Bake a cake in a box

January 31, 2018

Stan asks,

We have a customer who wants to bake a cake in our corrugated box. We use recycled paper from XXXXXXXXXX Mill in XXXXXXX. We also have a letter of ‘No Objection’ from Health Canada. Do you foresee any problem or restriction on this method of cake preparation?

Assuming you have some type of suitable and accepted barrier coating the only other concern would be heat. I assume that they are planning to bake in a conventional or convection oven. Since cakes typically bake at 350 degrees F you shouldn’t have to worry about the 451 degree combustion point of the paper.

If a microwave oven is to be used then there may be a few concerns about the paper and what comes into direct contact with it. A mass resting against paper in a microwave can cause temperatures to reach a point significant enough to cause scorching and even combustion of the paper. (I’ve ruined enough bags of pop corn to prove this point)

I’m not sure how the AIB may play into this if the products are to ship into the United States.

Let’s toss this one out to the readers and see what knowledge they have to share.

– Ralph

Manufacturer’s joint tolerance

January 31, 2018

Kenny asks,

I am new to the AICC family and I have a question I hope you can help me with. I have a customer that is asking questions about the tolerances on an RSC box, specifically the glue joint gap dimension. As I understand from the FBA Handbook, a box maker has 1 board thickness of tolerance after machining. To be even more clear, for a C flute box, a box maker has approximately 3/16” total, that a gap can deviate from where it is designed from (3/32” from Center on both sides).

Well welcome to the family Kenny.

The tolerance as I have always understood it (for fishtail) is no more than 3/16 variance overall from the score line to the end of the flap regardless of the thickness of the sheet. Nor should the gap width at any point of the manufacturer’s joint be less than 1/16 inch in width, again regardless of substrate thickness.

However, with automated packing lines, customers may require a tighter or more consistent tolerance.

This is a battle that has been going on since Hector was a pup and always seems to be a topic for discussion.

– Ralph

Calculating ink coverage based on weight

January 31, 2018

Ed asks,

“We are creating a program to quote customer requirements as quickly and accurately as possible but we are stuck with ink / printing issues.

Is there a conversion that may help us translate grams of ink to square centimeters / inches of printing?”

Your ink supplier should be able to tell you how many sq. in. or sq. cm. a pound or gram of ink will cover. This will change depending on the viscosity, substrate, anilox roll volume, ink manufacturer and ink type. So in your calculator (estimator) you may want to provide the option to select from a pre-programmed list of inks, or allow the estimator to enter a pounds per inch or grams per centimeter variable.

Then of course you’ll need to know the sq inches of coverage for each color. You could simply calculate the area of the sheet and then assign a light, medium, or heavy coverage variable to simplify the calculation of inches of coverage.

UPDATE: Roger Poteet, Poteet Printing Systems, has reached out to share their experience and knowledge with us through the Poteet Ink Estimator complied and provided by Poteet Printing. I also want to thank Andrew at Compass Packaging for sharing his knowledge and experience with the Poteet Estimator in the comment below.

– Ralph

Checking Moisture of Corrugated Sheets

January 31, 2018

Tim asks,

Recently we encountered corrugated sheets with dry liners and medium that created problems converting. Is there a way for us to test sheets for moisture content at our facility? If so, is there a listing of the ranges?

Moisture meters, or moisture analyzers, can be used to test the moisture content of corrugate sheets. There are a number of portable, hand-held models available. (Most look surprisingly like a taser) They are rather inexpensive (ranging from $50 to $600) and a modest range of testers with varying capabilities and features are available in this range. These units provide instant readings of paper moisture content and should meet your needs. If you purchase a meter/analyzer make sure it is suitable for measuring paper. Some of the least expensive models are only for wood or hard materials. Also check the accuracy rating of the device. If it has a .01% or .02% for paper it should do fine. The same devices may have a 1% – 3% accuracy for wood, but that won’t affect testing paper.

6 to 8 percent moisture is the sweet spot for corrugated paperboard. Below 6% and the risk of cracking scores will increase, perhaps significantly depending on the paper. If the moisture content goes above 8% you will start to see a decrease in compression strength. Reports indicate compression strength can decrease as much as 6.5% per every 1% of moisture over 8%.

Now, in your case (simple checking for machineability) moisture meters/analyzers should work fine. However, they are not the most accurate method for checking paperboard moisture. Should you ever need to certify board for food or pharmaceuticals you may want to find a testing facility that can provide results via the oven method.

– Ralph