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Packaging Supplies Glossary

Common Packaging Terms

200 LB Test

Corrugated box provides equal or greater stacking strength than a 32 ECT box and is certified to withstand 200 lbs of bursting pressure per sq. inch.


Routinely added to film and bags to keep the sheets from sticking together.


Contains an anti-static additive that dissipates static electrical charges. Good for short-term storage.


A pressure vessel into which steam or other vapor can be introduced at a suitably high temperature to sterilize packages or other objects placed therein. Small autoclaves are normally used for sterilizing surgical instruments and supplies, laboratory glassware, media for bacteriological testing and similar materials. Large autoclaves are used for sterilization of liquids and solutions packaged in glass con­tainers. The pressurized vessels used for production-scale sterilizing of foodstuffs in jars or cans are called retorts.


A piece of corrugation with a height of 3/32 inch excluding the facing, generally spaced about 47 to 53 flutes per foot.

Bags on a Roll

Continuous roll of tubing perforated under bottom seal. Bags must be torn off to open.


A large bundle or package prepared for shipping, storage, or sale. Usually tightly compressed and secured by wires, hoops, or cords.

Bar Code

An identification symbol where the value is encoded in a sequence of high contrast, rectangular bars and spaces. The relative widths of these bars and spaces contain the information. Identification is by visual or electronic means.

Barrier Film or Material

Specially formulated film typically used to extend the shelf life of food products. Prevents transmission of moisture and gases. Term used to prescribe one of two classes of specialized packaging materials that provide environmental protection to the package contents: (1) gas-, moisture-, or light-proof materials that control or eliminate the amount of these environmental constituents that pass into or out of a package; (2) a porous material possessing a structure that prevents the passage of microorganisms that might contaminate the contents of a package.

Basis Weight

The weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that grade; e.g. 500 sheets 25 x 38 in. of 50 lb. text paper weighs fifty pounds.

Blister Pack

Refers to several types of pre-formed plastic packaging for small consumer goods. A blister pack consists of a web of 'blisters' or pockets made from plastic or aluminum, and a lid, usually made from aluminum or card. Often used as unit-dose packaging for pharmaceutical tablets.

Blown Film

The most common method of producing film and bags. Resin is melted in the extrusion process and blown vertically into a bubble to cool.


The degradation of material from naturally occurring microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi or algae over a period of time.


Bill of Lading.

Bottom Seal Bags

Individually cut bags from seamless tubing, sealed on the bottom. Flat or side gusseted bags with a strong seal – usually have a tail.


Acronym for Computer Assisted Design/Computer Assisted Makeup or Manufacturing.

Camera Ready Art

Original artwork which is ready for photography; or artwork prepared on computer with all necessary files copied onto a disk.


A thin, stiff pasteboard used in the creation of playing cards, signs, etc. Term is often misused to refer to Boxboard (folding cartons) and Containerboard (corrugated boxes).


A folding box made from boxboard, used for consumer quantities of product. A carton is not recognized as a shipping container.


As used by the packaging industry, a corrugated or solid fiberboard box.

Cast Film

Extruded in sheet form through a slotted die.


A piece of corrugation with a height of 9/64 inch excluding the facing, generally spaced about 39 to 45 flutes per foot.

Chokes and Spreads

In printing, overlap of overprinting images to avoid color or white fringes or borders around image detail (also called "trapping"). Lighter color always

spreads into the darker color.


Usually a type of blister pack, this refers to the two hinged halves of a plastic shell that form protective packaging for small, valuable items such as electronics.


A protective layer added to a printed sheet including varnish, u.v. coating, peroxylin, nitro cellulose, acrylic, etc.

Corrugated Board, Corrugated Fiberboard.

Corrugated board is comprised of one or more layer of wavy corrugated medium (fluting) and one or more layer of flat corrugated linerboard.


The machine that unwinds two or more continuous sheets of containerboard from rolls, presses flutes into the sheet(s) of corrugating medium, applies adhesive to the tips of the flutes and affixes the sheet(s) of linerboard to form corrugated board. The continuous sheet of board may be slit to desired widths, cut off to desired lengths and scored in one direction.


Acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black - subtractive primary colors. Printing colors for "4-color process" color reproduction.


Made from recycled paper products and virgin Kraft. Material is ground and combined with other materials in a beater to form pulp. The pulp is then spread on a screen to remove excess water. Uses include backing sheets for padded writing paper, partitions within boxes and the center ply or plies of solid fiberboard.


In inkmaking, a term used to describe ink chemist's method of roughly determining color shade. A small glob of ink is placed on paper and drawn down with the edge of a putty knife spatula to get a thin film of ink.

