by Rob Kaszubowski, CPP
Corrugated or cardboard? What’s the difference, you ask? Well, to most people, these two terms mean the exact same thing. But, in packaging engineering, they are distinctly different. (In fact, most packaging engineers or designers cringe when they hear the word cardboard used in the wrong context!)
Many people use the word "cardboard" to refer to any type of paper packaging substrate. The truth is, most of the time, they should be using "corrugated."
Corrugated material is easy to identify. It is made up of three layers of paper: an inside liner, an outside liner, and fluting which runs in between. The material gets its name from the corrugated medium which helps provide it's strength. The most typical applications of corrugated are in shipping boxes secondary or tertiary packaging, retail displays, pizza delivery boxes and even some retail packaging.
Examples of Corrugated Boards
The term cardboard typically refers to a thick paper stock known as paperboard or folding carton material. Typical applications are cereal boxes and other smaller consumer goods packages.
Examples of Cardboard or Paperboard Packaging
So, the next time you want to impress some of your packaging engineer buddies, be sure to tell them how you were impressed with the corrugated candy bar display you saw at a store, or how you recycled the corrugated shipper box you received from Amazon.com.