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Making Sense of Cartons

Here we are talking about “cardboard boxes” (cartons or packing cases are the same thing). Wooden boxes are entirely different!

1.    Thickness or gauge:

Cardboard consists generally of three layers—the two outer skins and the inner “flute”. The size of the flute determines the normal terms for thickness—So there’s b flute (e.g. printers boxes), e flute (e.g. pizza cartons), c flute (general medium duty packing boxes), bc or “twin wall” (e.g. heavy duty removalist cartons) and many more.
The outer lines determine the “stiffness” of the board—higher quality outer papers mean better cartons.
These days most boxes are made primarily of recycled paper—exact compositions are closely guarded trade secrets.

2.    Measuring boxes:
Boxes are always measured internally!
Boxes are always expressed Length x Width x Height


3.    Common designs:
There are two main groups. The first group is Die Cut (i.e. they require a special die to be made). Typically  die cuts include pizza boxes & spare part boxes.
The second group is Regular Slotted Cartons (RSC). These cartons require tape or glue to erect e.g. a removalist carton.
Key variations in RSCs include full flap cartons (more rigid), half flaps or trays and panel folders.

4.    Stock versus Custom cartons:
Large users generally get boxes made so a specific set of sizes to suit their product—custom cartons will be looked at in another article.
Here we want to describe stock boxes.
Stock boxes are an “off the shelf solution” for small users or for common industry applications (e.g. 4 x 5L boxes).

Stock cartons offer:
I. A quick ready made solution
II. Savings on working capital as you can buy a small quantity “off the shelf” rather than tying up money in big holdings of custom boxes
III.  A clear professional appearance (“recycled” or second hand boxes can make your products look “cheap and nasty “

Here are the main groupings:
Printer cartons: Boxes designed around A4 and A3 paper sizes. Also very useful for general packaging.
Removalist industry: “Teachest” and “book” cartons
Surf industry: Boxes for short and long boards
Chemical Industry: Boxes designed for 5L bottles
Courier bag boxes: ABL stocks 3 boxes designed to fit inside standard 1kg, 2kg and 5kg courier bags
Meat industry: Heavy duty box for meat trays
Long gasket & tall boxes: Used in the parts and hobby industry
Quarter pallet & pallet cartons: Great for warehouses!


ABL carries all these major groups with a large range of stock boxes
Click here to view our range in ascending length order!

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