RoHS Compliance

August 23, 2017

Scott asks,

We have a customer that is shipping products into Europe and they want to know if our packaging is RoHS compliant. Do you have any information on RoHS requirements or specifications?

The RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) used in Europe and Asia is very similar to our CONEG (Coalition of Northeastern Governors) regulations. Both focus on the reduction and control of toxics (heavy metals, phenyls and phthalates) in packaging. RoHS included six initial substances; Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated Biphenyls and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers.

In the 2015 Directive revision four additional substances were added to the list of regulated substances. These included Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate, Benzyl butyl phthalate, Dibutyl phthalate and Diisobutyl phthalate.

Your board supplier should be able to provide a COA or Certificate of Compliance or the paperboard you purchase from them. You may also want to solicit the same from your ink and glue suppliers too just to have them on record. Also keep in mind that labels, stickers and films are also considered part of your packaging. The exceptions are stickers or labels required by governmental agencies to meet health and safety or transportation requirements.

You can find additional information on RoHS at, and for more information on CONEG visit

— Ralph


Is Corrugated Safe for Hospital Environments?

August 22, 2017

Gary asks,

We have a customer who is sending their product into a hospital environment inside our corrugated box. The end user, the hospital, is concerned about the absorbency of corrugated playing host to unwanted microbes and potentially transporting them into the hospital. See their message below:

“As you know we package our pulp products in corrugated cardboard boxes.  We are hearing of certain hospitals becoming concerned that cardboard boxes are unhygienic (as they are absorbent and can’t easily be kept clean) and can harbor bugs and should not be brought into clean areas of the hospital.  Do you know of materials that don’t harbor bugs and that could be used to ‘box’ these types of products?”

Our corrugated is food grade safe (CFIA approved) and we were always understanding that the corrugating process adds to the assurance that linerboard and medium do not attract or play host to microbes.

I just recently read an article from Food Safety News (Feb, 2016) that references research available through the CPA regarding the safety of corrugated. The studies performed by FBA and independent 3rd party universities, show that corrugated enters the food stream microbe free. Pathogens cannot survive the high temperatures (180 – 200 degrees F) used in the corrugated manufacturing process. If the manufacture’s process is CFIA approved then the packaging should remain clean throughout the process. I would think that the only potential lapse in protection may occur during the shipping and handling process between the brand owner and the end user, in this case the hospital.

One would think that if the brand owner is providing medical supplies they would have a cleanliness standard that would exceed even the CFIA certification. If they are delivering in their own vehicles you would think that this standard also extends to that portion of the chain of custody. Then once inside the medical facility, one would hope that cleanliness wouldn’t be an issue.

These studies also show that Reusable Plastic Cartons (RPCs) can have a higher risk of microbial organisms (up to 10 million) due to repeated use and probably inadequate or improper sanitizing before and after use.

Here is a link to the reports.

— Ralph

Rod Coating vs. Flood Coating

August 2, 2017

Geordie asks,

We’re considering some new equipment and looking for some information on flood coating versus rod coating.

If I were looking for new equipment I would probably lean toward rod coating. In my opinion rod coating is more effective and accurate than flood coating. Rod coating provides a very wide coating weight range. They also allow much greater precision in coating weight control and are typically much easier to operate. The rod coating process also provides superior cross machine coating uniformity as compared to flood coating.

Most modern rod coater designs make very easy and quick to change the coating thicknesses as well. So if minimizing changeover time is important to you that may be another advantage to rod coating.

— Ralph


Just how many corrugators are there?

August 2, 2017

Ron asks,

I’m doing some basic research on the corrugation market. My questions are:

  • How do I find out how many corrugators (machines) there are Worldwide by region?
  • And is there a way to know the width of each of the devices, such as over 2 meters, under, etc?
  • I’m also trying to answer the same question for Asitrades and Laminators.

That is a very tough question, especially from a global perspective! We know that the 432 +/- corrugators in the US are mostly 98″-110″.  Specs would be about the same in Europe and Canada.  Mexico is modernizing and we’re seeing 2.5 – 2.8 meter machines going in.  China is spending the capital.  Australia and New Zealand are modern. The rest of the word is, well, the rest of the world.  I would start by getting in touch with the corrugator manufacturers like BHS, Fosber, Agnati, etc. perhaps they can provide a worldwide overview of corrugator footprints. For Asitrades try touching base with Bobst. Most recently they are in the 65” range, but one of the newest located on the US East Coast is an 87” machine.

Industry publications often offer buyers guides, or directories of equipment suppliers. You may want to research some of those for lists of equipment suppliers. AICC’s member directory found on also provides a means to search equipment suppliers (Associate Members:) that may be able to provide information.

— Ralph