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Packaging - Glossary - F

  • 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.

  • F

    Facing (liner)

    Often called liner. Paperboard used as the flat or surface layer of a corrugated board.

    Facing material

    The top part of a liner for caps for glass containers, which comes in contact with the product packed, acting as a barrier to prevent injurious chemical action. Being non­porous, it also serves to prevent entrance of air and moisture. Waxed paper, varnished paper, rubber compounds, and tin or aluminum foil are commonly used types of facing material.

    Family size

    Pack designed to provide sufficient quantities of a product for a family’s needs.


    Manual process of quickly separating printed materials (labels, inserts, etc.) to check for edge marks and to improve feeding from a stack.


    Any device which serves to secure one part of a package to another. Examples: nail, screw, staple, strapping, stitch, adhesive, etc.


    Term used to denote the stability or re­sistance of coloured pigments to influences such as light, alkali, etc., in packaging and similar applications. The best of these are known as fast reds, fast blues, etc.

    Feed screw

    (1)A metal or plastic cylinder with helical contoured groves in its surface to fit the container, which is turned to move a container along a given path, normally into or out of a machine.

    (2)The screw of an extruder which moves, compresses and heats the extruded material.


    A cloth made of matted fibres of wool, vegetable, or other materials, such as fibrous asbestos, etc. Used in various thicknesses as commercial cushioning material, primarily where positive cushioning performance or a heavy, dense pad is needed and where cost considerations are not too important.


    The small thread-like pieces of vegetable matter, from fibrous plants such as cotton, jute, bagasse, straw and from wood pulp, which form the basis of paper board for many other packaging materials. Synthetic fibers are avaialble such as polyester fibers.


    Fibrous material which has been compressed into a flat web of a desired thickness Containers may be made from either solid or corrugated fibreboard.


    In a glued paper assembly, the tear of fibre as opposed to separation of adhesives when the assembly is pulled apart. If the adhe­sive film is weak, unit separation will occur at the paper-adhesive interface rather than the paper fibre.


    1.   Strips of paperboard, crushed paper or other substances used to fill the voids within a package.

    2.   A normally low-cost material, usually non-organic, used in the manufacture of paper and paperboard to impart certain properties or to reduce costs.

    3.   Equipment to fill or feed products into a package.


    Thin, flexible web of organic non-fibrous material with a thickness not exceeding 200 microns.


    1.   The quality of a surface as determined by colour, brightness, texture and general appearance.

    2.   That part of a glass container which carries the threads, lugs or other features to which the closure is applied.

    Fin seal

    Type of seal resulting from bonding together, usually by heat, the edges of two sheets, resulting in a fin-like joint.


    A small wooden cask, usually used for but­ter. Firkin capacity is not clearly defined but it typically holds about 56 lb. of butter.

    Fish eyes

    Undissolved particles appearing in the surface of coating and varnishing materials.


    A package component attached to the con­tainer finish to provide a  per­formance function such as control of fluid flow and/or cut off, or to provide restricted product dispensing. They are usually protected by the primary closure and perform the desired function once the closure is removed. As part of a closure assembly,  fitments thus can act as droppers, sprinklers, powder shakers or spreaders.


    A large, liquid-holding bottle or flask, of glass or plastic and of no defined capacity.

    Flame treatment

    Exposing a material (such as a plastic bottle or film) to a gas flame to increase the po­larity of the surface and thus improve its printability/ acceptance of adhesives. The amount of flame treat­ment is dependent on the condition and posi­tion of the flame and the length of exposure.


    A protruding edge or rim to facilitate the construction, assembly or use of a package.


    Closing or joining member of a box, carton or envelope.


    Excess plastic moulding material which is extruded  from the cut-off area of the mould when it is closed.


    A narrow-neck container, usually of elliptical cross section, with flattened side walls having a  width four or more times its thickness.

    Flat crush test

    Measures the ability of the fluting of a corrugated board to resist compression stress applied to the faces of the board.

    Flat seal

    A heat seal of thermoplastic coated papers or thermoplastic films using a flat heated surface.

    Flexible package

    A package, constructed from relatively thin papers, films, foils or combinations thereof and is thus flexible.


