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Packaging Terminology: A glossary of terms and definitions

Jay Daggar: Last Updated 16th February 2024
Posted In: Guides and Advice xx 31631

Explaining Packaging Jargon

A handy A-Z guide of packaging terms

Ever struggled to understand your packaging designer? Found yourself bogged down in technical terms that mean nothing? Or just wished you could have things explained in plain English?

You’re not alone!

Whilst there are occasions where unfortunately there is no alternative to a technical term or phrase, certain amounts of jargon can be easily avoided.

But what about those specialist terms? Until now there hasn’t been a single place to find an explanation of packaging industry terms. But this is exactly what this guide aims to achieve.

Besides specialist terms, it also covers a wide range of brand, product and process names that you may be unaware of, all available in one quick reference guide to use as and when required.

So as well as getting a straight-forward explanation of a huge range of packaging terms, you can use it to potentially boost your own knowledge of packaging too.

Continue reading below for your explanation of industry-specific terms, using the links to jump to each required section, or alternatively, download the downloadable PDF by following the button below.

Quick Reference / Contents


Numerical terms

0100: Commercial rolls and sheets which are single faced corrugated material.

0200: Slotted style boxes which consist of one piece with a glued, stitched or taped joint / top and bottom flap. These styles are usually shipped flat.

0201: Standard Regular box with outer flaps meeting both top and bottom for sealing.

0300: A telescope style box which consists of more than one piece and usually holds a lid.

0400: These are folder type boxes and trays. These styles are usually only one piece of board with hinges and interlocking tabs.

0500: Boxes which have several pieces or liners which slide into each other in different directions.

0600: These are rigid style boxes which consist of two separate pieces which will be stitched together before they can be used. These are usually large industrial boxes.

0700: Dye-glued cases which are one piece, shipped flat and ready to use once a simple assembly has formed the box.

0900: These are interior fitments such as inside liners, partitions, pads and dividers. Often glued as part of the design or can be separate singular items.

NB: all of the above styles are part of the fefco box style guide. See FEFCO.

19” Rack: A standardised frame or enclosure. Each module has a panel which is 19 inches wide. See rack unit for further details.

3i / 3R / ROTO X: A range of SKB cases used by the military and marine industries, these cases have water and dust resistance with an IP rating of 67 (See IP Rating for further details).

3PL: Third-party logistics. A company which provides outsourced logistics services. The term was coined by the military.


Terms starting with A

Abrasion Resistance: Endurance to the effects of repeated rubbing, scuffing and scratching.

Across Flute: A unit of measurement which is used to measure Correx® or other fluted materials, the measurement is the opposite direction of the flute.

Adhesive: Any material which is applied to form a bond between two surfaces.

A-Flute: The thickest corrugated flute, with 33 flutes per linear foot in a ¼” in thickness.

Air Freight: Goods which are transported by air. When packaging an item the following preparation measures need to be taken into consideration; the sensitivity of the goods, the mass, dimensions and centre of gravity of the packaging goods and the air humidity level inside the packaging.

Allocated Inventory: Materials that have been assigned to specific production orders in the future. These materials, therefore, cannot be used for other orders so more stock needs to be obtained.

Aluminium: Aluminium is a lightweight, highly conductive, reflective & non-toxic metal.

Anaerobic Digestion: Part of the process used to treat biodegradable waste, this process reduces the emission of landfill gas into the atmosphere.

Angel Hair: Small cut slithers of packaging material which can remain on the final product.

Anti-scuff Bicell: Bicell sheet laminated with non-woven or spunbound fabrics on both of the outer surfaces meaning any items with a highly polished or decorative surface will not be scuffed or damaged during transit (See Bicell).

Antistat: A specialist distributor of GWP Conductive anti-static packaging.

Antistatic: A form of protective packaging which combats static discharge to safeguard items stored within.

Artwork: The logo or design was given to or created by the packaging designers to be printed onto the packaging line.

Assembly: A line to put together all the parts and components in order to make the finished product.

Astraboard: A strong but lightweight polypropylene used inside cases.

ATA: Air Transport Association. A body that promotes the safety of air transit, including specifications for cases / packaging.

Attenuate: To reduce the force, magnitude or value. Frequencies of concern may need to be attenuated in packaging on products which are vibration sensitive.

Automotive: The term is given to the industry of car manufacturing and parts suppliers.

AZOTE®: A brand name for a group of high quality polyolefin foams made in block form by Zotefoams®. AZOTE® foams are odourless, flexible, strong, lightweight, water and chemical resistant. The foams can be easily converted into protective packaging products.

Ba – Bi

Terms between Ba and Bi

Backing Liner: A compressible paper material which, compensates for any irregularities on the surface which is sealed. This compressible material (usually pulp or news board) is usually adhered to the liner and provides a better finish (appearance), water resistance and extra strength.

Banding: A banding machine will secure numerous items (e.g. packaging boxes) in order to allow them to be more easilly handled. Also referred to as strapping.

Barrier Material: A packaging material designed to eliminate the passage of gas, moisture and environmental constitutes.

Baseline Performance: The benchmark of industry standards which future measurements can use to be compared over time.

Barcode: Can be used as a serial shipping container code to be identified by companies and units.

Beacon: A network of recognised high growth businesses.

Beers Tray: A folding corrugated tray with glued corners. The tray is folded flat during manufacturing, for shipping and storage space.

B-Flute: Corrugated flute with lower arch heights and more flutes, a total of 47 flutes per linear foot including a thickness of 1/8th”.

Bevel: Refers to the edge of a containers structure which is not of a direct 90 degree angle to the faces of the container. A bevel is typically used to soften edges for safety.

Bicell: Bicell is a brand of plastic sheet material which, can be utilised as a high quality alternative to Correx®.

Bins, Storage: Used for industrial storage for hardware and small parts. Can be plastic, recycled plastic or corrugated cardboard.

Biodegradable: A substance which is decomposed by bacteria and other living organisms therefore avoids pollution and is eco friendly.

Bitmap: A type of digital graphic which is composed of individual pixels, potentially making the image’s file size quite large. It can often lose quality if re-sized.

Bi –

Terms from Bi onwards

Blank: A flat piece of corrugated board that has been cut and scored ready to make a box.

