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The Glossary of the International Trade Centre (ITC) on the technical terms used in the packaging sector is a database designed to provide updated information on the specific terminology used in the packaging industry. This Glossary is a tool placed at the disposal of users for information only. It is not designed to replace the appropriate professional advice in any way. Users are invited to submit their comments and observations by email to Mr. Frederic Couty, Senior Adviser, Export Packaging at the following email address: fcouty[at]intracen.org
Select an alphabetic above to access the glossary.
1.(Noun) Bundle of items wrapped up, tied
together or otherwise contained for carrying.
2.(Verb) To put items into a box, bundle,
bag, bale, wrap, etc. for storage or transportation.
1.(Noun) A sealed wrapping or box containing
either a retail-sale quantity of a product (consumer package) or a product or
a number of items or smaller packages in transport quantities, for
transportation and storage (transport package).
2.(Verb) To put a product into a package or
to make a package around a product.
general term for the functions, materials and overall concept of a
coordinated system of preparation of goods for handling, shipment, storage,
marketing. Distribution and use at optimum cost, and compatible with the
requirements of the product.
who transforms one form of packaging material into another more developed
form or into a container.
associated with the chain of packaging operations — from developing the
package concept to the packaged products to the consumer and disposal of the
term including all manufacturers of packaging materials and packages.
Sometimes defined to include also manufacturers of packaging machinery.
design used primarily in the pharmaceutical industry. The bottles have large
finishes with respect to bottle size, making bottles easy to pack.
The packaging of product in small packages, e.g. tea in packets.
1.(Noun) Material or product placed around an
item or items inside a package to cushion them. See also: Cushioning.
2.(Verb) See: Pack.
location at which items are assembled and loaded into containers or packages,
usually manually or semi-automatically. The table may be equipped with
wrapping materials, cutting devices, weighing devices and materials for
sealing and labelling.
A sheet or cushion which can be made of
corrugated board, plastic or other cushioning materials used for extra
protection or for separation of layers of items within a package (layer pad)
transfer of ink by means of a pad. The process is similar to that of rubber
stamping; it is used on small areas and also to print parts of irregular shapes
that are otherwise inaccessible.
container of circular cross-section, generally a cylindrical or truncated
cone in shape, fitted with a handle. May be made of metal, reinforced fibre
portable platform of wood, plastic, metal or fibreboard or combinations
thereof, to facilitate handling of goods and packages by forklifts, storage
and transportation of materials as a unit load.
usually polyethylene, bag designed to cover or envelop a pallet load. Bags
may be individually made to size or may be produced from rolls of plastic
tubing on site at the time of loading.
machine which arranges and loads items or packages on to pallets.
of standard size and construction pallets to which member users contribute
pallets and from which they can take pallets up to the limit of their credit
at no charge. The standard EUR pallet used in pallet pools is 80 cm x 120 cm.
assembled side, end, top or bottom of a box or crate. (2) A face or side of a
paper-board container. (3) A section of a label. (4) Generally, any fiat or
smooth section of a container, especially that suited for the application of
a label. (5) (verb) To raise or depress part of a fiat surface to improve the
appearance, stiffen the surface, or alter the capacity. (noun) The section
created by paneling. (6) (verb) To distort a round package by forcing in the
sides to produce one or more small,
collapse of a plastic container occurring during aging or storage, often
caused by migration of the contents and resulting reduced pressure inside the
of standard colours commonly used by package designers and manufacturers.
Communication of specified colours can be made with a code number on a
tear-.away chip taken from the Pantone System book.
general name for a wide variety of fibrebased materials primarily made from
vegetable or wood fibre base, formed from a water suspension by withdrawing
the moisture through a fine wire screen.
A form of
paper, the distinction being that paperboard is heavier in basis weight,
thicker and more rigid than paper.
thickness of a paper stock measured in millimeters.
alignment of cellulose fibres (or other type of fibres) in a sheet of paper;
when specifying dimensions, "grain long" or "grain short"
may be indicated by a line above or below the appropriate dimension of paper.
hydrocarbon wax derivative of crude petroleum. Grades with different melting
points can be produced. Principal uses are as paper coatings or impregnations
for water resistance or to provide slip and gloss to a surface.
vegetable parchment. A high quality material for presentation and gift
packaging, made by passing paper prepared from cotton fibre and/or pure
chemical wood pulps through a bath of sulphuric acid after which the sheet is
thoroughly washed and dried. It is odourless, grease resistant and has very
high wet strength over a long period of time and does not disintegrate in
water or salt solutions, either hot or cold.
cylinder of molten glass or plastic from which a bottle or other form is
blown. A bottle blank.