Drop Test

A procedure used to test the safety of package contents during shipping; determines the resistance of a filled box to shocks caused by dropping it during rough shipping and/or handling.

Digital Printing

Printing by plateless imaging systems that are imaged by digital data from pre-press systems.

Die Cutting or Die-Cut

The process of using sharp steel tools to cut special shapes for labels, boxes and inserts from printed sheets or embossed papers. Die-cutting can be done on flatbed or rotary presses. Rotary die-cutting is usually done inline with the printing. A box that is stamped out from a steel rule die, as opposed to being produced on a flexo folder gluer. Die-cut boxes provide greater design options and tighter size tolerances.


For a regular slotted containers (RSC), box dimensions are expressed as length x width x height, always using inside dimensions.

Dimensional Weight

Standard formula used in the freight industry that considers density when determining charges. Calculations consider the space a package will take up in addition to the actual weight.


Department of Transportation.

Doorknob Bags

Side-weld bag, staple-packed with perforated lip and hole just below the top of the bag.

Double Wall

A corrugated board construction where two layers of medium are glued between three layers of flat linerboard facing.

Electronic Printing

Any technology that reproduces pages without the use of traditional ink, water or chemistry.

ESD Electrostatic Discharge

When an electrostatic charge transfers between objects of different electrostatic potential.

ESD Sensitive Material

Material that is sensitive to electrostatic discharge.

ECT (Edge Crush Test)

Edge Crush Test. The Edge Crush Test is a standard industry measure of the stacking strength of corrugated board. The amount of force needed to crush on-edge combined board is a primary factor in predicting the compressive strength of the completed box. When using certain specifications in the carrier classifications, minimum edge crush values must be certified. ECT can be found on the certification seal on each box.

Electrostatic Shield

Barrier that prevents penetration of electrostatic field.


Ethylene Vinyl Acetate. Additive that strengthens and improves sealability. Appropriate for use in cold-temperature applications.

F-Style Can

Called "F" because it was originally created to package Flit insecticide. It is a rectangular metal or plastic can with a pouring spout.

Faraday Cage

Provides both interior and exterior protection from static and other charges.


Food & Drug Administration


Contains iron. Metals such as cast iron, wrought iron, alloy steel, carbon/construction steel, and stainless steel.


A general term describing combined paperboard (corrugated or solid) used to manufacture containers.

Flap Lock

Bag has lip folded back with side seals. Commonly known as a sandwich bag.


Extension of the side wall panels that, when sealed, close the remaining openings of a box. Usually defined by one score line and three edges.

Flexo Folder Gluer

A machine, usually capable or running at high speed that prints, folds, cuts, and glues sheets of corrugated board, converting them into shipping boxes.

Flexographic Printing

Formerly called aniline printing. A method of rotary letterpress printing that employs rubber or plastic plates and rapid drying inks. Extensively used in the printing of packaging materials, foils, balloons, as well as other printing applications. White spreads have to be printed under any color on clear packaging.


Wave shapes pressed into the middle of the corrugated wall of the box. Most common shipping boxes are C flute. Approx. flute thickness: C flute 9/64", B flute 3/32", E flute 3/64" , A flute 3/16". Fluting generally runs parallel to the height of a shipping box.


Flaps over Lap - Box flaps completely overlap.

Four Color Process Printing

Also called process printing - Indicates the four-color plates or cylinders commonly used in color printing. Usually of photographic quality. (C - Cyan, M - Magenta, Y - Yellow, K - Black.) In flexographic printing the minimums are much higher, and the cost more substantial than in spot color printing.


The process of combining four basic colors to create a printed color picture or colors composed from the basic four colors.

Fractional Melt

A resin additive used to increase the tensile strength, impact strength, abrasion resistance, and tear properties of poly bags and films.

GA. or Gauge

The thickness of material. The higher the gauge, the thicker the material. (1/1000 inch = 100 gauge)

Green Cross Certified

Environmentally safe, approved by the Green Cross.

Gusseted Bags

Flat style bag with both sides or bottom tucked in to form gussets. Designated with three dimensions; Side Gusset (width x depth x length) or Bottom Gusset (width x length + gusset).

Hairline Register

In printing, register within plus or minus 1/2 row of dots.

Header Bags

Side-weld bag with continuous seal along top, 2"-3" below fold. Bag is loaded and sealed from the bottom and typically has a hang hole.


A method of uniting two or more surfaces by fusion, either of the coatings or of the base materials, under controlled conditions of temperature, pressure and time generally using an impulse or constant heat sealer.

