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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.
flat bag containing for example single portions of products, and generally
produced by sticking two rectangular pieces of sheet or film material along
their edges. See also: Pouch.
refers to a heavier duty preformed bag made of paper or other flexible
material, either plastic or textile fibre. The main form of paper sack is the
multi-wall sack. A multi-wall sack is constructed from several plies and made
in tubular form with its ends closed by sewing or pasting. The material of
the inner plies will vary with the demands of the product and can include all
types of plain and coated papers, plastic films and aluminium foil. An
open-mouth sack is delivered with the bottom closed. The mouth is usually
closed by sewing after filling. A valve sack is fitted at one corner with an
extended opening into which a filling nozzle can be inserted for loading the
product. When this extension is pushed back into the sack, it acts as a
self-sealing closure, a one-way valve to contain the product.
device which cannot be opened unless specific directions are followed. Used
on hazardous materials and on drugs, e.g. child-proof closure.
surface is laminated or coated to another material which protects it from
damage or contact with the product. This technique is commonly used when
reverse printing is employed on transparent food packaging.
to a spray or fog of salt solution
in a specially designed cabinet; it provides an accelerated test of product
and pack performance in maritime conditions.
See: Polyvinylidene chloride - PVDC. SaranTM
is a proprietary name for this plastic material.
1.A machine for electronic colour separation
of original multi-colour designs during the preparation of printing plates.
2.An electronic device used to “read” the bar
codes such as the U.P.C. and EAN systems of article identification.
device that is passed over a bar code or similar detectable symbol, to input
product/pack information to an electronic data collection system.
an indentation or a partial cut in a flat material for the purpose of
facilitating bending, folding, creasing or tearing. Scores are made in
paperboard to facilitate bending or creasing. Scores in the form of partial
cuts are applied to paperboard, plastics and metals to permit tearing or
opening (key-opening cans).
but rough test for determining the permanency of printing on plastic films. A
piece of cellophane adhesive tape, or other pressure-sensitive tape, is stuck
to a section of printing and then pulled off in one motion to see whether or
not the ink will come off with it.
cylindrical closure having a thread on the internal surface designed to
engage a compatible external thread on the finish or neck of a container.
printing technology, an image area broken down into printing and non-printing
picture elements (halftone dots or lines) where the size and/or number of
dots per unit area vary according to the tone values of the original. The two
main kinds of screening are amplitude-modulated and frequency-modulated
screening. Today, screening a continuous-tone original to generate a halftone
image is usually accomplished electronically.
process employing screen stencils. Process can be applied to any container
regardless of shape or size. Method once used silk screens, hence the
previous name ‘silk screening’ commonly used for this process. Now, however,
the process uses stencil screens of various materials, especially fine wire
mesh and is used in particular for high quality, heavy ink weight printing on
irregular-shaped glass and plastic containers.
with a very short neck and an outside screw-thread finish.
open mesh fabric used to reinforce packaging material. (2) Combined with
barrier material to form a sheet.
resistance of a print or coating to removal or scratching.
and similar printing processes, defects in the form of inked areas appearing
outside the intended print image. This arise because surface of the image
carrier is accepting ink in the wrong places or, in the case of offset
printing, because the blanket or transfer cylnder has surface defects and is
applying ink where it is not required.
1.(Noun) A tight closure.
2.(Noun) A protective device applied to a
closure or container which cannot be removed without its partial or total
destruction, i.e. a tamper-evident closure (seal).
3.(Verb) To fasten or secure; to close tight.
of cloth, paper, film, etc. coated with an adhesive, used to seal packages
1.(Noun) A joint connecting parts of a metal
or plastic container body.
2.(Verb) To form a seam by abutting,
overlapping, folding, sewing, or otherwise fastening two edges of a material.
seam or joint as applied to a plastic container or to a one-piece metal can
body produced by the drawing process. A two-piece can.
to secure or hold firmly in place a primary closure. Often a shrinkable band
of viscose or PVC.
that collates, groups or wraps one or more primary packs.
surface or label pre-coated with adhesive and protected until adhesion is
required by a non-adhering liner material.
describing a bag closure which can be opened by a simple hand movement.
1.The property of certain adhesives to adhere
to themselves on contact, even after evaporation of solvents, and when they
are dry to the touch.
