Browse our comprehensive glossary to learn more about packaging terms and concepts.
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Flamed Treated Plastic-is the application of a gas flame to the surface of a material to improve adhesion.
FDA-The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.
Food Grade– means that the material is either safe for human consumption or it is okay to come into direct contact with food products.
UN-Rating-is a series of number and letter codes that show what a container is regulated to handle. They determine this through a series of tests that all containers must undergo if they are to be UN Rated. Current UN Regulations are enforced by the D.O.T.
Types of Plastic
PETE or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is used for soft drink bottles, mineral water, fruit juice containers and cooking oil. PETE are available with a clear non-streaky finish and are durable with a high scratch and shatter resistance. PETE plastics make up 96% of all plastic bottles and containers in the United States. Some of the colors include amber, cobalt blue, UV protection black and more color options are also available. PETE plastics can also preserve the taste and the aroma of food better than PP plastics.
HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) containers are known for their durability and chemical resistance. This plastic is used for milk jugs, cleaning agents, laundry detergents, bleaching agents, shampoo bottles, washing and shower soaps. HDPE is known for its protective fabrication and the prevention of any chemical seepage into foods or beverages. A rigid, tough and strong resin of natural milky color. It has good stress crack resistance as well as high impact and melt strength. It is really easy to add color to an HDPE
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is used to make trays for sweets, fruit, plastic packing (bubble wrap) and food foils to wrap the food. They are known for their protective fabrication and the prevention of any chemical seepage into foods or beverages. PVC works well for hot fill applications as it can withstand temperatures up to 190° F.
LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) is used for squeeze bottles, shopping bags, highly resistant sacks and most wrappings. It is durable and flexible and natural LDPE has the clearest color available. LDPE is less chemically resistant than HDPE and does not have a significant recycling footprint, but it is certainly recyclable in particular areas. Harmful chemicals are not a concern with LDPE and food storage applications are usually a good fit.
PP (polypropylene) is used for furniture, consumers, luggage, totes as well as bumpers, lining and external borders of cars. PP is strong and is known for its ability to withstand very high temperatures. PP containers also have good chemical resistance and are less brittle compared to other plastic alternatives such as polyvinyl chloride and polyethylene terephthalate.
PS (Polystyrene or Styrofoam) is for toys, hard packing, refrigerator trays, cosmetic bags, costume jewelry, audio cassettes, CD cases, and vending cups. Polystyrene is known for its clear appearance and rigidity, making these bottles great for applications where product visibility is needed.
PE (Polyethylene) is used from products ranging from clear food wrap, shopping bags, detergent bottles, and automobile fuel tanks. It is light, versatile synthetic resin made from polymerization of ethylene and is often an economic alternative to other plastics.
Corrugated Boxes – are commonly used to carry heavier products such as appliances, electronic goods, wine, fruit, and vegetables.
Corrugated Flutes- are S shaped waves or arches of a corrugated box that makes up the board. Flutes are essentially the reinforcement that make up the board. They run parallel to the depth of the container and give it its rigidity and crushing strength. They also provide insulation that protects products from drastic temperature changes.
Larger flutes like A and B profile provide greater strength and cushioning, while smaller flute profiles like D and E provide better printability and foldability
Different Types of Corrugated Box Flutes
B Flutes- have 42-50 flutes per foot and are ⅛” thick. They provide the second highest arch size. They also provide good stacking strength and crushing resistance. Mostly used for canned goods or displays.
C Flutes- have 39-43 flutes per foot and are 11/64” thick. They provide great cushioning, stacking, and printing properties. They are used for glass, furniture and dairy.
E Flutes– have 94 flutes per foot and are 1/16” thick. The board profile is super-thick which in turn reduces box size and saves storage space.
E flutes provide the greatest crush resistance and a super printing surface which makes it an excellent choice for die-cut custom boxes.
Caps and Necks
J-Cap Finish/ Hinge Guard– Flexible hinge used in joining the cover to the main body of a flip top dispensing closure. Consumers open a J-Cap closure by removing a stop of plastic holding the top of the closure to the base, leaving a hinge, snap-top closure mechanism.
CT – Continuous Thread- A non-interrupted spiral threaded closure.The purpose of the continuous thread is to mate with a corresponding bottle’s thread and provide sealing and resealing of the container.
Pano- The Pano neck style is ideal for tamper-evident lined closures.
Snap Top- These tops are generally used on pharmaceutical bottles. This style is generally used for child safe.
Restlos EntLeerbar- The REL cap and opening has a filling aperture projecting rim which improves pouring from the opening. In addition this lid has the advantage that it is no longer pressed directly into the flat top, but pushed over a rim, so that incorrect placement does not immediately damage the flat top.
