January 27, 2014 Lauri Järvinen
It’s not just our bodies that need a new fitness regime every so often. The way we order cartonboard should be examined and revitalised regularly too. New technical developments, product improvements, lightweighting – so many exciting changes have taken place in recent years.
The well-established protocols are comfortable and familiar: “We want a cartonboard, or a folding boxboard. We want so many tonnes of it. And it has to perform the same as it always has done.” But if I was your personal trainer, I’d start by asking: “What do you want to achieve? To lose weight? Or gain strength? Or look better?” It’s surprising how well these aims can be applied to cartons too.
Make losing weight your number one goal
Lighter weight cartons are important to consumers, resellers, producers and carton converters. But there are huge differences to be made between choosing a folding boxboard, a SBS/CUK or a WLC*. When cartonboard stiffness is high, it is possible to produce a solid, straight carton using a lighter grammage.
You can produce as many as 44% more cartons from a folding boxboard than from a WLC with the same stiffness.
Strength is multi-layered
The stiffness – or potential strength – of a folding boxboard is based on a multi-layer structure and the technology used to produce it. But again, not all folding boxboards are the same. It’s now possible to optimise the fibres in each layer, just as we need to exercise all our layers of muscles, keeping them in balance. In cartonboard terms, we can work towards an ideal combination of thickness, basis weight and stiffness.
Such best-in-class technology has allowed us to reduce the basis weight you need by as much as 5-10% and still gain comparable carton stiffness. I’ll go further and say that quality benefits can also be achieved by using a more progressive product. Tighter tolerances are one example – a basis weight of +/- 2% compared to the widely accepted +/- 4%.
All round fitness completes the package
None of us consider just one measure of fitness as an indicator of health, whether it’s blood pressure, shortness of breath after climbing stairs, or the ability to sleep seven hours a night. So why choose your packaging material based solely on your own standpoint in the value chain? Instead, you should at least consider:
- How a well-planned package will protect the product
- How product waste through breaking and contamination can be minimised
- Making savings by choosing a light packaging material
- Reducing the amount of packaging waste at the end of a carton’s life
By using a high-stiffness but light weight folding boxboard it is possible to produce a package that’s fit for the length of its journey. And the best bit of all? We’ve already given our cartonboards the physical makeover. All you need to do is revitalise your aims and exercise your processes.
*) Additional information:
- SBB = Solid Bleached Board. A typical North American fresh fibre board consisting of one or several layers of bleached chemical pulp.
- CUK = Coated Unbleached Kraftboard. A board made from unbleached chemical pulp. The main end use for this grade is beverage carriers
- WLC = White-Lined Chipboard. A typical European recycled cartonboard grade. In North America the equivalent grade is also known as Coated Recycled (Folding) Boxboard or Clay Coated News. Top and back layers are of recycled fibre or chemical pulp, middle layer recycled fibre.