Terminology Key

Packaging Terminology Key

Explore our terminology key to find out what certain things mean or brush up on your knowledge.


Abrasion Resistance

Item or product has endurance against repeated rubbing, scratching or transit wear.

Anaerobic Digestion

Refers to a part of the process used to treat biodegradable waste – Microorganisms are used to break down materials where oxygen is not present.

Angel Hair

The tiniest slithers of material that can remain on products after being cut.


Protective packaging to prevent static discharge – traditionally found with computer parts.


Strong and lightweight polypropylene typically used inside flight cases and air transit.


Reduce the force or magnitude of potential harm e.g vibrations


Backing Liner

Compressible paper used to compensate for any irregularities on the surface. Not the same as Void Fill, as backing liner is usually adhered to the liner of the package.

Barrier Material

Material designed to eliminate the passage of gas, moisture and other exterior factors – most commonly used in food packaging.


Typically used to soften edges for protection and safety; bevel refers to to the edge of containers that aren’t directly 90 degrees to the faces of the container e.g watch boxes.


Refers to storage containers for small parts or hardware accessories – typically plastic or corrugated.


A material that decomposes by bacteria or other living organisms after being treated in industrial plants.


A piece of corrugated board – usually flat – that has been cut and scored in preparation for making a box.

Bleached Pulp

Pulp that has been oxidised to be whitened.

Blister Packs

Tamper proof plastic packaging usually moulded around a product and heat sealed to a foil blister card e.g medications such as paracetamol.

Blister Packaging

Not to be confused with blister packs, blister packaging secures a product between transparent packaging and paperboard e.g toothbrushes and toys.

Blow Moulding

Used to force and shape plastics to the form of the mould they need to take. Examples of blow moulding include milk bottles and shampoo bottles.


A heavy sheet of paper – can vary in material and size.

Board Grade

Grade given to boards based on three factors – Weight and type of inner liner, the type of flute (see flute) and the weight and type of outer liner.


The process of adhering two pieces of material to each other through differing processes – typically heat-sealing or glue.

Bubble Pack

Another term for Blister Pack.

Burst Pack

Versatile packaging designed to hold pre-measured amounts of lubricant, typically has a burstable internal seal.

Burst Damage

Refers to when a package that splits or bursts due to an excess of pressure – packages being stacked on top of each other can result in this.



Computer Aided Design – Interactive digital engineer drawings.


Computer Aided Manufacturing – Used in conjecture with CAD – CAM is used to combine and control production equipment with the design.


Used to close packages at the end of the container – e.g poster tubes or a corrugated cap for the top of a pallet box. Caps can also refer to cushioning material placed over the edges of products e.g polystyrene.

Carton Board

Stiffer and thicker than typical boxboard. Unlike cardboard, Carton Board is not fluted (see flute).


Small set of swivel wheels on the bottom of items to allow for easier transport – typically found on transit cases.


Cubic Centimetre.

Chop Edge

The length of a board or sheet – Can also be referred to as Chops.

Clay Coat

A thin layer of Kaolin (a natural or manmade form of clay) applied to corrugated to improve its printing surface.

Closed Loop

Refers to a zero-waste supply chain – re-use, recycle or compost are the main elements of this system.


The process or device used to seal a package e.g stapling, taping and glued.

CNC Routing

Computer Numerical Control Routing – A process of cutting materials using a computer controlled system. Typically used to create precise foam packaging.

Cobb Test

A test used to determine the amount of water absorbed into materials such as corrugated, paper, paperboard and. Cobb60 and Cobb180 refer to 60 seconds and 180 seconds.

Coldset PVA

An adhesive that becomes liquid when heated to 60 degrees and loses fluidity when cooled to 20 degrees.


Packaging that offers protection from electrostatic discharge by offsetting charge around the outside of the package.


Two different monomers (see monomer) are joined together to create a polymer chain thus creating a regular chain pattern.

Copolymer Resin

Flexible, tough and clear plastic material.


Strong cardboard tubes used with items such as tape, paper or plastic being tightly wound around them. Different core sizes denote the circumference of the core used.

Corner Blocks

Packaging corner blocks – typically foam – used to protect products during transit.


A material shaped into a series of parallel ridges and grooves.