Heat-Seal Label

A label made of paper or other material coated on one side with a heat-seal coating, usually a thermoplastic resin, and characteristically difficult to remove after application.


In offset lithography, spots or imperfections in the printing due to dirt on the press, dried ink skin, paper particles, etc.

High Density Polyethylene

Strong, but lightweight plastic film with gas, vapor, and moisture barrier properties.


Hazardous Materials Identification System.

Hot Stamp Printing

Thermal bonding process that results in the permanent adhesion of the print to the bag. This decorating technique utilizes a die (design) that cuts metal foils from a ribbon and by heat, embosses the design onto the surface of the plastic containers. Often used in conjunction with silkscreening on cosmetic containers such as those used for shampoos and conditioners.


Half Slotted Container. A regular box with flaps on only one side of the box, leaving one side completely open. Putting the top on the open end completes the box.


International Air Transport Association.


Open ended PLE. Does not seal to box.

Iris Proof

Brand name for a type of color proof.


The opposite edges of the blank glued, stapled, wire stitched, or taped together to form a box.


In artwork, an outline drawing of finished art to indicate the exact shape, position and size for such elements as halftones, line sketches, cut and fold lines, etc.


German word meaning "strength"; designating pulp, paper or paperboard produced from wood fibers.


A printing method in which ink is transferred from a metal plate directly to a sheet of paper or board.

Linear Low Density Polyethylene

Highly puncture and tear resistant plastic film.


Printing - Decorating of flat surfaces by means of plates. Lithography is the prime method for decorating cans, but must be done on the sheet steel before the can is formed.


One side of the bag is longer than the other; allows bag to open easily.

Low Density Polyethylene

The most common type of plastic film used for bags because of its versatility, strength, and resistance to punctures and tears.

Match Print

A type of color proof for offset printing in which film positives for each of the printing plates are fused together.

Master Carton

A carton that is used to pack and ship smaller cartons within.


A term for a camera-ready paste-up of artwork. It includes type, photos, line art, etc., all on one piece of artboard.


Extremely lightweight, flexible and highly stretchable plastic film with excellent puncture and tear resistance.


The thickness of material. The higher the microns, the stronger the material. (1/1000 inch = 25.4 microns)


The thickness of material. The higher the mil, the stronger the material. (1/1000 inch = 1 mil)


Material Safety Data Sheet

Natural Kraft

Unbleached paper in its natural form - brown in color.

Offset Printing (Lithography)

A printing method in which ink is transferred from a plate to a smooth rubber "blanket" roller that transfers the image to paper (or paperboard). This method of printing utilizes printing plates rather than silk screens to transfer the ink to the containers. Offset printing is more exact than silk screening, and is practical for multiple color labeling. Offset printing is utilized primarily on round containers. Because plates are engraved for each color rather than making screens, offset is more expensive than silk screening. The process involves transferring ink from a printing plate to a rubber blanket and subsequently to the sheet (surface to be decorated).


A unit of electrical resistance.


Not able to be seen through; Not transparent. Descriptive of material or a substance which will not transmit light.


Open Panel Folder. Similar to EZ fold mailers.

Orange Peel

An uneven surface somewhat resembling an orange peel.


Other Regulated Materials. D is the classification.


Same as ORM-D but will ship by air cargo.


Wound like a spool of thread, layers are wound next to each other and overlap.


Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Painted Strapping

Coated with paint so that it offers higher corrosion resistance and improved performance.


Securing and loading containers on pallets for shipment as a single unit load, typically for handling by mechanical equipment.

Partitions or Dividers

Slotted or folded pieces of boxboard fitted together to form a series of compartments to be placed in a base without being attached or glued into a base to isolate a section or to form a number of cells into which articles may be placed for shipment.


Pantone Matching System. Universal color matching system used by printers in the United States. A series of standard colors commonly used by package designers and manufacturers. These are published by Pantone, Inc. Communication of specified colors can be made with a code number on a tear-away chip taken from the book.


Proof of delivery.


Term used to describe the thickness or caliper of paperboard, where one point equals one thousandth of an inch.


Strong 100% petrochemical film, waterproof and similar to Tyvek.


Polyethylene is flexible, somewhat stretchable, durable and tear-resistant. These three characteristics are extremely important when you’re putting heavy items in your poly bag.


High clarity and lightweight plastic film with vapor and moisture barriers to preserve food freshness.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Strong 100% petrochemical film. Won't shrink or discolor. Releases quietly with minimal stretch. Stiffer than polypropylene.

