Assembled Corrugated Blank Tolerances

Kevin asks,

Is there an industry-standard tolerance that would be applied to the assembled dimensions (Length, Width, Depth) of a 2pc carton?  I would question whether multiple processes should lead to alternate tolerances when compared to a single process 1-piece carton.  I would also wonder how carton size would play into the tolerance and if there are any steadfast rules and/or guidelines throughout the industry.

The particular carton I am trying to apply tolerance to is a 2pc Partial Overlap Top, HSC bottom where the width panels are die cut and the other scoring off of a press and then offset stitched within the length panel for reference.  I am trying to hold +/- 1/8” on all dimensions now.  These tend to be around 76 x 32 x 50” with 2” POL.

According to the Joint PMMI/FBA publication PMMI B155-TR2.2-2011,  the tolerance of a RSC panels are +/- 1/16 inch per panel with an overall blank tolerance of +/- 1/8 inch for both length and width. Also, I believe there is a TAPPI publication of dimensional accuracy which may make reference to tolerance.

Slot depth should be within 1/8 inch from the center line of the corrugator score. Slots should also be centered within 1/16 inch of the aligning scores.

No allowance is given for carton size, caliper, substrate or complexity of design in this specification.

I haven’t found any reference to multiple piece cartons which would lead me to believe that there would be an additional allowance for a multi-piece carton.

So, based in this information, it would make sense that the overall assembled dimensions (interior and exterior) should be within, and controlled by, the +/- 1/8 inch overall tolerance of the RSC or die-cut blank.

One other note to toss in here. While the PMMI/FBA publication above may note that +/- 1/8 inch over all is acceptable, today’s customers are typically demanding something closer. With today’s drive and anvil technology +/- 1/16 inch (1/8 total) may generally be considered the norm, but more and more customers are demanding closer tolerances and expecting little to no variation.

— Ralph

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