Bleached Pulp: Pulp which has been whitened by an oxidising treatment, often with a hydrogen peroxide solution, or, reducing agent sulphur dioxide.

Blister Packs: Packaging which is a form of a mould around the merchandise, often transparent, through a heat sealing process it is sealed to a foil blister card to cover the product, these packs are tamper proof.

Blister Packaging: A type of packaging which secures a product between paperboard and a transparent plastic dome or bubble.

Blow Moulding: Used to shape plastics, there a three main types of blow moulding; extrusion, injection and injection stretch blow moulding. The plastic is forced to take the shape of the mould.

Board: A heavy thick sheet of paper with variations including cardboard, fibreboard and containerboard.

Board Grade: A grade given to corrugated board based on three elements; firstly, the weight and type of outer liner, secondly the type of flute and thirdly the weight and type of inner liner.

Bonding: Bonding pieces of foam or plastic together either with glue or heat to create the desired shape or thickness. Application depends on the materials to be joined and the intended use for the material.

Bondline: A distributor of GWP Conductive anti-static packaging products.

Bott: An aluminium case manufacturer.

Box Plant: A box plant will have equipment and machines with the ability to convert corrugated board into packaging but will not have a corrugator so cannot produce the board themselves.

Boxes, Paper: Corrugated paperboard, laminated recycled paperboard and folding cartons, also including partitions and inserts.

Boxes, Plastic: Any form of plastic boxes, including; tote boxes, pillboxes and food container storage. Can be manufactured in a wide range of plastic materials.

Branding: A name, design and symbol which identifies a company or product (a brand).

Break Pack: Transit container (e.g. large corrugated case).

Bubble Pack: A small cushioning package which encloses and protects goods by trapping air between two layers of plastic.

Burst, Pack: A versatile package designed to hold pre-measured amounts of lubricants.

Burst, Damage: The term given to packaging containers which split or “burst” due to too much pressure (e.g. if stacked to high, the boxes lower in the stack may burst).

Ca – Cl

Terms between Ca and Cl

CAD: Computer-aided design – Electronic design automation which is composited of interactive engineering drawings, the storage and retrieval of designs.

CAM: Computer-aided manufacturing – Used in tandem with CAD, CAM is a computer application technology used to link and control production equipment. The technology will feed data into the manufacturing equipment in order to achieve its desired effect.

Capacity: The volume of space within a container to hold the given amount of product.

Caps: End caps used to close packages. For example, a plastic end cap will be used to seal the contents inside a corrugated mailing tube. Can also refer to foam or cushioning material that is placed over the ends of a product for protection during transit.

Carry On Approved: A carry on approved case is a case which meets the specific airline hand luggage requirements.

Carton: A box or container made of paperboard or corrugated fibreboard also referred to as a box.

Carton Board: Carton Board is stiffer and thicker than boxboard. It has a medium to high compression and moisture resistance. Unlike cardboard, it is solid, and not fluted.

Case Making: Case making machines can produce standard case designs using a computerised set up.

Case Sealer: A manufacturing machine used to seal and close the flaps of a box with glue, tape or staples.

Castors: A small set of wheels which swivel to allow for movement. Can be utilised on transit cases.

CC: A Cubic centimetre. A unit for measuring volume, 1 cc is equal to 0.0338 ounce.

CDA: Confidential-disclosure agreement – Can also be referred to as an NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) A CDA is a legal agreement between two businesses which, establishes terms and conditions for protecting the security of confidential information.

C-Flute: The most commonly used corrugated material grade. C-flute offers a good crush resistance, high printing properties and a good stacking strength. C-flute has 39 flutes per linear foot and a thickness of 3/16ths”.

Chemical Block: Foam which produces a block or resistance to chemicals (see Zotefoams).

Chop Edge: (or just chops) – the length of the board / sheet.

Cl – Cy

Terms between Cl and Cy

Clay Coat: A thin layer of kaolin coated onto corrugated board in order to improve its printing surface. Used on unbleached or natural Kraft paperboard.

Clean Room: An assembly and packaging service in clean room facilities using anti-contamination procedures.

Closed Loop System: An industrial system which, has a zero-waste chain supply and reuses, recycles or composts all of their additional materials.

Closures: A device or technique used to seal the packaging, in corrugated packaging a box can be taped, stapled, glued, strapped or be self-locking (see crash lock boxes).

CNC Routing: A process of cutting materials using a computer controlled cutting router. Can be used to manufacture precision foam packaging.

Coatings: Specialist coatings used on corrugated board for a variety of reasons. These coatings include; waterproof, anti-abrasion, anti-corrosive and pantone colour matching.

Cobb Test: Determines the amount of water absorbed into the surface of a material (e.g. corrugated fibreboard). Usually 60 or 180 seconds (Cobb60 or Cobb180).

Coldset PVA: An adhesive which becomes liquid when heated to 60 degrees or more but loses its fluidity when at a cooling temperature of 20 degrees.

Collapsible: A tote or corrugated box which can be folded down flat (flat-packs) making bulk transportation easier.

Conductive: Conductive packaging offers protection against electrostatic discharge. Typically “conducts” any static around the outside of the container (see Faraday cage).

Containers, Hinged Lid: A storage container with a lid which is hinged.

Containers, Shipping: A container specified for shipping which withstands strength suitable for shipment itself, storage and handling.

Contract Packaging: A company which provides an end to end packing service, providing the packaging containers and the human resource to load the products or items before shipment.

Countertop: Countertop displays are a type of retail packaging display, similar to shelf ready and POS.

Convertor: Converting companies effectively “convert” raw materials into finished products. For example, manufacturing totes from Correx®, or foam inserts from Plastazote®.

Conversion: See convertor.

Copolymer: When two different types of monomers are joined in the same polymer chain it creates a material which repeats a regular chain pattern.

Copolymer Resin: Copolymer resins are a flexible, tough, and clear plastic material.

Cores: Paper cores are made up of strong cardboard tubes with products such as tape, paper or plastic which are wound tightly around the core. These cores are used for industrial applications, packaging and gift wraps.

Corner blocks: Foam packaging corners, designed to protect products during shipment / transit.

Correx®: A durable, extruded twin wall plastic which can be used in the packaging industry for a variety of requirements. Also often used for estate agent signage.

