Traditionally, most corrugated cartons are used to ship consumer goods to retailers and other businesses, and many large companies have machines on-site to neatly bale the corrugated for recycling. With the uptick in e-commerce, there is more corrugated than ever arriving at homes across the U.S., putting the onus of recycling on the consumer. In 2020, the recovery rate for old corrugated containers (OCC) was 88.8 percent, down from 92.3 percent in 2019, according to American Forest and Paper Association recycling statistics. With an increased need to recover corrugated, there are some things you can do to encourage recycling.
Demand for Recycled Corrugated Increases
In 2018 when China implemented tight contamination restrictions on recycled materials, exports dropped considerably, decreasing demand. However, there is a great demand for recovered OCC and mixed paper domestically, driven by the increased need for packaging. Economists are expecting that demand to continue to rise through 2025.
With more people working from home and schools being remote in many areas, the amount of recovered office paper and OCC has decreased, putting a considerable strain on mills and driving up costs.
Consumers Want Sustainable Packaging
Consumers in recent years have demanded sustainability from the companies they interact with. Smurfit Kappa’s survey found that 61 percent of consumers expect brands to have clear sustainability practices. Another survey reveals the importance of recyclable packaging.
A 2021 Global Buying Green Report by Trivium Packaging looked at how consumers’ attitudes changed about sustainable packaging and recycling amidst the pandemic. It revealed that less than a third of consumers de-prioritized sustainable packaging, despite the immediate life-altering concerns people were suddenly faced with. In fact, 67 percent find the recyclability of packaging important to them.
However, the report states that global recycling rates may tell a different story. It seems values don’t always translate into behaviors. Consumers likely to adopt sustainability-oriented values in the U.S. was 50 percent, but behaviors supporting their values were at 40 percent. Encouraging recycling may be the push consumers need to align values with behavior.
How to Encourage Corrugated Recycling
Even though you have made an environmentally responsible choice in choosing corrugated packaging and, hopefully, optimizing it to reduce waste, there is still more that can be done to encourage recycling. Here are five tips to help encourage recycling.
Make it Easy – An Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) study suggests that 66% of Americans would NOT recycle a product if it’s not easy or inconvenient to do so.
Use Recyclable Materials – Use the maximum amount of recyclable materials as possible. You’re your corrugated boxes designed to eliminate the use of Styrofoam peanuts or other packaging materials that aren’t easily recycled through curbside pick-up.
Include Recycling Logo – Seeing the recycling logo in a prominent place will inform consumers of the packaging’s recyclability or remind them to recycle the packaging.
Include Recycling Details – If you are using multiple types of materials in your packaging, make it clear which can or cannot be recycled. Consider putting a note in the box with the product to encourage recycling.
Advertise Your Efforts – Let your customers know about your sustainability efforts. Include in your sales and marketing materials that you use corrugated boxes made with recycled materials and encourage recycling.
Corrugated boxes have become commonplace in most distribution and fulfillment operations thanks to their versatility and strength. Corrugated boxes have three or more layers, each made of thick paper. Single wall corrugated board comprises two sheets of outside linerboard and one corrugated medium, a wavy inner sheet known as fluting. This middle layer enables the carton to absorb minor shocks, and its rigid arches allow the corrugated board to sustain a lot of weight when applied perpendicularly. Varying the flute profile and linerboard thicknesses can change the characteristics and benefits of the box. Overall, this multi-layer structure provides boxes and cartons with excellent strength properties.
Corrugated cardboard is a versatile packaging material. Corrugated boxes are highly customizable to meet the needs of specific goods. Boxes can be produced in virtually any size, and the layer thickness may be increased as needed to improve the durability of the box.
How are Cardboard and Corrugated Boxes Different?
Cardboard boxes and corrugated boxes have some overlap, but primarily serve different purposes in the packaging realm. This section will lay out the differences between cardboard and corrugated packaging solutions.
Cardboard Boxes vs. Corrugated Boxes
Cardboard boxes are different from corrugated boxes in structure. Cardboard is a single layer of stiff pasteboard rather than the multi-layer design found with corrugated cardboard. Cardboard boxes, or folding cartons, are commonly used for consumer-facing packaging for various products, including cereal, beauty products, over-the-counter medicine, and much more. Cardboard boxes are useful for storing and displaying products, but typically aren’t strong enough to protect goods through the rigors of shipping. However, it is becoming common for brands with fragile or delicate products, such as cosmetics or glass, to replace folding cartons with micro-fluted corrugated packaging when protection is needed without sacrificing print quality.