Corrugated Board or Cardboard

Material containing one or more sheets of fluted (see flute) paper between its outer and inner linings. Stronger and more flexible than regular cardboard and similar items.


An industrial machine used to combine two different types of material (usually paper) to create sheets of corrugated.


Anti-corrosion coating typically used to protect metal products during transit.


A corrugated fitting or insert used to secure a package or container within an outer shipper.

Crash Lock

A type of box or carton that allows the bases of the package to be locked together – in a pre-designed locking system or with other methods such as tape.


Defines the folding lines of a package used for assembly.


Refers to the undesirable progressive deformation of a material due to a constantly applied external stress e.g change in thickness of a cushioning material over time.


Refers to edge crush testing. The cross direction crushing of a corrugated board is tested to determine the resistance to being crushed.


Material and process used to protect fragile items during transit – e.g Air Cushions.

Cushioning Curves

Not to be confused with packaging corners. A cushioning curve is typically a graph used to indicate how packaging reacts to different impact conditions.



The width of a board used on a Corrugator (see Corrugator).

Demo Case

Used to present products during pitches or meetings. Also referred to as sample cases.


Used as a drying agent for water vapour. The most common example of this is silica gel.

Die Cutting

A process used to mass produce cut-out designs e.g corrugated boards. A “Die” is a metal object cut to the required design that is used to cut the material.


Drip Feed Stock Management – A Maxpack system that optimises the way you control your stock.


Small platform on wheels (usually two) used to transport heavier objects.

Double Walled

Two layers of corrugated materials combined to provide more strength. Also see – Single Walled.

Drop Test

Used to determine the durability of packaging. Items will be dropped from heights to verify the level of protection offered.


The name given to materials used to protect goods and their packaging from moisture, contamination and damage. Can be used to refer to materials such as: bubblewrap, corrugated, foam, air pillows etc.


A type of two layer paperboard that usually has its outside water-resistant coated. Typically found in paper cups and plates.



Retail operations and transactions carried out online.

Egg-box Foam

Foam packaging that features one flat side and one grooved side. Used in the lids of protective casing but typically found as sound insulation in recording studios.


Raised lettering or design on packaging.

End Caps

Similar to Caps. Foam protection placed over the edge of products to protect them in packaging and transit.


Expandable Polystyrene – A closed cell, rigid, tough and light foam material with good levels of insulation and impact resistance.


Electrostatic Discharge – ESD occurs when two objects come into contact and conduct an electrostatic charge – also known as static electricity.

ESD Anti-Static

A coating that stops the flow of electricity and electrostatic charge from entering a package and potentially damage contents.

ESD Shielding

A material that possess the ability to resist electrostatic charge.


A type of light and flexible foam packaging that has a medium density.


A type of durable storage that is available with standardised Euro sizings – based on typical warehouse facilities.


The process of forcing heat and pressure in a continuous or semi-continuous manner to shape materials.



The name given to the process of manufacturing and creating an item, as opposed to using ready-made components.

FDI – Falling Dart Impact

Traditional method of evaluating the impact strength of plastics – Also known as Gardner Impact.

First Drop

The first of many drop tests during packaging testing.

Flatbed Die Cutting

Similar to Die Cutting, this process involves a metal die being pressing onto a material that is on a flat surface.

Flat Pack

Packaging or items that are flat when in transit and assembled upon arrival or use to minimise transit and carbon costs.

Flood Coat

The coating of an entire surface with a single colour or dye.


Denotes the type of paper that provides the central layer in corrugated. The flute runs in a typical arch pattern at different densities. The different flute types include:

A-Flute: The original fluting for corrugated with around 36 flutes per foot – can be used for double wall or thick corrugated.
B-Flute: The second highest arch size at around 49 flutes per foot. B-Flute provides good stacking strength and crush resistance meaning it is typically used for food packaging and retail packaging.
C-Flute: The most commonly used type of flute. Around 41 flutes per foot, provides good cushioning, stacking and printing properties. Typically used with shipping cartons.
E-Flute: The second most common type of flute at around 90 flutes per foot. It is used commonly in eco-friendly packaging, retail packaging and printed corrugated packaging.
F-Flute: Smaller and more compact at around 128 flutes per foot. F-Flute offers solid structural integrity.