Corriflute: A type of corrugated plastic material. Also known as Correx® (see Correx® for more details), Polyflute and Coroplast.

Corriplast: Also known as Conductive Correx®, Corriplast protects the item inside from static charges.

Corrispool: A cardboard spool for wound products (usually wires).

Corrispring: A cardboard alternative to foam and polystyrene cushioning which is environmentally friendly.

Corrugated: A material which is shaped into a series of parallel ridges and grooves.

Corrugated Board: Or cardboard contains one or more sheets of fluted paper between outer and inner liners.

Corrugator: An industrial machine which combines two different types of paper to create sheets of corrugated fibreboard.

Corrust: An anti-corrosion coating, specifically used for protecting metal products during storage or transit.

Corstat: A carbon based coating applied to corrugated cardboard which is then used for anti-static packaging solutions. The ESD industry standard for conductive packaging.

Corstat Containers: Corrugated boxes, trays and picking bins with an anti – static coating.

CQV: Commissioning, qualifying, and verifying – A management formation, which ensures that machinery and systems are tested thoroughly for new or adjusted packaging lines.

Cradle: A term to describe a corrugated cardboard fitting or insert. Used to secure a product within an outer shipper.

Crash lock: A carton / box style which enables the base of the box to be locked together without the use of tape, in an interlocking system.

Cratering: Small and thin spots which appear to be bubbled in the surface of an applied coating of paint / dye.

Crazing: A development of fine cracks under the surface of plastic or through a layer of glass.

Creasing: Put simply creasing defines the folding lines. Creasing is produced by a thin strip of steel and a groove cut into a hard thin material called the make-ready which, the paperboard is pushed into this groove creating a permanent crease.

Creep: The progressive deformation of a material when stress is applied.

Crush: An edge crush test measure the cross direction crushing of corrugated board. It provides information on a board’s resistance to being crushed.

CSI: A project development and operational services company who specialise in the corrugated packaging industry.

Cushioning : Packaging cushioning is used to protect fragile and sensitive items during transit.

Cushioning Bicell: Otherwise known as foam laminated board, not only provides anti abrasive properties but also provides extra cushioning support against shock, impact and vibrations, protecting products during transit.

Cushioning Curves: Indicate how a particular packaging material of a certain thickness reacts at different impact conditions.

Cycle: How many cycles you can get out of a type of packaging, this relates to multi-trip packaging where the container is reusable.


Packaging terms starting with D

Deceleration: The amount of shock a product can withstand without being damaged, measured in G’s (see G-force).

Deckle: The width of the board being run on a corrugator.

Decorative: A decorative finish which relates to colour and print in packaging.

Demo Case: Or sample cases, are cases used for presentation of goods during sales meetings or pitches.

Density: The weight of a gas, liquid or solid substance which is measured in grams by cubic centimetre.

Desiccant: A substance used as a drying agent for water vapour. It is used to control the humidity in sealed packages. A calcium oxide or silica gel is more commonly used.

Design: Design for packaging is a mark-up of drawings and specifications (including templates and prototypes), which determines how the construction of the package will be engineered.

Die: A specialised tool used in manufacturing, often customised, the die will cut or shape the material in a press.

Die Cutting: A procedure in which, a Die will be used to “stamp” the required scores and cuts of a specific packaging design onto the material(e.g. corrugated board).

Digitisation: The process of converting data into a digital format.

Dimensions: The measurable extent of the packaging usually length, depth and height.

Direct Food Contact: The physical contact of food with another material or article. The FSA regulates standards in regards to this, see FSA.

Displays: Merchandise displays potentially manufactured from corrugated to promote specific products. See also – POS (point of sale).

Disposal: The end of life process including recycling, recovery, compositing or reuse.

Distributors: A distributor is an agent who will supply goods or merchandise to a retailer. Unlike manufacturers, distributors will not (necessarily) produce goods themselves, but will simply act as a reseller.

Dividers: A device which separates sections within a container.Dividers could be plain, scored or interlocking. They can be used to provide cushioning as well as separation.

Dolly: A small platform on wheels used for holding and moving heavy objects.

Double Wall Board: A combination of two layers of corrugated material (potentially different flute sizes) to provide a material with extra strength.

Drawing: A designer or engineers technical drawing of the packaging design, usually attached to a CAD specifications sheet.

Drop Test: A test used to determine the capabilities of the subjected packaging. It will be dropped from a specified height to test the durability and verify the survival of the product inside without incurring damage.

Dump Bins: Another form of POS but the products/goods are heaped in a disorderly fashion. See POS for further information.

Dunnage: The name of materials used in containers to protect goods and their packaging from moisture, contamination and damage. Can also be used for separation of products during “in plant” handling.

Duplex: A type of paperboard made up of two layers, the exterior is often coated which makes it more water-resistant, often used for paper cups and plates and in the pharmaceutical industry.


Packaging terms beginning with E

Eastman Packaging: Originally formed in 1988, in 2006 Eastman Packaging became a member of the GWP Group and was renamed GWP Protective.

E-commerce: Commercial retail transaction conducted online.

E-commerce Packaging: Designed to keep products safe in transit from the online retailer to the purchaser.

E- Flute: Generally has a greater crush resistance than the other flutes and a flat surface which makes for high quality printing. E-Flute has 90 flutes per foot and a thickness of 1/16th.

Egg-box Foam: A type of foam used in packaging where one side of the foam is flat the other is grooved. Frequently used in the lids of protective cases, but also in recording studio’s to contribute towards soundproofing.

Electrostatic Decay Rate: The decay rate of an electrostatic charge, this is measured by MIL-B, a military specification.

Emboss: A raised lettering or design on a form of packaging, made by pressure dies, printing press or rollers.

EMC: An acronym for electromagnetic management coupling. A case or product that aids management of electromagnetic energies.

Emulsions: An acrylic emulsion is a topical coating which is watersoluble, but water-resistant when dry.

End Caps: End caps are foam cushioning which provide protection for a product placed within corrugated packaging.

Environment Agency: The environment agency work to create better surroundings for people and animals, this includes the regulation of waste.

EPS: An acronym for expandable polystyrene. EPS is a closed-cell, rigid, tough and light foam with good thermal insulation and high impact resistance. Used in both packaging and construction industries.

