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MadManxCadMan (Mechanical) (OP)
10 Mar 03 5:29

Does anyone know how to specify corrugated cardboard materials for boxes? What European/UK standards exist, and what are the common commercial specs of material available?

I want to be able to specify the strength, thickness, quality and surface finish based on current commercial practice.

Any help greatfully received!

Helpful Member!(5)  enviroman (Industrial)
20 Mar 03 15:48
I don't know if this will help but this is what i know for North America STD.


The “Flute” describes the structure of the wave shaped cardboard material that makes up a board’s corrugation.
Flutes come in several sizes, known as flute profiles. The standard profiles range from A-flute (the largest) to F-flute and below (microflutes).

A-flute = 33 flutes/linear foot
B-flute = 47 flutes/linear foot
C-flute = 39 flutes/linear foot
E-flute = 90 flutes/linear foot
F-flute = 128 flutes/linear foot

Generally, larger flutes provide greater strength and cushioning, while smaller flutes have better printability and foldability.
Flute profiles can be mixed and matched within the same piece of combined board, to manipulate printability, compression strengths, cushioning strengths and the total thickness of the board. For instance, CE double wall gets its durability from its C-flute layer, while the E-flute gives it a smoother printing surface.

A-Flute, the original flute, is the highest flute size, and therefore, when combined with an inner and outer facing, is the thickest. With 36 flutes to the foot, A-Flute makes the most of corrugated’s cushioning and stacking properties for fragile and delicate items. Because A-Flute offers excellent stiffness qualities and short column crush resistance, it has application across a broad range of customer uses.
36 Flutes / Foot
B-Flute, the second flute size adopted by the corrugated industry, has lower arch heights than A and more flutes per foot (50). This means that the medium contacts and supports the liners at a greater number of points, providing a stiff, flat surface for high quality printing and die cutting and with excellent crush resistant properties. B-Flute is also preferred for high speed, automatic packing lines and for pads, dividers, partitions and other forms of inner packing. Complex die cuts and beverage trays are excellent applications for B-Flute as are can cases, wrap-around blanks, glass-to-glass packs and slipsheets. B-Flute is generally combined with light weight liners but can be used with heavier facings if the need arises.

49 Flutes / Foot
good puncture resistance
less space consumed in warehouse
uses: canned goods, displays
C-Flute came along next to split the difference between A and B Flutes. With 42 flutes per foot, it's thinner than A-flute, thicker than B, and offers good cushioning, stacking and printing properties. C-Flute is by far the most widely used flute size. An estimated 80% of today's corrugated containers are made of C-Flute board.

41 Flutes / Foot
good stacking strength
good crushing resistance
very common
uses: glass, furniture, dairy
E-Flute has the greatest number of flutes per foot at 94 which gives it the greatest crush resistance and the flattest surface for high quality printing applications. The thin board profile of E-Flute (it is one-fourth the thickness of C-Flute) reduces box size and saves storage space. Because of its thin profile and excellent cushioning properties, E-Flute can often substitute for conventional folding cartons or solid fiber containers. Examples of E-Flute applications include boxes for cosmetics, fragile glass and ceramic items and delicate instruments. Another growing end-use is for pizza boxes where the retailer wants a cost effective container with good graphics and excellent product protection.

95 Flutes / Foot
light weight
strong alternative to paper board
superior printing surface
excellent for custom die cut boxes
uses: displays, point of purchase boxes
F-Flute, the newest flute, is just a little more than half the thickness of E-Flute and is the newest growth segment in the corrugated industry. The idea behind the new flute, originally developed in Europe, is to make packages with lower fibre content.

With F-Flute, converters can reduce the total amount of fibre in the packaging, thereby creating a more rigid box with less solid waste going into landfills. In Europe, F-Flute is being used for specialty packaging, point-of-purchase displays, jewelry and cosmetic packages and shoe boxes. In the U.S., the McDonald’s Big Mac clamshell in F-Flute has received great attention. Dairy Queen, too, is using the F-Flute clamshell for its “Ultimate sandwich” and its hot dogs.
128 Flutes / Foot

Types of Corrugated Materials

Single Face Sheet

A corrugated medium with a linerboard facing adhered to one side. It can be manufactured in sheets or rolls. Single face is principally used as a wrapping material, and occasionally for interior packing or padding.
Single Wall Corrugated

A corrugated medium with a linerboard facing adhered to both sides. It is also referred to as “Double Face”. This popular and versitile 3-ply construction is converted into a wide variety of containers and packaging components.
most popular wide range of strengths     

Double Wall Corrugated

Two corrugated mediums with a linerboard facing adhered between them and to both sides. This 5-ply construction is most applicable for packing heavy items where high rigidity and protection is required.
made up of B and C Flutes
extra padding and strength
great for stacking heavy items     

Triple Wall Corrugated

Three corrugated mediums and four linerboard facings. This 7-ply construction is used where large container sizes are involved, such as pallet packs.
made up of two layers of C Flute and one layer of B Flute
very strong and crush resistant
excellent for storage and transit     

To vary the look of your corrugated box, you have the following choices in outside liner grades:
Kraft — Naturally brown in color. The most commonly used and least expensive liner.
#3 White — Mottled white, with underlying kraft showing through. Provides a cleaner look and better printability than kraft.
#1 White — Bleached bright white. Offers very good printability, but easily soils during transit.
Premium Grades — Surfaces have a bright white clay coating, minimizing porosity so printing inks sit up on the surface. Gives excellent printability as colors are more vibrant and lower absorbency improves registration. However, because of the high hold-out, ink rub can be a problem.
Litho-printed labels (for labels laminated onto corugated boxes).

I hope this helps you.


Helpful Member!  MadManxCadMan (Mechanical) (OP)
24 Mar 03 4:05
Hi Enviroman,

Great posting! Excellent information - the US info will greatly assist me, and give me some search phrases to track down local UK/EU information.

dydt (Electrical)
3 Apr 03 12:20
excellent descrition of the "FLUTES"..

tugger5000 (Materials)
3 Jun 03 11:24
You will also want to consider the product your packaging.  Does it provide any support? Or does it push on the sidewalls?  It will help you to determine whether you should use ECT or Mullen specifications.
MadManxCadMan (Mechanical) (OP)
9 Jul 03 9:18
Hi Tugger5000,

Can you clarify your posting - what are the Mullen and ECT specs (please excuse my ignorance)?

Product is solid and requires packing to protect from superficial damage during transit.
tugger5000 (Materials)
9 Jul 03 9:53
Mullen is an older way of specifying corrugated.  Basically, the test for the Mullen specification is an inflatable bladder that will "punch" through the sidewall of the corrugated at a certain air pressure.  There are minimum basis weights for the paper used in corrugated specified by the Mullen burst test.
The ECT specification is a top to bottom compression test, but the corrugated vendor can use whatever basis weight they choose for the liners/medium, as long as it meets the compression test.
(Note that there isn't necessarily a correlation between the Mullen and ECT specifications).

To determine what corrugated you need to use, you'll need to have the weight of each case and know the distribution system that this package will travel through.

Not sure what the EU regs are for corrugated are, but this may give you a decent starting point:


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