Box Basics

More in-depth background knowledge

Box Styles

 
 

Reverse Tuck End (RTE)

Box Basics

The closure panels on the top and bottom for this paperboard packaging fold in opposite directions.  The top closure panel can fold towards the front allowing for the face panel to be seen during the opening and closing of the box. 

 

A French Reverse Tuck (FRT)  has the bottom and top closure panels folding in the exact opposite directions to the RTE   so the less aesthetic raw edge is less obvious at the bottom of the box.

Key features

  • Easy to assemble

  • Quick to load with product, either manually or automatically on an assembly line.

  • Cost effective,  the offset  closure flaps allows for better nesting on the press sheet, enabling  more boxes per sheet. Saving material and print cost.

  • Good for lighter products

  • Stacks and stores compactly

 

Disadvantages

  • The cut edge is visible to consumer viewing the face panel

  • some difficulty possible inserting tuck panel because of some window interference

 

Uses

  • Cosmetics & Beauty 

  • Health & Wellness

  • Consumer retail  products

 

Straight Tuck End (STE)

Straight tuck end carton (STE) is similar to reverse tuck end RTE except all the closures are on the back - both top and bottom panels fold backwards.​

Key features

  • Easily assembled

  • Benefit of having four clean folded edges on the face panel makes good aesthetics 

  • Quick to load with the product, either manually or automatically on an assembly line.

  • Good for lighter products

  • Works well with large windows

  • Stacks and stores compactly

 

Disadvantages

  • Not as cost effective as RTE boxes as the shape doesn’t nest well on the print sheet.

  • Not as suitable for heavy products

 

 

Uses

Cosmetics & beauty, toys, sports

Health & Wellness

 

Tuck Top Auto Bottom (TTAB)

TTAB - Tuck Top Auto-Bottom boxes are one of the most widely used retail boxes.  One of their main advantages is the high speed these boxes can be assembled. The bottom flaps are pre-glued so that when the box is "squeezed" or pressured across the box width, the bottom panels automatically pop-out to form the box bottom. This is ideal for assembling the boxes on the production line and also saves time and effort when assembly is done by hand.

 

The other main advantage  of this type of box is the glued bottom makes it more secured, especially if the product is heavier 

Key features

  • Good security due to pre-glued bottom flaps, able to hold heavier weight products.

  • Incredibly easy and quick to assemble; either manually or automatically on the production line.

  • Fast loading

  • Also works with litho-lam boxes

  • Sets very flat on the shelf or counter

  • Stacks and stores compactly

 

Disadvantages

  • Higher cost due to extra gluing on the bottom.

  • Narrow width boxes not possible

  • No solid bottom for graphics. UPCs and other graphic elements need to be carefully placed.

 

 

Uses

Food, Health and Wellness,  Cosmetics,

Toys, Electrical goods, Pharmaceuticals 

 

5 Panel Hanger

A Five-panel hanger is a perfect way to attract customer attention.  It is constructed from a tuck end style, with either tuck end or snap lock bottom. The back panel is extended to make a  single or double layered display panel.  This panel has a  punch hole so the box can be hung on a peg.  If the product is small the panel can be enlarged to provide an increased  area for graphics or to display product information 

 

This box style is ideal for light products.  The panel size and shape can be customized for a great packaging solution when products need to be displayed at the point of purchase by hanging from racks and shelves.  

Key features

  • Designed to be hung on pegs and hooks.

  • Good for POP display

  • Provided larger display area for graphics or product information

  • Suitable for die-cut front window

 

Disadvantages

  • Not suitable for heavy products

  • Narrow width boxes not possible

  • No solid bottom for graphics. UPCs and other graphic elements need to be carefully placed.

 

 

Uses

Ideal for cosmetics, pharmaceutical \s, electronics, and other lighter weight products

 

Roll End Tuck Top (RETT)

.The Roll End Front Tuck (RETT), with or without dust flaps,  is the most popular mailer box style and also a popular retail box. Front flaps lock into the main body to add structural strength and security, while side dust flaps prevent dirt and dust from reaching your product inside.   This box is great for kitting, especially for products like customer electronics, and offers a great unboxing experience with the contents easily seen and readily accessible.  This style allows for quick assembly and easy pack during fulfillment.  These boxes work well on their own, or can be compartmentalized with die-cut inserts

Key features

  • Excellent protection for shipping.

  • Easy assembly with self-locking system

  • Reusable - opens and closes without damage

  • Large graphics area for product promotion and information

  • Ideal for Kit boxes

  • Sturdy construction good with heavier products.

 

Disadvantages

  • Requires hand assembly

 

 

Uses

Ideal for mailers, electronics & consumer products needing kitting.