Ergoline: Cases manufactured by Rose Plastic. A popular choice for presentation cases.

ESD: Electrostatic discharge, the release of static electricity when two objects come into contact.

ESD Anti-static: A type of coating which stops the electricity flow from entering a package.

ESD Shielding: A conductive material with the ability to resist electrostatic charge.

Estimate: An estimator will build a quote based on the cost of materials, manufacture and the required quantity of the product.

Ethafoam: A semi rigid packaging foam which, has a medium density, is light weight and flexible.

Euro Box: A tough / durable storage and handling solution available with standardized sizing based on typical warehouse facilities.

Euro container: See also Euro Box

Euro Fix: EF for short, a euro fix is a type of tote box which is manufactured by SSI Schaefer.

Evazote®: A closed cell cross-linked ethylene copolymer foam which is tougher and more resilient than Plastazote® foams, it also has a chemical resistance.

Exmel: Exmel solutions Limited are a distributor of GWP Conductive anti static packaging products.

Exocase: A brand of case offering both dimensional flexibility and water resistant properties.

Explorer: Military grade cases similar to Peli cases. Manufactured in Italy.

Extrusion: The method of forcing heat and pressure in a continuous manner in order to shape plastic materials.

Extrusion Profiles: An extrusions of a shaped product that can be a variety of configurations (not including sheet or film), extrusions can include solid as well as hollow forms.

Fa – Fl

Packaging terms from Fa to Fl

Fabrication: The process of manufacturing something.

Falling Dart Impact: One of the traditional methods of evaluating the impact strength of plastics.

Faraday Cage: An enclosure used to block electric fields, it is formed by a conductive material or a mesh of such materials.

Faro: A digitisation device for parts to be packaged. In effect, is used to trace a small object to get an exact computerised version of it.

Fatigue: Weaknesses in materials caused by repeated impact or stresses.

Feasibility Study: Experimental studies on a process or equipment to establish what results are attainable including what’s required to produce the required outcome.

FEFCO: The European Federation of corrugated board manufacturers are a non-profit organisation which represents the interests of the corrugated industry.

FEFCO Case Codes: A set of standard design patterns used within the corrugated industry.

Fibre: Packaging materials are made from moulded fibres, otherwise called moulded pulp.

Finish: The coating or print applied to packaging. Finishes can range from pantone matched colours to Corrust anti-corrosion finishes.

First Drop: The first of multiple drops in the testing of packaging. Commonly, a package may protect the article within on the first drop, but not when repeatedly dropped.

Fittings: A range of fixtures added to cases, usually made from galvanised steel or plastics. Can include handles, locks, catches and castors.

Flatbed Die Cutting: A process used for cutting, creasing and embossing sheet materials. The die is pressed onto material which is itself on a flat surface (the bed).

Flat Pack: Packaging which is flat when shipped to minimise transit costs.

Flight Case: A custom built case (can be tailored in size) historically used in the broadcasting and performance industries.

Flood Coat: The coating of an entire surface with a colour or dye.

Flute: Paper that provides the central layer in corrugated board (cardboard). It separates the liners and provides the strength and rigidity. Please see appendix 1 further details of the most common flutes.

Flute Direction: Either vertical or horizontal. The flute direction is important as it creates the strength from any corrugated board.

Fo – Fu

Terms between Fo and Fu

Foam: A substance which is formed by the process of trapping pockets of gas in a solid material. Different types include; XPS foam, polystyrene and polyurethane.

Foam Lining: An inside foam liner (see foam) of a case which is used to protect the objects inside the case.

Folding Carton: Carton usually made of paperboard that is is folded, printed, laminated, cut and glued and then transported ready to be filled and closed by the retailer. A common example is cereal boxes.

Forme: Or a cutting forme, is the metal “cutter” used to score the cardboard for a die cut finish.

Fosber: An American manufacturer of corrugated machinery.

FSA: The food standards agency.

FSDU: Free standing (or floor standing) display units used for retail packaging.

Fulfilment: An inclusion of third party warehousing as part of an inventory service.


Packaging terminology starting with G

G –Force: A measurement which is the type of acceleration that causes weight, this can be described as weight per unit mass.

Gloss: A coating which provides a higher reflection of light, resulting in an appearance of shine. It provides good colour definition and contrast.

Glued: A box can be folded and glued on machines to transform the flat material into a finished product.

GSM: An acronym for the measurement of grams per square meter.


Packaging terms starting with H

Halogenated Compound: Synthetic natural compounds such as plastic polymers.

Hand Erect: Packaging which will be assembled by hand, mostly utilised for complex designs.

Hand Platen: A machine which is designed to score, crease and die cut corrugated board. Manually operated.

Hand Holes: Hand holes cut into a packaging product. Permits easier manual handling of the box / packaging.

Hanging Tabs: Tabs which hang merchandise in its packaging, often self-adhesive (clear).

Hardigg™: Injection and rotationally moulded equipment cases for use of safe transportation of delicate equipment, see also Pelican™.

HDPE: An acronym for high density polyethylene. Chosen for blow moulding because of its stiffness, stress crack resistance and chemical resistance.

Heat-Seal: A method of sealing two or more surfaces together. Heat can join either two similar materials together or can even join materials which are dissimilar with a thermoplastic layer. The method is controlled under temperature and pressure conditions.

Hermetic Seal: A seal which is air tight and leak-proof.

Hinged End Cap: Similar to standard end caps but these foam hinged end caps do not involve bonding; they simply fold around the item to create the cushion.

HIPS: High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) is an economical, impact resistant, injection moulded plastic which, is easy to fabricate and generally low cost.

Hofbauer: European based manufacturer of extrusion blow moulded cases.

Hot-Melt Adhesive: Also known as hot glue or HMA, it is a solid at room temperature but once heated is a liquefied adhesive.

HPX Resin: An acronym for High performance resin. A polypropylene copolymer material which Peli Storm Case™ are manufactured from.

Hybrid Pack: Packaging which consists of both corrugated and rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate).


Packaging jargon starting with I

Immersion: When a case is tested for protection against liquids it will undergo a series of tests, one of them being immersion. The case will be immersed in water a meter deep for 1 – hour.