A wall or
panel which separates sections or units within a container. A set of
paperboard pieces slotted so that they interlock when assembled to form cells
into which articles may be placed for protection during shipment.
tags contain no internal power source. They are externally powered and
typically derive their power from the carrier signal radiated from the
adhesive composition having a characteristic plastic-type consistency, that
is, a high order of yield value. An adhesive prepared by heating a mixture of
starch and water and subsequently cooling the hydrolyzed product. (2) Any
preparation of similar consistency or body, such as tooth paste, etc.
The application of an
adhesive to surfaces to bond materials together as in the fabrication of
The type of bond occurring when two adhered
surfaces may be pulled apart without tearing the adherents. The amount of
force necessary to separate the two sheets determines the strength of the
adhesive bond. Use of qualifying words such as "strong peeling" or
"'weak peeling" helps to describe bonds of this type. Contrasts with a tearing bond, which pulls the adhered
materials apart before the adhesive separates.
flexible lid, generally sealed on top of a tray, and which seal strength is
weak enough so as to allow it to be easily pelable through délamination.
press which a sheet turning device enabling both the front and reverse side
of the substrate to be printed in one pass.
slots in a film or sheet, usually small in size, to facilitate opening of a
package, by tearing along the line of perforations or to allow ventilation.
of a packaging material or container which allows the diffusion of gases or
liquids through them.
numerical representation of the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution.
The number seven represents a neutral state; decrease in pH from seven to
zero indicates an increase in acidity by a factor of 10 for each unit change.
Increase in pH from seven to 14 indicates a similar increase in alkalinity.
plastic materials, hard, dense, extremely stiff, and having very good heat
resistance. Used for closures.
whose properties are changed on exposure to natural light.
unit of measurement in print copy preparation and typesetting; one pica
equals 12 points, and there are approximately 6 picas in 1 inch.
of a printing ink that provides the colour.
which is resistant to pilfering generally with some indication that pilfering
form-fill-seal pouch, used for single or small groups of objects such as
chocolate bars, biscuits, etc.
bottom of the parison that is pinched off when the mould closes.
microscopic sized opening in a web of plastic film, aluminium foil or other
impermeable material. An excessive number of pin holes will reduce the
barrier properties of the material, thereby making it less effective for its
material added to a plastic during manufacture to improve its processing
qualities and/or increase the flexibility of the final product.
printed or embossed on the base of plastic containers, or on any other
plastic pack, consisting of a triangle formed by three arrows, with a number
in the center and distinguishing letters under the triangle. The number codes
are: 1) PET = polyethylene terephthalate, 2) HDPE = high density
polyethylene, 3) PVC = vinyl, 4) LDPE = low density polyethylene,
5) PP = polypropylene, 6) PS = polystyrene, and 7) Other.
Greek “plastikos” meaning “malleable” or “mouldable”. Any of a large group of
synthetic materials of high molecular weight consisting of combinations of
carbon with oxygen, hydrogen or other elements which while solid under normal
conditions can be made to flow into various shapes and sizes, with the
application of heat and pressure. The two basic types of plastics are
thermoplastic and thermoset, the former plasticizing on heating and the
latter becoming rigid.
name for tinplate, black plate, terne plate, aluminum plate or any other
basic rolled metal sheet. (2) (verb) To cover or coat with metal, as to plate
steel sheet with zinc, tin, etc. (3) A flat piece of metal, rubber or other
material, etched, engraved, embossed or otherwise processed with a design to
be used as a transfer medium. The plate may also be curved or cylindrical for
use on a printing press, A printing plate.
type of closure designed to be inserted into the opening of a container. May
be held by friction or by screw threads. (2) A threaded closure part for
metal drums. Usually marketed with a receiving flange which is fastened to
the drum body or head by welding or other method. (3) A bung. (4) The
removable top furnished with certain types of cans.
1.One of the layers in a lamination.
