Business & Industry

May 1, 2016

SAFE PACKAGE

Most items at the supermarket, discount store, or shopping mall were delivered in boxes made of corrugated cardboard, and many are displayed in the same boxes. Learn more about the feedstock used in its production, the manufacturing process and future trends in the sector

Corrugated cardboard is a stiff, strong, and light-weight material made up of three, five or seven layers of brown Kraft paper. The rolls of Kraft paper are transported from the factory to a corrugating facility, where layers of Kraft paper are crimped and glued to form corrugated cardboard, which is then cut, printed, folded, and glued to make boxes. This process happens in a corrugator, a machine made especially for this purpose.

Some rolls of Kraft paper are used as the corrugating medium, and others are used as liners, gluing layers of Kraft paper onto each side of the medium. After being heated, glued, and pressed to form corrugated cardboard, the continuous sheet of cardboard is cut into wide box blanks that then go to other machines for printing, cutting, and gluing. Finally, the finished boxes are banded together into batches, and shipped to the thousands of businesses in the most varied sectors that depend on corrugated cardboard packaging.

Raw Materials

Pine trees provide the primary raw material used to make corrugated cardboard, because it's a fast-growing tree. The largest packaging companies own thousands of acres of land where trees are matured, harvested, and replaced with seedlings. The largest packaging companies also own the mills where trees are converted to kraft paper.

At the mill, the harvested tree trunks are subjected to the kraft process, also known as "sulfate process", because of the chemicals used to convert the wood into fibrous pulp. After pulping and other processing, the fibres are sent directly to the paper machine where they are moulded, pressed, dried, and rolled into the wide, heavy rolls of kraft paper sent to corrugating plants to be made into cardboard.

At the corrugating plant, only a few other raw materials are needed to make a finished box, one of them being corn starch glue. It is used to bond the corrugated medium to the liner sheets. Because so much glue is used, rail cars or large tanker trucks deliver it in the form of a dry powder, which will then be stored in huge silos at the corrugating plant until it is needed.

Drawn from the silo, the dry corn starch is mixed with water and other chemicals and pumped into the corrugator to be spread on the corrugated medium, at the same time as the layers of liner are added.

The Manufacturing

Using powerful fork-lifts, skilled equipment operators select, move, and load rolls of kraft paper at one end of the corrugator.

One roll of medium is loaded to run through the corrugating rolls, and a roll of liner is fed into the corrugator to be joined with the corrugated medium. Liner from another roll travels up over the corrugating rolls along a flat structure called the bridge. This liner will later be glued to the corrugated medium. The medium to be corrugated is fed into the machine, it is electrically driven through the rollers of the corrugator, first through the preheating rollers and then into the corrugating rolls.

The medium then travels to a set of rollers called the single-facer glue station. Here, one layer of liner is glued to the medium. From the single-facer, the medium and liner go to the double-backer glue station where the other layer of liner from the bridge is added, following the same procedure. Continuing through the corrugator, the cardboard passes over steam-heated plates that cure the glue.

In the future, instead of using tree, corrugated cardboard will be manufactured using recycled packaging, because also in this industry, the importance of recycling and other environmentally friendly processes will continue to grow.

More Articles

FeaturedArticles

  • NovaBateria01

    Technology

    May 1, 2017

    The batteries of the future are here

    With and age of 94 years old we would expect that John Goodenough would slow his rhythm, yet the inventor of the Lithium-ion batteries that have allowed us to increase the longevity of our cellular phone use and the development of...

  • Depositphotos_87744168_xl-2015

    Business & Industry

    May 26, 2018

    "CASHLESS" SOCIETY

    Even though under different shapes and materials, money is in Mankind's History for the last 3000 years. One unavoidable reality for a consumption society we see is gaining speed each and every day

  • langostino-gambon-austral-alta

    Science & Nature

    May 1, 2017

    FROM SHRIMP TO PLASTIC

    For some time, during the 20th century, plastic was considered one of Mankind greatest inventions. Ladies and gentlemen from all over the world, used them as a prize, when shopping. Then it became a headache, just before...


  • 74578418-4108-11e8-ab09-36e8e67fb996_1320x770_081421

    Research & Education

    May 31, 2018

    THE WOMAN BEHIND THE MAN

    Woman and mother of two presidents of the United States, Barbara Bush had a fundamental role in his family, in America and in the world

  • Muji-humidifier-kazushige-miyake-1

    Helthcare & Wellness

    Jul 1, 2017

    IMPROVING AIR QUALITY

    In 1876, Willis Haviland Carrier was hired by a printing industry to solve the problems of temperature change in the factory. The American engineer and inventor developed a project that would give rise to the first humidifier and...

  • aula3

    Research & Education

    Mar 22, 2018

    ON TOP OF THE WORLD

    Here goes the bad news: in case you haven't notice, there is no such job as "math". So, don't bother you children with getting a degree as mathematician – he, probably won't like the idea and he will not get a regular job.

    ...


  • Alrosa

    Business & Industry

    Dec 1, 2014

    From Russia with love

    It is Russia's largest diamond company engaged in exploration, mining, manufacture and sales of diamonds and one of the world's major rough diamond producers.

  • 2

    Luxury & Fashion

    Jun 1, 2015

    Leaders in gem beauty

    Though the global history of diamonds dates back around 3.3 billion years when these treasured stones were first formed by high pressure and heat deep within the earth's crust, the South African story of these gems only began in 1867...

  • Yoga-foto

    Sport

    Sep 1, 2016

    YOGA AND THE WORKPLACE

    Yoga is considered by many an elite activity, and practicing it has proved to be so beneficial for physical and mental health, that is has been growing not only individually, but also included in the workplace, and is now considered...