Today manufacturers within the packaging industry offer many materials and options to consumers and business owners making it extremely flexible to get the desired packaging results you want. However, with so many options made available to you, how do you know which material to use?

Paperboard is one of the most common types of material being used in every industry and can be very flexible as it can come in a variety of paper grades. When considering your potential packaging options, looking through paper grade options is the best place to start, as each grade has its different purpose.

Cardboard isn’t just “cardboard”.

You may already notice that a standard cereal box may be different than your cosmetic product box. The differences are quite distinctive from the feel to the finishing and appearance of both boxes.

How do you explain this?

For starters, what makes these two boxes different is the type of paperboard that was used to produce them.

Paperboard is a type of material that is popular among product packaging for its versatility, flexibility, and durability. What makes the different types of paperboard material unique from one another? Well, let’s dig a little deeper!

Types of Paper Grade for Packaging Products

Understanding the different types of paper grade helps you develop your packaging more effectively and understand why printing quality differentiates between the substrates.

CCNB (Clay Coated News Backboard)

Made from a blend of recycled newsprint, mixed secondary paper, and old corrugated containers.

Note: Commonly used for low-cost folding carton packaging due to its lower strength and printing quality output.

Cartons made from CCNB/CRB can be used for dry food, pet food, laundry detergent, etc. The main disadvantage of these boxes is that they absorb large amounts of water when in contact with the material.

Although it is the most cost-effective out of the bunch, this grade is typically the least favorite due to its high moisture, low weight resistance, and lower printing quality output. However, it still does the job as a cost-effective option.

FBB (Folding Box Board)

Folding box board is a chemically and mechanically manufactured multi-ply pulp material making it strong and durable. This material is ideal for printing because of a bleached chemical layer for smooth and high-quality prints.

Unlike SBS which is entirely made out of the chemical pulp, folding box board mechanical pulp composition provides a stiffer composition. They both, however, are produced from virgin fibers and suitable for all types of product packaging.

These boxes are excellent for packaging foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. FBB is India’s primary packaging substrate used by businesses.

SBS (Solid Bleached Sulfate) Board

This type of board is considered to be the finest quality for product packaging. The process involves chemically pulping the fibers and then bleaching it. The bleached pulp is refined and formed into boxes.

SBS is the highest grade and most popular grade for box packaging in North America. According to Statista, 71% of the world’s supply of SBS comes from North America and used for packaging retail products. 

The superior quality boxes made from this material consist of white surfaces both inside and outside of the box making it superior for printing. SBS can be both coated on only one side (C1S) or both sides (C2S).

SBS board quality also allows special processes such as embossing & debossinghot foil stamping or spot UV printing due to its grade quality.

These types of boxes are popular with most industries and are used to package food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, confectionery, baked items, tobacco, etc. SBS boxes are also the most preferred for personal care items.

SUS or CUK (Natural Kraft or Coated Unbleached Kraft

Made from 100% recyclable materials, this type of board is typically popular for kraft packaging. When coated with polyethylene (PE) resin, this board can be used for food-safe packaging. At least 80% of virgin unbleached wood pulp is used to make CUK.

This type of board is strong and durable; the stiffness leads to high resistance to tearing making the board more durable. The printing quality of the board can be improved by coating the surface with a thin layer of kaolin clay.

SUS/CUK are good choices for food-safe packaging and strength can also be used in the packaging of foods, heavy beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, etc.

It Doesn’t End There…

To further understand the grade of the material for your packaging, it is important to understand the different thicknesses. This will help create a suitable box based on the product’s weight and the structure of the packaging.

Measuring the thickness of the paperboard is by determining the PT/GSM of the material.

Essentially, the higher the GSM/PT Unit, the thicker the material and the more weight it can carry.

What material do you think best fits your packaging? Let us know in the comments below!

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