2.One of the walls in a multi-wall paper
3.One of the layers in a spiral wound can.
thin layers of wood (veneer) glued together, usually with the grain of
adjacent sheets being at right angles to each other.
designed to intensify the customer's desire to purchase a product at the
place where it is sold or displayed. Advertising can also contribute to the
point-of-purchase appeal of a packaged product.
that the producer of a product or package (and other potential wastes) should
take financial responsibility for its recovery or disposal after use.
polyallomer is an essentially linear copolymer with repeated sequences of
ethylene and propylene. It combines some of the advantages of both polymers.
Polyallomer is autoclavable, and offers much of the high temperature
performance of polypropylene. It also provides some of the low temperature
strength and flexibility of polyethylene.
See: Nylon film.
is window-clear, extremely strong, and rigid. It is autoclavable, and the
toughest of all thermoplastics. PC is a special type of polyester in which
dihydric phenols are joined through carbonate linkages. These linkages are
subject to chemical reaction with bases and concentrated acids at elevated
temperatures (e.g. during autoclaving), and make PC soluble in various
organic solvents, raising toxicity concerns about its use in food packaging.
For many other applications, the transparency and unusual strength of PC
offset these limitations.
resin formed by the reaction of ethylene glycol with terephthalic acid. The
resin is extruded into films or bottles in which the material is then
oriented to produce the desired properties of strength, temperature
resistance and permeability.
resin of high molecular weight resulting from the polymerization of ethylene
gas. The resin can be converted into film, sheet, bottles and injection
moulded containers. It represents the largest volume of all plastic resins
produced, with approximately 50% used in packaging applications.
resin, of natural origin, essentially startch, and biodegradable, used for
producing rigid transparent pacakging suc as salad tray
complex molecule formed by chemically binding/linking together a number of
identical smaller units (monomers). When different monomers are involved, the
product is called a copolymer
general classification of the family of polymers made from unsaturated
hydrocarbons. The most common are polyethylene
resin derived from the polymerization of propylene. Extremely versatile
material in the packaging industry. The resin is noted for its clarity and
excellent ability to withstand frequent flexing, relatively high melting
point and good strength. PP oriented (OPP) and biaxially oriented (BOPP)
films have excellent properties and wide applications in cigarette wraps and
snack food pouches.
physical blend of polypropylene and high density polyethylene resulting in
characteristics common to both resins, with additional barrier to migration
of essential oils.
resin derived from the polymerization of styrene. The most transparent of
commonly used packaging resins. High permeability of the film permits
products to “breathe”. Used frequently to wrap fresh produce. The resin can
be made to foam by the infusion of pentane gas. Expanded Polystyrene foam
(EPS) is the most commonly used of the plastic foams. For injection moulding,
the resin can be formulated to vary its impact resistance. “Long” “Medium”
“High” impact grades are available, depending upon the application.
Polystyrene is also transformed by extrusion into mono or multi-layer sheets
which are then thermoformed into particularly yoghourt pots
containing a specific sulfone linkage. These thermoplastic materials exhibit
exceptionally high temperature and low creep properties.
plastic material formed by the reaction of polyester chains with isocyanates.
The result is a foam which can be extruded into relatively thin sheets,
moulded into slabs or made to form inside the pack as in situ cushioning at the time of packing.
it may be used as adhesive between to layers.
resin prepared by the polymerization of vinyl acetate. The emulsion of this
polymer in water is widely used as an adhesive in general packaging
resin prepared by the hydrolysis of polyvinyl esters. The film is water
soluble, but provides a good barrier against moisture and gases. The
copolymer of ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) is not water soluble and when dry
is an excellent gas barrier.
copolymers of vinyl chloride with small quantities of vinyl acetate. Widely
used in packaging in the form of film, sheet and bottles. Good chemical
resistance but relatively high oxygen permeability. Its incineration may emit
hydrochloric acid. This is the reason why it has been displaced by PET in
most bottle applications
known by the proprietary name of SaranTM. In the form of films or
coatings has excellent gas barrier properties.
property of material to allow air to pass through. May be expressed as the rate
at which air flows through a given area under specified conditions.
containing a small quantity/portion of product to permit usage without
damaging or destroying the remainder of the package and other units of the
and designing a product and its package to be suitable for, and appeal to,
particular markets and market segments within a competitive situation.
generally small, flat bag normally pre-made either sealed on three sides, or folded
and sealed on two sides, prior to filling.
reclosable device attached to a container to facilitate directional
dispensing of liquid or powder contents.
