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

  • Borrego14

    Business & Industry

    Apr 1, 2017

    LAMB FROM NEW ZEALAND - 135 YEARS EXPORTING LAMB

    Lamb is not only the meat of choice for most new-Zealanders when they have guests or go out for dinner. According to the annual poll carried by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, it's also their main export. 

  • ApisCor_febr_03

    Technology

    May 1, 2017

    As if by magic

    It looks like a figurative expression: "houses grow like mushrooms", but it will soon become literal. In February, 2017, in Russia, appeared the first house with 38 m2 area. The house grew up within 24 hours in the town of Stupino,...

  • Reading-Between-the-Lines-church-by-Gijs-Van-Vaerenbergh-2

    Culture & Art

    Jul 1, 2017

    SCULPTING ON AIR

    A church can be the crux of one's life, or simply a physical structure that blends into its surroundings. This is what lies at the heart of "Reading between the Lines", an art installation which merges landscape, heritage and religion...


  • levizen-water-levitation-4

    Home & Design

    Jul 7, 2018

    USEFUL AND UNUSUALLY PRETTY

    LeviZen is a piece of design with a 'retro' look and uses sound waves on high frequencies to levitate water and light. It's financed through the Kickstarter platform and has already surpassed its initial investment value, going through production...

  • Depositphotos_100938160_xl-2015

    Culture & Art

    Jun 23, 2018

    CARIBBEAN, FUNNY PLEASURE

    Around the world there are two forms of expression which cross all layers of society: folkloric music and dancing. Curiously (or not), both are also the result of a cross over cultures. It's no wonder, therefore, if we find Cumbia...

  • transferir (1)

    Science & Nature

    May 1, 2017

    Other Side of Aquaculture

    In 2016 the global seaweed trade grossed more than the world's production of lemons and limes, for example. Seaweed gathering doubled on the last decade and nowadays we even have real underwater farms that try to invigorate and capitalize...


  • ~1473762018~Charcutaria-na-Sirha-2016-2

    Business & Industry

    Aug 1, 2016

    EXPORTING THE BEST OF PORTUGAL

    Moscow, the capital of Russia, will host in mid-September, an event exclusively dedicated to the traditional Portuguese food products, such as wines, cheeses, jams and meats. The event is organized by Competir Internacional, a Portuguese...

  •  Shoes that are History

    Luxury & Fashion

    Nov 30, 2015

    Shoes that are History

    Salvatore Ferragamo's journey started 100 years ago when the visionary teenage shoemaker emigrated from southern Italy to California – drawn to the creative innovation, glamour and endless possibilities of Hollywood's emerging film...

  • Vingchuang-3

    Business & Industry

    Oct 1, 2016

    SOLID GROUND

    The world simply won't stop surprising us and evolve, in terms of recycling and reusing materials, to make it more environmentally friendly, and less polluted. And, on this subject, China is way ahead. Meet the company that utilizes...