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What is Carton Packaging?
Folding carton packaging kickstarted the packaging industry over a hundred years ago and is now a billion-dollar industry today. Today, packaging boxes are being used in almost all products, such as electronics, toys, cosmetics, food and bakery products and a lot more.
Most packaging boxes, also called cartons, are made from folding different types of paperboards or fiberboards. The folding techniques also vary depending on the requirements. Windows can also be added to provide consumers with a view of the contents inside. Some also come with built-in locking mechanisms.
Packaging boxes are one of the versatile, economic and environmentally friendly ways to pack products.
Types of Packaging Boxes
Most cartons mainly come in two formats – folding cartons and rigid box cartons.
Folding cartons are those which are manufactured from a single sheet board. It can be paperboard, corrugated board or fiberboard. A single sheet is die-cut according to a template and is then folded to make a box or a tray. A very common example of a folded carton is a pizza box where the single corrugated sheet is folded to make the top, bottom and the sides.
The opposite of folding cartons is the rigid box cartons. This is where the top and the bottom parts are separate. This type of boxes is also known as telescopic boxes. Shoe boxes generally come in this format. Clothing items and electronics also use such type of two-piece boxes.
Depending on the material used, as well as the construction, packaging boxes are broadly grouped into five different categories.
1. Corrugated Boxes
Corrugated boxes are light yet sturdy boxes that are made by folding corrugated paperboards. The basic structure of corrugated paperboard involves boards made from sandwiching fluted or arched paper between two layers of linerboards made from heavy paper. This gives corrugated boxes a higher bending rigidity and resistance to crushing than most other packaging boxes. There are different types of corrugated boards depending on the density of the arches or flutes, as well as the thickness of the boards.
Multiple corrugated boards are often combined to make a double wall or triple wall boxes that are stronger and thicker than most other packaging boxes. This allows corrugated boxes to be used in the shipping industry where people move heavy items. Lighter and low-cost corrugated boxes are used in retail packaging or in packaging food. Pizza boxes, for instance, are made from single-walled corrugated boards.
Corrugated boxes can be easily recycled unless they are laminated with plastics. These boxes are often laminated with other forms of paper that enable rich, full-color graphical printing.
2. Boxboard or Paperboard Cartons
Boxboard Paperboard is made from a thick paper-based material with grammage above 250 GSM. Paperboard can be easily printed with rich colours, can be lined with other materials and can be folded intricately. This makes paperboard cartons ideal for retail boxes that look quite appealing on store shelves. Paperboard is also used to make corrugated boards. A special variant, called containerboard is used to do so.
Paperboard is commonly used in electronics packaging, toys and cosmetics packaging, pharmaceutical packaging, stationary packaging, cigarette and liquor packaging and so on. It is easy to print on boxboard packaging They can also be embossed. Moreover, it is also easy to laminate boxboard packaging for added strength and water-resistant properties.
These packaging can be recycled easily unless they are laminated with plastic or printed with metalized ink.
3. Aseptic Cartons
Aseptic cartons are multi-layered containers generally used to store liquid food. They are commonly used for storing juices, soups, baby food, and even desserts. Aseptic packaging not only increases the shelf life of products but also preserves their nutritional value, color, and texture. Aseptic packaging can also withstand high temperatures and do not corrode over time when containing acidic products. TetraPak is a renowned manufacturer of such aseptic cartons.
The multiple materials used in aseptic cartons makes recycling them very difficult. Aseptic cartons are made from layers of polyethylene, paperboard, aluminium barrier, and more plastic layers. These layers are attached to each other using heat or adhesives.
4. Gable Tops
Gable top cartons are multi-layered cartons used to store refrigerated food products. These cartons are used to store products like milk and juices. Gable tops are a variant of aseptic cartons where a separate plastic cap is provided on the top of the carton. This makes the carton reusable. The milk or the juice can be stored in the carton and kept in a refrigerator and can be poured out when needed.
5. Egg Cartons
Egg cartons or egg boxes are cartons used for transporting whole eggs securely. These cartons are commonly made from recycled paper or molded pulp and have dimples in which the eggs are securely stored. In some cases, egg cartons are also made from clear plastic or polystyrene foam.
Choosing the right carton for your packaging needs
What sort of carton you will need depends widely on your business needs. If you are in the packing and moving business, or if you are shipping heavy products, then corrugated boxes are the best. For smaller products, paperboard boxes do better. They can also be customized in numerous ways and look great on store shelves. Paperboard boxes also are the best option for packing cakes and confectionaries. Aseptic as well as gable top cartons are the only options you have when you are packing liquid food products.
You can also combine multiple boxes. For example, you can use a strong corrugated box to pack sensitive electronics, while using a paperboard carton as an overwrap. You can use egg cartons as padding while shipping items in corrugated boxes. You can bundle aseptic cartons using paperboard boxes too. There are endless ways in which you can use packaging boxes.
Packaging boxes have evolved for almost every requirement of the packaging industry. Moreover, they are also available for different budget segments. This makes packaging boxes a good solution for any packaging needs.5