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Packaging - Glossary - B

  • Packaging Processes

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    The Glossary of the International Trade Centre (ITC) on the technical terms used in the packaging sector is a database designed to provide updated information on the specific terminology used in the packaging industry. This Glossary is a tool placed at the disposal of users for information only. It is not designed to replace the appropriate professional advice in any way. Users are invited to submit their comments and observations by email to Mr. Frederic Couty, Senior Adviser, Export Packaging at the following email address: fcouty[at]intracen.org

    Select an alphabetic above to access the glossary.

  • B


    (1) A paper, cloth or other material used as a surfacing sheet for a cushion. Backing pro­vides additional strength, or water resistance, or better appearance. When used on both faces of a cushion and sealed on all sides, backing sheets may serve to hold a loose cushioning material together.

    (2) A lining; a ply of paper, cloth or other sheeting used as a lining for a sheet material, as jute-lined corrugated board, paper-backed foil, etc.

    (3) (for container closures) A material of varying degrees of compressibility and resilience, such as com­position cork, feltboard or, pulpboard, backing an impermeable seal or liner at the closure and container interface.


    A preformed container made of any flexible material, open at one end for filling. May be made in single or multi-ply layers of similar materials or in combinations of different materials, i.e. paper, aluminium foil, textiles or plastics. Sometimes referred to as a sack, but “sack” generally indicates a larger or heavy-duty shipping bag. The four basic styles of bags are:

    (1) Automatic self-opening — can be opened with a quick flip of the wrist, the bag is made with tucks in the side and a preformed square bottom which permits it to stand upright when empty (SOS).

    (2) Satchel-bottom — a paper or plastic bag with a flat bottom when filled.

    (3) Flat — of simple construction having no gussets (folds).

    (4) Square — a folded bottom and gussets at the sides to reduce width when closed without reducing capacity.

    Back off

    Loosening of a screw cap  caused by insufficient closing torque,  incorrect mating of cap and container, or faults in the cap liner facing and/or backing.


    The crushed stalks of the sugar cane after juice has been extracted. Used as paper pulp raw material.


    A container for liquids consisting of an inner protective bag, which may or may not be barrier to oxygen, supported by an outer box. A valve is often built into the bag for dispensing the product.


    A wire handle attached to a container for carrying. Normally inserted into ears on opposite sides of a container by twisting and snapping it into place (snap bail).


    (1) A shaped unit load bound under tension. For instance a regrouping of compressed empty plastic bottles for recycling.

    (2) In the paper trade, a bale normally consists of a number of reams stacked on a timber base board of the same size and with a similar board protecting the top.

    Baler bag

    (also baler sack)

    A paper or textile shipping sack used for packaging and shipping multiple units of product.


    See: Strap.

    Bar code

    A numerical identification symbol, whose value is encoded in a sequence of highly contrasted rectangular bars and spaces. The relative widths of these bars and spaces contain the information. Identification is by visual or electronic means. See also: EAN; U.P.C.


    A bulging cylindrical container having two flat ends of equal diameter, generally made of wood.

    Barrier material

    A material designed to withstand, to a specified degree, the penetration of water, oils, greases, water vapour and gases. The material may serve to exclude or retain the elements outside or within the package.


    A small container, usually open at the top, made of veneer blanks bound at the top with wooden or metal bands, or of paper, plastic or other material, used for berries, small fruits and vegetables, and gener­ally shipped as a secondary container within a crate or other shipping container

    Base box

    U.S. standard unit of a quantity of tin plate. A base box equals 31,360 square inches of plate. The weight of a base box will vary with the thickness of the plate. Also used in the United Kingdom.


    A reinforcing member attached at right angles to a wood box panel, wood barrel or a wire-bound crate.

    Beach test

    A test for the puncture resistance and scoreline strength of boxes. The amount of penetration or resistance of the sample is in­dicated on a scale.


    A narrow rounded projection or depression around the surface of a package or package component to stiffen and enhance the strength.

    Beers tray

    A folding tray of paperboard having glued corners. The tray is folded flat during manufacturing, for shipping and storage space economy. Each corner has on the sidewall, on which a glue flap is adhered, a diagonal score that allows the sides of the tray to fold in­ward into a collapsed position.


    The gussets or tucks in the sides of a bag.

    Belt conveyor

    A continuous web designed to transport goods from one point on a production or packing line to another.

    Biaxially oriented

    The stretching of a plastic film or bottle in both the machine (longitudinal) direction and the transverse (cross) direction. The molecular structure is altered, resulting in physical property changes — generally an improvement — in the packaging material.


    See: Intermediate bulk containers. See: Bulk packaging.


    (1) Adhesive substance or other binding material whose function is to fasten or to hold components or materials together (printing ink binder).

    (2) In paper, an adhesive component used to cement filler to the base stock.


    Packaging or other material that degrades and breaks up on exposure to bacterial attack.


    An organic compound, used as a weatherproof coating, and as a barrier layer in multi-wall paper sacks and industrial wraps.

    Black plate

    The low-carbon steel base for tin mill products, which has been reduced to proper thickness, annealed and temper rolled, and is ready for processing into finished tinplate prod­ucts or coating with organic finishes. Sometimes called Can Making Quality plate, or simply C.M.Q.


    A style of rectangular glass or plastic bottle used primarily for pharmaceuticals.


    A piece of material from which a package or a component can be made by additional operations. For example:

    (1) In closures, the basic cap before forming or threading.

    (2) In metal cans, the flat piece cut to size before forming into a body or end.

    (3) In paperboard, the cut and scored section before erecting and glueing to form a box, tray or lid.

    Bleached pulp

    Any pulp which is bleached by oxidizing treatment, usually using hypochlorite or hydrogen peroxide.

