Not all cardboard boxes are made equal.
Unless you work in the industrial packaging industry, your knowledge of how corrugated cardboard ends up into millions of neat boxes may be limited. Truth is, cardboard is merely a generic term for all types of heavy-duty paper. This can include card stock, paperboard and corrugated fibreboard — the variety you are likely most familiar with.
Manufacturing equipment produces corrugated fibreboard by gluing two flat sheets of paper onto both sides of a corrugated (wavy) sheet, significantly increasing the material’s strength-to-weight ratio. The same principle of corrugation can be observed in ancient walls that, while as thick as a single brick, have stood for centuries. Yes, something as simple as cardboard box has engineering roots older than the packaging industry itself.
To date, businesses can choose between four types of corrugated cardboard:
Single Face Board
The cheapest option, characterised by a single flat sheet glued to a single corrugated one. It is also the least durable type of corrugated fibreboard.
Applications: For already-packaged products, with shapes easier for shipping.
Single Wall Board
The most common corrugated cardboard style, with a second flat sheet that prevents the corrugated fibreboard from flattening.
- For nearly all consumer products, from pizzas to shoes. The second flat sheet of fibreboard also enables manufacturers to print information onto the box itself.
Double Wall Board
Less susceptible to collapsing compared to the first two varieties. Stacking is much more reliable since there are now two corrugated sheets in between three flat ones.
- Industrial shipping, mostly for large components and sensitive materials.
Triple Wall Board
The strongest type of cardboard in the market, with another pair of flat and corrugated sheets to reinforce the design. These are strong enough to replace wooden crates in most industrial settings.
- Transporting volatile chemicals and other similar items.
The cardboard is a silent innovation in itself. Effective as it is environmentally friendly, these paper boxes are a godsend to the businesses that rely on them, of which there are so many.