November 6, 2013
Corrugated Cardboard Shipping Boxes & Materials
How well do you know the different types of corrugated cardboard? If your answer was “I didn’t even know there was more than one type,” you probably don’t work in the packaging industry. For those of us who aren’t sure how to tell the difference between C-flute and Double wall, here’s a handy guide on what different types of corrugated cardboard packaging is commonly used.
What is corrugated cardboard in the first place?
Well, if we want to get really technical here, the correct term is corrugated fiberboard. Cardboard is a generic term that includes all types of heavy-duty paper that can include card stock, paperboard, and corrugated fiberboard. However, when the average person thinks about cardboard, the first image that pops into their head is likely corrugated fiberboard. Corrugated cardboard is made by gluing a flat sheet of paper to a corrugated (wavy) sheet of paper. In other words, all corrugated cardboard will have a wavy texture when viewed from the side.
What types of corrugated packaging materials are there?
There are several sizes and styles that corrugated cardboard comes in. Here’s a quick look at a few of them:
1. Single Face Board—Doesn’t have the durability that other types of corrugated packaging materials have, but is very cheap to produce and can provide an extra layer of protection to already packaged products.
2. Single Wall Board—The most common style corrugated cardboard is manufactured in. Some of the more common flutes of single wall boards are listed below.
- C-Flute is by far the most common corrugated flute because of its versatility. It’s an acceptable surface to print on and is strong enough for most shipping situations. It’s not great at folding in the direction of the fluting, but is still adequate for most users. C-Flute is 3-16ths of an inch thick.
- B-Flute is a little bit smaller at 1/8th of an inch in thickness, and it is used for smaller products and boxes. It’s better for folding into intricate shapes and for printing, so this is the flute usually seen for Point-Of-Purchase (P.O.P.) displays or for cardboard cutouts.
- E-Flute is very thin at 3/32nds of an inch. It’s very easy to fold and is excellent for printing. It’s used as the primary packaging for many smaller boxes, such as a pizza box.
- F-Flute is micro thin at only 1/16th of an inch. It was designed to send less waste to landfills and is used for specialty packaging and shoeboxes.
- R-Flute is a newer type of fluting designed as an alternative to B-flute. Compared to B-Flute, R-Flute has smaller and closer fluting, which leads to an improved printing surface and less manufacturing waste.
3. Double Wall Board—Much more resistant to breaking when stacked. This type of corrugated is commonly used for larger industrial containers.
4. Triple Wall Board—Strong enough to be a substitute for wooden crates. It has traditionally been used for shipping chemical containers.
This has been an introductory lesson on the makeup of corrugated fiberboard and a few of the different kinds of corrugated cardboard shipping boxes. We consider ourselves something of an expert on packaging and corrugated packaging materials. If you would like to learn more about Packsize and On Demand Packaging®, I would invite you to send us a question by clicking the link below!