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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.
A small projecting
area on a package to assist in the removal of a lid or in the separation of
In adhesives, an
indication of stickiness. The degree of tackiness is estimated as the
resistance provided by an ink or adhesive trapped between two surfaces, to
the separation of those surfaces.
A form of liner
usually of glassine that is applied over and bonded to a waxed under-liner.
When cap is removed from glass, the tacseal liner adheres to the glass lip as
a security-type liner.
transmitter/receiver pair or transceiver plus the information storage
mechanism attached to an object/its package is referred to as the tag, but
also as the transponder, electronic label, code plate and various other
terms. Although 'transponder' is technically the most accurate term, 'tag' is
more commonly used and is preferred by the automatic identification equipment
A sealed closing
device for a package that cannot be opened without showing evidence of
opening and so is resistant to tampering. May take the form of a tape,
overwrap, detachable ring, sealed diaphragm, etc. Incorrectly called
“tamper-proof” as such seals cannot guarantee the avoidance of tampering.
A term loosely and
incorrectly used for tamper-resistant or tamper-evident features of a
A machine, either
manually or electrically operated, which delivers lengths of moistened or
otherwise activated sealing tape.
The weight of an
empty container or package. The weight of the contents is described as the
net weight, and the combined weight of both container and contents is the
The force required
to tear apart a material specimen under defined, standard conditions. See also: Elmendorf test (tear
A thin strong tape
or narrow ribbon of film or cord incorporated into the package which, when
pulled, enables a package to be opened without the use of a knife or other
A box composed of
two similarly shaped tray sections, one forming the base and the other, the
lid. The lid is slightly larger so that it either fully or partially overlaps
the sides of the base.
The maximum tensile
stress which can be borne by a specimen of a material before rupture under
prescribed conditions. Usually expressed as force per unit width of the
1. The stress caused by a force operating to
extend, stretch or pull apart an object.
2. The tightness of a material web as it
passes through a converting machine.
In plastic films or
strapping, the loss of tension on a rigid load is called tension decay. This
stress relaxation under constant strain is due to gradual elastic deformation
of the material.
All forms of
distribution packaging, containing primary and secondary packaging.
1. (Noun) A method of measuring or evaluating
various properties of a material or a package.
2. (Verb) To investigate the performance or
quality of a product or material by defined methods.
The trial transport
of filled packages under closely monitored conditions to determine their
A paperboard package
with four faces in a tetrahedron shape. It is normally formed, filled and
sealed on a special-purpose machine from a single roll of material.
The enlargement of a
material or product under the influence of heat.
Crazing and cracking
of some thermoplastic resins which result from over-exposure to elevated
A forming process
for thermoplastic sheets in which the material is heated to its softening point
and then made to conform to the shape of a mould by means of pressure, vacuum
Plastics which can
be repeatedly softened when exposed to heat and which harden again when
cooled. See also: Plastics.
Plastics which set
into permanent shape when processed under heat and pressure and do not soften
upon reapplication of heat. See also: Plastics.
1. The spiral, raised form around the neck or
aperture of a rigid package, or the finish of a bottle or jar to guide and
secure the closure, whose inner surface has a complementary form which
interlocks with that on the container as the closure is turned.
2. A thin usually textile cord generally used
to sew materials together.
The commonest type
of metal can, made of three main components; a side-seamed body and two
separate ends. Usually delivered to the canner with one end already double
seamed to the body.
cut-out at the top of paper bags to facilitate opening. In paperboard cartons,
a semi-circular perforated area usually at the top of a side wall, which can
be punched out by the thumb to allow opening of the package.
(1) (Noun) A metal with high corrosion
resistance, traditionally used as a protective layer on steels.
(2) Popular term for a metal can.
(3) (Verb) To apply tin to a surface.
A raw material for
metal cans. Cold-reduced steel sheet made corrosion resistant by a very thin
coating of chromium phosphate, chromium /chromium oxide or aluminium.
A raw material for
metal cans. Cold-reduced low carbon sheet, protected by coating on both sides
with a very thin layer of tin.
Generic term for any
type of lightweight paper, usually less than 30 g/m2.
Chart of tonal
variations used to measure degrees of lightness/darkness in a printed image.
Measure of the
optical impression of a screened area, stated as a percentage, where the
unprinted surface represents a tone value of 0 % and the solid tone surface a
value of 100%. The tone value represents the ratio (in percent) of the
halftone dots area to the entire area.
The weight bearing
on the top of a container. The term is sometimes used to indicate the maximum
load the container will bear without becoming distorted.
is the rotational force with which a threaded closure is applied to a
container finish during capping. It should be sufficient to ensures seal
integrity and tightness between bottle and closure. Similarly, removal torque
is the force required to loosen the closure and stripping torque is the force
required to override the closure on the container screw threads, thus
destroying the seal.