The three-layer construction of corrugated cartons is much better suited for protecting goods during transit. The multiple layers in a corrugated box help to protect shipped goods from damage caused by rough handling, impacts, and other conditions commonly found in shipping. The fluted middle layer of corrugated cardboard also plays a small role in regulating temperature for goods inside the box. Coatings can be applied for special circumstances such as being in a high moisture environment.
Given the differing nature of their constructions, these two types of boxes usually serve different applications. However, they also frequently work in conjunction with one another. For example, online fulfillment operations may place a product in its standard cardboard retail box into a corrugated cardboard shipping box before mailing it to the end customer.
Types of Corrugated Boxes
Corrugated boxes come in a variety of types to suit varying packaging needs. Some of the most common types of corrugated boxes and cartons include:
Half-slotted containers (HSC). These containers feature flaps only on the bottom. The top remains open or closes with a separate lid.
Regular slotted containers (RSC). Regular slotted containers have equally sized flaps on the bottom and the top that facilitate closing.
Telescope boxes. Telescope boxes refer to a variety of box types where the cover has wider dimensions that allow it to fully slide over—or “telescope”—the bottom part of the box.
Folder boxes and trays. This box type consists of a single piece of board that folds to create the cover and sides of the box. Box designs may contain additional features that facilitate box closing, such as handles or locking tabs.
Slide/sleeve boxes. Slide boxes consist of two corrugated cardboard sleeves facing in different directions. When one sleeve is inserted into the other, it creates walls on all sides.
Rigid boxes. The body of the box is connected to the end pieces using glue or stitching to form a complete carton.
Partitions. Partitions create cross-sections inside the box for the placement and separation of individual goods.
Fold-up pads. These foldable corrugated layers can separate goods or act as box liners. This packaging is becoming increasingly popular in temperature-controlled food packaging.
Printing of Corrugated Boxes
Custom printed corrugated boxes can improve the customer experience and enhance marketing initiatives. Some of the most popular printing methods for corrugated boxes include:
Flexographic printing is a roll-fed printing process that gets its name from the flexible photopolymer plates that wrap around a color-specific cylinder. These custom plates feature raised areas consisting of the text and graphics for the printing job, and only the raised parts of the plate receive ink from the rollers. Colors are printed onto the substrate one at a time and sometimes dried using UV, infrared, or hot air drying systems, depending on the printer model and application.
Advantages of flexographic printing include:
Can print on a broad range of packaging, including cardboard and corrugated cardboard, polybags, pouches, shopping bags, and more
Suitable for bulk and high-volume orders
Printing speeds from 500-2,000 feet per minute
Extensive color palate covering most of the Pantone Color Matching System
Compatible with solvent-based, water-based, and UV-curable inks
Digital printers can print complex graphics onto surfaces from a digital image file. This method is ideal when exceptional detail is required, though it can typically only handle low-volume orders. Some of the advantages of digital printing include:
Minimal set-up required
Litho mounting and litho lamination both use lithographic printing, also called offset printing. A treated printing plate receives ink from rollers. The inked image is transferred from the plate to a rubber cylinder and from there to the substrate. Litho mount prints the graphic or branding elements onto a litho label, which is then affixed to the corrugated box. Litho lamination uses less paper because a top sheet is printed and affixed to a single face corrugated sheet (i.e., one linerboard with a fluted medium). The benefits of litho mount printing include:
Good for high-volume orders
Ideal for graphic-intensive packaging
Can cover full or partial carton as needed
How to Make Your Corrugated Packaging Stand Out to Customers
Using corrugated boxes doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice style for durability. With proper customization, your corrugated packaging can help you positively promote your brand and improve your customers’ experiences.
Understand your customers. When developing packaging designs, use market research and customer experiences to inform your design choices. Tailoring your branding and graphics to your customers’ expectations will help you to establish brand recognition and customer loyalty. You can also tailor the features of your packaging to your customers’ desires, such as easy opening features for elderly customers or environmentally friendly packaging for socially conscious consumers.
Consider color. Colors can breed familiarity and influence consumer behavior, making it important to strategically incorporate colors into your packaging designs. For example, white is associated with purity and is commonly used in soaps or cleaning products. Black may be associated with quality or durability, making it common for use in packaging for power tools or luxury goods.
‘Tis the season. Consider the holiday peak season and other holidays in your custom packaging. When appropriate, tailoring your packaging solution to various holidays, sporting events, or other relevant festivities can help to attract the attention of consumers.
