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Board Grade & Availability: Let What’s Inside Be Your Guide

Does your company pay as much attention to designing your folding cartons as to the product inside? It should, because your customers, or theirs, do. What factors do you consider when choosing, for instance, paperboard folding cartons? Depending upon your product, you may require 0.018 paperboard (commonly called chipboard) stock on one hand or solid white board on the other. Once you choose your board, the finishing options alone can be dizzying: matte, standard or high gloss…glitter UV coating…hot- and foil-stamping…six-color water base inks… and much more. And in many cases, these choices are interrelated. Beyond the board, your package can become even more complex across a broad range of packaging materials, closures, and associated supplies.

How to make a practical choiceTo narrow your choices, first consider your product application, and ask: “What does the final product need to accomplish?” Here are a few examples of hands-on considerations that CPGs (consumer-packaged goods), food companies, business-to-business product packagers and others face every day:

  • Laminations, scoring, die-cuts, see-through windows: Will the board hold up to the bends, folds and cuts you need to give your product maximum performance and retail shelf appeal? For instance, in the case of multilayer board, you need to balance rigidity against the need for creases and folds to prevent delamination of the top layer.

  • Specialized industry applications and requirements: Do you need a smooth surfaces to hold high-quality printed graphics? How about PE-coated (polyethylene-coated) surfaces? Of course, you must also bear in mind any industry or regulatory requirements that will guide your choice of, for instance, pharmaceutical-grade or food-grade board.

  • Sustainability can present costs, or cost-saving opportunities: High recycled content can offer cost reductions through lightweighting and lighter transport loads. But, you must also consider whether a traditionally “lesser” board grade might compromise product protection, even transported inside shippers.

  • Printing and labeling considerations: In some cases you may desire sophisticated graphics, while in other cases a label, properly affixed, to the right board surface, can impart the right information and an image of sufficient quality — or craft quality, in case where you might desire a more “handmade” or “artisanal” image.

It may be great, but is it readily available?There are many more considerations. But before you finalize your decision, consider: Is your board READILY AVAILABLE? Custom or high-demand grades may offer an acceptable price/performance profile, but if custom orders are required, or your packaging converter cannot guarantee a sufficient supply, making a “good enough” choice may be preferable to making a “perfect” choice that cannot be sustained.


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