If you’re a business considering custom packaging, the selection of materials and their thickness levels are essential to the decision-making process. By doing so, it’s important to consider the callipers (the weight or thickness) of various packaging materials that would be best for your product.
Here’s a quick guide to help you out!
For businesses that are accustomed to using high volumes of packaging, chances are you’re familiar with corrugated boxes.
The general composition of corrugated boxes include 3 components. A sheet of corrugated or “fluted” material in the centre, placed between 2 layers of paper – the outer and inner liners. This makes the board sturdy yet still flexible!
It’s ideal for produce, fragile and/or heavy items, subscription boxes, shipping boxes and e-commerce packages.
But how do you know which thickness of corrugated board is the right type for your product? Did you even know that there are different thickness levels for these boxes?
If your product is lightweight, we suggest opting for a “single wall” board. The single wall board refers to the single layer of fluting.
However, if you plan on packaging heavier items or want to provide additional protection to delicate or expensive items such as glass, you can add an additional layer of fluting. This refers to all “double wall’ corrugated materials and adds extra rigidity and strength to your package.
Rule of thumb: With each additional layer of fluting, you can achieve a higher standard of protective properties and strength for your packaging design.
As a result, if you’re looking to package really heavy items such as industrial equipment or automative parts, you should consider a triple walled grade of corrugated boards.
Commonly Used Flute Types
Now, simply knowing the manufacturing process and components of corrugated boards won’t be enough to make your final decision. The following information will provide more details on each of the most commonly used flute types in the industry.
E flutes range approximately 1 mm to 1.5 mm in thickness, resulting in a very fine material. This provides the packaging design with excellent compression strength, crush resistance, and a high quality surface for printing.
Therefore, It is commonly used for smaller cartons, where good quality print is required, in addition to die cutting applications.
The thickness of this material is about 3 mm, which makes it exceptionally versatile across the industry. Both die cutting and regular case-making processes can result from the use of this material. Overall, B flutes provide good all-round performance in all types of packaging.
C flutes range 3.5 mm to 4 mm in thickness. Unlike B Flutes, this material offers greater compression strength. The application for this material are lightweight products because C flutes offer better stacking strength.
Nevertheless, if this material is used in the wrong application, it can make the package prone to crushing.
As the name suggests, this material is a combination of the B and C flutes and ranges 6 mm to 7 mm in thickness. If your product requires a higher level of transit protection, we recommend this grade of material.
In comparison to other materials, printing options are minimal and basic because the boxes are very thick.
With a composition of a very fine (E) and relatively large (B) flute, this material is 4 mm to 4.5 mm in thickness. EB flutes provide provide an excellent balance between transit protection, strength and print finish.
Folding cartons, trays and cup sleeves are all composed of paperboard materials. These lightweight materials offer excellent printing results and are applicable to many industries.
Coated Solid Unbleached Kraft Paperboard (CUK)/ Solid Unbleached Sulfate (SUS)
CUK dominates the production of folding cartons because it offers improved colour, smoothness and printing properties.
In general, this material is resistant to tear, and allows the use of a lower caliper paperboard. As a result, it’s cost-effective because it weighs less – also great for shipping purposes!
Consequently, CUK is an ideal match for consumer electronics, beverage carriers, dry foods, hardware, detergent and soap packaging.
Solid Bleached Sulfate (SBS)/ Bleached Kraft
Another popular choice across the industry, this type of paperboard enhances the smoothness of the package’s printing surface. In turn, it is perfect for high-end packaging. The softness and flexibility of bleached virgin pulp provides superior creasing, embossing, and cutting properties too.
However, the bleaching process adds cost and reduces stiffness. Bleached Kraft paperboard can commonly be found across health and beauty packaging, pharmaceutical packaging as well as frozen foods.
If you’re looking for low-cost folding cartons, recycled paperboard materials are your best option. They’re ideal for the production of multi-purpose packaging where tear strength and premium print quality aren’t necessary to the decision-making process.
Examples of products that use this material include rice, pet foods, pancake mix and powdered laundry detergent.
When strength and stiffness is essential to tthe design, small flute corrugated paperboards are a really good option. They’re lightweight, durable and perfect for high-end packaging. They can also be a great material to use if you’re considering incorporating large windows in your package design.
Examples include small appliance packaging, overnight shipping boxes, beverage carriers, club store boxes, sporting goods packaging, and toy packaging.
Don’t want to make these decisions?
There’s good news! These are things that we take into account when working with clients. More often than not, a client doesn’t know what thickness level they want for packaging – and we don’t expect you to! However, being a top packaging company, we know about all of it. Based on the products for which the packaging is for, our specialists will determine how thick your boxes need to be.
By taking care of these small but significant details, LeKAC can make the process much easier and quicker for you, while meeting all your needs.
Contact us today to receive a free consultation!