 

Full Seal End (FSE)

FSE - Full Seal End cartons are made to run at high volumes on high-speed packaging equipment. They are usually erected, filled and closed fully automatically, The closures panels for top and bottom are fully overlapped, and when glued, give these boxes good reinforcement and the ability to handle a heavier load capacity.  This style of box is most commonly used for fast moving consumer goods.

Key features

  • Used specifically for high-speed automatic packing & fulfillment

  • Full overlapped glue sealed ends give a high load capacity

  • A higher level of tamper resistance

  • Ideal for Kit boxes

  • Sturdy construction good with heavier products.

 

Disadvantages

  • Not suitable for hand filling and sealing

  • Not resealable or reusable. 

 

Uses

Custom food , medical and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods

 

Sleeve 

A packaging sleeve can be just a sleeve around the product itself, a sleeve around an inner box, or a slipcase over a roll end or other type of inner tray. This  'matchbox' style box packaging heightens the perceived value of your products and provides a very secure and easily accessible product.

 

A sleeve provides the simplest, cheapest way to upgrade your product or product packaging appearance. And a way to accentuate your brand with promotion graphics and product information. The sleeve can be further customized to work in with your product or product packaging with special die-cuts and windows. Sleeves are also used to batch multiple products together for retail.

Key features

  • Cheap and simple to manufacturer

  • Provides additional real estate for promotion or information.

 

Disadvantages

  • As a sleeve, leaves the product exposed

 

Uses

food packaging, apparel, and other consumer products, seasonal or limited time marketing uses 

 

Roll End Tray (RET)

The Roll End Tray (RET) is constructed with double layer side panels that lock in position with no gluing required.  It ships flat and is quickly and easily assembled. This sturdy highly versatile tray style is ideal for food and beverages, with other variants being used to form the base or inside the box for 'sleeve and tray' style boxes.​

Key features

  • Quick and easy to assemble

  • No gluing or staples

 

Disadvantages​​

 

Uses

As a tray only: pharmaceutical, food beverage and other bulk fast moving consumables.

As a sleeve and tray: apparel, health and wellness, gift boxes, jewelry and ornaments

 

Tuck Top, Snap Lock Bottom (TTSLB)

The snap-lock or 1-2-3 closure is exclusively used on the box bottom, usually in combination with a tuck closure panel on the top.

TTSLB is used in most categories, including cosmetic boxes, food boxes, medical boxes, pharmaceutical packaging boxes, retail boxes, software boxes, and toy boxes.

Key features

  • Works well for heavier products

  • Relatively quick loading

  • Compact storing

  • Nice counter display box sits. very flat on the shelf

  • Can have a friction fit or slit locks for more secure closure

  • Economical solution for larger volume applications

 

Disadvantages

  • More expensive than a bottom tuck box for smaller quantities

 

Uses

Health and Beauty, Toys, Food, Pharmaceutical

Paperboard

 

Common Paperboard Grades for Packaging Products 

Solid Bleached Sulfate (SBS), Solid Bleached Board (SBB), GZ

Is a prominent packaging material in NorthAmerica made from mostly hardwood, first generation, chemically
pulped fibers that are subsequently bleached, refined and formed SBS is white on both sides and throughout the sheet. The relatively short hardwood fibers are coated and polished, creating an impressively smooth print surface
Most SBS products are coated one-side only (C1S), but some may be partially or fully coated on the back side as well (C2S). SBS generally performs well for embossing, gluing and high-speed filling. It cuts cleanly and has sufficient internal and surface strength properties to accommodate high-speed printing with tacky oil based lithographic inks. SBS is often higher priced as compared with other paperboard substrates
SBS is not known for tear strength, but generally has good stiffness and compression strength. It may be susceptible
to yellowing over time with exposure to white light. It is traditionally the first choice, however, for high-quality graphics in personal care packaging, medical, pharmaceutical, confectionery, media, and tobacco packaging. The pristine white backside and internal characteristics are preferred by purists for bakery and other such products involving direct food contact.

Folding Box Board (FBB,GC1, GC2}

Folding Box Board (FBB) comprises middle layers of bleached or unbleached mechanical pulp sandwiched between layers of chemical pulp. The top layer of chemical pulp is bleached and pigment coated. The reverse side of the board may be cream in color. This is because the reverse side layer of bleached chemical pulp is translucent allowing the color of the middle layers to be apparent. The reverse side layer may, however, be white because
a thicker layer of chemical pulp was used or the layer is clay coated – this product is known as White Back Folding Box Board. The combination of inner layers of mechanical pulp with outer layers of chemical pulp creates a strong and stiff sheet, taking advantage of the well known I-beam phenomenon in physics.
This is a low-density material with high stiffness. Fully coated grades give excellent printing and visual impact. This is a virgin fiber paperboard with consistent purity for product safety

Clay Coated Newsback (CCNB), White lined chipboard (WLC)

Made from a blend of recycled newsprint, mixed secondary paper, old corrugated containers and a percentage of raw pulp. Commonly used for low-cost folding carton packaging due to its lower strength and printing quality output.