2.The property of certain plastic films which
permits them to seal either to themselves or to other surfaces.
a store, shop or market where the customer selects merchandise without the
aid of sales staff and brings it to a check-out cashier for payment before
leaving the store.
material for paper making prepared by a combination of both mechanical and
chemical fibres. Used in the production of fluting (corrugated medium).
having a neck with a relatively small opening to receive a rubber plug
stopper and aluminum seal.
on a package indicating that the illustration shows product as it can appear
when served, rather than in its condition inside the pack.
1.The form a material assumes in the
transition from the fluid state to the condition of desired solidity. In
adhesives, the point at which an adhesive has developed sufficient viscosity
and tack to hold the surfaces together.
2.(Verb) To harden, reach a state of being
required for a material to set from the time of its application in a fluid
state. See also: Open time.
paperboard box delivered in a ready-to-use shape, as distinguished from a
folding carton which is delivered flat.
such as lumber, plywood,
fibreboard, fastened to the frame of a crate across all openings, to add
strength to .the crate or to prevent loss of contents, especially small
parts, pilferage of, or entry of dirt, water, etc., into the contents; or
fastened to the walls of a freight car to protect a load.
strain produced by pressure in the structure of a substance when contiguous
layers are caused to shift laterally over each other, e.g. the action of
ability of a material to withstand shear stresses.
rectangular piece of material (metal, plastic, paper, etc.).
the process of feeding a printing press or printer-slotter with individual
sheets of material rather than with continuous webs of material.
conversion of rolls of paper into sheet form with the use of sheeting
equipment (called sheeters).
length of time that the product, usually packed, will remain saleable under
defined conditions of storage.
A line of
containers (used by drug and chemical customers) that was designed to give
the packer specific advantages in terms of label space, maximum size,
appearance and easy pouring.
A line of
stock oblong bottles, described in
drug and chemical stock catalogues.
cylindrical seamless part drawn from flat sheet metal. (2) A plain, unprinted
carton designed to be overwrapped with paper. (3) Any rectangular tube open
at both ends for a set-up paper box. (4) A collapsible tube designed for one
single application of contents. Has no neck, orifice or cap, but has a
shoulder which forms the closed end of the container. Designed to be opened
by puncturing, tearing, breaking off a small tip, etc. Shells are also called
"'one shot" or single dose or blind neck tubes. (5) The body sidewall of a drum. (6) The outer
section of a fibre drum sidewall. (7) A sheet of corrugated or solid
fibreboard scored and folded to form a joined or unjoined tube open at both
ends. Used as inner packing. (8) The flat topped, threaded part of the screw
cap which pulls the liner downto seal
the finish of the container.
cylindrical container, usually made of glass, characterized by having
straight sides, being neckless, and having a flat bottom. Made by sealing one
end of a glass tube of appropriate diameter and length.
leaching through a plastic container.
A box for
transporting goods. See also: Transport
container which is sufficiently strong, by reason of material, design and construction,
to be shipped safely without further packaging either as a primary pack or as
an outer container for consumer packages (interior containers). Examples:
wooden boxes or crates; fibre, plywood and metal drums; corrugated and solid
fibre boxes; multiwall paper shipping sacks; textile shipping bags, etc.
application of sudden forces to a filled container to determine its
performance under conditions simulating those that may be encountered during
shipment. See also: Vibration test.
for a print sheet that has been cut from the web in such a way that the grain
of the paper runs along the short side of the sheet (travel direction of the
during papermaking). This holds true for other mater such as plate material
for printing plates (see also long grain).
of a container joining the body and the neck as on a glass bottle, tube, etc.
arising from the appearance of print from the reverse side of the material ,
due to translucency or thinnessof the
waste paper cut into narrow strips, used as cushioning material.
sleeve which when heated, or a viscose sleeve which when dried, will clamp
tightly around container surfaces, generally the neck and closure of a
bottle, to provide a seal.
which has been oriented in one or two directions and after being wrapped
around a product or package, shrinks to its original dimensions when heated
and forms a tight contoured fit.
blower to effect the shrinkage of plastic film, wrapped, for example, around
a unit load.
