corrugated box

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).

Design Gear: Click And Grow Smartpot

 

Click and Grow is a small company that started in 2009.  Founder Mattias Lepp drew inspiration from NASA's aeroponics technology, that ultimately fueled his desire to change the way people grew plants. After some experimentation, the Smartpot was created, a self-sufficient plant growing system that operates with just a click of a button. The Smartpot made its first debut in 2011 and its product line has been expanding ever since. 

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The Packaging

A simple cardboard-folded box, designed by AKU, is outlined 360 degrees with the product's minimalist silhouette and slipped in a white paper garment. An already fully ripened Smartpot is shown front and center with simplistic instructions transcribed on the back.

 

What's In The Box?

The pot, the "grow light", and the specified seeds which are already inserted into the plant cartridge. In addition, the box includes two complementary power adaptors, one for the UK and the other US. 

Upon opening, you will discover the pot on the bottom tray surround by an easy 5-step instruction manual and below, a user guide for further instructions on the do's and don'ts when using the product as well as how to clean it properly.

 

The Product

If you're looking to start this year right and eating healthy is a resolution of yours or you are like me and you have trouble growing any form of vegetation let alone maintain is longevity, then this is a fun and foul proof product to test out. Whether you are seeking to grow some aromatic herbs such as lemongrass, thyme or basil or you are more in favor of sweet summer fruit, with the Smartpot, you will have these desired fresh ingredients growing in your own home in less than 2 months. 

 

With an easy setup that takes less than 5 minutes, the product is sleek in design and can compliment any part of the house. Once plugged in and filled with water, a green light appears indicating that the growth process has begun. As water levels plummet, a red light will flash letting you know it is time to refill the pot. To exponentiate the sprouting, a "grow light" is hooked on the back of the system allowing a maximum amount of "sunlight" to reach the crop. Unlike traditional gardening, the Smartpot does not require professional experience or knowledge of what soil is best for what plant, when to water it or climate control. You can literally place this product in a dark room and with the help of its own "grow light", it will transform into a magical garden. 



Cats Love Boxes

Cats love playing with and sleeping corrugated boxes, but who wants an cardboard box sitting in the middle of their living room? That’s where these new cardboard cat products from Canadian pet company Loyal Luxe come in. They’re beautifully designed 100% recycled cardboard box cat habitats, The Canadian Cabin (saw this at ICFF and loved it!) and The Native American Teepee. Certainly much nicer to look at than a shipping box!

The Canadian Cabin
This cardboard cat hut comes flat packed and is assembled by the consumer. The package contains three cardboard balls, a textured cardboard carpet to place inside the chalet which cats will love to massage their paws on, four rubber anti-slip mats to stick under the chalet in order to prevent the cat from displacing it, and an assembly guide. Also included are four decorative ornaments, which are interchangeable to be placed on the façade: an antler, a fish, a bird and label in which the name of the animal can be written. And since it’s cardboard you can decorate the outside as you wish with markers and crayons.

The Native American TeePee
Like the Canadian Cabin, the TeePee comes flat-packed and is easy to assemble with no glues. It is available with six interchangeable ornaments: the dream catcher, the feather, the tomahawk, the eagle, the bull’s head and the banner in which the name of the animal can be written. The front cutout even expands if you happen to have a tubby kitty!

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