Glossary

Definitions of Common Terms Used in the Packaging Industry

 

Adhesive – glue, a material used to adhere one surface to another

Aseptic processing - a process by which a product is packaged in a container in a way that maintains sterility, ie. cheese

Bag-in-Tube - is a composite cardboard tube with a tinplate lid and base, containing a double-layered bag to hold liquids.

Barcode –  UPC– Universal Product Code – a method used to identify products.  The code has 2 parts; numbers and bars

Barrier material – a material possessing properties that limit the transmission of gases

Bin – large storage container

Bioplastic - plastic material derived from renewable biomass sources, such as sugarcane and cornstarch

Bleed – print that extends beyond the trim edge of the finished piece

Blister pack – transparent, molded plastic, often sealed to a sheet of cardboard and used to package and display an item of merchandise

Blow molding – process of extruding plastic into a mold then blowing it with air pressure against the sides

Blown film – film produced by extruding resin into a tube which is then expanded by air

Brand owner - a brand is a mark or symbol (could be as simple as a UPC code) indicating ownership of a product.  The brand owner is the party holding ownership of the brand.

Bulk pack – items are packed loose rather than individually

Burst strength – measure of material strength to resist rupture

CAD – Computer Aided Design - CAD software is used for nearly all three-dimensional designing, ie. structural design for a box

Caliper – the thickness of paper material measured in thousandths of an inch

Cardboard – a heavier paper - the commonly used packaging terms are paperboard and corrugated

Case pack - the quantity of items in a container

Clay coating – a coating for recycled or kraft paperboard to improve whiteness, smoothness and gloss

Clamshell – package with a hinged lid

Clarity – the degree of transparency

CMYK – Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow and Black – the primary colours for printing with a process method (see Process print)

Coating – a protective layer applied to a material

Co-extruded film – flexible plastic material consisting of two or more layers adhered together into a single ply during the extrusion process

Cold seal – adhesives that bond with pressure only, typically used where heat is damaging to the product, ie.chocolate bars

Colour standard – colour specification for printing

Common Carrier - a company that offers services to transport goods

Composite can - a can made of layers of paper with metal or plastic ends, ie. frozen juice cans

Conceptual design - the initial concept of a graphic design

Container – an item used to store product – could be a box, bin, crate, etc.

Co-packing – producing private label products

Core – a paper tube

Corona treatment – alters the surface of materials to make them more receptive to ink adhesion

Corrugated – “moving box” material – fluted paper (medium) adhered to one or two paper liners

Cradle to Cradle - the life cycle of the product from raw material extraction through to a recycled afterlife

Cradle to Grave - the life cycle of the product from raw material extraction through to disposal

Crease – an impression in material for the purpose of bending or folding

Critical Supply - components that are critical to the sale of a product

Density – the weight per unit volume

Die – tool used to cut a shape ie, “cookie cutter”, most commonly used in paper converting to make boxes

Die-cutting – the cutting and scoring of material

Distribution – product handling from factory to point of sale

EPR - Extended Producers Responsibility, a program that identifies end-of-life management of products as the responsibility of producers (e.g., brand owners, first importers or manufacturers)

Extrusion – the process through which resin is heated and formed

Film – generally used to describe a light weight plastic material

Final artwork - the final design and labeling prepared for printing

First seller - brand owner, importer or distributor

Flexible packaging – usually plastic type films used to produce bags, sheets, box liners for items such as garbage bags, bread bags, snack bags, frozen foods

Flexographic printing – method of print that uses rubber or photopolymer printing plates

Foam – polystyrene base, ie, fresh meat trays, egg cartons

Folding carton – box/tray/carrier made from paperboard

Fulfillment – the process of packaging a customer’s product for shipment

Gauge – measurement for thickness of a material – one mil is 1/1000 of an inch or 25.4 microns

Gaylord – a heavy corrugated carton of pallet load proportions

Gloss finish – shine on the surface that reflects light

GMP – Good Manufacturing Practice which implies that the entire manufacturing procedure has been designed to produce a quality product.