Progress Container Display: Your Corrugated Packaging Specialists
Corrugated boxes provide a versatile packaging solution for retail and shipping applications. Progress Container & Display has extensive experience developing custom corrugated packaging solutions for consumer products in numerous industries. To see how we can support your branding and marketing initiatives, please contact us today.
When packaging your product, the size and shape of your corrugated box are not the only considerations. Corrugated flute size also plays an essential role in protecting your product. Using the wrong flute size could leave your product vulnerable to damage or, conversely, use more material than is needed creating heavier, bulkier packaging or impacting the print quality. Some flutes provide greater vertical compression strength and cushioning, while others provide enhanced structural and printing capabilities. Understanding flutes will help you ensure the right ones are being used for your packaging.
Corrugated Flutes Explained
Corrugated board is made up of linerboard (the outside sheets) and the medium, which is the inner wavy sheet known as fluting. When combined with the linerboard and adhesive, it’s those rigid arches that allow the corrugated board to sustain a lot of weight when it is applied perpendicularly to the flute columns. Cushioning protection is provided by the space within the flutes. Understandably, larger flutes will provide greater strength. Small flutes, which are closer together, have the benefit of delivering better printability and foldability.
Understanding Corrugated Flute Profiles
While flute measurements can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, they are generally close. There are five common flute types: A, B, C, E, F.
It should be noted that the letter designation was assigned based on the order they were created and not the flute size.
Flutes Per Foot
Flute Height (in)
A-flute is the original flute design, and it is also the thickest. It provides the most cushioning and vertical compression strength and is used for transit protection. However, the far spacing of the flutes makes them unsuitable for intricate packaging designs.
B-flute has more flutes per foot than A-flute, but the flutes have a shorter height, giving it excellent puncture and crush-resistant properties. The closer flutes make it smoother for printing. This flute was developed for shipping canned goods, but it is also used for inner packing, such as pads and dividers.
C-flute is the most common corrugated fluting for shipping boxes. It is thicker than B- flute, and it provides good crush resistance and stacking strength as well as acceptable print characteristics.
E-flute and F-flute are considered micro-flutes because of their thinness. E-flute has excellent crush resistance, and because of its relatively flat surface, high-quality printing is possible. E-flute is now being used more to replace retail folding cartons, which offer very little protection. E-flute’s crush resistance and printability make it a great choice to protect the product and deliver a blank canvas for exceptional branding opportunities. Although E-flute can reduce outer box dimensions, it doesn’t offer puncture protection, so it is not recommended for heavy objects.
F-flute was developed for small retail packaging and is sometimes used interchangeably with E-flute. It is half the thickness of E-Flute but has greater flute density – about 30 percent more flutes per foot and provides an excellent surface for printing applications. F-flute is often used for fast food clamshell packaging as it provides thermal qualities keeping food hot.
Still Not Sure What Corrugated Flute Your Product Needs?
We have in-house structural and graphic designers that will collaborate with you to ensure your packaging meets your expectations. With over 100 years of combined experience, our structural designers have experience working with various materials and comprehensively understanding in-store packaging requirements for major retail channels, consumer-product relationships, and supply chain factors. Our in-house graphic designers work closely with the structural design team to create and adapt branded visual packaging solutions.
Packaging can have a major impact on consumer buying decisions, so it’s essential to have retail ready packaging that protects and organizes your product, draws attention to it, and highlights your brand and the product’s best features. The right packaging can make the difference between making a sale or watching your competitor make a sale.
What Is Retail Ready Packaging?
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Shelf ready retail packaging is secondary packaging that makes your product ready to put on the shelves. While primary packaging is what the consumer will take home with them when they buy the item, it’s the retail packaging that protects products during transit and makes it easy for the retailers to handle store, and stock them.
There are a lot of benefits to using retail-ready packaging:
Delicate or oddly shaped products can be shipped efficiently in shelf-ready packaging.
It’s often made of corrugated packaging with a perforated top that’s easy to open.
Identifying information, including bar codes, are easily accessible to streamline the unloading, storing, and stocking process within the retail facility.
Retailers can quickly and easily put your product on the shelves, which saves the company time and labor costs.
The store can maximize space by placing one box behind another, which also makes it easy to restock: instead of placing item by item, the retailer can open a new retail package and put it on the shelf, ensuring it’s always available to the shopper.
Shelves stay neater and more organized.
Retail packaging is easily customizable to your brand. Built-in handles make it easier to manage large or heavy boxes.
These packages are recyclable.