A meter used for measuring
torque required to remove lug caps, screw caps, or twist-off crowns. Can also
be used to apply caps to a predetermined
suitable level of tightness and to determine the torque that would cause the
cap to override and fail.
(in the distribution
sense) The ability to trace the history, application, or location of an item
during its distribution by means of continuously recorded identification and location
(in the calibration sense) The ability to trace and check the calibration
of measuring equipment to a recognized primary standard, or to basic physicaI
constants or properties, usualIy through calibrations to intermediate
A name or term which
is copyrighted and identifies the products of a particular company or
organization and appears on its products and packaging.
A projecting bead on
the outer surface of some glass and plastic containers, usually just below
the finish, to provide a grip for the jaws of handling devices during.
of light but diffusing it so that objects cannot be seen clearly through the
Transmitting rays of
light without detectable interruption, so that objects can be clearly seen
through the material or object concerned.
An outer package
used for transporting, shipping and warehousing goods. It may need to be
fastened or secured on a pallet or in a container but requires no additional
protection. See also: Shipper.
A printed area that is surrounded by an area
of a different print colour; normally designed to to achieve a slight overlap
or undercutting of the two areas, the trapping allowance.
of printed areas so that slight variations of print register should not give
rise to ‘white space’ - unprinted areas - between the print.
Usually a shallow
open-topped container made of wood, paper board, metal or plastic. As a
returnable package, it often used to deliver, for example, baked goods. As a
one-way item, the tray is packed inside a carton or serves as a component of
packages overwrapped in transparent film. Items packed
in trays include meat and dairy products.
Paper or cloth used to strengthen or form decorative covering for the edges
of base, lid or extension edges on set-up paper or paperboard boxes.
(2) (verb) To apply trim. (3) (verb) To cut away excess or
imperfect material, such as uneven edges, sheet not removed in blanking
operations, etc. (4) (noun) The excess material cut
away by trimming operations.
The removal of edges
or segments of paper stock to bring the final print product to the desired
Similar to Duplex
board except that outer layers on both sides are of bleached chemical pulp.
Used to make folding cartons for cigarettes, cosmetics and other high value
products; also used for frozen foods. See also: Duplex board.
name of a proprietary form of corrugated paperboard consisting of three
fluted layers and four liners. See also: Corrugated board.
A rigid container of
metal, paperboard or plastic, usually fitted with a lid, and mainly used for
packaging viscous products, i.e. butter, margarine, cheese, etc.
A hollow cylinder.
Can be extruded from metal, glass or plastic, or spiral wound from paper or
paperboard (Core). Metal and
plastic tubes can have flexible walls and one end may be flattened and sealed
by crimping or heat sealing. May be fitted with ends or closures; the ends
may be clamped, crimped or heat sealed in place. A shoulder with threaded
neck for accepting a screw cap may be fitted in one end.
film formed by extruding thermoplastics, particularly polyéthylene, through a
circular die and applying compressed air inside the resulting tube to expand
it to the desired dimensions.
Plastic film formed
by extruding thermoplastics through a circular die and applying compressed
air inside the resulting tube to expand it to the desired dimensions. Is
formed as an endless tube so must be slit into two webs or cut into lengths.
Containers made from
preformed hollow glass tubes. The tubes are cut to the required length, and
can be formed to the desired shape by means of heat and pressure, without use
of a mould.
The end portions of
the top and bottom flaps of a folding carton which are inserted within the
container to hold the flaps in place. Tucks can be
either reverse or straight.
A container made
like a drinking glass, with straight sides or sides flaring slightly outward
toward the opening.. Usually made
of glass but also from moulded plastic; used for packing viscous products
such as mustard, and for after-sale re-use.
Thread made from two
or more smaller threads twisted together and often used in sewing seams or
Also called Lug cap. A robust closure system,
generally of tinplate; operates on the principle of lugs engaging with a
threaded finish on the container. Used only with rigid containers such as
glass bottles and jars. Usually provided with a liner to
ensure satisfactory sealing.
A plastic- or
paper-covered wire which acts as a closure when wound around the end of a
plastic bag and its ends twisted together.
A film wrapper
closed by twisting one or both ends e.g. for sweets and candy.
Made of either steel
or aluminium. Has a body and base made by pressing from one piece of metal,
with no side seams. There are two principal types, “drawn and wall ironed” (D
& I), and “drawn and redrawn” (DRD).
A pallet which can
only be entered by truck forks from two of its four sides.
produced with some kind of composition equipment.