Introduction to the types of corrugated boxes

Whether you’re an e-commerce retailer or a restaurant owner, you’d likely vouch for the importance of using the right packaging. Using high-quality packaging material ensures that your products are safely shipped and delivered. This, in turn, improves a customer’s overall shopping experience and positively impacts your brand image. It is, therefore, essential to check out the different types of corrugated boxes available in the market and pick one that suits your requirements.

 

Are you wondering why we’ve directly jumped to types of corrugated boxes without even considering other packaging materials? It’s because corrugated boxes offer a plethora of unique advantages for new-age product manufacturers and suppliers. However, in the available types of corrugated boxes, the sheer variety of corrugated boxes available in the market can be overwhelming. Kallada Packagings, being one of the leading manufacturers of corrugated carton boxes in Kerala, is here to help you to make an informed decision by explaining the types of corrugated boxes used around India.

 

Let’s first understand what is a corrugated carton box and how it’s different from other packaging materials.

What is a Corrugated Box?

In a layman’s term, a corrugated box is a carton that comprises one or more layers of corrugated cardboard. Corrugated cardboard is a rugged packaging material made of three layers of kraft paper. It consists of a wave-shaped layer sandwiched between two sheets of kraft paper. The ruffled interior layer is known as the corrugated medium whereas the outer layers are called liners. 

 

The wave-shaped pattern of the types of corrugated boxes is also known as flutes. The medium is anchored to the liner layers using an adhesive. Thereafter, stacks of corrugated cardboard are cut, printed, and folded to create different types of corrugated boxes. Additionally, the corners and folds are often glued to make the carton more durable.

Types of Corrugated Boxes

Image via Nefab

 

What distinguishes the types of corrugated boxes from other types of packaging is the addition of the arch-shaped corrugated medium. It makes the cartons stronger and more durable than conventional cardboard boxes. Moreover, the empty space between the arches provides more cushioning and insulated your product from extreme temperature fluctuations.

 

Now that you know what is a corrugated carton box, let’s take a look at its wonderful benefits.

Why are Corrugated Boxes the Ideal Choice for Packaging?

The best way to answer this question is to consider the factors that influence your choice of product packaging. Firstly, you’d like the material to be sturdy and durable so that it can withstand the weight of your product. You’d also want the material to be light and not add to the weight of your product. Additionally, the material should be resistant to shocks and abrasions.

The good news is that all the types of corrugated boxes offer all these advantages and more. Here are some of the most crucial benefits of corrugated boxes:

  • Lightweight – Corrugated boxes are lighter than other sturdy packaging materials such as wood and metal. It ensures that your products can be easily moved, shipped, and delivered.
  • Durable – The arch-shaped fluting of the corrugated medium and layered design makes the boxes extremely strong and resistant to wear and tear. This makes them ideal for shipping products over long distances.
  • Protection – The ruffled corrugated medium provides cushioning and insulation. This, in turn, safeguards your product from sudden shocks, falls, and temperature fluctuations. Additionally, it protects your product from heat, humidity, and bacteria.
  • Cost-effective – The raw material used for manufacturing corrugated boxes is extremely affordable. Moreover, these boxes can be repulped, recycled, and repurposed.
  • Eco-friendly – Apart from being recyclable, corrugated boxes are biodegradable. This makes them a great choice for environmentally sustainable packaging, unlike metal and plastic.
  • Customization – The shape, size, quality, and colour of product packaging have a significant impact on your overall brand image. Corrugated boxes can be manufactured in various shapes and sizes according to your product. Moreover, you can easily print your logo, illustrations, taglines, etc. on the box to strengthen your branding even further.

Corrugated Boxes vs. Cardboard Boxes

This is one of the most critical dilemmas faced by new product manufacturers. Unfortunately, many people even use these terms interchangeably without realizing that they are completely different. Both corrugated and cardboard boxes are made using different raw materials and meant for different purposes.

 

Cardboard boxes are made with a single-layer of heavy-duty paper stock. They are commonly used to package food items such as cereals, cookies, beverages, cosmetics, etc. Unlike the different types of corrugated boxes, cardboard boxes aren’t equipped to offer protection against shocks and abrasions. While they are lightweight and customizable, they are fragile and less durable compared to corrugated boxes.