Efficient and Effective Retail Packaging
As with any other packaging and marketing, retail packaging needs to be carefully designed to have the most impact. There are a few key elements that should be considered in a great design:
Identification: Your product name and information should be clear. Handlers have to know what they’re holding so they can direct it to the right shelf.
Stocking: It should be easy to store your product and get it on the shelf without hassle, creating an efficient one-touch process for the retail employees.
Shopping: Your brand can shine through your retail-ready packaging design. Not only should it draw the shopper’s attention, but it should also include the information that makes your product easy to identify. From there, they can easily access the product to put it in their cart.
Opening: Perforated tops eliminate the need for tools, like a box cutter or scissors, to open the package, and help the retail workers save time.
Recycling: Corrugated packaging is durable during transit, and it’s easily recyclable to help your company reduce waste.
Progress Container & Display’s Retail Packaging
At Progress Container & Display, we specialize in the design and manufacturing of retail-ready packaging and other packaging solutions. With years of industry experience, we have a clear understanding of what appeals to the consumer, and we combine our design expertise with your brand requirements for attention-grabbing graphics. Our turn-key solutions include fulfillment capabilities, from pre-packed floor displays to kitting projects, pallet displays, and more.
We’re committed to quality control, and we’ve invested heavily in our inspection process and equipment. Our ISO 9001:2015-certified system, including our new Gopfert RDC Evolution, ensures our packaging meets or exceeds your expectations.
Since 1971, we’ve been a trusted packaging partner for clients in a number of industries, including automotive, eCommerce, pharmaceutical, electronics, food and beverage, beauty, pet food, toys, sporting goods, and others.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help take your retail-ready packaging to the next level.
A point of purchase (POP) display is a type of advertising or marketing material located in high traffic areas in retail stores. The displays are typically placed in areas where purchase decisions are made such as checkout areas and action alley’s. POP displays focus on a customer’s in-store experience by bringing attention to specific brands, products, and special offers.
Point of purchase displays is versatile marketing materials designed to attract a customer’s attention to a specific brand or product.
How Do Point of Purchase Displays Work?
A vital manufacturing tool, POP displays work by highlighting a particular product to the customer. Studies show that 70% of purchases are not decided until the shopper is already inside the store, meaning that POP displays are able to play a significant role in encouraging the shopper to opt for one specific product. These displays are highly versatile and available in a range of shapes and sizes.
Benefits of an Effective Point of Purchase Display
There are three significant benefits of utilizing POP displays. These include:
Retailers who utilize permanent POP displays consistently report up to a 23.8% increase in sales. Temporary POP displays result in a slightly lower—but still significant—19% increase in sales.
Increased Impulse Purchasing
The aforementioned increase in revenue is largely driven by higher rates of impulse purchasing. Since the majority of retail purchases are not planned in advance, POP displays are able to heavily influence shoppers to opt for products they may otherwise have overlooked.
Low Cost, High Reward
POP displays are incredibly versatile, enabling them to perform well within any budget. They are quick and affordable to install and result in a noticeable increase in sales.
Different Types of Point of Purchase Displays
The most common types of POP displays are:
Vendor Shops. An elaborate option that enables vendors—particularly those in the consumer packaged goods industries—to create a section of the store entirely dedicated to one product.
Freestanding Displays. Generally made from corrugated, temporary freestanding displays offer a versatile way for brands to promote a specific product in an area away from standard shelving.
Dump Bins. A larger, less organized standalone display designed to promote products that are individually packaged.
Endcap Displays. Similar in design to freestanding displays, endcap displays are located at the ends of aisles to enable shoppers to see the product without going down the aisle.
Floor Graphics. Brands will develop creative promotional graphics, which retailers can then display on the floor to encourage customers to seek out the promoted products.
Shelf Talker. These fairly simple displays consist of signs sticking out from shelving to direct the customer’s eye to a specific product.
Point of Purchase Displays vs. Point of Sale Displays
While they may sound similar, point of purchase displays and point of sale displays are not interchangeable. The distinction comes down to location: Point of sale displays are specifically designed to be installed near the cash register, while POP displays can be found anywhere throughout the store. POP displays provide retailers with slightly more creative freedom, as they can be larger and more versatile than point of sale displays.
Progress Container & Display Point of Purchase Capabilities
At Progress Container & Display, our specialists will work closely with you to design a creative POP display that will strengthen your brand, boost product sales, and create a stronger connection between you and your customer base. We create solutions for clients in almost every industry, including but not limited to:
Food and beverage
Health and beauty
Pet food and products
Consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers
Produce and perishables
Poultry and meat processors
To learn more about our point of purchase display capabilities, contact us today.
