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What is Corrugated?

Corrugated boxes are easy to recognize. Corrugated is made of paper and has an arched layer, called "fluting," between smooth sheets, called "liner." The corrugated most commonly used to make boxes has one layer of fluting between two smooth sheets. But there are many types of corrugated available, each with different flute sizes and thicknesses.

Corrugated is an extremely durable, versatile, economical and lightweight material used for custom-manufactured shipping containers, packaging and point-of-purchase displays, in addition to numerous non-traditional applications ranging from pallets to children's toys to furniture.

Why Corrugated?
Corrugated, it's not just a brown box.

Corrugated are a complete, high-performance material design, manufacturing and delivery system. Corrugated is the preferred packaging material because it is:

  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • High-Tech
  • Customizable
  • Protective
  • Graphically Appealing
  • Cost-Effective
If it's not just a cardboard box, what is it?
A High-Tech Engineered Material.

What may come as a big surprise to many is that the ever-present corrugated "cardboard box" is high-tech:

Ongoing R&D programs continuously improve such characteristics as strength-to-weight ratios, printability, moisture barriers and recyclables.

Corrugated components, designs and end products are manufactured on sophisticated, automatic equipment that reduces costs and ensures consistent performance.

The vast majority of corrugated products are designed and prototyped with advanced, computer-aided design and manufacturing systems, providing customers with the best and most cost-effective solutions to their packaging challenges.

Infinitely Customizable:

Corrugated offers thousands of possible combinations of board types, flute sizes (caliper), basis weight, adhesives, treatment and coatings, including flame retardant and static control protection.

Corrugated is the only rigid shipping container and packaging medium that can be cut and folded into an infinite variety of shapes and sizes and direct-printed with high-resolution color graphics (including lithography, flexography and silk screening). And corrugated is not just for displays and boxes. Other uses include low-cost, one-way recyclable pallets, retail bulk bins, and lightweight castles that children can build themselves.

There are hundreds of basic designs and thousands of adaptations, each chosen on the basis of proven experience and the proposed use of the product.

Corrugated is routinely custom-designed to fit specific product protection, shelf space and shipping density requirements (including inner packaging that prevents shifting).

Tenaciously Protective:

Corrugated combines structural rigidity with superior cushioning qualities. Containers, packages and pallets nest products in an optimally protective environment, so even heavy or fragile contents arrive undamaged.

Corrugated offers excellent tear, tensile and burst strength to withstand shipping pressures. It resists impact, drop and vibration damage while offering uniform stacking and weight distribution so the load stays put, regardless of the form of transportation.

Corrugated can be designed to contain flow able, granular or loose bulk products and even hazardous materials. It is also used to ship liquids and fresh foods, with the addition of removable plastic or waxed liners which serve as moisture barriers.

All this from a material that is lightweight, low-cost and recyclable.

Graphically Appealing:

Corrugated containers and packaging are mobile billboards that create product image wherever they travel. Corrugated displays are eye-catching modular units that can be set up quickly and recycled at the end of a promotion.

Corrugated is a very flexible medium that accommodates a wide range of printing options to support the end-use requirement:

Offset lithography and rotogravure (high-volume).

Flexography or letterpress (shorter runs)

Silk screening (displays)

Corrugated can be direct printed in plant or manufactured with high-end process color graphics.

Preeminently Cost-Effective:

One of the least expensive containers ever developed, the overall cost of corrugated shipping containers is usually between one percent and four percent of the value of the goods they carry.

The cost of labor and tools required to produce, fill, and move the container is low. The cost of shipping is low, due to lower weights and higher fill densities than alternative packaging. The trend toward light weighting will continue to drive down shipping costs. Low raw material costs and mass production of corrugated containers makes them particularly cost-efficient.

The ultimate contribution to cost reduction is when corrugated is used as an all-in-one shipping, storage, advertising and display medium - a growing trend both in warehouse and other retail stores.

Environmentally Responsible:

Corrugated, made from a natural renewable resource, has a great environmental record. Corrugated is frequently manufactured using high percentages of secondary fiber (including old corrugated containers, craft, old newspapers and even straw), thereby diverting these materials from the municipal solid waste stream.

In 2004, more than 24 million tons of corrugated were recovered and recycled in the U.S. -- that's 73 percent of all containerboard produced in the same year. Corrugated has the best recycling rate of any packaging material used today.

In addition, the use of corrugated constructions with high-performance linerboard has led to a significant overall reduction in basis weight and a significant source reduction of raw materials.

Water-based inks are now used almost exclusively for printing graphics on corrugated containers, avoiding the use of lead-based inks and solvents which pollute the air and the water used to wash down printing equipment between color changes

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