What is the Difference Between Cardboard and Corrugated Packaging
When you’re in a business, you often have to ship your products. This is where packaging plays an important part. The type of packaging you choose will determine how your product reaches your customer. Depending on what you need to ship, there are numerous types of packaging to choose from. But the two most common types are cardboard and corrugated packaging.
Unfortunately, many people often confuse the two to be the same. While they are both paper-based packaging, they have many differences and are used for different purposes.
Contrary to what many people believe, cardboard is actually a heavy-duty paper stock which is basically paper pulp pressed hot to form thick sheets. In its very basic form, it has a pale brown color.
These cardboards are usually used in the packaging of consumer goods. For example, cereal boxes, milk cartons, shoe boxes, toilet paper rolls, and greeting cards are made of cardboard. Typically, we do not use this type of cardboard for heavy-duty shipping.
There are various kinds of cardboards depending on how you process it. What type of cellulose fiber or pulp you use, the quality of pulp, to what thickness you press the pulp and the percentage of fresh fiber as compared to the recycled pulp. All this determines what kind of cardboard you end up with.
Some different types of cardboard are Cardstocks, paperboards, and corrugated fiberboards. All corrugated packages come under cardboard packages, but all cardboard packages are not corrugated packages. This is why many people mistake them to be the same.
Technically, corrugated packaging is similar to cardboard. But when you further process cardboard, it becomes corrugated cardboard. You can also refer to them as containerboards.
To specify, corrugated cardboard has two or more layers of paper glued together in a specific manner. The two main elements are:
- The liner
It is the outer and inner flat board.
- The medium
It is the paper between the two liners.
The medium is in the shape of arches or ‘flutes’ which actually gives the corrugated cardboard its structure and rigidity.
Different kinds of boards and flutes make up different types of corrugated cardboard. These differences determine the thickness and strength of the cardboard. To illustrate, shipping boxes, pizza boxes, and retail displays. use corrugated cardboard.
Corrugated Packaging Boards
The main difference between various kinds comes from the type of boards and flutes used. The four most common boards used are:
- Single Face
The single face has a single sheet of linerboard and medium glued together. This is usually available in rolls. Generally, you can use it to wrap fragile objects within bigger boxes for cushioning and protection.
- Single Wall
These have two sheets of linerboard with one sheet of medium glued in between. You can also refer to this type of board as a double face board. It is the most commonly used board as it is quite versatile. For instance, shipping boxes, as well as retail displays, use this type of corrugated cardboard. The walls also ensure that it is easy to stack, store, or ship these boxes.
- Double Wall
Double Walls have three sheets of linerboard with two sheets of medium glued in between. The extra layer of medium and linerboard gives additional strength and structure. It is ideal for heavier objects and perfect for stronger shipping boxes.
- Triple Wall
Triple wall has four sheets of linerboard with three sheets of medium glued in between. This is the strongest of all the boards. Due to its high strength and protection, it can substitute wooden crates for shipping heavier items. Industrial parts and produce bins also use this type of board.
Corrugated Packaging Flutes
The flutes between the linerboards have several purposes. They provide structure and padding to the cardboard. They also make the boxes more rigid and sturdier. In short, they keep the boxes well protected.
Moreover, the thickness characterizes the different flute profiles. Depending on their size, they are termed A, B, C, E, and F. A flute is the largest at 5mm thickness while F flute has a thickness of about 0.8mm. Larger flutes have steeper angles which provide more stacking strength. The more stacking strength it has, the more boxes are stackable without the flutes getting crushed and boxes falling over.
Similarly, flutes also play an important role in determining the ECT (Edge Crush Test) and Mullen Value of corrugated boxes. These values tell about the boxes’ stacking strength and how much pressure they can withstand before getting damaged.
Benefits of Cardboard Packaging
Both types of packaging have their own set of benefits. Benefits of cardboard packaging include:
- It is a multipurpose packaging option.
- Better suited for packaging high-end products.
- Ensures better presentation. it is easier to print logos or brand message for a better visual appeal.
- Easier to recycle. You can learn more about it from here.
Benefits of Corrugated Packaging
Corrugated packaging also has several benefits to offer.
- Offers a high level of protection from shock, compression, and vibration.
- Lower production costs and cost-effective as compared to plastic or steel containers.
- Strong yet lightweight.
- Highly customizable. Businesses can customize boards and flutes according to different product specifications.
- Easy to recycle and eco-friendly as it makes use of recycled content.
Both packaging types have their own features and benefits. Hence, understanding the difference between the two types of packaging is very important for any business. Have a look at our previous guide on how to choose the best box to ship your product.
Choosing the wrong packaging can not only affect the product’s safety. Rather, it can also affect your brand perception if customers receive their product with the wrong kind of packaging. To counter this business need, make sure you analyze your customer needs and carefully choose the best packaging option. This way you can save on unnecessary business costs while providing the best service to your customers.Check out this article for more benefits of proper packaging.