Corrugated board is one of the most versatile packaging materials available. It can be adapted to fit almost any shape and protect a wide range of products, from small, fragile items to large, heavy items. It can be manufactured with high crush resistance, high-quality printing, or a low profile to reduce storage. Thinner corrugated board can be used as an alternative to folding cartons to add protective cushioning to fragile items without sacrificing print quality. The arc-shaped flutes are one of the reasons corrugated packaging is so versatile.
The Role of Flutes
Single wall corrugated is comprised of two sheets of linerboard interleaved with one corrugated medium (flutes). Stronger double and triple wall corrugated have additional layers of flutes and linerboards interweaved. Double wall has three linerboards and two corrugated mediums, and triple wall has four linerboards and three corrugated mediums. Double and triple wall corrugated boards may use a variation of flute sizes used depending on the application.
The flutes provide strength and cushioning for the box. The flutes form rigid arches, and when combined with the linerboard and adhesive, they are capable of sustaining a lot of weight when applied perpendicular to the columns. The space within the flutes adds a layer of cushioning protection. Larger flutes provide greater strength, and small flutes have better printability and foldability.
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of flute profiles available, and the flute measurements can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The five most common flute types are: A, B, C, E, and F. The letter designation was assigned based on the order they were created and not the flute size, which can be confusing when trying to figure out which you need.
A flute was the original flute profile and has about 33 flutes per foot.
B flute was developed for canned goods, which wouldn’t require boxes that supported much load. It has 47 flutes per foot
C flute was developed as an all-purpose flute with about 38 flutes per foot.
E flute was developed next and has about 90 flutes per foot
F flute was developed for small folding cartons and has 125 flutes per box
E Flutes and F Flutes as Alternatives to Folding Cartons
E-flute has on average 90 flutes per foot, and F-flute has on average 125, making them both an ideal choice for high-quality direct-print or litho-laminated graphics. Both are an eco-friendly replacement to folding cartons – sometimes called paperboard boxes or chipboard boxes.
Folding cartons are intended to hold products and provide a surface to showcase graphics; however, they offer little protection. Fragile products such as cosmetics, glass, ceramics, and other delicate products need additional protection without having additional weight, and this is where E flutes shine. The thinness of these mini flutes allows them to provide strength while reducing the fibers used.
However, F flute is very thin – only about 1/32 in. It is often used as clamshell packaging for fast-food restaurants and is very much a niche product. If you’ve gotten your cheeseburger in one, you will understand it’s not going to provide much protection. E flute, is the most used micro flute and is readily available vs the niche of F flute. It is still thin at 1/16inch but has superior crush resistance and a flat surface. These characteristics – thin profile, cushioning properties, and flat surface – make E flute an excellent alternative for conventional folding cartons when you need lightweight packaging, protection, and an excellent printing surface.
When you use E flute as an alternative to folding cartons, you don’t have to sacrifice luxury. For premium printing quality, a coated white liner can be used that allows a shiny finish using direct print, and because it is white, colors appear more vibrant.
Progress Container Your Packaging Partner
Not sure which is best for your project. Progress can help. We were one of the first in the industry to have an in-house structural design department, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience. No matter what your packaging challenge is, we have the knowledge and capabilities to create packaging that will not only protect but will get noticed. Contact us to get started.
Custom packaging and point-of-purchase displays can amplify your brand and help to drive sales with the right graphic elements. How those graphics are executed matters. Using the appropriate printing processes can bring your branded message to life. However, not all printing processes will provide the same results. Choosing the best printing process will depend on your needs and your budget.
There are three ways to add graphic elements to corrugated: direct print, litho mount, and litho lamination.
Direct print is done by printing directly on the corrugated board using flexographic or digital printing. The sheet is die-cut and glued, if necessary, to complete the box or display
Litho mount involves printing on a label mounted on double-faced corrugated. The sheet is die-cut and glued, if necessary, to complete the box or display
Litho Lamination is where a top sheet is printed and applied to open flutes of single face corrugated. The sheet is die-cut and glued, if necessary, to complete the box or display
It is best to work with your packaging and display vendor to help determine which application is best for your project. There are many variables, including the level of detail required, run size, design change frequency, colors, and budget.
Printing Processes Explained
Below are descriptions of Flexographic, Digital, Litho Mount, and Litho Lamination printing processes.
