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Packaging - Glossary - H

  • 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.

  • H


    Gradations of tones achieved by varying sizes of printed dots in the printing of a photographic reproduction.


    A container, usually round but may be elliptical or polygonal, larger at top than at bot­tom, and of greater depth than width; having slatted sides or staves, and solid or fabricated bottom, or having sides and bottom formed of one continuous piece of material. Commonly used for shipping fruits and vegetables.


    An accessory attached to a container or part thereof for the purpose of holding or carrying. A bail handle is made of sheet metal or wire and folds against the container when not in use.

    Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP)

    System of monitoring food safety and sanitary standards throughout a production, packaging and distribution chain.

    Hazardous material (goods) packaging

    Certain products which have been designated as potentially hazardous to people and environment require special packaging, labelling, storage and handling as prescribed by national and international regulations.


    A cloudy or foggy appearance in a normally transparent plastic material.


    The top or bottom of a drum or barrel.

    Header label

    A folded printed label which fits over the mouth of a bag or sachet and is visible from both sides. The label may be fixed to the bag by heat sealable coating or by stapling. A hole is often punched in the header to permit rack hanging.

    Head space

    The empty space inside a container between the top surface of the product and the inside upper surfaces of the container.

    Heat sealing

    A method of joining two or more compatible heat sealable surfaces or materials under controlled conditions of temperature, pressure and dwell time.

    Heat-Seal Label

    A label made of paper or other material coated on one side with a heat-seal coating, usually a thermoplastic resin, and characteristically difficult to remove after application.

    Heat transfer labelling

    Widely known by the proprietary name Therimage, the label is transferred from a plastic web to the pack by heating which activates an adhesive on its surface. Used for high-value products in glass and plastic containers, but superseded in many cases by transparent PS labels.

    Heavy-duty bag


    Valve bag or open mouth bag generally of 25 kg weight, exceptionally above, made of thick polyethylene

    film or og woven polypropylene fibers web or of multiply Kraft paper, used for industrial packaging of diverse food and non foof products in granular or powder form.


    Heavy Metals

    Metallic elements of relatively high atomic weight that, upon exposure, tend to collect in specific body organs and at high levels are known to be toxic. Historically, lead solders were used to seal metal can seams and most printing ink pigments were derived from compounds containing heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, selenium, barium, chromium and antimony.


    The lower portion of a glass or plastic con­tainer, starting with the bearing surface of the bottom and including a small portion of the lower side-wall.

    Hermetic seal

    An airtight seal.


    Term applied to any coarse fabric used for sacking; called burlap in North America.


    Also called hi-lo. Double-wall corrugated board combining both A-flutes and B-flutes.

    Hinged lid

    A container closure which is attached to the container by a flexible or bending joint. The hinge can be a separate unit or can be an integral part of the container.

    High density polyethylene (HDPE)

    Polyethylene resin whose density exceeds 0.940 g/cm3.

    High-frequency (HF) welding

    See: Electronic sealing.


    A large wooden barrel, usually of more than 250 l (60 gallon) capacity.


    Three-dimensional printing that presents differing images depending on the angle from which it is viewed. Used as a tamper evident feature on packaging as it is difficult to reproduce or repair.

    Honeycomb board

    A board with its core structure consisting of a mesh or web with multiple cavities laminated perpendicular — at right angles — to the facing. Exists in different thicknesses. Used as a cushioning material and filler.

    Hot dip

    Traditional process for coating both sides of a steel sheet with commercially pure tin to produce tinplate. The amount of tin coating on each side of the sheet can be varied to meet performance requirements. Largely superseded by electrolytic coating that applies a thiner layer of tin.

    Hot melt

    An adhesive or coating based on thermoplastic polymer generally modified with resins or waxes, which is solid at room temperature. It is heated to fluidity at the time of application, and is normally quick setting as it cools.


    A decorating operation by which a design is transferred from a roll of thin aluminium foil to a surface by means of impressing it with heated metal dies.

    Humidity cabinet

    A box or room constructed with a conditioning device used to maintain a speci­fied relative humidity at a specified tempera­ture. Used in testing packages for their moisture resistance and barrier properties.


    Having a strong affinity for water.


    Lacking affinity for water, but usu­ally attracting oily materials.


    A device for measuring relative humidity.


    Material that absorbs water.

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