Corrugated materials are excellent for custom packaging as they come in different shapes, sizes, and strengths. These characteristics make them the ideal plastic alternative for packaging various products. Their versatility comes into play when looking at the unique differences in the types of corrugated materials on the market.
Before we get into the various types, we need to cover basic definitions and descriptions of what makes corrugated material.
Corrugated Materials Basics
Ply — Plies describe the different boards used in corrugated material; this could be outer or inner plies, essentially used the same way you would use the word “sheets” when referring to paper.
Fluting — Fluting refers to the wavy material used in the center of corrugated material. It is the essential feature of corrugated material, and its strength prevents bending.
The Basic Structure of Corrugated Materials
At its most basic level, corrugated material is usually made up of flat plies on the outside and one or more layers of fluting on the inside.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are the most common types of corrugated materials, including their strengths and weaknesses.
Types of Corrugated Board and Common Materials
Single-Face Wrap — Single-face board wraps stray from the standard feature of two plies on the outside. In this case, only one ply of paper or corrugated board is glued to the outside of the fluting, leaving one side open, making it a lighter and more malleable board.
Single-face board wraps are great for interior packaging due to their flexibility. In cases where multiple products are packaged in one box, they can be used to wrap items and prevent damage properly.
Single-Wall Board — Also referred to as double-face, single-wall boards are the most common type of board, feature fluting with one plies on each side, and are a reliable packaging material to hold products with a load capacity of 20-100 pounds. You’re most likely to see this anytime you visit Costco and use their boxes or when Amazon packages are delivered to your doorstep.
Double-Wall Board — Double-walled boards are constructed with two plies of fluted paper, one unfluted paper in between, and one flute paper on each side of the exterior. These boards are a perfect choice for heavier contents, fragile items, and shipping boxes due to their max load capacity of 80-180 pounds.
Triple-Wall Board — Triple-wall boards create the most durable and protective packaging you can expect from corrugated material. Their construction includes three plies of fluted paper and four sheets of unfluted paper, one between each fluted piece and one on each exterior. With a load capacity between 240-300 pounds, these boards are used for heavy-duty objects, as the layers provide more stable packaging, especially for delivery.
Another feature that can change within each type of corrugated board is the size of the fluting. Flutes come in multiple sizes:
- Size “A” flutes: ¼” thickness
- Size “B” flutes: ⅛” thickness
- Size “C” flutes: 11/64” thickness
- Size “E” flutes: 1/16” thickness
- Size “F” flutes: 1/32” thickness
As a general rule, the thinner the flute, the stiffer the corrugated board.
Thinner flutes, such as sizes “E” and “F” are ideal for printing and are resistant to bending. Thicker flutes like size “A” are flexible and better for cushioning items. Most packaging around the world contains size “C” flutes due to their excellent printing surface and resistance to bending.
As you can see, corrugated materials are exceptionally diverse. Packaging suppliers put a lot of thought into selecting the right packaging materials for various products. The characteristics discussed are some of the most important factors to consider in the process.
Pioneer Packaging; Your Local Industrial Packaging Supplier
For over 35 years, Pioneer Packaging has been the go-to source for designing product packaging that sells. Our packaging engineers work closely with you to ensure your brand obtains victory due to your packaging design and materials quality.
So whether you’re looking to restock your packaging supplies, get affordable corrugated product packaging, learn about frustration-free packaging, or attract new consumers, we can create a design fit for you. We strive to keep costs down as much as possible to help our customers keep their brands moving along production lines.
Contact Pioneer today and learn why we’re a leading packaging company in packaging innovation.