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Packaging - Glossary - U

  • 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.

  • U


    Term for the headspace above the product inside a container.

    Ultrasonic sealing

    A sealing method using ultrasonic frequencies applied to the surfaces to be sealed (20-40 kHz).

    Ultra-violet (UV) curing

    Drying/curing of printing inks and varnishes using UV radiation.


    An indentation or protuberance on a moulded form that impedes the withdrawal of the item from the mould.


    A condition where methods and materials used to package an item are inadequate for the level of protection or other func­tional characteristics needed for a given distribution and use requirement.


     The first impression in  printing, usually for the purpose of attaining the true colour of the ink by printing the same, or a darker, value of the same hue, or even black, to absorb the light reflected from the paper through the ink applied in the final printing of the design. For example, a single im­pression of a dark blue printed by letterpress on white paper or board will frequently lack "depth" due to a certain amount of light being reflected through the ink film by the white paper or board. If, however, the design is first printed in black or dark blue, and then printed with the final colour, the latter will show the de­sired "depth" and hue.

    Unit Dose Packaging

    A package which contains one discrete dosage form, i.e., one tablet, one capsule, one 2 ml quantity of liquid, etc. A unit package consists of the unit quantity, protective wrapping, cushioning, and identification marking, up to but not including the shipping container. Single dose unit packaging is used for foods, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices and some industrial products.


    A machine to remove empty bottles or cans from their shipping cases.

    Unit dose

    A single unit package which contains, for example, one prescribed pharmaceutical dosage. A tablet or a measured amount of liquid or powder.

    Unit weight

    Indicates how much one square metre of paper or any other substrate weighs in grams (g/m2). Also called substance or grammage. In the United States of America the basis weight is given for paper in pounds per 3,000 square feet and for paper board the weight is expressed in pounds per l,000 square feet.

    United Nations (UN) Number

    Four digit number assigned by the UN Expert Committee on Transport of Dangerous Goods, to identify groups of dangerous substances.

    Unique selling point / propisition (USP)

    Selling feature of a product that distinguishes it from its competition.


    The forming of several units into one larger unit such as pallet load or bundle.


    A machine for aligning randomly received and placed containers of various types in an orderly manner, to feed into the next operation of a packaging or filling line.

    Unscrewing Mould

    Mould action in the manufacture of closures. After the injection cycle is completed, the mould cavity is removed. The core then begins to rotate, literally unscrewing the core from the closure, as a stripper sleeve moves forward to eject it.


    The Universal Product Code, also described as Uniform Product Code. The principal United States numeric bar coding system for product identification.See also: EAN.

    Urethane plastics

    (1) Plastics based on resins made by the condensation of organic isocyanates with compounds or resins that contain hydroxyl groups. (2) Urethane plastics are a type of iso-cyanate plastics, are generally elastomeric and are available as foams, solid plastics, and coatings.

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