Flute Direction

Vertical or horizontal. The direction can often determine the strength.


The metal used to score a board for a die cut finish. Also called a cutting forme.



Grams per Square Meter – The unit used to determine the weight and thickness of paper


Hand Erect

Packaging that will be assembled by hand. Can traditionally be used for more complex designs.

Hand Platen

A manually operated machine used to score, crease and die cut corrugated board.

Hand Holes

Holes cut into packaging to make carrying easier.


High Density Polyethylene – typically used for blow moulding thanks to its stiffness, stress crack resistance and chemical resistance.


A method used to seal two or more surfaces together using heat. Can also be used to seal surfaces together using a thermoplastic layer.

Hermetic Seal

An airtight and leak-proof seal.

Hinged End Cap

Fold around an item to create a cushion. Similar to end caps but these do not involve bonding.


High Impact Polystyrene – Impact resistant, injection moulded plastic which is typically low cost and easy to fabricate.

Hot-Melt Adhesive

An adhesive that is solid at room temperature and liquifies when heated. Also known as hot glue or HMA.


Impact Strength

The level of resistance a package has to withstand shock – also referred to as Impact Resistance.

Injection Moulding

A process where a heatened and softened plastic is forced from a heating cylinder to be cooled and shaped. Typical examples are plastic bowls and utensils, electronic housings and bespoke parts.


Die cutting machinery that also incorporates printing capabilities in the same run.

In-Mould Labelling

A process that incorporates pre-printed labels into the mould before the plastic is injected removing the need for post production labelling.

Inter-Stacking Pattern

Cases featuring interlocking designs top and bottom allowing for cases to be stacked on top of eachother. Also called ISP.

IP Rating

Ingress Protection – Defines the level of protection a container has against the intrusion of foreign objects.


Jigsaw Packs

Foam cushioned packaging that locks together.



Knocked Down – Boxes or cartons that are either shipped or stored flat and non-assembled.

Kiss Cut

A variation of die cutting that cuts the top layer of material without cutting the bottom material.


100% biodegradable brown paper packaging made from virgin fibres.


Label Panel

The section of a container used for labels and often invoices.


A laminate film applied to packaging to enhance its properties – commonly aesthetic with some protective properties.

Laser Etching

A process where lasers are used to engrave designs, texts or patterns onto materials.


Low Density – Typically refers to foam density.


The design of packaging that reduce material use, weight and cost – also used to increase environmental impacts of packaging.


One of the materials used to make up part of the components in corrugated.


Typically means handling containers used to transport components to assembly lines.


Using plates to print on flat surfaces.

Litho Laminated Print

A coated press sheet affixed to corrugated board prior to the die cutting process (see Die Cutting).


Machine Erect

Packaging that can be fully or partially assembled by machine.

Materials Handling

This term covers the movement, protection, storage and control of products and materials throughout every aspect of manufacturing.


Manufacturing Lead Time – The cumulative time spent in a manufacturing cycle from inventory to order preparation.


A molecule chemical that binds to other monomers to create polymers e.g ethylene is the base monomer for polyethylene.


Minimum Order Quantity – A supplier may require a customer to order a minimum amount before they can buy stock.

Multi Trip

Packaging that can be used for multiple trips. Can also be referred to as Reusable or Multi Use.

Multi Up

Dies and Presses are designed in such a way that they can apply multiple designs at once (See Die Cutter).


Nested Containers

These containers are designed with inclining side walls allowing them to be stacked or nested in each other when not in use. Storage bins are a good example of this (see Bins).


Water based abrasion resistant coating.


Offset Litho

The method of a metal plate with an image/design transferring that design to a rubber blanket and then, when under pressure, transferring that image to material – Typically used for mass production.

Open Front

Refers to storage bins with an open design to allow for ease of access (see Bins).

Operational Temperature

The temperature at which packaging will perform at an acceptable level enough to be used as intended.


The method of applying a design/colour on top of another one.



A flat structure that allows for the stacking, storing and transportation of goods. The structure of pallets allows for easy movement by forklifts and pallet trucks.

Pallet Boxes

Large boxes fixed to or around pallets to allow for pallets to be filled with less conventionally sized packages allowing for bulk shipment.


