November 6, 2013
Know Your Corrugated Cardboard for Packaging and Shipping Boxes
Corrugated shipping boxes
How well do you know the different types of corrugated? If your answer was “I didn’t even know there was more than one type,” you probably don’t have experience in the packaging industry. For those who aren’t sure how to tell the difference between C-flute and Double Wall, here’s a handy guide to use when referencing the different types of corrugated most commonly used.
What is corrugated cardboard in the first place?
Well, from a technical perspective, 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 fiberboard is made by gluing a flat sheet of paper to a corrugated (wavy) sheet of paper. The waves are known as fluting, and each individual wave is a flute. All corrugated packaging material 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.*
*Keep in mind that just because we say a certain flute is used in a specific application, please don’t infer the flute is exclusively used for that specific application. A pizza box can be made in E, B, or even F-flutes.
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 5/32nds of an inch thick.
B-Flute is a little bit thinner at 1/8 of an inch in thickness, and 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 1/16th 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 or cosmetics.
- F-Flute is micro thin at only 1/16 of an inch. It was designed to allow for stiff boxes that use less fiber while also allowing an excellent surface for printing. It is commonly used for specialty packaging, fastfood clamshells, and shoeboxes.
3. Double Wall—Much more resistant to breaking when stacked. This type of corrugated is commonly used for larger industrial containers or heavier objects. Some common double wall flutes are EB (3/16ths of an inch) and BC (which is 1/4th of an inch).
4. Triple Wall—Strong enough to be a substitute for wooden crates. It has traditionally been used for shipping chemical containers.
We consider ourselves something of an expert on packaging and corrugated packaging materials. Because of this, we’ve put together a full primer on the information industry newcomers need to know about the packaging industry. This ebook contains the information you’ve read here, as well as the different styles of shipping boxes you could use, testing requirements, and more. If you’d like to download all 45 pages of this ebook, just fill out the form below!