The corrugated box is the most common form of packaging. They are used for shipping, storing, transporting and packaging just about everything. A corrugated box is strong, durable and cost effective. There are a few common styles and materials used in the manufacture of corrugated boxes. Knowledge of these will cover most simple packaging applications.
There are three common styles of corrugated boxes, the RSC, HSC and FOL.
The most common style of corrugated box is an RSC. It stands for regular slotted container. This style of box has outer flaps on the top and bottom that meet in the middle when folded. This style of box is often used for shipping items. The USPS uses this style for their Priority Mail corrugated boxes.
A similar style is called an HSC, which stands for half slotted container. An HSC has an RSC style bottom with the outer flaps meeting in the center, but has no flaps on the top. This style of corrugated container is similar to a tote and they often have a separate piece used as a lid.
An offshoot of the RSC is the FOL. An FOL is a full over lap container. This style of corrugated box has outer flaps that completely overlap each other on both the bottom and top. This gives the box a very strong bottom and top to reduce puncture and insure safe delivery of the product.
There are three common materials used to make corrugated boxes, B-flute, C-flute and BC-flute.
The most common board is called C-flute. You can tell if you have a C-flute corrugated box by measuring in between the glue lines inside of the box. If they measure exactly 5/16" apart then it is a C-flute corrugated box. This material is approximately 3/16" thick.
A slightly thinner corrugated board is B-flute. It measures approximately 1/8" thick and the glue lines on the inside will be 1/4" apart.
A stronger board is BC-flute. This corrugated board combines one layer of C-flute and one layer of B-flute into one piece of board. It is often referred to as double wall corrugated.
In terms of strength, B-flute is the weakest, C-flute is in the middle and BC-flute is the strongest.
Armed with the knowledge of the three most common styles of corrugated box and the three most common materials you will be ready to make an informed packaging decision to best protect and/or ship your product.