Flexographic printing, sometimes referred to as flexo or relief printing, gets its name from the thin, flexible relief plates used in the printing process. Each color requires its own plate. The plates are wrapped around a cylinder, and ink is transferred directly to the substrate. Flexography is a less expensive method for printing and the most common.
Works best for non-photo quality printing; although new technology is changing this
Prints on both corrugated and liners
Can be used on both shipping boxes and retail packaging
Popular for large orders
Less expensive than litho-laminated, but design changes require new plates, which can get expensive.
Digital presses accept files directly from the computer, eliminating the need for expensive plates, and set up is virtually non-existent.
Offers higher-quality graphics than flexo
Ideal for lower volumes
Ideal for variable print or if designs change frequently
Litho Mount Printing
Litho mount uses lithographic printing (also called offset printing) to print onto litho labels (typically an 80# coated paper), which are then mounted on double-faced corrugated. Litho printing is a process where the image area is oil receptive and the non-image area is water receptive to keep ink only where it is supposed to be. Ink is transferred from the lithographic plate to a rubber cylinder, which, in turn, transfers the ink to the substrate.
Excellent print quality creates a photo-quality image
Cost-effective for high volumes
Excellent for foil stamping, embossing, spot gloss, or other embellishments
Labels can cover the whole box or cover only a portion of the box as a spot label.
If artwork changes, plates have to be remade
Litho Lamination Printing
Litho-lamination also uses lithographic printing. However, this process uses less paper because a top sheet is printed with the graphic design and applied to a single face corrugated sheet. Single face corrugated is made up of one linerboard with a fluted medium.
Excellent print quality creates a photo-quality image
Uses less paper, so it produces a lighter box than litho mount printing
Cost-effective for high volumes
Excellent for foil stamping, embossing, spot gloss, or other embellishments
If artwork changes, plates have to be remade
Progress Container’s State-of-the-Art Investments Gives You Higher Quality Print at More Affordable Prices
Our Designers are experienced in flexo, litho, and digital print and can work with you to find the best solution for your project. Our dedication to investing in state-of-the-art equipment and intimate knowledge of print processes allow us to help guide you to the appropriate solution to meet your product branding needs. Our newest Gopfert RDC Evolution HBL 8-color press can print inside and outside in one pass and provides the highest quality corrugated flexo direct print in the world. Its stunning print quality has allowed us to move some of our customers from more expensive 3-step litho lamination to direct print.
What is industrial packaging? Industrial packaging, also called tertiary packaging or transit packaging, is the workhorse of the packaging world, designed to protect your products through the supply chain. Although off-the-shelf boxes and packaging solutions are available, packaging that is custom designed to fit the product’s size, shape, contents, and shipping needs bring additional benefits, such as reduced transportation costs and environmental advantages. It is often thought that industrial packaging focuses solely on form and function over aesthetics; however, industrial packaging made with corrugated board offers a blank canvas for elevating your brand with graphic elements.
Benefits of Customized Industrial Packaging
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The primary purpose of custom-made industrial packaging is to protect items during shipping and storage. When optimized, it is designed to provide the most protection using the least amount of materials. There are several things to consider when designing industrial packaging:
Product – e.g., size, weight, fragility, special needs
Supply chain environment – e.g., temperature and humidity changes, how much it is handled, mode of transportation limitations/requirements, whether it is palletized.
End-user requirements – e.g., environmental concerns, ease of access and use, compatible with equipment (case erector, forklift)
When customized to meet all the product’s and customer’s needs, the industrial packaging solution will provide optimal product protection and save money. Less packaging materials will be used, and less damage will occur, reducing overall costs. And transportation costs will be reduced through optimal-sized pallet loads (when applicable) or lighter loads from less packing materials.
What Materials are Best for Industrial Packaging?
Creating custom-built industrial packaging relies on a combination of materials, depending on the specific needs of the packaged product. Packaging materials may include:
Wood, used mainly for pallets and skids, may be used for containers and partially assembled wooden boxes.
Corrugated packaging (sometimes improperly referred to as corrugated cardboard) is the most versatile packaging material, which can be used to replace wood and other bulky materials.
Solution kits (foam and corrugated packaging).
Combination materials, such as corrugated with foam and some wood
Custom industrial packaging may employ a mix of multiple materials to ensure the integrity of the contents housed within.
Industrial Packaging Vs. Consumer Packaging
Industrial packaging consists of heavy-duty shipping materials meant to add safety and stability to its contents. Consumer packaging or retail packaging is the primary and secondary packaging for a product. Primary packaging comes into direct contact with a product. Primary packaging for some products, such as food, has regulatory label requirements for consumer use that are not required on industrial packaging. Secondary packaging is used to bundle multiple units or products together and typically isn’t designed to provide much protection. Here are some of the key differences between industrial packaging and its retail counterparts.