    A method of printing using printing plates made of rubber or plastic on which the design to be printed is in relief. The ink is transferred directly from the raised areas of the plate to the substrate (material to be printed).

    Flexographic plate

    Printing plate made mostly od photo sensistive polymers which allow easy manufacture of the printing plate


    Clear transparent glass used for bottles and jars.

    Flip panel

    The portion of the top of certain vac­uum closures which flips inwards due to the  pres­sure differential between a vacuum inside the container and the surrounding atmosphere. In this position the panel is concave. If there is insufficient vacuum in the package, the panel flips outwards,  becoming con­vex and indicating that the package may be leaking and defective.


    A rib or corrugation on a surface — one of the undulations or pleats of a piece of corrugated sheet. Flute classifications for corrugated board are:

                    Flutes per       Flute height

                    Linear metre

    A-flute     104 - 125       5,0 mm

    B-flute     150 - 184       3,0 mm

    C-flute     120 - 145       4,0 mm

    E-flute    275 - 310     l,5 mm


    The paperboard material which forms the corrugated medium of a corrugated board.


    A plastic material which has been foamed or expended to increase volume and reduce density by inducing voids or air spaces; used as cushioning. It can be moulded into desired shapes or formed in situ and can be available in various materials and densities.

    Foam-in-place (in-situ)

    A process in which the mixing of two liquid chemical components produces plastic cushioning and insulating foam around the product being packed and thus conforming to its shape.


    A method of applying corrosion-preventing materials in the form of vapour to interior surfaces or relatively inaccessible sur­faces of packages for corrodible articles.


    See: Aluminium.


    A machine for folding a scored and slotted paperboard or corrugated sheet (box blank) and making the side (manufacturer's) joint by glueing to produce a flattened box. See also: Printer-slotter.

    Folding carton

    Made of foldable grades of paperboard; plain or printed, cut and creased, in a variety of sizes and shapes. Formed, folded, glued and delivered flat by the carton maker, to be set up, filled and closed by the user.

    Folding endurance

    A property of paper and board representing its ability to withstand the stresses of repeated folding e.g. in twist wrapping of candy.

    Folding test

    A method used to determine the endurance of a packaging material when it is subjected to repeated folding, bending or flexing.

    Formaldehyde resin

    Thermosetting closure material, extremely hard and rigid but brittle with excellent dimensional stability.

    Forming temperature

    The temperature at which a plastic sheet becomes soft and plastic enough to permit it to be formed.

    Form-fill-seal (FFS) machine

    A machine which transforms a continuous web of material into a package shape, typically a pouch or tray, fills it with a measured amount of product, then seals the formed package and cuts it from the web into individual package units.

    Fork lift

    A mechanical handling device normally consisting of two extended steel prongs which can be inserted into the open spaces of a pallet in order to lift or move it.

    Fourdrinier machine

    A paper-making machine on which the web is formed by depositing pulp furnish onto an endless wire mesh conveyer. The wire mesh is vibrated as it travels, so that the paper fibres criss-cross and mat. Water is removed from the pulp by gravity and suction so that the paper web can be removed from the screen and pass, unsupported, over subsequent pressing and drying sections.

    Four-way pallet

    A pallet so constructed that it may be entered and lifted by the fork of a fork lift truck from any of its four sides.


    The distance between the top of the product and the top of a sack holding the prod­uct with the sack placed in an upright position.

    Freezer burn

    The drying out of a food or food product in the frozen state by the process of sublimation. This desiccation, which may take place when the product is not adequately packed and protected against water vapour loss, is particularly noticeable in the case of meats and poultry, and is usually detected as a change of colour.

    Friction welding

    A method of welding thermo­plastics materials whereby the heat necessary to soften the components is provided by friction.


    Highly concentrated colourant materials added to flint glass for the production of col­oured glass.


    A crystalline finish or pattern on a glass surface.


    The mixture of pulp, waste paper, sizing, water, dyes, etc., as fed to the wet end of a paper or board making machine.


    To join two glass, metal or plastic surfaces by heating them just beyond their melting or softening point.

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