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FLEXO Magazine : October 2010
Technologies & Techniques What is Not a FoldiNg CartoN When you think of folding cartons, you are not generally thinking of shoe boxes or jewelry boxes. For the most part, this type of packaging, called a rigid, or setup box, is one of the oldest forms of packaging. The panels of these boxes are made from thick, unbending chipboard which are taped or otherwise attached to each other to form the container (Figure 2). They cannot be folded flat as in Figure 1, but are constructed in their final, three-dimensional shape. These boxes usually have a top and a bottom, and may be wrapped with printed or foiled paper. Folding cartons are also, if rarely, used as shipping containers—this is generally the province of corrugated boxes. What it is Made FroM Paperboard is a grade of fiberboard specially manufac- tured to withstand creasing. In other words, it will bend or fold without cracking. It is often smoothed and coated to give it a superior printing surface. The behemoth equipment that makes paperboard can be so long it is difficult to see the en- tire machine while standing at either end. Figure 3 shows the Cascades Sprague mill machine, capable of producing more than 500 tons of paperboard a day. There are two basic grades of paperboard: virgin, made with at least 80 percent previously unused wood pulp; and recycled, board made from re-pulped, previously used paperboard. Almost all packaging made with any grade paperboard is recyclable, making this packaging substrate arguably the most sustainable and environmentally friendly available. Folding cartons may also be made from narrowly fluted corrugated sheets. Corrugated is made from a fluted medium sandwiched between two liners. To put these in per- spective, C flute is the most common type of corrugated used in shipping containers. This material is too thick to produce folding cartons, so production using this substrate is limited to the narrower gauges. It is also possible to combine the strength of corrugated with the graphic superiority of paperboard through the use of single face laminating. The typical brown top liner of corru- gated is replaced by a thin sheet of bright white paper- board called solid bleached sulphate. The paperboard is printed, then laminated to the flute, after which the sheet may be converted like any other folding carton. PaCkage desigN There are two decisions that must be made when design- ing a folding carton to market, ship and protect the product inside: what shape will the box take, and what graphics (images other than type) will be added to identify and sell the product? With advances in computer technology and CAD (computer assisted design), a client may see a full-color, FoldiNg CartoN MaNuFaCturiNg stages Package Design Layout Die Making Sheeting Printing Cutting & Creasing Waste Stripping & Recycling Other Processes Gluing Figure 1. Printed folding cartons. www.flexography.org october 2010 FLeXO 41 FLX_Oct10_mech.indd 41 10/15/10 12:32 AM
Sustainable Fall 2010