sleeve, usually PVC, which is printed in a distorted design and is shrunk
around the body of a container by heat. The design becomes legible when
distorted by shrinking.
tube open at both ends or at least at one, usually made of PVC, which is
shrunk around the neck / closure of a closed container by heat, in order to
appear as visual control for tamper evidence.
for subjecting packages wrapped in shrink film to the heat required to induce
film shrinkage. Varies from table-top size to one large enough for a loaded
method in which the residualstrains in a plastic film are released by
raising its temperature, thus causing it to shrink around the object or
package being wrapped. The collating of 6 bottles into a single pack is often
achieved with shrink wrapping with a shrinkage printed or non printed film.
protective cover of waterproof barrier material used to shed water from top
and sides of the article allowing free circulation of air. (2) A rigid
housing surrounding a container in a vacuum-filling machine, to equalize
vacuum pressure inside and outside the container
and thus prevent its collapse during filling. (3) Shrink Shroud, a shrinkable
coversheet able to secure a pallet load.
technique for producing plastic bags by folding a sheet of film and cutting
and sealing the sides by heat or impulse sealing.
1.A seam joining the two edges of a blank to
form a container or can body. In a three-piece can, made by soldering,
welding, glueing, or bonding. Main types of construction are lock seam, lap
seam, Mennen seam.
2.A seam formed on one side of a paper or
plastic bag rather than at its centre.
or metal component of a package designed to allow shaking out of dry
products, as with a table salt shaker. Snaps over bead, with metal or plastic
cap applied over the fitment.
preventing leakage or sifting of finely divided contents.
A form of
colloidal silica resembling sand. Used as a desiccant to absorb moisture
called simply screen printing. Mostly used for printing irregularly shaped
packages, such as glass or plastic bottles. Applies a thick coating of ink
through a stencilled mesh screen.
containing a measured amount of product sufficient for use by one person, e.g.
a condiment, a jam or jelly. In hospital use, an individually packaged dose
See: Non-returnable container.
in the form of surface depressions in moulded containers or components, often
behind thread forms,that arise from
diferent shrinkage of thick and thin sections as the article cools.
prepared from the leaves of agave, often used in the manufacture of cordage
and twine. Can also be woven into bags, but the material is stiffer and more
abrasive than jute fibre.
alum, starch or similar materials added to pulp or applied to the surface of
paper and paperboard to add desired characteristics, such as water
repellency, better printability, grease resistance, etc.
stock that has been sized with sizing insulatingand then highly calendared to produce a
paper that has excellent surface requirements for printing.
size of a product or package, possibly deceptive because increased by
excessive pack height, wall thickness, internal voids, etc.
A pair or
a series of parallel wood runners attached to the underside of boxes or
crates to permit movement and entry of truck forks.
packaging process in which a product is covered by a closely fitting usually
transparent film. The product is placed on a porous rigid paperboard sheet;
often printed, heated film is draped over it and vacuum is applied to draw
the film tightly over the article. See also: Blister packaging.
vertical part of a closure below its shoulder.
tubular form made of various materials, usually open at both ends, made in
various shapes, which is slipped over or in an item. (2) A tubular carton
with open ends.
decorated, plastic label in a tubular form that fits over and is shrunk on to
rigid glass, metal and plastic containers.
of the tackiness or slipperiness of packaging materials. Slip is a key
property for flexible packaging materials when it comes to their
metal closure with indentations on its sides to make a friction fit on a vial
with a slip-cap finish. (2) A closure made of soft material such as
polyethylene or rubber, without threads, to be pushed over the tip or neck of
a container and held in place by friction.
wood used per pairs or more, positioned under the bottom of a case in order
to facilitate its movement or at the end of the forks of a forklift.
corrugated or solid fibreboard sheet which fits under a unit load with an
extension on one or more sides which can be grasped for pulling the load onto
or off a pallet, etc.
To cut a
master roll or sheet of flexible material into smaller widths. This operation
is done on a machine called a slitter. Usually carried out as a continuous
high-speed operation in which one roll of material is converted into several
paperboard sheet, a cut of any length and with a normal width of about 3 mm,
usually the space between the flaps of a box.
solid strip of lead on which characters are cast in relief for letterpress
printing, (2) A cylindrical piece of lead or aluminium alloy from which
tubular containers can be impact extruded.
coating of a mould with a liquid plastic which when heated cures to form the
object being molded.