Impact Strength (or resistance): The ability a package holds to withstand mechanical shock.

Imperial: Traditional units of measurement (generally replaced by Metric)

Inert: To have no power of action, motion or resistance, in effect something that is not reactive.

Injection Moulded Case: A case which is made from the injection moulded process. See injection moulding for further info.

Injection Moulding: A moulding process in which a heated softened plastic is forced from a heating cylinder into a cool capacity which shapes the product.

Ink Jet Printing: A method of printing where tiny drops of ink are formed into a number, letter or image and are then sprayed onto the surface to be printed.

Inline: Usually used to refer to die cutting machinery that also incorporates printing capabilities. The packaging is cut and printed “in line” in a single pass.

In-Line Wheels: A feature of the Peli storm cases. Allows easier movement of larger cases.

In-Mould Labelling: A process where pre-printed labels are placed in the mould before the plastic is injected into the mould, which then, does not require any additional post production decorating.

Inside / Outside View: A package will usually initially be designed from an inside view. Any print or artwork will need to be set on the outside view however.

Integral Hinges: A one-piece moulding for cases in which the hinges are an integral part of the moulding. Two parts plus a hinge are injection moulded in one cost effective moulding operation.

Integrated: An integrated plant creates both the raw material (corrugated cardboard) and the converted product (e.g. boxes)

Internal Dimensions: The dimensions of the inside of a case or box, measured by width, depth and height.

Inter- Stacking Pattern: Or ISP cases feature interlocking grooves top and bottom which allow cases to be stacked on top of each other securely.

Inventory: Refers to the goods or materials which a business holds for the purpose of resale.

IP Rating: IP ratings are used to define the level of effectiveness a case/enclosure has against the intrusion of foreign objects.

ISO: An acronym for International standards organisation, see ISO 14001.

ISO 14001: Is an environmental management system which sets out a framework that a company can adhere too.

ISO 9001 Certified: To be certified it means that, a business has met the provisions held in ISO9001. It defines an ISO 9000 Quality Management System (QMS), written by members of a worldwide delegation known as the ISO (International Standards Organization). ISO 9001 focus is on meeting customer expectations.

ISTA: The International Safe Transit Association is a non-profit organisation which helps to identify shipping solutions by effective packaging methods and logistics systems. Some businesses will test their packaging using an ISTA test procedure.


Terms beginning with J

Jigsaw Packs: Foam cushion packaging is produced in a manner that when they are positioned they will lock with each other.

JIT (or Kanban): A managed manufacturing system which creates a flow for contracted businesses. The system means the supplier (manufacturer) will hold stock (agreed by contract), ready for quick, and same day release upon request of the customer. Minimum stock levels ensure the customer can always call off a required quantity.


Terms beginning with K

K470: An ATA approved lightweight, rugged aluminium protective case. See Zarges.

Kaisertech: A distributor of GWP Conductive anti static packaging products.

Kanban: Originally a Japanese manufacturing system, Kanban is a scheduling manufacturing system where the supply chain is controlled in an inventory system.

KD: An acronym for knocked down which regards boxes or cartons which are stored or shipped flat.

Kiss Cut: A form of die cutting (see die cutting) where the top layer of material is cut without cutting through the bottom attached material.

Kit Skip: A kit skip is a form of packaging / case which sports teams use to transport their kit. Usually aluminium.

Korrvu: Packaging that utilises films within corrugated outers to secure products during transit.

Kraft: Brown paper or paperboard which has been produced from virgin pulp in the pulping process. It is made out of natural unbleached wood fibres.


Terms beginning with L

Labels: An informative small document attached to an object, often bar codes, shipping and production labels in packaging.

Label Panel: The section of the container in which labels are affixed too. Often an invoice may be folded and attached in protective wrapping on this section.

Laminate: A laminate film can be applied to packaging to enhance its’ properties.

Laser Etching: An engraving process where lasers are used to engrave a design, pattern or text into a material i.e. foam.

Layer Pad: Used for rigid layer separation in ESD packaging (see Corstat for further information).

LD: An acronym for low density, usually in relation to foam.

Lead Time: The time from the initial contract / order to the time it takes the customer to receive their packaging / products.

Lid: A removable or attached “top” for a container or box to enclose the contents.

Light-Weighting: In Packaging light-weighting is the design of packages which reduce material use, reducing weight and cost but also, reducing environmental burden.

Liner: One of the paper materials which, make up one part of the components in corrugated board. There is an inner and outer liner; the outer is usually of higher quality, due to being used for print finish.

Line-Side: Line-side packaging usually comprises of handling totes and containers used to transport components to assembly lines.

Lithography: The printing of flat surfaces by the use of plates.

Litho Laminated Print: a high quality printed and coated press sheet affixed to corrugated board prior to the die cut process.


Industry terms beginning with M

Machine Erect: A line of packaging which can be fully or partially erected by a mechanical machine.

Manufacture: The making of goods on a large scale by machinery and / or manual labour.

Material: A substance or matter from which something can be made.

Materials Handling: A system designed for the storage and retrieval of materials in manufacturing and distribution (e.g. bins, totes etc.)

Matte Finish: Can also be referred to as a flat finish, a matte finish is a coating where the surface displays no gloss or shine.

Max Case: A brand of cases often used in military and marine industries. IP67 certified (see IP Rating).

Maxibag: Cases manufactured by Hofbauer and frequently used for presentations / demos.

Metric: An updated system / standard of measurement.

Minibag: Suited for small samples, this presentation case is manufactured by Hofbauer.

Mission Critical: Referred to as an activity, device or service that is essential to an operation or organisation and will cause a failure in operations without it, for example military equipment.

Mitraset: An EMC rack mount case suitable for protection against all static. See also EMC.

MLT: Manufacturing lead time is the cumulative time from the beginning of the production cycle until a line is finished. Time spent in inventory as work in process, setup times, move times, inspection, and order preparation time are included.

MM: Millimeter is a metric unit of measurement.

Mobile Design: if an object is unable to be released to design the packaging around it, a designer will be able to go directly to the customer to digitise the item on site.

Monomer: A chemical used which reacts to form a polymer.

MOQ: An acronym for minimum order quantity, a supplier may only deal with customers who order the minimum or above.