 

The choice between corrugated cartons and cardboard boxes depends on the type of product you’re manufacturing. Cardboard boxes are a great choice for readymade food items and other products that are sold at brick and mortar retail outlets. On the other hand, if you want to ship your product to another city/country/continent, corrugated boxes are your best bet. Likewise, if you’re delivering fresh food such as pizzas, burgers, etc., corrugated boxes would be a better choice.

 

So far, we’ve discussed how corrugated boxes are manufactured and what makes them superior to other packaging materials. It’s now time for us to take a look at various types of corrugated boxes available in the market.

Different Types of Corrugated Boxes

If you’re new to the world of corrugated carton packaging, you’ll likely face a plethora of baffling questions. What is a 3 ply carton box? How is it different from a 5 ply carton box? What type of corrugated box is best suited for your needs? what type of corrugated box would serve more durability?

 

In the following sections, we’ll address some of these questions to help you make the right choice. Corrugated boxes are usually characterized by the number of layers of medium and liner present in them. Broadly, these are the types of corrugated boxes available in the market:

Single-Faced Corrugated Box

It consists of one layer of corrugated medium with a single liner. It’s less durable and sturdy compared to other types of corrugated boxes. It’s usually available in the form of sheet rolls and is used to wrap products inside carton for added protection.

Image via WebstaurantStore

Single-Wall Corrugated Box

This type of corrugated box comprises one sheet of corrugated medium glued between two sheets of liners. Also known as 3 ply corrugated box, it is used to manufacture shipping cartons. It is widely used in the retail and food industries.


Image via WebstaurantStore

Double-Wall Corrugated Box

It consists of two layers of corrugated medium sandwiched between three liner layers. This makes it extremely sturdy and durable. That’s why it is used to manufacture industrial cartons for shipping electronic goods and appliances. It is also known as 5 ply corrugated box.

Image via WebstaurantStore

Triple-Wall Corrugated Box

As the name suggests, this type of corrugated box comprises three layers of corrugated medium glued between four liner layers. It is extremely strong and capable of withstanding heavyweights. It is often used to manufacture shipping crates, chemical containers as well as packaging for furniture and heavy machinery.

triple-wall-cardboard-carton box

Image via WebstaurantStore

 

In addition to layering, these types of corrugated boxes are also characterized by the type of fluting. The type of flute used in a corrugated box impacts its strength, durability, and usability. Let’s take a look at the different types of flutes used in corrugated boxes.

Types of Flutes Used in Corrugated Boxes

Before delving deeper, it’s crucial to understand what is a flute in a carton box. Simply put, fluting refers to the wave-shaped pattern of a corrugated medium. The size and thickness of the flute influence various attributes of corrugated boxes including structural strength, cushioning, insulation, durability, etc. Depending on the fluting, you can manufacture various types of corrugated boxes for different purposes.

 

The type of fluting in corrugated boxes is denoted by the following alphabets: A, B, C, E, and F. Type C flute is the one used most frequently. In fact, almost 80% of all types of corrugated boxes and boards use type C flute. Let’s take a look at the different types of flutes used in corrugated boxes:

Type A Flute

This type of fluting comprises 36 flutes per foot with a height of ¼”. It is known for its impeccable stacking strength as well as compression and cushioning properties. Corrugated boxes with type A flute are often used for packaging fragile and delicate goods.

Type B Flute

It consists of 49 flutes per foot with a height of ⅛”. Corrugated boxes with type B flute offer excellent crush and puncture resistance. They are also ideal for printing. They are often used for food packaging, retail packaging, POP displays, as well as inner partitions and pads.

Type C Flute

This is the most commonly used flute type comprising 41 flutes per foot with a height of 11/64”. It has a high stacking strength and offers great cushioning and compression properties. This type of corrugated box is often used for making shipping cartons, displays, etc.

Type E Flute

It is characterized by 90 flutes per foot with a height of 1/16”. Its thin construction makes it an excellent printing surface. It also offers exceptional crush resistance. The types of corrugated boxes with type E flute are commonly used for packaging consumer goods and perishable food items as well as POP displays.

Type F Flute

This type of fluting comprises 128 flutes per foot with a height of 1/32”. Its ultra-thin build, structural integrity, and exceptional crush resistance make it the perfect printing surface. This type of corrugated box is ideal for packaging consumer goods such as jewelry, footwear, cosmetics, etc. It’s also a great choice for custom-printed boxes.