Protection. On the surface, consumer packaging lacks the extra protection found with industrial packaging materials. In contrast, industrial packaging is explicitly created to protect. Consumer packaging offers some protection but must also account for direct retail and consumer needs.
Marketing. Consumer goods are often packaged using corrugated boxes, folding cartons (cardboard), plastic bags, or other consumer-friendly containers meant for direct sale, whereas industrial packaging is meant primarily for utility; although, there are plenty of branding opportunities. The most common type of industrial or transport packaging is corrugated. Industrial packaging may also consist of plain and durable wood, plastic, or metal containers.
Volume. Consumer-facing goods typically get packaged as a single item or multi-packs. Industrial packaging can be designed to accommodate higher volumes of goods, such as corrugated cases, for safe storage and shipping. Industrial packaging may also be used to package and protect single large parts and components during transit.
Costs. Designers trying to minimize the raw materials used in your packaging solution can save costs. A customized package designed for the product being shipped saves costs by using less material and preventing the damage that can occur from stock packaging.
In rare instances, industrial packaging and consumer packaging intersect. This is usually found in only a select handful of industries, such as construction products and agriculture, where the need for product branding is minimal.
Progress Container Display Makes Industrial Packaging Design Simple
At Progress Container, we specialize in designing and fabricating high-quality, custom-fit shipping solutions. Our team has extensive experience developing comprehensive industrial packaging solutions for manufactured goods across industries. We can accommodate volumes ranging from prototypes and sample runs to large-volume production.
To see how our custom-designed industrial packaging solutions can protect your products during shipping and storage, please contact us today.
You’ve put an order in for your corrugated boxes, and they have asked you to provide print-ready graphics. Before you pull your logo from your website to send to the graphic designer, here are five things the graphic designer would like you to know that will make the printing process much smoother. You will be happier with the results, too.
Know Your Resolution
One of the top challenges that graphic designers face is getting artwork with a high enough resolution to print correctly. The resolution controls how much detail is available in the artwork. The higher the resolution, the greater the detail. For printing, the resolution is measured in dots per inch or DPI. The ideal resolution is 300 dpi at 100% of the final output size.
The size of the graphic must be appropriate for the application, as well. If you have a tiny raster image, even if it is 300 dpi, it will not print well blown up for a large display.
Depending on whether your printer uses flexography printed directly on corrugated or litho-laminated that will be mounted to the corrugated, there may be some leeway in dpi requirements. Line screen, which is expressed in lines per inch, will dictate the dpi. For example, flexography printed on corrugated has a lower line screen of about 85, so you may be able to get away with 150 dpi. In contrast to litho-laminated line screen of 150 to 200 and requires 300 dpi graphics.
A lot more goes into the type of printing used beyond the dpi of your graphics, such as quantity, size of the order, and whether it is a high-end product that requires 4-color print. Working closely with your corrugated manufacture will ensure you have the most cost-effective solution that meets your needs.
Understand File Types
There are two types of graphic files: raster and vector. Raster or bitmap files are what you see when you take a digital photograph. They are made up of thousands of tiny pixels. If you enlarge the image, you can start to see all pixels that make up the image. They are saved with file extensions such as .jpg, .png, .gif, .tiff, and .psd.
A vector file is a graphic based on mathematical curves and paths. Because of this, a vector graphic can be scaled and resized without losing resolution. Vector files are usually saved as native files from the program used to create the file, such as ai (Adobe Illustrator), svg, or eps.
The best file types for artwork containing logos or drawings are vector files. It gives the graphic designer more control over scaling it to provide the best outcome. Vector files are needed for printing on corrugated.
Specify Colors Correctly
When you hand off your print-ready files to the graphic designer, they will want to know if your artwork was designed with spot colors and/or CMYK. The type of printing process used will dictate the color process needed.
Spot colors are individual colors and are not mixed with other colors, making them more consistent from run to run. The Pantone matching system (PMS) is the standard spot color system used in the US. You may have heard colors referred to as Pantone colors or PMS colors.
CMYK, an acronym for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black), uses a mixture of these colors to create a large variety of colors.
If your brand has a specific blue, for example, you will want to provide the spot color to the graphic designer. Some colors can be recreated with CMYK for litho, but not all, and for color consistency, using a spot color is best. Depending on your project, a combination of Spot and CMYK colors can be used.