A particular style of a folding carton
base consisting of four flaps, each cut away and hinged so that they
interlock when the carton is erected.
prevalent hinged closure, it features an orifice that is sanitary and self
cleaning to prevent clogging. It is available in a wide range of sizes. The
closure can also be designed with an off-centre spout to direct product flow.
at which plastic material will begin to deform with no externally applied
for sealing the side seam and other joints of metal cans using a tin-lead
alloy. Soldered seams are usually folded or hooked (lock seam), and must be
lacquered to prevent corrosion and migration of metals into the product.
made from multiple glued layers of flat paper and fibreboard material,
solids content of an adhesive is the weight of material expressed as a
percentage of the total after all solvent has evaporated (by heat).
into which a solid substance can be dissolved. In package converting, the
component of an adhesive or coating solution which is evaporated from the web
surface as the coated material dries.
A method of adhering packaging materials that
depends on the use of volatile organic liquids in small amounts to soften the
surface of the materials so that they adhere when the solvent evaporates. The solvent has no adhesive properties;
adhesion depends solely on the adhesive properties of the melted materials themselves
of the weight of a body to the weight of an equal volume of water at the
same, specified temperature.
measurement device used to determine colour values, such as chromatic value,
(h*: hue) brightness (L*), and saturation (C*: chroma), with which colour can
be clearly classified quantitatively in accordance with the colour perception
of the human eye (in contrast to densitometers, which can only determine ink
film thickness via the optical density).
two objects, typically packaging components, by forcing them together while
one of the pair is spinning, until frictional heat melts the interface.
Spinning is then stopped and pressure applied until the surfaces cool and
for producing a cylindrical tube by winding several webs of paper and
paperboard, foil, film, etc., around a stationary mandrel in a spiral
1.(Noun) A joint accomplished by splicing.
2.(Verb) To join the ends of reels or sheets
of web materials such as foil, film, paper, etc. so that they can be handled
continuously. The joint may be accomplished by mechanical or electrical means
or using adhesives.
and packaging spoiled in the process of manufacture; waste caused by
mistakes; errors in judgment, or faulty processing; deterioration of food by
colours used in addition to or instead of process colours (C, M, Y, K) to
enable the printing of special hues without using the primary colours. Often
also the only chromatic ink used in black-and-white printing.
on a container to facilitate pouring of liquid or powder contents.
See: Aerosol. See: Atomizer.
primary feed channel that runs from the outer face of an injection or
transfer mould to the mold gate in a single cavity mould or to the runners in
a multiple cavity mould. (2) Plastic material left in the sprue section of
the mould, usually separated from the moulded item, reground and reused.
usually made from a flexible plastic such as polyethylene, from which liquid
contents can be dispensed through a small aperture by squeezing the walls.
substance added to a plastic resin to enhance its resistance to chemical and
physical change brought about by heat, pressure, light, etc.
1.(Noun) A pile of containers or materials
assembled in a regular vertical pattern.
2.(Verb) To pile containers or materials on
top of one another.
designed to nest with a recess in the base of a container, to facilitate the
stacking of filled containers on top of each other.
ability of a container to sustain a static top load. In corrugated boxes, the
stacking strength is affected not only by the weight of the load, but also by
elapsed time, and humidity.
process of stamping an image with metal leaf upon prepared paper, plastic or
other packaging material using hot metal type or dies.
or laminate pouch with a gusset spacing the side walls apart at the base so
that it is able to stand.
U-shaped, round or
flat, wire fastener used
to secure package components together or in place. One of the three principal
types of closures for setting up and sealing of corrugated boxes.
or device for applying staples.
charges of electricity which may develop during handling and machine
operations, particularly on plastics. Can lead to undesirable attraction of
dust and may cause sparking and affect print quality. For this reason
discharging devices are normally used. See also: Static eliminator.
attached to a machine at one or more points to discharge the static
electricity from the material being processed.
fixed force exerted upon a stationary object. See also: Stacking strength.