Refers to the Pantone Matching System – a widely used system for matching colours and inks. Colours are assigned Pantone codes and are traditionally used in textiles and printing.


Commonly used acronym for Polyethylene.


Small holes in packaging that indicate where a package can be open.

Picking Bin

A storage container that stores goods that are ready to be picked for shipment.

Pick Face

The front face of an item or storage container that displays information about the contents.

Pillow Pack

Packaging typically used for smaller items that folds over and resembles a cardboard pillow. An example of pillow packs in use is individual soap bars.


A computer device used for printing graphics. Allows for cost-effective productions of samples or smaller quantities.


A thin yet strong wooden board of two layers or more glued and pressed together with alternating grain direction.

Polyethylene – PE

The most commonly used plastic. Translucent, tough, unaffected by water and a lot of chemicals. Also known as PE.


Large molecule materials made when smaller molecules (monomers) join together. Polyethylene is a common polymer made from a base monomer of ethylene.

Polypropylene – PP

Similar material to polyethylene. Used a lot in moulding materials and strapping. Also known as PP.


A thermoplastic non-toxic material traditionally used for basic protection. Has a low impact strength and is environmental poorly rated.

Polyurethane – PU

Versatile plastic. Common uses vary but can include insulation foam, car seat covers and mattress toppers.


Material produced by mechanically or chemically separating fibres from items such as waste paper and wood. Pulp forms the basis for most materials such as corrugated.

Purge Valve

A valve that allows for the release of air and pressure from a package or container but prevents the entrance of dust or water. Can also be referred to as a Purge Solenoid.


Polyvinyl Acetate. A type of thermoplastic. Can be used as a primer, admixture or bond agent amongst other uses.



A cylinder or coil on which flexible materials can be tightly wound around. Also known as a spool.


A metal join or fastening point.

Rotary Die Cutting

(Also see Die Cutting) Cutting on a cylinder press usually conducted in line with printing using solid engraved dies that are adjustable. Typically used in engineering thanks to the accuracy and replication ability of the rotary motion.

Rotational Moulding

A moulding process used to make seamless, one-piece items. Examples of products are storage tanks, plastic furniture and helmets.


How many items are produced or are scheduled to be produced in one session.



A prototype or run of prototypes produced for a customer’s approval before mass production.


Techniques used to keep a package together. Can include stapling, gluing, taping or even stitched.


A term used to refer to a raw material or board.

Shielding Layer

A conductive layer used to block electrostatic fields or radiation fields. Examples include lead and concrete.


A rotary die cutter (see rotary die cutting) that only cuts one shape.

Single Wall

Comprises one middle layer of fluting (see flute) with two outside layers. Also see Double Wall.


Paperboard sleeves that can usually be customised to slide over another form of packaging. Primarily aesthetic.


Scheduled Package Run Cycle – specified amount of time to generate a required number of units.

Stacking Corner

Traditionally plastic, placed on corners of packaging to allow for steady stacking during transit.


Rack or pallet that holds multiple items. Typically used on line-side applications (See Line-Side).


An ethylene copolymer that has a softer feel. Can be used for dunnage (see Dunnage) or protective inserts.

Suspension Pack

Suspends a product between two layers of non-slip film with the aim of eliminating and minimising movement and impact.


Tamper Resistant Seal

A seal that cannot be opened without showing evidence of it having been opened – usually part of the seal will be destroyed upon opening making possible tampers evident.

Tear Strip

Film or cord applied to the inside of a package that makes opening easier.


A process of manufacturing that involves vacuuming or pressure. Material is heated, formed to a shape and then trimmed. Also referred to as vacuum forming.

Tongue and Groove Seal

A method of joining together two surfaces using mirrored fittings to create a tighter seal. Compromises of a slot (groove) and a ridge (tongue).


A container that can be stacked upon each other.

Tri Wall

Triple fluted corrugated used for its strength. (Also see single wall and double wall).


Virgin Material

A material that has never been processed or recycled before. Examples include Virgin wood and virgin paper. Essentially a material at the beginning of its packaging life cycle.

Void Fill

Materials used to fill voids in packaging to protect the product inside. Examples include paper, foam and bubble wrap.

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