Glued-in Sifter top- Plastic sifter fitments can be used together with spice caps for easy and clean dispensing of spices, small grains, and powders. Plastic Sifter fitments are made from polypropylene (PP) and are only available in white or natural. Sizes range from 43mm- 63mm. Sifters come with either 11 or 20 holes.
Plugs- Plugs come in many different styles including hex head and round head. Plugs come in Rieke or Trisure and the sizes range from 2” to ¾”. Plugs come in different materials including: steel, zinc plated, polypropylene, nylon, and HDPE. Plugs are used for metal or plastic drums.
Slip Covers- Slip cover lids are meant to fit slip cover cans. The lids are available in silver, and come labeled or unlabeled. These can be used for a variety of applications including packaging for candles, food, cosmetics, body care, industrial wax, petroleum products and more.
Neck Sizes- Cap sizes are not interchangeable – a 28-400mm cap will not fit properly on a bottle with a 28-410mm neck finish. Cap sizes and the neck finish on a bottle have a unique system of measurements.
The first number refers to the diameter of the closure or bottle opening (in mm) and refers to the diameter measured across the inside of the cap at the opening of the bottle.
The second number represents the GPI (Glass Packaging Institute) thread finish and refers to the height of the cap and the style of threads on the cap and the container.
Bead- The bead is on Hinge-Guard/J-Cap style neck finishes, the collar of plastic below the neck area that snap-on caps rest against. This is also known as a transfer bead, and provides a surface by which the preform is suspended while it is reheated and blown into a bottle.
CAD- Computer Assisted Design
CAM- Computer Aided Molding
Fluorination– A surface treatment that is used to improve the barrier properties against non-polar materials or solvent. This treatment helps the plastic container maintain its size and shape.
Head Space– The space between the level of contents in the neck of a bottle and closure.
Packer- Packers are wide-mouth bottles typically used for pills, capsules and tablets.
Thermoforming– A method of forming plastics in which a plastic sheet material is heated to a point where it is soft and pliable.
Thermoplastic– material that will repeatedly soften when heated and harden when cooled, often used for caps and closures.
Yield Point– The point beyond which the stress applied to a material will cause permanent deformation.
Abrasion Resistance- The ability to withstand the effects of repeated wearing, rubbing, scraping,etc.that tend to remove material from its surface.
Adhesive- Substance which applied as an intermediate and is capable of holding materials together by surface attachment.
Air Gap- In extrusion coating, the distance from the die opening to the tip formed by the pressure roll and chill roll.
Bag Molding- A method of applying pressure during bonding or molding, in which a flexible cover, usually in connection with a rigid die or mold, exerts pressure on the material being molded, through the application of air pressure or drawing of a vacuum.
Blow Molding- Method of fabrication in which a warm plastic comparison (hollow tube), is placed between the two halves of the mold cavity and forced to assume that the shape of the mold cavity by the use of air pressure.
Boston Round- A particular shape of container; cross section as well as shoulders are round.
Buttress Thread- A type of threading in which the thread sides terminate abruptly in threading gradually tapering down to the neck finish. Designed to withstand maximum force in one direction only. Cross section of thread is triangular.
Chromium Plating- An electrolytic process that deposits a hard film of chromium metal onto working surfaces of other where resistance to corrosion, abrasion, and/or erosion is needed.
Density- The equivalent property to specific gravity; measured by displacement.
Discoloration- Any change from the original color, often caused by overheating, light exposure, irradiation, or chemical attack.
Flash Mold- A mold designed to permit excess molding material to escape during closing.
Gaylord- A large corrugated container usually sized to match the length and width dimensions of a pallet. Gaylord is actually a trade name that has become synonymous with this specific type of container.
Heat Sealing- A method of joining plastic films by simultaneous application of heat and pressure to areas in contact. Heat may be supplied conductivity or dielectrically.
Insulation- Material having a high resistance to the flow of electric current, to prevent leakage of current from a conductor.
Light-Resistance- The ability of a plastic material to resist fading after exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light. Nearly all plastics tend to darken under these conditions.
Rust Inhibitor- A water-based clear product that is typically used to keep parts from rusting in between processes. Rust inhibitors have a short-term protection that lasts up to 30 days.
DBJ- Dairy and Beverage Jug. Used commonly for milk jugs.
R-Enamel- Some acidic foods will fade in color when exposed to tin for a long period of time. R-Enamel is used to help prevent this.
C-Enamel- For foods that are higher in sulfur or closer to a neutral pH can discolor with prolonged contact with tin. C-Enamel is used to help prevent this.
BPA free- Bisphenol A or BPA is a chemical used in certain plastics that can cause negative health effects. Products that are BPA free do not use the Chemical BPA in the plastic.