As per the surveys conducted in packaging industry, the cardboard products make up for more than 30% of the packaging industry as Corrugated cartons are low cost, durable, and eco-friendly. However, not all boxes are made equal. They may vary a lot in terms of compressive strength, thickness, grammage and other factors.

The INNOVATION and R & D TEAM at PARAMOUNT, has uncovered the 7 most important  Parameters of QUALITY in Paper, Cardboard & Packaging Industry.  After talking to hundreds of Industry Owners, Lab Technicians, Quality Control Experts, it has been established, that if you are operating in this industry and you are not much aware of these 7 Quality Parameters, you are actually doing business in a risky and uncertain environment, and you may be duped any time, if you are not aware of these important Quality norms.

7 Vital Tests to be conducted to check the 7 most important Parameters of Quality in this industry are :

  1. Box Compression Test.
  2. Bursting Strength Test.
  3. Edge Crush Test
  4. Moisture Test
  5. Grammage Test
  6. Cobb Sizing Test
  7. Paper Thickness Test

Lets go thru each one of them in brief details :

  • BOX COMPRESSION TEST   :  Box Compression Test also known as the Stacking Test or the container compression test is a way to determine, how much load the lower box can take on top of it,  before it gets deformed.  It gives a good  idea as to how many boxes can be stacked together without damaging the content of the lower most  box.  The Compression strength Tester can be used to evaluate other material beside Cardboard like Drums, Pails, Bottles, tubs and other containers. 

The Sample being tested is compressed between two parallel platens to reveal any bulging, distortion or damaged shape or the damage to the items inside.  Its an Important Test for checking the Quality of the Cardboard Box.

Generally Cardboard with multiple layers of fluting will be stronger than those without it, but the Box compression test gives real data on whether one package will be more resistant to pressure from above or not,  when stacked above one another.

This is one of the main reasons why Compression Strength Test must be carried out on the Boxes.

Now a days the Box Compression Testers are available with IOT Technology, hence if any problem occurs during the testing operations, it can be easily be rectified by the Service Engineer on the other side,  thru remote technical support :  thru wifi & cloud connectivity.

Test Standards for this Test  :  ASTM D642, ISO 12048, TAPPI T804, JIS Z0212, IS 7028.

  • BURSTING STRENGTH TEST :  The Bursting Strength Test determines the toughness of the walls of the corrugated box, when subjected to force or pressure. Bursting Strength is the measure of force required to puncture through a corrugated board. In this test, a rubber diaphragm is used to apply pressure to the walls of the corrugated box until it bursts.

The burst strength test is a very common and important test,  as it provides a more general assessment of a cartons strength. The cardboard boxes carrying your shipment  can be subject to rough handling during the transit. The bursting strength is measured in Kilograms per square centimetre / newtons / kilo pascal etc.     

Test Standards for this Test  :  ASTM D 3786, IS 1060 Part 1,  TAPPI 403

  • EDGE CRUSH  TEST : One of the recently popular methods to test the stacking strength of corrugated boxes is the Edge Crush Test or ECT.

The ECT was developed in the 1990s as shipping on pallets and stacking of cartons became more popular in international supply chains during that time.

Stacking of shipping cartons is common in factories and warehouses for the storage and shipping of orders. Sometimes a factory might improperly stack too many boxes on top of each other to conserve space. Improper stacking can stress shipping cartons and cause them to collapse.

Each side of a corrugated box is made up of sheets that have three or more layers. Generally, a thin sheet with grooves and ridges is sandwiched between two flat sheets. These grooves and ridges, also known as flutes, provide anisotropic strength to a box. This means the boxes can bear a greater amount of force from one direction. Edge crush test and flat crush test helps determine this parameter. 

ECT Test gives an accurate idea of a box’s strength when they are stacked and shipped by Pallets.

Test Standards for this Test  :  ISO 7063,  TAPPI T 811, FEFCO TM 8,

In the Edge Crush test, force is applied to one side of the box, perpendicular to the ridges, until the box gets crushed. In the Ring Crush test, a ring cut out from the box is used to test the same. While in the flat crush test, excessive force is applied on one side. 

Edge Crush Test has become a reliable test to determine the strength of the shipping carton while  they are stacked on pallets during the shipment.

  • MOISTURE TEST  :  Determination of the Moisture content in the corrugated or packing boxes is of prime importance to the box manufacturers as higher moisture content can make boxes softer which  may lead to collapsing of the box and lower moisture may make them stiff and prone to breaking easily. 

The correct amount of Moisture ensures that the packing boxes have good bending and impact resistance property along with sufficient cushioning and shock absorption element in them.

In general,  it is observed that at moisture content level at 7% – 8% the  paper, corrugated sheet board and boxes exhibit optimum combined properties, hence moisture content of 7% – 8% may be the ideal value for corrugated sheet paper used in corrugated packaging industry. There are different ways of finding the Moisture content in a Box, like oven dry method or Digital Moisture Meter.  A reliable Digital Moisture Meter is a quick, easy and convenient way of finding the moisture meter in a Card Board Box.

  • GRAMMAGE TEST :  The Grammage of paper / Cardboard / tissue is determined by weighing  a 100 Square Cms. after conditioning it in a standard 23ºC with 50% RH  environment for a minimum period of 24 hours.

Most papers are brought and sold in accordance with its Mass per Unit Area, which is popularly known as GSM in paper industry. The  Term GSM Stands for Grams per Square Meter.    The grammage of paper determines the firmness of your paper and has an impact on how your product is experienced when touching it. A Round Cutter  cuts the Paper or Board and the cut samples is weighed on a Digital Weighing  Scale and the result comes directly in GSM.

  • COBB SIZING TEST :   The raw material that is used in the manufacture of corrugated fibre boards has a tendency to absorb water and retain it. The Cobb Sizing tester is used to determine the degree to which the water is absorbed. In short, it checks the Water resistant ability of the Box.  

In this test, corrugated fibre board is first subjected to water. Then, the water is squeezed out of the sample using Roller. Usually, depending on the quality, all of the water is not removed in spite of the board being pressed by a heavy steel roller. The difference in weight because of the retained water is known as the Cobb value.

The lower the Cobb value the better the water resistance. The Cobb test is required for certain certifications, especially those involving hazardous material packaging.

Test Standards for this Test  :  ISO 1060, TAPPI 441, FEFCO TM 7

  • PAPER THICKNESS TEST :  Paper thickness attains high importance as uniform thickness of the sheet helps in running the paper smoothly on the machines.  

Thickness along with Grammage along are the two most fundamental properties of the corrugated fiber boards that determine the quality of the box. When more padding is required, a box with a higher thickness is used. The flutes of the corrugated board are larger and pack more air in them. Thin boards with dense flutes have a high grammage. Such boxes are needed when the packaging should be more compact and rigid.

Thickness can be measured accurately thru a Digital Thickness Caliper 0-12 mm capacity having 0.001 mm accuracy. 

Understanding the above 7 Parameters are of utmost importance to anyone dealing with Paper, Cardboard and Packaging Industry.

To fulfil the fundamental demand of this industry, this article has been penned down by Manji Singh Saini.  He is the CEO & Executive director of PARAMOUNT GROUP.  For any more information, please write to manjitvision9@gmail.com or visit our website www.paramountintruments.com      Thanks !!

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