Mould Seam: A vertical groove formed at the point of the mould halves, can also be referred to as a parting line.

Multipoint Gluing: Glue is applied to the packaging at several points simultaneously allowing for intricate designs. See also crash lock boxes.

Multi Trip: A type of packaging which can be used for multiple trips.

Multi Up: A term for the way dies or presses are designed so that the press can apply more than one design / shape at a time. Increases efficiency and is more cost-effective.


Terms beginning with N

Nanuk: Brand of protective cases. IP 67 rated. Similar to Peli.

NATO Part No: NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation which is a military alliance. A NATO part number or NSN (national stock number) is a 13 digit code which identifies all standardised materials of supply.

N Case: A cost effective version of the Smart Case (see smart case). Generally used for presenting samples or products.

Nesting Containers: Designed with sloped sidewalls so that they can be stacked or nested in each other when they are empty, saving on space.

Nomar: An abrasion-resistant coating which is water based and glueable.


Packaging terms beginning with O

Offset Litho: Mass production printing using the offset printing technique.

Offset Printing: The process means transferring ink from a printing plate to a rubber blanket or roller and then subsequently to the sheet. A practical method for multiple colour labelling.

Ohm: A measurement of the electrical resistance of a device or material.

Open Front: Often referred to when talking about Correx® picking or parts bins used in warehouses, their open fronts allow access to the contents whilst stacked.

Operational Temperature: The range of temperature in which a particular case or type of packaging will maintain adequate protection /performance.

Output: Output for a given packaging line is the amount of units produced in a manufacturing cycle.

Outside View: The outer view of a packaging design.

Overprint: The process of printing one colour on top of another.

Pa - Pl

Terms starting Pa to Pl

Packing: The process of placing items into the packaging container.

Pallets: A flat transport structure which supports goods stably, often in the form of wood. Allows for easy lifting and movement by forklifts.

Pallet Boxes: Large industrial boxes fixed to or on top of pallets, which can be used to ship products in bulk.

Pantone: A widely used system used for matching colours and printing inks.

Paper: Produced from moist fibres of cellulose pulp and dried into flexible sheets with a variety of uses.

Paper, Water-resistant: Paper that is treated by the addition of materials which provide a degree of resistance to damage or deterioration by water in liquid form.

Partitions: A sectioning device within a container. Partitions could be corrugated, scored or interlocking. They provide cushioning as well as separation.

PE: The acronym for Polyethylene. See Polyethylene.

Peli™: A supplier of industrial safety torches and protective cases. Has become the “hoover” brand of protective cases.

Pelican™: See Peli

Perforations: Small holes in a material which are organised in a fashion making it easier for consumers to open.

Performance: A reflection of productivity, output, strength or other measurable metric.

Picking Bin: Containers in which goods are stored ready to be ‘picked’ and shipped to the customer.

PICK N PLUCK™: A Peli trademark, this is pre scored foam which allows the end user to easily create profiles for their tools / equipment. Low cost alternative to custom engineered foam. Also commonly referred to as cubed foam.

Pick Face: The front face of the storage which is available directly to the order picker in a warehouse.

Pillow Pack: A pillow pack box is type of packaging which pops into shape and resembles a miniature cardboard pillow. They have interlocking tabs and are ideal for smaller products.

Pin-Holing: Tiny holes in a finish or film caused by imperfections in the substance, coating applicators have multiple options for minimising the risks of this.

Plastazote®: Versatile polyethylene foam. Formed by nitrogen cells in polyethylene. The cells are closed and connected (cross linked) meaning liquids and gases are not absorbed. Widely used in high performance protective packaging.

Platen / Plate: A press with which one flat surface is pressed against another. Short-run die-cutting presses are often platen presses.

Plotter: Used in the design process, a flatbed plotter allows for cost effective manufacture of prototypes and pre-production samples. Can also be used for low volume manufacture of specific products.

Pluck Foam: See PICK N PLUCK™ foam.

Pl – Pv

Terms Pa through Pl

Plywood: A thin but strong wooden board consisting of two layers or more glued and pressed together with the grain direction alternating.

PMS: An acronym for pantone matching system, a colour matching system used in the print industry. See also Pantone.

Polyethylene: Also abbreviated to PE, polyethylene is the most commonly used plastic. It is translucent, tough, and a waxy solid which is unaffected by water and by a large range of chemicals. It has three classifications: low density, medium density and high density.

Polyethylene Foam: Closed cell foam which is strong and resilient chemically.

Polymer: Large molecules which are made when smaller molecules join together i.e. polyethylene, these can be natural or synthetic.

Polyolefins: Polyolefins are macromolecules formed by the polymerization of olefin monomer units, can also be known as poly (alkene). The most common polyolefins are polypropylene and polyethylene; this includes low and high density.

Polypropylene: Similar to polyethylene, it is translucent and stresscrack resistant. Used for moulding materials.

Polystyrene: Is a thermoplastic material derived from the polymerisation of styrene (vinyl benzene); it is non-toxic, has good water and weather resistance but, has poor impact strength. Also regarded as environmentally poor.

POS: Point of sale displays, usually contain promotions and can often be found next to or near the till.

Postal: Packaging created and used for the intentions of posting items (e.g. boxes, postal tubes etc.).

PP: The acronym for polypropylene. See polypropylene.

PPE: An acronym for personal protective equipment, this protects the user against health or safety risks at work.

Press and Pull Catches: These are latches which open with the push of a button but stay closed under impact or stress. These are a feature of Peli storm cases.

Print: The most common print terms for corrugated packaging can be found in Appendix 2.

Product Amenities: The extra product features that provide user benefits (e.g. crash – lock boxes ease of assembly, or integrated tamper evident features).

PU: Polyurethane material is a type of versatile plastic. They can be flexible foams, rigid foams or elastoplastics.

Pulp: Material prepared by chemically or mechanically separating cellulose fibres from, waste paper, wood and fibre crops.

Purge Valve: A valve which allows air to flow freely in and out of a case (mitigating changes in pressure) but stops dust and water from entering.

PVA Adhesive: Standing for polyvinyl acetate, PVA is a rubbery synthetic polymer, it is also a type of thermoplastic.


Terms beginning with Q

Q Pick: A flexible, modular solution to stock and picking storage needs.

