How to Select Proper Corrugated Material

Published June 1, 2019

If your first question after reading the title of this blog post is “What is ‘corrugated?’” then we recommend reading our previous post Corrugated 101: A First Step Toward Becoming A Pro, for some background information on this essential case material.

So you read Corrugated 101? Excellent! With a basic understanding of corrugated material and its use in the packaging industry, you’re now ready to dive into the process of selecting the proper corrugated material for your product. No matter what you’re packaging, you want it to arrive in pristine condition, with maximum efficiency, at the lowest possible cost both to you and your environmental impact. So how do you make this packaging decision? There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing the proper casing for your needs.

Nailing Down the Corrugated Details


First, make sure you know everything about what your packaging needs to do. Here are some questions to ask that can clarify its purpose:

     – Will the carton simply provide protection for the product and immediately be discarded once it’s received by the point of purchase/sale?

     – Will the carton serve as storage for continuous use?

     – Will the case be displayed at the point of purchase/sale for advertising?

     – Should the packaging be reusable or returnable?


Next, determine your product’s weight, height, value and density. This information will help you plan out the shipping process and select the perfect material. Make sure you know the answer to these questions:

     – How will you be shipping the cartons?

     – Will the cartons be shipped individually or in bulk?

     – Will the packages be palletized?

     – Will packages be exposed to environmental elements that need to be factored in (humidity, heat, cold, rain, etc.)?

     – Is returnable packaging required?

     – Is cushioning inside the case needed to prevent product from rubbing and bumping?

     – Will the product bear its own weight?

     – Are slots needed for packing and quality control?

Lead Time

There are many options, including advertising your company name, product information, fragile/this side up markers, hazardous product labels and more customizations that can affect lead time. Consult your timeline to ensure that your secondary packaging process is running according to schedule and factor in any potential delays. Make sure you know the following:

     – Is lead time for your corrugated material a factor or concern?

     – Is custom designing needed for your case?

     – If the carton is designed or printed, what will be displayed?

Special Regulations

If your product is food-related, it may require different outside carton labels. Required labels depend from state to state. Many factors need to be considered for food packaging:

     – Is the case the primary or secondary package?

     – Will food contact the case or does it need to be bagged first?

     – What type of environment is required (refrigeration, etc.)?

     – Are flaps or holes needed in the package?

     – Are wax and grease coatings or water-resistant liners required?

Selecting the Right Corrugated Material Supplier

All of the above factors will be used by a corrugated material supplier to determine the appropriate type of case for your specific needs. When researching corrugated material suppliers, look for these qualities in a company:

     – Industry and product knowledge

     – Experience

     – Integrity

     – Consistent and reliable communication

     – Customer service excellence

     – Responsiveness

INSITE’s Corrugated Material Recommendations

While a range of corrugated parameters can work well with INSITE’s machines, specific tests concluded that our erectors perform best using corrugated with the following characteristics:

     – Case Style: Regular Slotted Case (RSC)

     – Edge Crush Test (ECT): 30 ECT to 44 ECT

     – Flutes: C (~39 Flutes per linear foot; 11/64”) and B (~42 Flutes per linear foot; 1/8”)

     – Bursting Strength: 175# to 275#

     – Paper Weight: Normal

     – Walls: Single wall

     – Corners: Tapered and Straight Slot

These are just a few of the options when it comes to considering the type and style of corrugated material to use when shipping your products. If you have more specific questions, reach out to your corrugated packaging provider. Ultimately, they know their products best and can help you protect and transport yours.

Pack Your Products with Ease … and INSITE

Whatever product you produce and whatever case you choose, you need a way to put the two together. INSITE is committed to supporting your efforts through thoughtful machine design and genuine customer focus. We’ll partner with you to help you identify the right equipment to erect and seal your cases. After all, case erectors and case sealers are all we do! Get in touch today and we’ll get started simplifying your packaging process.

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