Glossary

Adhesive
A substance that can be used to join two surfaces.

Aerosol
In packaging, a gas-tight, pressure-resistant container, a valve, a product, and a propellant that forces the product from the container when the valve is opened.

Aluminium foil
A rolled section of aluminium less than 150 microns thick.

Bag
A preformed, flexible container, generally enclosed on all but one side, which forms an opening that may or may not be sealed after filling.

Bar code
A machine readable symbol. The symbol value is encoded in a series of high contrast rectangular bars and spaces.

Blister packaging
A type of packaging in which the item is secured between a preformed (usually transparent plastic) dome or ‘bubble’, and another surface or ‘carrier’.

Board
A thick sheet of paper or other fibre substance.

Bottle
A container having a round neck of relatively smaller diameter than the body and an opening capable of holding a closure for retention of the contents. Usually made of glass or a polymer.

Brand
Originally a mark made with a hot iron to show the origin or manufacture of goods. Now used by companies to distinguish their product from any other in the same sector.

Can
A container, usually metal, generally having a capacity of less than 40 litres.

Cap or closure
Any device used to close a bottle, jar, can or any type of pack to retain the contents.

Carton
A folding box generally made from paperboard.

Case
A non-specific term for a shipping container.

Child-resistant closure
A closure designed so that young children have difficulty opening the container.

Collapsible tube
A cylindrical tube shape that is squeezed or flattened to eject the contents.
 
Corrugated board
A packaging material consisting of a central layer (medium) that has been fluted on a corrugator and to which one or two sheets of flat linerboard have been glued to form a single-faced corrugated board or single-wall corrugated board.
 
Crown closure
A metal closure that crimps over a bead on a bottle finish.
 
Cullet
Glass recovered from production rejects or from consumer recycling programmes, crushed, and added to the normal glass furnace charge.

Cushioning
The protection from physical damage afforded to an item by placing about its outer surfaces materials that have been designed to absorb the shock or reactions caused by external forces.

Drawn and wall ironed can
A two-piece can that is produced by pushing a drawn initial shape through a series of ironing rings, each with a diameter slightly less than the previous one.
 
Drawn and redrawn can
A two-piece can that has a body formed to shape by pushing a flat can blank through a circular die ring and then, in a second operation, re-forming the can through a second draw operation.

Extrusion
The process of forming a thermoplastic by forcing the polymer melt through a shaped orifice.

Extrusion blow moulding
A process of forming hollow bottles and similar hollow shapes.
 
Extrusion stretch blow moulding
A process in which the extruded parison is mechanically stretched during the blowing process.

Film (plastic)
Generally used to describe a thin plastic material usually not more than 75 microns thick.

Flexible packaging
A pack or container made of flexible or easily yielding materials that, when filled and closed, can be readily changed in shape.

Flexography
A method of printing using flexible rubber or photopolymer printing plates in which the image to be printed stands out in relief.

Flute
The undulation or corrugation pressed into a paper as used in the construction of corrugated fibreboard.

Folding carton
A plain or printed container made of bending grades of paperboard, in a variety of sizes and shapes.
 
Form, Fill and Seal
A filling machine that is fed with a flexible packaging stock from a roll.

Fourdrinier
A papermaking machine in which the mixture of cellulose fibre and water is poured out onto a moving screen in the first step of forming the paper sheet.
 
Gauge
A unit of thickness, expressed by a number that has a dimensional equivalent.

Glass
An inorganic substance fused at high temperature and cooled quickly so that it solidifies to a vitreous or noncrystalline condition.

Gob
The measured amount of molten glass sufficient to make one container, as it is delivered to the blank mould of an independent section machine.

Grain
The arrangement or direction of fibres in a fibrous material such as paper or wood, or the direction or molecular orientation in a nonfibrous material.

Grammage
The weight in grams of one square metre of material.

Gravure
A method of printing that uses cells etched or engraved into the surface of a metal cylinder to meter and correctly pattern the ink.

Heat seal
A method of joining two surfaces by heat-fusing them or their coatings together.