Quote: A packaging quote will initially be provided by an Estimator or Salesman and will usually provide the following information; the quantity, unit price and total price, the customer’s details and item descriptions.


Terminology starting with R

Rack Mount Case: A metal framework with multiple bays designed to house electronic equipment.

Rack Unit: A unit made for flight cases or portable server cases.

Rationalisation: A process used to merge similar packaging lines, allowing the benefits of a smaller inventory and improved economies of scale.

Recyclable: Packaging materials that can be processed for re-use rather than waste.

Reel: Can also be known as a spool or coil. A cylinder which flexible materials can be wound onto for storage or transit.

Registration: Marks / locations on a print surface that allows for the print to be applied in the correct position. Particularly important when printing multiple colours.

Resistance: A measure of difficulty of the passing of an electric current through a conductor.

Retail: The sale of goods to the public for use rather than resale.

Retention Pack: Retention packaging offers simple and cost-effective blocking and bracing protection solution. See also Korrvu.

Reusable / Returnable: Packaging that will get multi trip uses out of it.

RFQ: Request for quotation.

Rivet: A metal join or fasten.

Rose Plastic: Established in 1953 Rose Plastic is a manufacturer of plastic packaging.

Rotary Die Cutting: Die cutting on a cylinder rotary press which is often done in line with printing. Dies used in rotary die cutting are solid engraved dies, adjustable dies, or magnetic plate tooling.

Rotational Moulding: A plastic moulding process used to make seamless, stress-free, hollow one-piece items.

Royal Mail Sizes: The guidelines set out by the royal mail which indicates the maximum size and weight for different postage formats.

RSI: Repetitive strain injury caused by repetitive actions.

Run: How many items produced in one manufacturing “session”.

Sa – Sl

Terminology between Sa and Sl

Sampling: Creation of a prototype to allow customer approval before mass production.

Sample Case: Used by sales people to showcase their products to potential customers.

Sealed Air: A packaging company well known for creating Bubble Wrap. Also, manufacture Ethafoam and Stratocell.

Seams: Various techniques used to keep the package together. Can include glued, taped and stitched. A corrugated board may be stitched for a large heavy duty package.

Shadow Board: A case insert which is used as a tool organisation station, can be custom made with foam. Highlights when a tool is missing or has not been returned to its storage pocket.

Sheet: Term for referring to raw material (e.g. corrugated sheet, Correx® sheet).

Sheet Feeders: A plant that operates a corrugator to run corrugated sheets especially for box plants to convert into boxes.

Sheet Plant: An independent company who buy their materials from sheet feeders to then convert the materials into packaging. A sheet plant will not have a corrugator.

Sheet Plant Association: An association which encourages the promotion of best practise within its member companies. Members can be a part of the model initiatives and take part in activities such as training etc.

Shelf Life: The length of time in which a product remains usable, in packaging the shelf life of varied types of foam may be referred to.

Shelf Ready Packaging or SRP: Term used to detail products which come in an outer transit box that converts into a unit to display the contents in a retail environment.

Shell Case: An alternative to traditional sample cases for sales pitches.

Shielding Layer: A conductive layer used to block electrostatic fields, see Faraday cage.

Silk-Screening: A printing technique whereby a mesh is used to transfer ink onto the container to be printed. This method can be applied to closures, liners and most containers regardless of shape or size.

Simulated Rainfall: To test a case’s protection level from liquid one of the tests it will undergo is a simulated rainfall test. Four inches of simulated rain will fall per hour for twenty minutes each side.

Single Pass Printing: A single pass printer will allow quick printing of four colour and monochrome data in one pass.

Single Source: A single source packaging supplier will supply all of a customer’s lines. Allows for cost savings and makes management of a customer’s packaging inventory simpler.

Single-Up: A rotary die cutter that will only cut a single shape.

Single Wall: Or double faced, single walled board consists of one part fluted paper (in the middle) and then two materials (usually paperboard) which are bonded on either side of the fluted paper to give it strength.

SKB: A case manufacturing company which specialise in travel and storage protection.

SKU: A stock keeping unit is an industry term which, is an identification code relating to an individual product or item.

SLA: Service level agreement. Effectively a contract with a supplier which outlines the responsibilities and level of service they should provide.

Sleeve: A paperboard sleeve which can be customised in shape and style to be slid over the top of another form of packaging usually for informative and decorative reasons.

Sm – Sv

Terms starting Sm to Sv

Smart Case: A smaller scale flight case generally used for presenting samples.

Sourcing: All of the functions involved in the growth, harvest or extraction and processing of raw materials, including the collection and processing of recycled and reused materials.

Spec Number: A five digit specification number given to a design which could then be followed by the oblique if a design has been upgraded.

Spool: Can also be known as a reel (see reel) or coil, a spool is a cylinder in which flexible materials can be wound onto.

SPRC: A scheduled package run cycle, the run cycle indicates the time which management allots the packaging line to generate a required number of units.

SSE: An acronym for static safe environments, a distributor of GWP Conductive products.

SSI Schaefer: A supplier and manufacturer of warehouse logistic systems, software, racking, shelving, storage equipment and waste management.

Stack height: Regulations or guidance regarding safe stacking of packaging.

Stacking Corner: A strong plastic corner addition on a case / package which allows for steady and secure stacking during transportation.

Standard 300: A standard range of Shell presentation cases.

Starpack: An industry awards scheme which recognises innovations in packaging design and technology.

Static Dissipative: A foam or material which safely dissipates static charges, protecting any items within.

Stereo: Also known as Stereotype printing, a flexible plate used for printing. Used in flexographic printing.

Stillage: A rack or pallet which holds multiple items. Used in line-side and assembly applications.

Stitched: A term to describe a box which a machine has ‘stitched’ together rather than glued. Used mostly for larger heavy duty boxes.

Stock Holding: See inventory or JIT.

Storm Case™: Peli™ brand cases that provide a safe transportable environment for expensive or delicate equipment. See Pelican™.

Strapping: The process of applying a strap to combine, hold and reinforce the stability of an item / items.

Stratocell: Low cost polyethylene foam used for packaging which needs an interior cushioning.

Style (FEFCO): A style guide for commonly used box designs set by the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers as an industry standard.