    Bleed allowance

    Extension of printed areas beyond the edges of the surface being printed, to allow for substrate dimensional changes and variations in printing machine accuracy.


    (1) Printing beyond the cutting edge or score line.

    (2) The property of running, migrating or diffusing of colour from printed areas into surrounding areas, especially in fabrics and films, or the solution or spreading of inks or pigments into overlying varnish, resulting in ragged-edge discoloration of background or base colour areas.

    (3) Undesired movement of colour  in a plastic to the surface of the finished article or into adjacent material; or the exuda­tion of gases or liquids from a material into ad­jacent material.

    Blind opening

    A collapsible tube neck with a metal diaphragm across its orifice for leakproof packaging of liquids or pastes such as glues and cements. This diaphragm must be pierced or cut off in order to use the contents. Blind opening is also called blind end, closed end, or blind orifice.

    Blister packaging

    The item to be packaged is secured between a preformed transparent plastic “bubble” and a paperboard carrier. The bubble is commonly of thermoformed PVC or PET and the printed carrier often has a die-cut hole to permit hanging on a display rack. See also: Skin packaging.


    An undesired adhesion between touching layers of a material. A common problem with adhesive coated or printed labels, tape, films and papers, particularly when stored at elevated temperatures. Can be due to inadequate drying of printing inks or to inadequate formulation or processing in case of plastic films.


    (1) The result of exudation of an ingre­dient from a product as visibly evidenced on the product or transparent package, as sugar bloom on candies, oil deposit on film wrapper, etc.

    (2) A surface film on glass or other packaging materials resulting from attack by the atmosphere or from the deposition of smoke or other vapor.

    Blow moulding

    A blank, called a parison, is produced from plastic raw material by either extrusion or injection moulding. The parison is clamped in a heated mould and compressed air is blown inside the parison forcing it to fill the mould cavity thereby forming the desired bottle (package) shape.

    Blown film

    A thermoplastic resin is extruded through a circular die into a continuous tube into which air is blown under controlled conditions to expand the tube to the desired dimensions of width and thickness. The tube is flattened by rollers and either slit into two rolls of flat film or wound into a single roll of continuous tubing.

    Blown Glass

    Containers manufactured from molten glass that are formed by air pressure, in moulds, similar in fashion to plastic molding. The finished containers are ejected or extracted from the mould, then annealed (heated and cooled) to temper the glass.


    (1) Defects of bond quality of solvent adhesives or appearance of lacquer-type of coatings resulting from the condensation of water from the ambient air.

    (2) A defect appearing in plastic bottles and thermoformed sheet wherein the surface develops a white spot or "blush."


    See: Paperboard.


    Principal part of a container, usually the largest part in one piece containing the sides.

    (a) In fibre drums, the body includes the sidewall and bottom bead. In certain types of drums the bottom may be formed by a continu­ation of the sidewall material.

    (b) In metal cans or drums, the cylindrical portion of the con­tainer before the end is affixed.

    (c) In collapsi­ble tubes, the body (or wall) is the cylindrical portion below the shoulder extending to the bottom or crimped end.

    Boilable pouch (boil-in-bag)

    A hermetically sealed pouch containing processed food which can be placed in boiling water. The pouch will remain intact during sustained boiling.

    Bond strength

    A measure of the strength of a bond between two adhering surfaces.

    Boston round

    A style of glass container used by drug and chemical industries and char­acterized by a cylindrical shape with a short, curved shoulder.


    A container having a round neck of smaller diameter than the body and an opening (finish) capable of holding a closure. The cross section may be round, oval, square or other shape. The raw material may be glass, plastics, ceramics, earthenware, etc.

    Bottle carrier / crate

    A package used to carry multiple bottles, usually incorporating a handle.


    A rigid container, generally rectangular in shape, having closed faces. See also: Carton, Case and Crate.


    A general term designating the grades of paperboard used for fabrication of folding cartons.

    Box pallet

    The combination of a large case (corrugated board or wood) and a permanently attached pallet.


    (1) In the manufacture of paperboard boxes, the process of separating scored blanks from each other;

    (2) The operation of passing a gummed or coated paper over the edge of a square bar which cracks the surface layer and reduces the tendency to curl. (3) The operation of bending paper to facilitate feeding it to a printing press or other equipment.

    Breathing package

    A package designed so that air may enter or leave under varying conditions, such as temperature changes.

    Bright can

    Unprinted can prior to decoration or intended for labelling.

    Brightness, paper

    As commonly defined in the paper industry, the reflectivity of a sheet of pulp, paper or paperboard for specified light measured under standardized conditions on a particular instrument designed and calibrated specifically for the purpose.

    Bruce box

    A designation for a wire bound container.

    Bubble pack

    See: Blister packaging.


    Expresses the weight of a cubic metre of paperboard in tons (m3/ton). It can be calculated by dividing the caliper by the basis weight.

    Bulk packaging

    A general description of packaging methods for shipping and storing liquids, flakes, powders, granules and pastes, usually in large containers. Bulk containers can be rigid or flexible and called sometimes big-bags.


    Combining or attaching several packages into a larger unit.


    A plug used to close a barrel or drum.


    The American name for cloth woven from jute fibres. Known as hessian in Europe and also by its Indian name, gunny – hence gunny sacks.

    Burn Line

    A dark streak of material in a plastic bottle resulting from decomposed material dislodged from the extruder and incorporated in the bottle.

    Bursting strength

    Measure of the ability of a sheet to resist rupture when pressure is applied to one side by a specified instrument under specified conditions.

    Buttress thread

    A type of thread in which the thread sides terminate abruptly, gradually tapering down to the neck finish. Designed to withstand maximum force in one direction only.

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