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Packaging - Glossary - E

  • 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.

  • E


    European Article Numbering System, a bar coding system originating in Europe, for product identification. See also: U.P.C.


    (1) The ear-like extensions which appear at the corner of sacks after they are filled and closed. Appear.

    (2) ear, Van Buren. The extended flap on a soap or other carton which folds and seals on the out­side side panel of the carton, thus making car­ton more siftproof.

    (3) (4) Ears are attached to metal pails to hold bail or handle.

    (5) Name given the finger grip of pressed glass between the shoulder and finish of a glass jug to facilitate holding it.

    Easy-opening can

    A can equipped with an opening feature which can be removed or opened by hand without the need for any tools such as a can opener.

    Edge crush test

    Measures the ability of a small vertically placed sample of corrugated board to withstand compression in the plane of the board. Indicates
    rigidity of the corrugated board and compressive strength of a box made from it.

    Elastic limit

    The point beyond which a material breaks or is subject to non-elastic deformation when stretched.


    A substance having rubber-like elastic qualities.

    Electronic composition

    The process of setting type whereby all input and output is completed in electronic format

    Electronic sealing

    The sealing of two surfaces of thermoplastic films by inducing high-frequency electric current to cause heating and fusion between them.

    Electrostatic printing (xerography)

    Ink, in atomized or powdered form, is electrically charged in varying degrees according to the density of the image and is thereby attracted to and deposited on the surface.

    Elmendorf test (tear test)

    A method for testing the tear strength (resistance to tearing) of a packaging material. The test measures the energy required to extend a tear of specified length in a tape, or other material, once the tear has been started by an intentional precut.


    The increase in length of a material under tensile stress (stretching). Data is expressed in terms of percentage increase in length to the breaking point. See also: Elastic limit.


    Producing impressed designs on the surface of paper for example by the use of special dies or rollers.


    Two or more normally immiscible materials held together in a liquid homogeneous mixture by the influence of a third agent (emulsifying agent).


    A type of coating specially designed to dry to a hard, high-gloss finish.


    (1) One of the faces of a rectangular contain­er, usually one that has the smallest area.

    (2) The head or bottom of a cylindrical container. In can making, can lids are referred to as ends: Top end or customer's end and Bottom end or factory-applied end.

    (3) In set-up paper boxes, the piece of boxboard attached to the base or side of an ended box.

    (4) A discontinuity in a foil web or other sheet material, usually caused by breaks.

    Envelop (Verb)

    To wrap or enclose an item.

    Envelope (Noun)

    A flexible flat package having two normally rectangular faces and joined at three edges to form an enclosure. The non-joined edge may be closed after filling by any of several methods: adhesive interlocking flap, heat seal, string tie or metal fastener.

    Epoxy resins

    Thermosetting plastics made by the reaction of epoxies with other materials such as amines, alcohols, phenols, acids and unsaturated compounds.


    The process of producing a design on metal or glass by causing the surface to be eaten away by a corrosive substance or cut by a sharp point.

    Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)

    A plastic resin normally used in combination with other plastics in making film, coatings and adhesives.


    Shredded wood used for cushioning.

    Expanded plastic

    A plastic in the form of a foam (cellular) made by thermal and/or chemical means and having cushioning and insulating properties. Low moulding pressures and economical tooling make foam moulding an inexpensive method of producing complex cushioning components. Plastic foams are commonly made from polystyrene (EPS), polyethylene, polypropylene and polyurethane.

    Expendable pallet (one-way)

    A pallet of light construction and low-cost materials which permit it to be discarded after its first usage.

    Expiry date

    The date after which a perishable product should not be used, normally marked on the package, also referred to as the ‘use-by’ date.

    Export package

    A package specifically designed for transportation to and distribution in a foreign market.


    A substance, such as pigment, wood flour, etc., added to a product, such as an adhesive, ink, paint, etc., to increase its bulk relative to the active, primary ingredi­ent.

    Exterior package

    A container designed to support or contain one or more smaller packages, usually retail packages.


    The forcing of plastifiable materials (rubber, thermoplastics, etc.), generally by means of heating to fluid state and pumping by a continuous screw through a shaping die into continuous lengths of profiles, rods, pipe, film, tubing and sheeting.

    Extrusion coating

    The application of an extruded thermoplastic material onto the surface of paper, film or foil.

    Extrusion lamination

    The use of an extruded material as an adhesive binder between two base webs of material.


    A small hole, often reinforced, through which to insert a string or clasp, often used to attach a label or tag to a package.

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