Supazote: A closed cell cross-linked ethylene copolymer foam which provides an extremely soft feel.

Supply Chain: Defined as a network created amongst different companies in the producing and handling of a specific product.

Surface Resistivity: The electrical resistance of the surface of an insulated material, this is measured in ohm’s.

Suspension Pack: Provides valuable or delicate products with protection during transit. The product is suspended between two layers of low-slip film, eliminating movement and impact.

Sustainability: The development and use of packaging which involves increasing the life cycle inventory therefore, reducing environmental impact.

SVS Industrial Supplies: Based in Galway, Ireland, SVS is a distributor of GWP Conductive anti-static packaging.


Packaging industry terms starting with T

Tamper Resistant Seal: A seal which cannot be opened without evidence of tampering, the seal or cap will be partially destroyed.

Tamper – Evident Band: Often found below a screw cap on bottles. The purpose is to reveal any tampering with the product.

Tear Strip: Plastic film or cord applied mechanically to the inside of a package, which means a package can be opened quickly.

Tear Tab: An extension of the tearing strip on a package which permits easy grasping.

Technobag: A German-designed range of presentation cases which are injection moulded, single walled and made from polypropylene.

Test Liner: Recycled liner board which can be manufactured as a sheet where the fibres are similar throughout. Known as Homogeneous/Simplex or, as a combination of two layers with the outer layer being better quality recycled fibre, this is known as Duplex or Multi-Ply.

The Great Western Packaging Company: The former name of GWP Packaging.

Thermoforming: A manufacturing process which is vacuumed or pressured. Thermoformed packaging is available for food and product displays, blister packs, clamshells and tri-folds.

Thermoplastic: A polymer, plastic material that becomes mouldable above a certain temperature and solidifies when cool.

Tolerance: The specified allowance for digressions in weight / measurements.

Tool Control: A tool organisation insert for cases. Can highlight when tools are missing by using different coloured foams.

Tongue and Groove Seal: A type of extended groove which operates on a mirror image concept, this provides a tighter lid enclosure.

Tote: A plastic container which can be stacked upon each other, often used for industrial purposes.

Transit: The action of passing across/transporting goods from one place to another i.e. shipping, couriers etc.

Transit Damage: Any damage made to the item or product during the transportation process.

Travel Skips: Large aluminium cases used for transporting sports kits / equipment. See kit skips.

Trays: Packaging industrial solutions for samples, components & parts.

Triboelectric Charge: A type of electric charge which occurs after certain materials come into contact with a different material.

Tri Wall: Is triple fluted corrugated board which is used for its strength, flexibility and eco-friendliness.

Tubes: Corrugated tubes used for a variety of reasons including postal mailing. These tubes come with end caps.

Turkey Lock: A style of box with a full overlap base which doesn’t require taping.

TUV SUD: Have accredited testing facilities which they use to offer a full range of packaging testing services to determine the risks of damage in transit.


Packaging industry terms starting with U

Ultrasonic Welding: An industrial welding technique where high-frequency ultrasonic vibrations are applied to materials held together under pressure to create a solid – state weld, commonly used for plastics.

UN Number: Numbers used to identify a particular group of substances, these numbers are four digits and are assigned by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the transport of dangerous goods.

Unit Cost: The total expense incurred by a company to produce, store and sell one unit of a product. Unit costs include fixed costs, overhead costs, material costs and labour costs.


Packaging terminology beginning with V

VE: An acronym for value engineering meaning a method which improves the value of goods or services either by increasing the function or reducing the costs.

Varnish: A clear ink which can be either gloss, satin or matte which can be used for protection or to improve aesthetic appearance.

VCI: An abbreviation for Vapour Corrosion Inhibitor, it is a type of coating which provides a method for both passive and active protection against corrosion.

Vector: A graphic which is comprised of paths and are defined by start and end points. As a vector image is not made up of a number of dots they can be scaled and not lose any quality.

Vibration, Loose Cargo: Often products can be damaged by vibrations through transportation, random vibrational stresses are simulated in a laboratory to provide manufacturers with information which will help them to create packaging solutions that minimise transit damage.

Vibration, Sweep: A sweep vibration is defined as a traverse from one frequency to another. A sweep cycle will swap from one frequency to another, and then back to the first frequency. Used for testing protective

Virgin Material: A material which has not been processed in any form other than its original manufacture.

VMI: VMI stands for Vendor managed inventory meaning that the packaging company will use an advanced stock management system to keep a business’s packaging levels within the agreed minimum and maximum levels.

Vodex: Vodex based in Southampton, are a distributor of GWP Conductive anti-static products.

Void Fill: Types of materials used inside a box to package / stuff around the product/s to avoid damage. Can include foam, paper, air sacks and bubble wrap.

Volume: The displacement or capacity, or volume of manufacture.

Volume Resistivity: The ability of a material to resist the flow of a current. It is measured per unit.

Vortex Pressure Relief Valve: The valve automatically adjusts air pressure without letting in water.


Packaging terms beginning with W

WAG: German manufacturers, who offer a range of plastic presentation cases. See Technobag for more information.

Warehousing: The storage of parts/components.

Wastage: Components or packages produced that do not meet a required quality standard.

Waterjet Cutting: A water jet cutter will cut (foam) materials using a high pressured jet of water. Unlike routing, it can create deep pockets accurately.

Weight: Refers to the density of a material, see GSM for further information.

Wez: A brand of conductive cases / containers.

With Flute: A unit of measurement which follows the direction of the flute.


Packaging jargon beginning with X

Xtrabag: A case from the Hofbauer range of lightweight plastic cases.


Packaging jargon beginning with Z

Zarges: Manufacturer of a range of aluminium shipping cases and containers.

Zotefoams®: The largest manufacturer of light-weight polyolefin block foams. See AZOTE®.

In Summary

Information about your packaging

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of your packaging supply or see how GWP Group can help you reduce your packaging costs, then please do not hesitate to contact us following the links below.

Further Reading...

About the Author

Jay Daggar, GWP Packaging Sales Manager

Jay Daggar

Sales Manager | GWP Packaging

Jay joined GWP Packaging in mid-2008 before becoming Sales Manager in 2011, meaning he has worked for GWP for over 10 years. [Read full bio…]

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