Graphic design – image and identification on the package

Gravure printing – short for rotogravure - design is etched on a metal cylinder which transfers the ink onto the printing surface of the material

Gusset – the fold in the side or bottom of a pouch allowing it to expand when contents are inserted

Haze – the distortion of light in passing through film

HDPE – High Density Polyethylene, plastic material used for film and bottles

Heat-seal – the fusion of films through heat and pressure

Hermetic seal – airtight and impervious to gases or fluids

Impact resistance – the ability of film to withstand impact

Injection molding – process of heating plastic or metal to a fluid then injecting it into a mold

In-mould labelling is the use of paper or plastic labels during the manufacturing of containers by blow molding, injection molding or thermoforming processes

Intermediate bulk container (IBC) - is a reusable industrial container designed for the transport and storage of bulk liquid and granulated products, such as chemicals, food ingredients, chemicals, etc.

Kraft – brown paper, usually made with unbleached wood pulp

Lamination – the process of adhering two or more materials together

Lead-time – the time delay between placing an order to receiving delivery

Label – sticker used to identify contents of a package – can be self adhesive or applied with coatings or glue

Labeling - often refers to product identification, ie. content, weight, UPC, nutritional value and claims, etc.

Lithographic printing – a type of printing process commonly used in the paper industry, also known as offset litho.

LDPE – Low Density Polyethylene - flexible plastic material, ie, bread bag

LLDPE – Linear Low Density Polyethylene – flexible plastic material with a higher tensile strength and better puncture resistance than LDPE

MAP - Modified Atmosphere Packaging - a method of packaging food where the proportions of gases in a sealed container are different from air - used to enhance shelf life of foods

Matte finish – non-reflective finish

Migration – the transmission of an additive, coating or ink through the material

Mil – thickness measurement of plastic film (1/1000 of an inch)

Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) - a method of packaging food where the proportions of gases in a sealed container are different from air - used to enhance shelf life of foods

Mylar – polyester (PET) film, a type of plastic

Nylon – a material made from polyamide resins

Offset Litho – a type of printing process commonly used in the paper industry, also known as lithographic printing

One-way pallets - shipped to the customer and not returned to the supplier

Onsert - also known as an Extended Content Label (ECL), is a booklet which is affixed to a pressure sensitive label on a package. These booklets provide extra space for additional information that is needed, and avoids having to make several separate labels. 

Opacity – the hiding power of inks or colour additives (pigments) to prevent light penetration

Overhang specs - specification for the allowance of how far a product can extend past the edges of a pallet

Pallet – another term for skid - a portable, flat wooden, plastic or metal platform on which goods are stored and moved

Pallet Skirt - Pallet skirts (also often referred to as pallet wraps) wrap around the bottom half of pallet displays and can be the perfect canvas for your company logo, artwork, or an advertising message.

Pallet pack - the number of items on a pallet

Pallet system - handling of pallets through the distribution system

Pallet wrap - material used to secure product to the pallet, ie, stretch film, shrink film, strapping

Palletizing – the method of configuring products on a pallet

Paperboard – heavier weight paper substrate used for facial tissue, chocolate boxes, etc.  Can be bleached white virgin material, kraft or clay coated white on one side and brown on the other

Part pallet - a pallet or skid holding less than a full load

PE – Polyethylene -  this pliable plastic material is heat sealable and widely used in the packaging industry

PET – Polyester - a type of plastic material made from polyethylene terephthalate, ie, soft drink bottles

Photopolymer plates - printing plates made with a polymer that changes its properties when exposed to light

PMS – Pantone Matching System is the universally accepted colour definition system.   Colours are given a reference number called the PMS number

Point of sale (POS) - the location where a product will be sold for consumption

Polyester (PET) – a type of plastic material made from polyethylene terephthalate, ie, soft drink bottles

Polyethylene (PE, Poly) – this pliable plastic material is heat sealable and widely used in the packaging industry