container finish with an undercut immediately below the top, so designed to
facilitate pouring without dripping. It is used primarily by prescription
drug and other pharmaceutical and chemical companies.
conversion, an injection moulded parison which is subsequently blow molded during
a second operation to form a plastic bottle.
normally of perishable produce, performed at a centralized location rather
than at the point of sale. System commonly used for fresh meat and produce
sold in supermarkets. Can be used to denote any packaging in advance of goods
normally sold loose or packed at the time of sale.
price marking and other codes or labels to a package at the wholesale or
retail level. Modifying the package to get it ready for retail sale.
preparation activities required to launch printing press production, starting
from finished artwork.
produced by a conventional printing process, including colour separation,
stripping, plating, and press operation.
lithographic printing plate that is coated during manufacture and shipped to
the printer in coated form.
for making hollow plastic articles by forcing heat-softened thermoplastic
sheet into a mould cavity, using mechanical or hydraulic (air) pressure.
Generally used to make thin-wall, single-use containers and package inserts.
permanently tacky adhesive which requires only slight pressure at room temperature
to adhere to a surface. Often applies to labels or tapes (self-adhesive
labels, self-adhesive tapes).
label coated with a pre-applied pressure-sensitive adhesive, requiring only
pressure to adhere it to a package or product.
container which is actually in contact with its contents.
coat in a surface finishing process. Main purpose is to promote adhesion of
principal coating materials to the substrate.
to which the properties of a substrate allow good reproduction of a design
(good quality print) by the printing process used.
in the width of a standard printed mark due to sqeezing of the ink. Measured
by means of a printability gauge.
system that can be put into full production immediately on receipt of an
placement of a printed image both with other images on which it is
superimposed and with the area being printed.
for the successive printing, slotting (the cuts between adjacent flaps),
creasing and trimming of corrugated and solid fibreboard blanks. Combined
with a Folder-gluer, the machine is
called a casemaker.
substance used for printing, usually consisting broadly of colouring pigments
dispersed in a liquid medium. Drying methods may be by absorption, oxidation
/polymerization, evaporation, precipitation, or radiation curing.
designs incorporating the complete colour spectrum of shades and tones by
using halftones and blending three ‘process colours’, cyan, magenta and
yellow (also referred to as CMY), and black (referred to as the “key colour”,
specially formulated colour pigments used to print process colour
separations: magenta (red-blue), cyan (blue-green), yellow (red-green) and
black; also called process red, process blue, process yellow, and process
package used to introduce a new product or stimulate sales of an existing
product. May be of special design and may contain a premium gift, or special
offer. Usually produced in limited quantities.
Resistant to movement through, impermeable, as in as greaseproof, waterproof,
moistureproof, gasproof. This term implies complete resistance, or zero
passage; but in packaging, there are no flexible materials, except metal
foils free from pin holes, that afford absolute or complete proofness. However,
some heavy gauge single films and laminated or coated films can come close to
achieving absolute proofness. (2) (verb) To apply special protective
qualities. (3) A test photographic print or trial impression from a printing
process, produced for examination and necessary corrections. (4) verb: to
"pull’, or produce, a proof.
printing plates and other means of print reproduction by production of a
proof, to determine the accuracy and quality of the print in advance of
generating the pressure which serves to discharge the product from an aerosol
or system which is the intellectual property of a particular material
supplier, converter or packer, and so either not commercially available or
only available under license.
simplified mould construction often made from a light metal casting alloy or
from an epoxy resin to provide samples of actual moulded article for
evaluation and testing prior to production mould manufacture.
moulded two piece dispensing closure. Closure is opened by pulling up and
closed by pushing down the spout. Overcaps are optional.
other vegetable fibres obtained by chemical cooking or mechanical treatment
of wood or other cellulosic materials in a water medium. The raw material for
paper, cellophane and other cellulose-based products.
of the ability of a material to resist puncture or penetration.
of the resistance of fibreboard to puncturing. Usually achieved by using a
pyramidal metal point driven into the specimen by the swinging action of a
a jar, bottle, can, bag, or vial with a gas, such as nitrogen, to remove
another undesired gas (usually atmospheric oxygen) prior to filling.
market selected on the basis of potential customer’s lifestyle, personality
A container base with a central
indentation to resist pressure,
improve stability and collect residues, as in the case of champagne or wine