Pre-stretched Stretch Wrap

Stretch wrap that is already stretched to its optimal level.

Process Print

Colors are reproduced by printing overlapping dots of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) inks to simulate a large number of different colors.


Any of a number of ways of testing art work and/or structure before final plates or tooling is made.

Puncture Resistance

The puncture resistance of combined board indicates the ability of the finished container to withstand external and internal point pressure forces and to protect the product during rough handling. This method is used on heavy double wall and triple wall as an alternative to burst.

Random Print

A repeating print that appears in full on a bag at least once. A partial print may be visible on either side of the full print.


500 sheets of paper.

Reclosable Bags

Seal-top reclosable and reusable bags can be made with or without a tamper-evident adhesive seal. Also includes zipper and slider zipper bags.

Registered Print

The print shows up in the same spot on every bag in a production run.


Measures the ability of a material to conduct current.


Relative humidity.

Ribbon Wound Strapping

Rolled like a roll of tape, layers cover each other.


Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (Waste from Electric and Electronic Equipment).

RSC - Regular Slotted Container

Industry term: Regular Slotted Container. A box style created from a single sheet of corrugated board. The sheet is scored and slotted to permit folding. Flaps extending from the side and end panels form the top and bottom of the box. The two outer flaps are one-half the container’s width in order to meet at the center of the box when folded. Flute direction may be perpendicular to the length of the sheet (usually for top-opening RSCs) or parallel to the length of the sheet (usually for end-opening RSCs).


Safety Data Sheet.

Score or Scoreline

An impression or crease in corrugated or solid fiberboard, made to position and facilitate folds.


A pallet for loading or handling goods.

Side Weld

Bags are sealed on the side. No bottom seal.


Additive that helps prevent bags from sticking to each other and promotes easy insertion of packaged goods.

Smart Pay

Government impact credit cards.

Stacking Strength

The maximum compressive load a container can bear over a given length of time, under given environmental/distribution conditions, without failing.

Star Seal

Strongest bottom seal for liners that combines four sections in a star design. Seal maximizes carrying capacity.

Static Dissipative

A material which dissipates or removes static charges.

Static Sensitive

A material or item that is sensitive to and can be damaged by static charges.

Static Shielding

Four layer construction providing Faraday Cage protection. Offers greater protection than anti-static.

Tamper Resistant Seal

A seal that cannot be opened without partially destroying the cap or otherwise showing evidence of tampering.

Tamper Evident Band

(1) A secondary closure made of aluminum, steel, plastic, tape or film to be applied over a primary cap-closure of a rigid container, and designed to require tearing off by manual effort before the container is opened or contents removed. Purpose is to reveal any tampering with the primary closure. (2) Also a perforated extension of tamper-evident closures.

Tear Strip

A narrow ribbon of film, cord, etc., usually incorporated mechanically in the wrapper or overwrap during the wrapping operation or imbedded in a carton to facilitate opening of the package. The scored strip on a key-opening can. Tear tape.

Tear Tab

An extension of the tearing strip on a package to permit easy grasping with the fingers.

Telescope Box

A box in which the sides and ends of the lid are cut the same depth as the sides and ends of the base and the lid fits over the base ("full telescope"). When the depth of the lid is more or less than the height of the base, the lid depth should be stated separately. Thumbcuts are recommended unless it will be a loose fit.

Tensile Strength

The resistance of a material to a force tending to tear it apart. Indicates the containerboard’s resistance to breaking when it is pulled into or through equipment during the converting and printing processes.

Tubular Bags

Bags with no side seals or slit seals that are usually bottom sealed and have a tail.

(UPC) Universal Product Code

A printed code on containers and other forms of packaging that provides information about the product for purposes of inventory control and retail pricing.


A high gloss liquid coating that is applied off line as a screened process. Although UV coating appears quite glossy, it is not as durable as film lamination.


Ultra Violet Inhibitor. Additive diminishes the effect of sunlight breaking up the film and extends film life in sunlight conditions.


A coating that is applied for protection to a printed sheet. Varnish is available in different finishes & tints and can be applied to specific areas to create subtle effects or to coat the entire sheet. Clients should note that varnish has a tendency to slightly yellow a printed sheet.


Volatile corrosion inhibitor. Prevents rust and corrosion.


Bill of Lading or Proof of Delivery.

Wicketed Bags

Tear-off bags held in place by a metal wicket on the lip of the bag.

Packaging Supplies Glossary - BoxesandBags - GBE Packaging - Fast Professional Source for Wholesale Shipping and Packaging Supplies Since 1998.

Article Posted: 07/26/2019 03:32:20 PM

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