High density polyethylene
A hydrocarbon polymer that has linear chains allowing for dense packing.
 
Hot melt adhesive
An adhesive, solid at room temperature, that is liquefied by heat, applied molten, and forms a bond by cooling and solidifying.

Injection blow moulding
A method of manufacturing plastic bottles and jars in which a preform or parison is injection moulded rather than blow moulded.

Injection moulding
A method of moulding plastic materials in which the polymer melt is injected into a closed mould, the cavity shape of which is identical to the desired part shape and which encloses the part on all surfaces.

Letterpress
A printing process using relief plates similar to flexography.

Lithography
A printing method that is based on the mutual repellency of oil and water.

Low density polyethylene
A branched hydrocarbon polymer that differs from high density polyethylene in that significant side branching prevents dense packing of the molecules.

Marketing
The management processes of identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer needs, in a profitable way.

Micro organisms
Living organisms, invisible to the naked eye. Bacteria, yeasts and moulds are all examples of micro organisms which live on our food.

Micron
A term for a micrometre, 1 millimetre = 1,000 micrometres.
 
Modified atmosphere packaging
A packaging method in which the atmosphere contained within a pack has been changed to contain carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen in proportions different from normal air, to increase shelf life.

Nylon (polyamide)
A polymer made by the reaction of a dibasic acid and an amine.
 
Offset printing
An indirect printing process in which the inked image created by the image-producing plate is transferred to an intermediate roll and subsequently applied to the substrate.
 
Orientation
The process of mechanically stretching plastic film or parts in order to produce an alignment of molecules.

Packaging line
A group of integrated special-purpose machines that combine product and packaging inputs and produce a new product.

Pallet
A portable platform on which groups of packs are unitised into a single load to facilitate efficient distribution.

Parison
A partially formed glass shape that will be blown into a glass container, or the extruded plastic tube that will be moulded into a bottle.
 
Pasteurisation
Short-time heat treatment used to slow down the growth of micro organisms. Commonly used to treat fresh milk.

Persona
In packaging design a pack is often described as if it were a person. The persona of a pack should be similar to that of the targeted customer.

Plastic
Any material capable of being formed or shaped.

Polyester (PET)
A polymer made by the reaction of a dibasic acid and a glycol.

Polymer
A large molecule composed of repeating units.

Polypropylene (PP)
A hydrocarbon polymer polymerised from propylene gas.
 
Polystyrene (PS)
A hard, brittle and exceptionally clear polymer.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
A material used for thermoformed pharmaceutical blister packs.
 
Primary pack
The consumer unit of a product purchased and taken home by the consumer.

Screen printing
A decorating method that uses a metal or plastic mesh screen that has been masked or blocked off in the nonprinting areas.

Secondary pack
A pack or containment of a primary pack.

Shrink wrap
A plastic film, usually polyethylene, polypropylene or polyvinyl chloride, that is wrapped loosely about a product or group of products and then made to shrink and conform tightly about the products by the brief application of heat.

Specification
A document or set of documents detailing the exact dimensional, aesthetic and functional requirements of each component in a packaging system and the assembled product.

Tamper evident closure
A closure system having an indicator or barrier to entry, which, if breached, or missing, can reasonably be expected to provide visible evidence to consumers that tampering has occurred.

Thermoforming
A method of forming plastics in which a plastic sheet material is heated to a point where it is soft and formable.

Threaded closure
A closure that is applied by engaging an incorporated thread with a matching thread on the container finish.

Tin free steel
Black plate that has been treated with chromium or chromium oxide to enhance corrosion resistance.
 
Tinplate
Steel sheet coated on both sides with a thin layer of pure tin.

Unit load
The assembly of multiple containers into a single combined load that can be handled more efficiently by machinery.

Vacuum forming
A thermoforming method in which a softened plastic sheet is pulled into shape by applying a vacuum.
 
Vacuum packaging
A method of packaging where the air is withdrawn from the primary pack.

Viscosity
A measure of a fluid’s resistance to flow.