Archive for the ‘Containerboard’ Category

Linerboard Coefficient of Friction (COF) Target and Max

February 3, 2021

Cassie asks,

I’m doing some investigation to determine what is the minimum, target and maximum COF (coefficient of friction) for linerboard. Can you point me to any information on this?

Instead of answering your question directly from a mill process point of view, which we can do, here are a couple links to several specification sheets from domestic mills. (Domestic High Performance Linerboard, COF Spec Sheets or Slide Angle)

The Europeans do not seem to deliniate slide angle as a physical property characteristic.  Since they have been making linerboard from recovered fibre much longer than we have in the Americas, it may be just universally understood there.

Let me know more if you have more specific questions. I would also recommend membership in TAPPI’s Corrugated Board Technical Committee where you will have access to the best minds in this business.


Hazmat Linerboard Weight Tolerance

December 30, 2020

Dave asks,

What does the AICC hazmat guide say about tolerances on basis weight? Customer says they must run: “We must run the 31-31-35 hazmat board combo” but the corrugator no longer runs that combo.

The DOT has relaxed the “49 CFR 178.516 – Standards for fiberboard boxes” from +/- 5% to now allow +/- 10 percent basis weight tolerance in the linerboards.

Per the Legal Information Institute “UN4G combination packaging with outer fiberboard boxes and with inner fiberboard components that have individual containerboard or paper wall basis weights that vary by not more than plus or minus 10% from the nominal basis weight reported in the initial design qualification test report.” Click on this link to learn more at the Legal Information Institute.

How did your customer arrive at the 31-31-35 combination? Is it from a previous requirement? As long as they the meet the strength requirements for the content it should be acceptable to use another combination. The +/-10% relates to the base weight of the liner used and may not mean that you could directly substitute a 28lb for a 31lb. If a 28lb liner is used then the tolerance would be +/-10% of the 28.

So I think it would be important to first see if you can provide a combination that meets their strength requirements WHILE remaining while remaining within the +/-10% tolerance.

— Ralph

Acceptable Reject Rates for Corrugated Packaging

March 19, 2020

Ed asks,

I wanted to run something by you and see if you could point me in the right direction.

We have a client who orders a lot of different sized RSC’s in quantities of 2500. At one point we were having some issues with gluing and had to re-glue the boxes. However, we addressed the issue and it seems to have fixed the problem. But now every time this customer finds a box that isn’t glued properly he expects us to re-glue it. I am not sure if we should be expecting every box to be perfect, or if we are shipping them some bad boxes but not billing them for it.

Do you have any information on acceptable “non-conforming” box rates? Is there an industry standard for this?

TAPPI’s Waste and Productivity Survey provides a lot of valuable information, but I saw nothing  specific to glue tab or manufacture’s joint failures.

I talked with Ken Robinson at Baumer hhs. Here are com points to consider.

  • If you have a contact system you will probably always have an issue.
  • Two percent failures are to be expected.
  • Pre-cleaning the glue tab before it hits the gluing station helps.
  • Operator training should be constant.
  • An inspection system can reduce the reject rate to 0.1%.

If there is not a published industry standard reject rate then it most likely will fall back on the contract/agreement between the boxmaker and the customer. Does your contract address percentage of rejects?

Customers, especially those running or supplying automated packing lines may be looking for zero defects. Of course every boxmaker strives to deliver the highest quality with minimum rejects at the most competitive price. However, there is a cost associated with ensuring the delivery of zero defect loads. Is the customer(s) willing to pay that price? They too are looking for the best, most competitive prices. However, if the cost of ensuring zero defects is less than the cost of lost productivity and products, then they may be.

— Ralph

Corrugated Performance In Sub-Zero Temps

March 16, 2020

Jeff asks,

I have a client who is asking for specific information about corrugated performance at low temperatures (-20 degrees Celsius) for extended periods of time (up to 6 months).  I have not been given specific information about the contents of the boxes, but I suspect it to be clinical trial materials or something similar.  I expect them to be looking for some sort of performance guarantee.  Current board grade is 32 ECT C Flute.  Outside liner would be virgin paper.  The remainder of the box (medium and inside liner) is recycled paper.

Anything you can provide to help me with this?  Or can you direct me to the right place?  Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

There just is not much out there, but here are a few things that we do know. Cold temperatures can cause strength degradation in corrugated packaging and other corrugated paperboard products. Moisture introduced from the repeated opening and closing of refrigerated units can also affect the strength of the corrugated container. Aqueous and UV coatings will certainly provide extended resistance to moisture on the boxes’ surface. However, what generally happens is the glue line is attacked by changes in atmospheric conditions. This is where we often see failure to the board itself.

Manufacture’s joints and/or flaps that are glued can also be subject to strength degradation at low temperatures. The same problem may be seen in boxes sealed with tape as the adhesives can become less tacky. There are tapes and glues that are marketed to offer better performances in both extreme low and high temperatures. While they may not help with the overall strength of the box, they contribute to the overall survivability and protection of the enclosed content.

Here is a link to the last industry wide study on freezer storage that we are aware of. It’s a bit over 70 years old, but still relevant. Note the added box strengths in the chart.

I’ll also include this link to the most recent report from the PMMI on the storage of Corrugated Packaging.

Does any of our other followers have any knowledge they care to share on their experience with long term or short term low temperature storage of products protected by corrugated containers?

— Ralph