Innovations in Folding Carton Manufacturing
Innovations in Folding Carton Manufacturing
Industry Insights
Innovations in Folding Carton Manufacturing
Folding Carton is the backbone of the packaging industry, keeping it both flexible, sustainable, and cost effective.
July 28, 2018

Folding Carton is the backbone of the packaging industry, keeping it both flexible, sustainable, and cost effective.  Entering the market  in 1820, and quickly taking the place of expensive wooden crates, cardboard has become a staple material of the packaging industry.

The flexibility of cardboard as a packaging material has led to it becoming the most used material for shipping goods, and its use falls into four broad categories:

  • Shipping containers made of heavy-duty corrugated cardboard. Generally larger with heavy-gauge or multi-layered cardboard with corrugation.
  • Folding carton made of medium paperboard used for general shipping and product delivery.
  • Thine-walled constructions made of a non-bending grade of paperboard for holding other packaged materials such as cereals or other dry goods.
  • Drink boxes made of paperboard laminates with a waxed surface.

The corrugation of cartons was a major design enhancement for boxes, increasing the stiffness of the materials without significantly increasing the weight. The mass and viscosity of the enclosed air in the corrugated material help to absorb the energy of oncoming objects, helping protect contents which might otherwise be damaged. Cardboard packaging transformed the way in which we delivered goods, but even with the flexibility of this excellent packaging solution apparent, innovations in the field continue and the future of folding carton packaging is assured. Among the latest innovations in folding carton packaging are; Traditional use of flat-pack carton packaging has seen the actual box sides being fairly bland and with any information such as company logs, customer details and even legislative information being printed onto sticky labels that can be applied to the outer surfaces of the box. However, changes in design of some folding packaging means that they can be constructed from pre-printed materials, and even run through a printer to create up to date designs and customer information.

Image result for bespoke printing

Direct printing also offers may many options for the addition of essential parts of the product such as bespoke barcodes, and descriptions, which may vary with different levels of product. The flexibility of modern printing makes adaptation of printed
content quick and easy.

The ability to pre-print the boxes is augmented by the possibility of applying different textures - matte, shiny, photo-realistic etc - to add to the overall look and feel of the box.  The addition of texture in on a box adds a further dimension that increases the professionalism of the packaging without increasing costs significantly. There are also a rising number of packaging companies that can offer metallic plating and films.

Image result for surface texture box printing

The addition of windows on cartons can always be added to reassure a customer of what they have their purchased and that it is in good condition. Furthermore, by using windows the product becomes part of the marketing; if the product is concealed in a box and represented simply as a generic picture on the outside, it could be detrimental to the brand, even with an exceptional level graphics. However, keep in mind that using a window to display a product may require extra printing or finishing on the inside of the box or additional packaging to hold the product in place.

Image result for windows apertures box printing

Once regarded as an expensive process that was reserved only for expensive packaging, embossing can now be applied fairly cheaply and easily, adding a much nicer feel and look to your folded cartons.  Embossed features such as product details, company logos or simple art elements suddenly enhance the look of your packaging by accentuating those features with respect to the rest of the box.

Once a folded carton has been designed, production quantities can be made with pre-scores added so that when it is folded, it easily pops into place, regardless of the complexity of the constructed shape. Pre-scoring is fast and effective and can be used to define internal features as well as those on the outer surfaces, making it a truly innovative.

Image result for pre scoring box printing

But packaging doesn’t have to just be functional and novelty and fun features can be brought into some cartons with fold-out flaps, extended-content labels, and fifth panels to enable your packaging to stand out and grab attention.  However, this should only be used if you think that your customer is going to appreciate the extra effort, and when in doubt on non-functional features and other innovations that can be used with your cartons, it is always best to get some feedback directly from your customers, otherwise it could be wasted effort at best and distasteful to the customer at worst.

There are plenty of new innovations that can be used to make your packaging both practical and attractive to customers, but you need to assess whether by adding them, you are not taking away the value-added element of the folded carton packaging, which is generally the prime reason for using it anyway.

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