When submitting your vector graphics, make sure that your fonts and images are included. Software, like Adobe Illustrator, creates links to fonts and images unless explicitly told to embed them. Your graphic designer may have standard fonts, but they won’t have any unique fonts that you may use. You can also turn your font into artwork that will create an outline of the font, and then the printer does not require the actual font.
Fonts don’t need to be supplied for raster images with fonts embedded when the artwork is being printed litho.
Ask for Specifications
The most important thing you can do when you speak to your corrugated supplier about your project is getting the artwork specifications. They can give you a structure to put the artwork on. When you return it to them, they will do what is called pre-flighting. Pre-flighting ensures that the files are present, formatted correctly, and of the correct type for the print job. They will look at font sizes, reverse out type, image sizes, how close things are to scores and cuts, etc. If there are issues, they will make changes and send them for your approval.
A Guide to Creating the Best E-Commerce Packaging for Your Brand
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Custom e-commerce packaging goes above and beyond the constraints of standardized packaging solutions, allowing e-commerce sellers to implement branded packaging that suits the needs of each unique product. Through custom packaging, online sellers ensure that goods remain better protected in transit and present a positive brand image to the consumer upon arrival. Using custom e-commerce packaging solutions helps businesses to set their brand apart from the competition through an improved customer experience.
Building Your Brand: Benefits of Custom E-Commerce Packaging
Implementing custom packaging into your e-commerce operation provides numerous benefits. Some of the primary advantages of custom e-commerce packaging include:
Improved Brand Image
As an extension of your brand, packaging plays an important role in how your customers feel about your business. Substandard packaging may result in damaged goods, which will reflect negatively on your brand. Even standard packaging that sufficiently protects items in transit won’t make a lasting impression on the buyer.
Custom packaging adds value to your brand by creating an impression with your customer, leading them to associate your brand with better quality. Developing this sort of reputation will drive repeat business, which directly contributes to the long-term success of your company.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Customizing your packaging can improve the customer experience in a number of ways. For example, hard-to-open packaging might create a negative experience for the customer that impacts their view of the product overall, whereas easy-open solutions have the opposite effect. Including aesthetically pleasing graphics, designs, and text will leave a lasting impression on the buyer and excite them further about the product inside.
Unique products with stylish packaging also spread by word of mouth and through social media via posts and unboxing videos. Uniquely designed packaging will make your brand easily identifiable and link it with a positive experience for the viewer.
Custom e-commerce packaging goes beyond simple aesthetic value to include custom boxes and inserts that provide better protection to the products within. Standard shipping boxes are not made specifically for your products, and even the closest match often needs excessive and wasteful filler material for proper damage mitigation during transit. Customized packaging is tailored specifically to your product and will reduce the risk of damage due to mishandled packages. Customization also allows you to eliminate any excess packaging material and use the smallest possible container, which offers an additional return on investment in the form of lower shipping costs.
E-Commerce Packaging Trends
While all retailers must contend with various consumer demands, e-commerce sellers have additional challenges to overcome. Based on industry needs and consumer desires, the following trends have greatly influenced e-commerce packaging in recent years:
Sustainability. Customizing packages to fit your products snugly reduces the need for wasteful filler material.
Less plastic waste. Consumers want less plastic in their packaging, which has driven demand for easily recyclable packaging and packaging made from renewable materials.
E-commerce-friendly packaging. Boxes and shipping materials used for e-commerce products must withstand the rigors of shipping.
Marketing. Since numerous people come in contact with the package before delivery, including marketing on the outside of the box can be considered free advertising.
Clean and simple. Less is more. Keep your packaging clean and simple can add elegance to a brand.
Graphics. High-quality graphics create brand appeal for many product types.
Social media-friendly. Using photos or videos, your customers may share the unboxing of their subscription box or special package with friends and followers. Ensure your packaging looks appealing to increase your customer base via social media shares.
How Progress Container Helps with Your E-Commerce Packaging
At Progress Container, we provide a wide range of e-commerce packaging solutions. With in-house structural and graphic designers, we build quality packaging custom-tailored to your brand and product. Our state-of-the-art equipment and commitment to continuous process improvement ensure that we can produce packaging in accordance with all of the latest trends and technologies.
All e-commerce packaging is not the same, so it is essential to find the right packaging partner. Our packaging solutions are designed to create positive first impressions and lasting brand relationships.
To see how we can help bolster sales in your e-commerce business with quality custom packaging solutions, please contact us today.