inside of a beehive, makes this material strong and rigid.

Humidity/Temperature Indicator

Indicators that monitor whether a humidity or temperature threshold has been reached during transport and storage.

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Inner Dimension, typically expressed as L (length) x W (width) x H (height).

Impact Indicator

A detection device for packaging that activates when the impact level exceeds the threshold of the unit and signals if it has been mishandled.

Inner Packaging

Packaging that surrounds the product and protects it against abrasion, corrosion, or electrostatic discharge (ESD).


A list of raw materials, finished goods, or other supplies held in a warehouse or distribution center.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (also known as IoT) refers to a network of physical objects enabled with Internet connectivity, and the communication that occurs between these objects and other enabled devices.

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Just-in-time (JIT) is an inventory management strategy in which raw material, finished goods, or supplies are only purchased or manufactured when required.

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A paper and paperboard material made from virgin wood pulp treated by the sulfate process, resulting in a natural brown appearance.

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Label (Packaging)

A piece of paper, plastic film, or other material that adheres to packaging or a product for marking and identifying purposes. Labels can come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes depending on the application.


Low-Density Polyethylene, a flexible and tough recyclable thermoplastic available in translucent and opaque versions.


The inner and outer facing of corrugated board. Most commonly this material is kraft or a grade of white, and may be different on each side of the board.

Lean Manufacturing

A system of techniques and activities to improve efficiency and minimize waste in the manufacturing process.

Litho Lamination

The process of printing decorative graphics onto paper liner board by way of offset lithography, and then laminating that printed liner board onto a backing board (such as corrugated).


Less than truckload, refers to the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the flow and storage of raw materials and finished goods from the point of origin to the end consumer.

Load Securing

A solution used to prevent damage during transportation


The process of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient and cost-effective flow and storage of raw materials, in-process stocks, finished goods, and related information from the point of origin to the customer.


A type of void filling and blocking packaging material, such as packing peanuts or recycled paper.

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Mullen Burst

A measure of tear resistance.

Multi-Ply Paper

Paper made from several layers of pulped fibers.

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Near Field Communication (NFC)

A wireless data transfer method that detects and then enables technology in close proximity to communicate using electronic tags and without the need for an internet connection.

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Outer Dimension, usually expressed as L (length) x W (width) x H (height).

Offset Printing

A print technology that uses plates, usually made of metal or aluminum, to transfer an image onto a rubber “blanket” and then roll that image onto a sheet of paper. With offset print, the ink is not transferred directly onto the substrate.

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A type of void filling solution that can be used for blocking lightweight products.

Packaging Insert

Corrugated material used to divide a box into different sections. Inserts are designed to reduce or cut off the movement of contents inside the box and act as a shock absorber to mitigate product damage.


The assembling and securing of individual items on a platform to be moved or stored.

Paper Tape

A common type of tape made of paper, featuring a water-activated adhesive.


The process by which finished goods are selected against customers’ orders and then packed for distribution.


The distance from one flute tip to the next.

Plastic Tape

A common type of tape made of plastic or polypropylene, with a heat-sensitive or pressure-sensitive adhesive.

Point-of-Purchase (POP)

The physical location where consumers decide whether or not to buy a product.

Polyester Strap

Designed for medium to heavy-duty palletizing or unitizing, designed for shipping or storage.

Polypropylene Strap

Designed for medium-duty bundling and carton closure applications. It has excellent elongation recovery properties, making it ideal for products that shrink or compress.

Packaging Prototype

The mockup or working model of a packaging design before it enters production.

Primary Packaging

The container in direct contact with the product.

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QR Code

Quick Response Code, a type of 2D barcode that can be read by smart devices.

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Recycled Paper

Paper made from extracting used paper fiber.

Relative Humidity (%RH)

For a given temperature, the Relative Humidity is the ratio that measures the amount of moisture in the air compared to what the air can hold at that temperature.

Returnable Packaging

A shipping container designed for the end consumer to reuse and return the contents to the manufacturer or the origin source.

Retail Display

A physical in-store display used to promote a specific product.


Radio-frequency identification, a system that uses radio signals and electronic tags to locate and identify merchandise or products through the supply chain.

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Secondary Packaging

The packaging that contains one or more primary packages.

Security Tape

A type of specialty tape used to indicate whether a package was opened or tampered with while in transit or storage.


Fluting made by a semi-chemical process with virgin wood pulp.

Sheet Plant

A corrugated box maker that converts sheet board only.

Single Face

A board or paper with only one layer of liner and fluting.

Single Wall Corrugation

The most popular corrugated board material, often used in carton manufacture. This board contains one layer of fluting, sandwiched between and adhered to two liner layers, one on each side.


The process of cutting a long stock roll of material into smaller or thinner segments, or cutting down a large corrugated sheet into smaller sheets.


The practice of locating and procuring raw materials, components, finished goods, and services for the supply chain.

Stacking Strength

The weight that a box or pallet can withstand during transport and storage.


An alternative solution to taping or gluing, used to seal a corrugated box for transport purposes.

Steel Strap

A method of securing heavy-duty loads as an alternative to plastic strapping.

Strap Machines

Tools and equipment used to apply pallet straps.

Stretch Film

An extremely elastic plastic wrap that stretches around pallets or boxes to secure for shipping and transportation.

Stretch Foil Machines and Tools

Equipment and tools used to apply stretch foil.

Structural Design

The process of designing custom packaging for a specific purpose or product, primarily focused on protecting the product inside.

Supply Chain

The integrated network of vendors, resources, and technologies used to produce a product and all of its related components and distribute it to the end consumer.

Sustainable Packaging

Packaging produced with environmental practices or materials.

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The process of using integrated software and technologies to monitor the progress of finished goods or raw material through the supply chain, usually in or near real-time.

Triple-Wall Corrugation

Two outer liners, two inner liners, and three layers of fluted paper between the layers and liners.

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Unit Cost

The total cost of producing a single unit.

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Variable Data

Non-repeated graphic features within a larger design such as images, number sequences, or barcodes that are unique to each print. Typically, this effect is best achieved with digital print methods that enable elements of artwork files to be easily interchangeable from one print to the next.

Vacuum Forming

The method for thermally shaping a flat plastic sheet into a three-dimensional shape by heating the sheet and withdrawing the air between the sheet and mold.

Vendor Consolidation

The process of managing and consolidating multiple vendors to simplify logistics into a single or smaller number of shipments, in the effort to reduce costs and improve delivery efficiency.


Vendor Managed Inventory, a method of inventory management in which suppliers take care of their products within a retailer’s inventory.

VHB™ Tape

Very High Bonding, VHB™ is a trademark of 3M.

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A covered and secure place for the reception and storage of raw material, finished goods, or supplies.

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