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Packaging - Glossary - I

  • Packaging Processes

      A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z  

    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.

  • I

    Image assembly

    The procedure by which film images are positioned in precise order for printing platemaking; also called stripping.

    Imitation kraft paper

    A substitute for kraft paper commonly made of mechanical wood pulp, unbleached sulphite and/or from waste paper. Is coloured brown to give the appearance of real kraft.

    Impact recorder

    A small instrument, which may be included in packages or in shipments with packages, to record shock and vibration to which the package is subjected.

    Impact resistance

    Resistance of a material or package to shocks from dropping or from sharp blows/knocks.

    Impact test

    A test to determine the effect of various shock forces on packages or packaging materials.


    Arranging the original pages on a printed sheet, taking the folding layout and finishing into account. (The arrangement of text, graphics and images within one page is called page layout/ make up).

    Impregnated paper

    Paper or paperboard partially or fully saturated with wax, resins or other protective or performance-enhancing substances.


    (1) A mark, especially an indentation, made by a die, stamp, printing press or other marking device.

    (2) One copy or one color of a design made by passing a sheet once through a printing press.

    (3) A mold cavity; more specifi­cally, a single cavity of a multi-cavity mold.


    A secondary marking containing additional information — added to or overprinted on a primary printing.

    Impulse sealing

    The brief application of an electrically heated wire to heat seal and cut thermoplastic films.

    Inclined plane tester

    A device which permits a filled package or unit load to slide a given distance down a ramp of a determined angle into a solid wall, to measure its resistance to impact damage.

    Induction Sealing

    A sealing technique in which excitation by means of high frequency elctric impulse causes materials to bond. Usually associated with inner seals, whether they are applied separately or as an integral part (metal or platic) of the closure.

    Infusion bag

    A porous bag, unaffected by water, which permits water to flow into the product, absorb the desired components and flow out again e.g. a tea bag.


    A substance which slows or prevents a chemical reaction.


    Packaging manufacture, conversion, etc., that is carried out by the user of the packaging rather than by a separate supplier.

    Injection Blow Moulding

    A two-stage process of plastic container manufacturing in which first a parison, called a preform, is injection moulded and the aperture finish is formed. The preform is subsequently  reheated and transferred to a blow mould where it is blown to the container shape and size.

    Injection moulding

    The forming of a thermoplastic resin into often complex shapes by forcing the molten material into a mould and cooling it.

    Ink fading

    Offset printing term for variation in ink density (uneven ink film) in the direction of printing.

    Ink-jet printing

    A non-contact marking and coding method whereby tiny drops of ink are sprayed onto the surface in a predetermined pattern.

    Ink, printing

    Printing inks normally consist of col­ouring materials dispersed in a carrier or vehicle. They may be classified into four main categories, depending on the methods by which they dry:

    (1).Absorption of the vehicle by the stock upon which the ink is printed. Marking inks generally fall into this category.

    (2) Oxidation and/or polymerization: the carrier is changed by oxidation and/or polymerization from a fluid to a plastic or solid film. The common types of letterpress and offset inks are generally of this nature.

    (3) Loss of solvent: removal of the solvent leaves the pigments im­bedded in a resin. High-speed letterpress, gravure and flexographic inks employ this principle.

    (4) Precipitation: the resin, together with the pig­ment, is precipitated from the vehicle, usually by the application of moisture. These inks are exten­sively used where the odour of drying ink is objectionable,as in the case of food wrap­pers.

    In-mould Labelling

    Decorating process for plastic containers in which preprinted labels are placed in the mould before the plastic is blown or injected. This form of labelling is economical for long production runs, as the moulds are complex but no further decorating or labelling operations are required.

    Inner package

    A container within another container, usually a bag or pouch within a rigid pack, to provide barrier protection until used e.g. a liner bag or individual sugar pouches inside a carton.

    Inner seal

    An extra seal, usually of a sheet material that is resistant to water vapor or vapor from specific chemicals, that is adhered to aperture of a container below the regular cover or closure, to give extra protection to the contents The protection can in­clude: barrier to movement of water vapor or volatile chemicals and perfumes, and protec­tion against tampering, contamination and leakage.


    1.   A sheet of material placed within a package to add support, or to separate individual items.

    2.   A sheet containing special instructions which is placed in side the filled package.

    Intaglio printing

    See: Gravure.

    Interrupted thread

    Container finish thread that has gaps or dis­continuities, the gaps being across the fin or ridge formed at the parting of the container mold. Main purpose of the in­terrupted thread is to avoid possible damage to the interior of the screw closure during its application or use.

    Intelligent packaging

    A general description applied to packaging with active or reactive features that adapt to protect the contents by responding to changes in product state or environmental circumstances.

    Interior packaging

    Usually cushioning material surrounding the product within an outer shipping container.

    Intermediate bulk containers (IBC)

    Large shipping containers, usually returnable, with capacities not less than 250 litres and not more than 3,000 litres. The two basic types are rigid IBCs, ofsteel or rigid plastic, and flexible IBCs, also called big-bags (See: 33), of woven polypropylene or other fabric and with a square or rectangular bottom.

    Ionomer resin

    A polymer produced by ionic bonding between molecular charges. Used as a low temperature heat seal coating.


    1.   Subjecting materials to controlled bombardment of gamma rays to effect a desired change, usually property improvements. Food packages to be irradiated for processing or treatment of their contents must maintain structural integrity.

    2.   A new and expanding food processing technique (specifically for spices) which eradicate presence of germs.

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