Polypropylene – a type of lightweight plastic material with stiffness characteristics, ie, snack foods

POP – Point Of Purchase – where the product will be sold for consumption

POP display – a stand or holder to display products at the point of purchase

POS - Point Of Sale - the location where a product will be sold for consumption

Pouch – a bag constructed by sealing sheets along the edges

Pouch (stand up) – bag that stands erect due to a gusset formed on the side or bottom of the pouch

PP - Polypropylene - a  type of lightweight plastic material with stiffness characteristics, ie, snack foods

Primary packaging - the packaging designed to come in direct contact with the product

Printing plate – made of metal, rubber or other material that is etched, engraved or embossed which picks up the ink to transfer the design to the material

Process printing – a type of printing used to create images and photographs

Proof – representation of the graphic design printing and colour

Raw Material - the ingredients that go into making a product

Ready-Retail Packaging (RRP) - packaging delivered to a retailer in a self-contained unit, which is immediately ready for on-shelf product display without the need for assembling or unpacking.

Registration – the alignment of printing more than one color or image over another

Resin – solid or semisolid viscous substance used to produce plastic materials

Retort pouch - a package created by aseptic processing and made from multiple layers of flexible laminated films

Reverse printing – printing ink on the underside of the film or material

Reversed-out print -  lighter typeface on a darker background, such as white text on a coloured background

Rigid box – a formed paper box set up and ready for use, ie, jewelry box

Rotogravure printing – design is etched on a metal cylinder which transfers the ink onto the printing surface of the material

SBS – Solid Bleached Sulfate - bleached, virgin paperboard used for higher end products and those with direct food contact, ie, cosmetic and chocolate boxes

Score – an impression in material for the purpose of bending or folding

Screen printing – printing method where the ink is forced through a mesh fabric

Seal Layer - the heat sealable, innermost layer in plastic packaging films and laminates.

Secondary packaging - the packaging that contains multiple primary packages for buying convenience at the point of sale

SFI - Sustainable Forestry Initiative - a certification standard based on principles that promote sustainable forest management

Shelf life – the length of time a product may be stored without becoming unsuitable for use or consumption

Shrink casing - the material that encloses sausage filling, usually in the format of a tube for stuffing.

Shrink wrap – plastic film that shrinks when it is heated

Shroud – a cover used to protect items ie. equipment, pallet loads

Skid – another term for pallet - a portable, flat wooden, plastic or metal platform on which goods are stored

Skin packaging – film that is heated and applied over a the product and card

Steel rule die – a form with blades use to cut and crease

Strapping - plastic band used to wrap and secure product to a pallet

Stretch wrap – plastic film that stretches, commonly used to secure containers on a pallet

Structural design – the shape and size of a package

Substrate – type of material such as paper or plastic film

Surface printing – printing ink on the outermost surface of film or material

Sustainability – the capability of being continued with minimal long-term effect on the environment

Tare weight - the weight of a container when it is empty

Tear resistance – the ability of film to withstand tearing

Tensile strength – the amount of pull a film can withstand before stretching or tearing

Tertiary packaging - is the packaging designed to ensure damage free handling, storage and transport of the grouped packaged products

Thermoforming – the method of heating a plastic material to where it is soft enough to form into a shape

Tolerance – permissible maximum deviation from specifications

Tooling - manufacturing aids such as cutting tools, dies, molds and patterns of a specialized nature 

Tote – large bin or container

Trapping – placing one ink over another to hide registration variances (ragged or blurry edges) in the printing

Vacuum packaging -  a method of preservation in which all the air is removed from a container or package before sealing

Vapor barrier – barrier that prevents or slows the migration of liquid vapor through a material

UPC – Universal Product Code or barcode – a method used to identify products.  The code has 2 parts, numbers and bars

UV coating – a coating applied over printed paper then dried by exposure to UltraViolet radiation

Zipper pouch – plastic pouch with a sealing device that opens and closes like a zipper, ie, plastic sandwich bags