Cartons made from CCNB/CRB can be used for dry food, pet food, laundry detergent, toys and so on. The main disadvantage of these boxes is that they absorb large amounts of water when contacted with the material.

Although it is the most cost-effective out of the bunch, this grade is typically the least favorite due to its high moisture, weight resistance, and lower printing quality output. It still does the job, however.

Natural Kraft (SUS) or Coated Unbleached Kraft (CUK)

Made from 100% recyclable materials, this type of board is typically popular for kraft packaging. When coated with polyethylene (PE) resin, this board can be used to make food packaging of wet strength. At least 80% of virgin unbleached wood pulp is used to make CUK.

This type of board is strong and durable; the stiffness leads to high resistance to tearing making the board more long-lasting. The printing quality of the board can be improved by coating the surface with a thin layer of kaolin clay.

The board makes good food packaging and can also be used in the packaging of foods, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, etc…

Because of its strength, SUS/CUK is also used to make containers used for carrying beverages.

 
 
 

More on Flutes

Corrugated Flute Characteristics

Flutting

A-Flute

Board thickness approximately 3/16" (4.8mm).

 A-flute provides the greatest cushioning properties for fragile products..


B-Flute
Board thickness approximately 1/8" (3mm).
Another widely used flute profile due to its all-around compactness, good compression or stacking strength,
good printability, and cost-effectiveness. This flute is most often used for die-cut boxes, canned goods, , die cut inserts, and displays. It can be used for many styles of boxes and for many different industries.


C-Flute
Board thickness approximately 5/32" (4mm).
A larger flute than ‘B’ offering greater compression strength, but can be more easily
crushed, This 􀃓ute is used for most styles of boxes along with many different industries.

 

E Flute

Board thickness approximately 1/16"  (1.6mm).

 E-flute is very commonly used fine flute for retail packaging which gives an excellent crush resistance. The fine flute offers a smooth surface for superb printability, with limited 'washboarding'.   It die-cuts and folds well and is ideal for custom folding boxes. The slim profile has a lower volume for transportation and storage, saving cost

 

F-Flute 

Board thickness approximately 1/32"  (0.8mm).

 This very fine or 'micro-flute'  has smaller, tighter spaced flute then E flute, and likewise has very good printability.  F-flute has good rigidity and can be used to replace  SBS in some folding boxes,  using less paper pulp, it is more environmental;y friendly the solid board.  At about 125 flutes per foot, the F flute will have a very high-end appearance and provide packaging with solid structural integrity. Common uses include smaller custom printed boxes, retail packaging, and small POP displays.


BC Flute (double wall)
Board thickness approximately 1/4" (6mm)
A combination of ‘B’ and ‘C’ flute is normally used when compression and stacking.

strength is paramount. This type of flute is most commonly used in shipping cartons for higher levels of contents protection.


EB Flute (double wall)
Board thickness approximately 11/64" (4.2mm).
A combination of ‘E’ and ‘B’ flute offering good strength and printability due to the E flute, also taking up less storage space than ‘BC’.  The flute has good strength as a packing box.

 
 

Testing for Toughness

The Mullen Test and the  Edge Crush Test.

The Mullen Burst Test gives more of an indication on how packaging will perform when handled and moved around and is exposed to the possibility of damage from either external forces such as dropping and mistreat in the delivery process or internally when the weight and shape of the product moving around could possibly causing a puncture.  The Mullen test is measured in pounds per square inches The most commonly used corrugated carton conforms to the 200# Test. The higher the number, the stronger the corrugated box.

The Edge Crush Test (ECT) was developed to ensure the packaging had enough strength to hold up the rigors of today's bulk transportation and stacking on pallets in the shipping and warehousing processes, along with display stacking in the store. 

 

With heavier weights being stacked on top of packaging a test was needed to measure the vertical forces that packaging could handle before failure. The ECT is measured by compressing a small section of the corrugated board on edge between two steel plates, perpendicular to the direction of the flutes until a maximum loading is reached. The test result or data is also measured in pounds per square inches and is reported as an ECT value. The most commonly used corrugated boxes in the industry is  32 ECT  The Muller 200# Test and 32 ECT Test are widely accepted as interchangeable.

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