 

So far, we’ve taken a look at various types of corrugated boxes and the purpose of different fluting options. We’ve understood what is a 5 ply carton box and how it’s different from a 3 ply carton. It’s now time for us to check out various design options available for corrugated boxes.

Types of corrugated cardboard

Image via WebstaurantStore

Different Styles of Corrugated Boxes

One of the best parts of corrugated boxes is that they can be manufactured in different shapes and sizes. It’s crucial to select the right style that suits your product and packaging requirements. Here are some of the most frequently used styles for different types of corrugated boxes:

Regular Slotted Container (RSC)

When you’re talking about corrugated boxes, this is likely the style that you’re referring to. It consists of four flaps located each at the top and bottom of the box. These flaps are used to close the box. The width of the other flaps is half of the container’s width so that they meet at the centre when the box is closed.

Regular slotted container

Image via James Town Container

Full Overlap Container (FOC)

It’s similar to RSC except that the outer flaps on either side fully overlap each other covering the entire container’s entire width. It provides extra thickness and cushioning at the top and bottom. This types of corrugated boxes are a great choice for products that need added protection.

Image via James Town Container

Half Slotted Container

This style is similar to RSC except that it opens only on one side, thus offering more protection to your product.

half slotted container

Image via Montebello Container

Folder Type Boxes & Trays

It usually consists of a single piece of corrugated cardboard that is creased and folded to form a box. The base remains flat and intact. It is typically used for packaging books, printed materials, and food items. One of the most common uses of these types of corrugated boxes is found in pizza boxes.

Image via James Town Container

Full Telescope Design

It consists of two separate flat-based scored and slotted trays that can be pulled apart to open the box. The top tray usually slides over the bottom one, thus improving stacking strength and offering extra protection and cushioning. It is ideal for packaging fragile products.

full telescope design carton

Image via James Town Container

 

Product packaging is one of the most crucial components of brand building. Depending on the type of corrugated box you select, you can use various printing techniques to enhance your branding. You can print high-quality graphics including your brand logo, company name, and other personalized bits.

Corrugated Box Printing Techniques

As mentioned earlier, most types of corrugated boxes are great printing surfaces. Here are some of the most commonly used printing techniques for corrugated boxes:

  • Lithography – It’s one of the most frequently used techniques for printing techniques. You can opt for a glossy or matte finish depending on your branding. It’s is usually used for printing boxes and labels for consumer goods.
  • Flexography – It’s a more cost-effective and versatile alternative than lithography when it comes to large-scale printing. It’s often used for printing on shipping containers.
  • Digital Printing – This is a relatively new-age technique with a low setup cost and faster results. You can use it for printing labels and films for flexible packaging.
  • Rotogravure – This printing technique is known for its superior quality and consistency. Traditionally, it has been used to print magazines and stamps on a large-scale. You can use it to print high-quality images and graphics on flex pouches, shipping cartons, etc.
  • Silkscreen – It’s ideal for printing labels and packaging for consumer goods. It has a low setup cost and offers top-notch results. However, it isn’t suitable for large-scale printing.

 

Now you’re almost ready to purchase the right types of corrugated boxes for your product. Here are a few more tips to help you make an informed decision.

Things to Consider Before Buying Corrugated Boxes

Here’s the thing – corrugated boxes offer a plethora of packaging possibilities for your product and branding. It’s up to you to select the style that is best suited for your requirements. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:

GSM

Are you wondering what is GSM in a carton box? It stands for grams per square meter and is a measure of the number of layers in a corrugated box. Higher the GSM of a box, greater its strength and durability.

Bursting Strength

It is defined as the amount of pressure a corrugated box can tolerate before rupturing. It’s usually a combination of the number of layers of corrugated cardboard and the type of fluting. A box with a higher bursting strength is more rugged and durable.

Product Type

It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the type of product you’d like to package. While a single-wall folder tray might be suitable for pizza boxes, electronic appliances would likely require a triple-wall RSC. Make sure you select the type and style that is cost-effective and offers maximum protection.

Shipping & Delivery

Do you intend to ship your product over long distances? Or are you planning to sell it in local retail outlets? Your answer to these questions will determine the type of corrugated box you select. It’ll also influence the type of printing technique you use. While silkscreen and digital printing are ideal for consumer product packaging, flexography is best-suited for shipping cartons.