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Packaging - Glossary - D

  • 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.

  • D

    Dead fold

    A hand- or machine-made fold which will remain in position without sealing, such as is achievable on a stiff paper or soft foil.


    The process of transferring a printed design from specially prepared paper to another surface and permanently affixing it thereto using heat and/or solvents.

    Deceptive package

    A container which is designed to contain less product or different product than its appearance would indicate. Such packaging is against the law in most countries.

    Deep drawing

    (1) In thermoforming of plastics, the stretching of a formable web into a mould to the near limit of its elasticity.

    (2) In metal, forcing a piece or sheet of metal in a die press operation.


    Covers the range of finishing tech­niques used to remove the flash (excess, un­wanted material) on a plastic molding.


    To dry out or absorb moisture by means of heating, ventilating or the use of a desiccant.


    Separation of layers of a composite material arising from lack of adhesive, poor manufacturing technique or mechanical damage.


    Weight per unit volume of a material expressed in kg/m3 (g/cm3).


    An amount of money added to the price of a product to encourage return of the used package, refunded upon return of the package after use.


    A dehydrating agent. A material which will absorb moisture by physical or chemical means. See also: Silica gel.


    (1) Graphic. The surface decoration and wording printed on a package to inform, instruct and attract the customer.

    (2) Structural. The conception of the physical construction of the package, to produce the most effective and economical result.


    Treatment of plastic materials which minimizes the effects of surface static electricity.  Can be accomplished either by spraying the surface with specific materials, or incorporating materials into the moulding compound. Destaticization prevents dust and dirt from being attracted to and/or clinging to the plastic surface.

    Dew point

    The temperature at which air becomes saturated with vapour causing the vapour to be deposited onto surfaces as a liquid (condensation).


    Water-soluble adhesives based upon vegetable starch, with good wet tack but slow setting. Not suitable for humid conditions.


    (1) A form, usually of hard metal or plywood with inserted cutting and creasing rules and knives, for cutting, creasing or stamping out parts or blanks in paperboard or plastics.

    (2) A metal part used to form molten plastics, metals or glass into sheet, rods or other shapes.


    A method of converting packaging materials in which a paperboard or plastic box or carton blank has been cut, slotted or scored by a custom-made die.

    Dimensional stability

    The degree to which paper maintains its linear dimensions with changes in its moisture content or applied stresses.


    A coating applied by dipping a porous packaging material into hot wax, asphalt, or other sealant to seal it against transmission of water vapour or gas.

    Direct-to-press (DTP)

    Design can be transferred directly from the designer’s work station to the printing heads of a digital printing system.

    Disc Top

    Injected molded two piece dispensing closure. Its one hand, one finger action closure is useful for personal care and sun care products. Contrasting colours can be used for the closure body and disc. Also called Press Top.


    A device which permits distribution or serving of a product in a convenient form or quantity. The device can be incorporated into the package, e.g. aerosol valves, atomizers, pouring spouts, sprinklers and metering and dosing mechanisms.

    Display package

    A package designed and decorated to give high visibility when displayed.

    Disposable package

    A package specifically designed for a single use and not to be refilled.

    Distortion print

    Distorted printing of a design on flat metal or plastic surfaces that are subsequently deformed or stretched, so that it appears correct after deformation has taken place.

    Distribution packaging

    Refers to integrated pack­age and product handling from factory to point of sale. Although consumer or shelf packaging is part of the product distribution cycle, it is usually understood that distribution packaging means the outer and/or intermediate container which is required for efficient transportation and storage.


    Any package component that separates the space within the pack into two or more cells, compartments, or layers. Dividers are made from various materials and may be plain, interlocking, scored, horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. The purpose of dividers is to separate articles and/or to provide cushioning.

    Doctor blade (roll)

    A stationary blade which regulates the amount of ink or coating to be applied to a web of material or surface by scraping off the excess. A doctor roll is a roller mechanism revolving in the opposite direction to the flow of the web which provides a wiping action which controls the thickness and thus amount of coating applied.


    A closure of which the whole top surface is domed, starting at the shoulder. Doming can streamline package appearance and increase the apparent pack height.

    Dots per inch (dpi)

    The number of print dots per linear inch of measure; used to describe the fineness of halftones, tinted materials and electronic display terminals; also termed "lines per inch.

    Double faced

    Corrugated board consisting of one layer of corrugated medium and a liner facing on both sides of it.

    Double seam

    A joint attaching the top or bottom end of a metal can to its body, formed by interlocking the edges of the end and the flanged body, double folding and rolling firmly together.

    Double wall

    (1) A corrugated board consisting of two layers of corrugated medium, a middle liner and two facings.

    (2) A bag with two separate layers of material.


    The degree of taper on the side wall of a container or the angle of clearance required to facilitate removal of an article from a mold.

    Drawn and ironed can (D&I)

    After the can has been drawn (see also: Drawn container) to form its basic shape the sides are thinned by ironing further.

    Drawn and re-drawn can (DRD)

    Steel or aluminium two-piece cans with thicker walls than D & I cans (see above), suitable for retorting. Relatively shallower than D & I cans.

    Drawn container

    A container made by forcing a flat metal or plastic blank or sheet into, through or over a die.

    Dropper cap

    A metal or molded plastic closure with a glass or plastic dropper and small rubber or plastic bulb attached. The dropper is a glass or plastic  tube or pipette to which a the rubber bulb is attached to allow the controlled dispensing of drops of liquid.

    Drop test

    Dropping of a filled container from a known height to determine its resistance to rupture, leakage or damage.


    A cylindrical shipping container usually with a capacity from 10 to 240 litres made of steel, plastic, or fibreboard.

    Drying tunnel or oven

    A device attached to a printing press, coater or laminator designed to remove solvents from inks or adhesives and to cure the inks or adhesives if necessary.


    Any blocking, bracing or supports used to hold a load in position or to fill empty space within a package or container to prevent damage. Often employed in distribution packages for rail and truck shipments.

    Duplex board

    A paperboard normally made of two layers of different types of pulp. The top layer is usually white made out of bleached chemical pulp. Used for folding cartons.

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