Corrugated

How It’s made: Corrugated aka Cardboard

How corrugated boxes are made

We've all had that feeling. Palms sweaty. Knees weak. Arms heavy… I’m talking about the anticipation of a package’s arrival to our front door. We just can’t contain ourselves when we know we’re looking out for a package. You check the tracking number every 30 minutes even though you already signed up for the notifications, but what are you supposed to do? Wait patiently like a sane person who doesn't get giddy at the thought of a package? No thanks, right? 

 

And you know the best part? The best part is slicing through that tape, opening the cardboard box and feasting your eyes on your precious cargo. Well before you head to your “go to” online store and unleash your credit card on shopping cart after shopping cart, I want to teach you something you never knew you wanted to know and it’s about the box your order came in. 

 

Children use them to make their own car or train. College students have used them to make furniture. We all use them to move, but how are they made? How is it that paper can hold such heavy, fragile, valuable contents? The key is in the construction. 

 

Cardboard is made up of three structural components all of which are made of partially recycled materials:

1 wavy sheet of paper called a flute + 2 flat sheets of paper called liners = one corrugated board i.e. cardboard

 

First a sheet of paper gets passed through two giant rollers and during this process, the flat sheet is beveled and steamed so that it becomes the wavy flute at the center of the cardboard. The two liners of flat paper are added on each side of the flute one at a time using a glue containing mostly water and starch. The air pockets created by the flute strengthen the board’s integrity and provide a cushion of protection. Some manufacturers even use additional flute and liners for added padding so its innards don't get squashed at the slightest bump.

 

So next time you open up that long-awaited package (because you didn't spring for the expedited shipping) think of the loving cardboard hands that cradled it through its journey to its forever home. Think about the cardboard box it called home for several days. Think about the flutes and the liners and say a silent thank you. 

Campaign - Cleverly Packaged Furniture

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Campaign is a new furniture experience. Inspired by the history of military campaigns where furniture was built and made to break down for easy travel, "Campaign" seeks to bring back the notion that "less is more" through beautiful design and clever packaging. Founded by Ex-Apple Executive Brad Sewell in 2014, their unique product launches today and can be shipped to anywhere around the world, for free. Campaign ships in days and assembles in minutes. 

Because the furniture ships in smaller boxes on standard UPS or FedEx trucks (thanks to its patent-pending folding design), shipping costs are lower and those savings are passed on to customers.
Campaign is available and customizable through Campaign.com and all the furniture is manufactured by Campaign and in the U.S., so shipping is lightning-fast compared to the industry-standard where manufacturing is outsourced and can take 6-8 weeks.

The pieces are meant to last a lifetime (think high-performance fabric suspension, expanded polyolefin and lightweight, but sturdy laser cut steel tubing), but built for a transitional lifestyle. Its design makes the furniture both easy to move (boxes with handles!) and simple to set up (no tools required, set up within minutes).

When a Box is Not a Box

The corrugated carton is not just a box.  Believe it or not, a lot of design and engineering goes into each corrugated box that we sell.  Not only is the size, shape, weight and durability of the product to be packaged important but so are the shipping and storage environments the product and its associated box are likely to experience.  As time goes on, we’ll be touching on these and other subjects related to boxes, box design and packaging in general.  In the meantime, we’ve put together a list of corrugated box facts that should put to rest the idea that a box is just a box…

  • A box that is palletized should not be in the shape of a cube.  But when palletizing a cube may be a better choice.
  • Heavy duty reinforced paper tape is a better box closure than staples.
  • A variety of coatings can be applied to either side of a box.
  • Sometimes ordering only a few more boxes will save a goodly percentage in your piece price.
  • An “end loader” uses less board that a “top loader”.
  • DO NOT store your boxes near a heat source.
  • Flat bed die cutting is more precise than rotary die cutting.
  • Some military grades of corrugated are readily available.
  • The best use of corrugated material as a RSC (Regular Slotted Container) is when the ratio of length x width x depth is 2-to-1-to-2.
  • Place your printing no closer than a 1/2″ to the horizontal score lines.
  • Manufacturer’s Joint: Tape is the weakest joint.  A “flowable” product probably requires wire stitches.  Glued joints are the least expensive.
  • Boxes are made out of paper.  Paper reacts to the moisture level in it’s surrounding environment.  Low humidity levels will dry the paper, making it feel stiffer and thus stronger.  High humidity levels will make the paper feel softer and thus weaker.
  • Advancements in technology have led to the creation of large-format digital presses that are ideal for 4 color, small quantity runs of corrugated cartons and displays