of the shaped vertical units of wooden container which, when placed edge to edge and bound with hoops
around a circular bottom (sometimes top and bottom), forms a barrel or other
similar container. (2) One of the thin wood or veneer slats forming the body,
sides, or cover of a basket or hamper.
of stiff material with marks or designs cut out in it through which inks or
other liquids can be applied to a surface. Used in conjunction with marking
inks for applying a product number or shipping information to packages.
ability of a material or package to withstand contact with steam at
approximately 5 kg/m3 for 30 minutes or contact with dry air at
200 ºC for 15 minutes, and is therefore suitable for use with sterilized
to bending. The degree of stiffness may be measured by several instruments,
the most common being a Taber stiffness tester.
decoration consisting of a system of small, cIosely-spaced raised dots on the
outer surface of glass containers. (2) In engraving, a printing surface
consisting of dots, instead of lines; halftone patterns on a printing plate
are stipple engravings.
1.(Noun) The thread or wire joining materials
by means of the stitching process.
2.(Verb) To unite materials or surfaces by
means of an interconnecting thread or wire.
printing achieved by means of randomly spaced, varied-density dots of fixed
closure, usually cylindrical, made of glass, wood or cork or plastics, which
can be removed and reinserted into the aperture of a container.
flexible strip of material used for closing or reinforcing transport packages
or for securing unit loads. Either non-metallic (nylon, polypropylene,
polyester) or metallic straps can be used; both types are usually joined with
metal clips but heat welding can also be used.
equipment for tensioning and sealing various kinds of straps.
made from straw pulp. Used in many parts of the world where wood pulp is not
readily available, though its performance is generally inferior from most
External or internal
cracks in a plastic material caused by stress but often accelerated by
environmental influences and by the nature of products in contact with the
film, generally polyethylene or PVC which is extensible under load and tries
to return to its original dimensions when the load is removed thus providing
a tensioned wrap around a package or object.
A plastic sheet-forming technique;
the heated thermoplastic sheet is stretched over a mould and subsequently
cooled to produce a tray or dish.
The use of stretch
film to produce a tightly wrapped package which conforms to the shapes being
wrapped. A common method for securing unit loads on pallets without the use
In plastic bottle
manufacturing, a longitudinal line in the parison or bottle due to a
disturbance in the melt path. Such a visual defect may also lead to
Discoloration or defect
of appearance of the reverse of a glued or printed sheet caused by migration
of solvents or pigments, or by excessive porosity of the sheet.
A method of closing a paper bag
or envelope pack with a string and attaching it to a fibre button fastened
to the pack. Usedfor hotel laundry bags, for example.
A wooden member to
which the face or faces of a pallet are fastened and placed at right angles
to the members making up the pallet face.
The property of an
adhesive to draw filaments or threads when adhesive-transfer surfaces are
separated, causing webs of unwanted adhesive to form outside the glued area.
method of packaging in which small articles, such as capsules or tablets, are
packaged individually or in multiples, in a continuous strip made from two
webs of material using foam-fill-seal techniques. The strip pack is usually
perforated to permit easy tearing or cutting. At least one of the materials
is generally transparent and the webs carry a heat sealable coating.(Pharmaceutical packages).
Plastics made by the
polymerization of styrene or copolymerisation of styrene with other
unsaturated compounds. Converted to film, sheet, foam and molded
trays, cups, bottles and closures.
The base web, of
paper, film or foil, onto which a secondary material is applied. The term is
frequently used when discussing printing, coating or laminating onto
Chemical wood pulp
made by the sulphate process, or paper or paperboard made from such pulp. It
is brown in color and is the strongest pulp product made from wood.
Stack of alternate
metal and soft rubber rolls between which a paper undergoing processing is
passed. Used to increase smoothness and gloss of paper and to control caliper.
A tuck-in carton
flap having slits which engage a shaped edge of the inside dust flap, thus
effectively locking the carton.
Packaging that can
be used, or recovered and recyled indefinitely and is not dependent on the
availability of finite and non-reproducible resources.
pressed out in metal drum bodies for strengthening and to facilitate rolling.
A bulged end of a
closed metal can, arising from pressure of hydrogen gas generated by reaction
of metal with the contents.
Anything produced by
other than natural means to resemble a natural product or to reproduce its
properties e.g. synthetic fibres such as nylon, polyester, etc.