Is the Cardboard I buy fit for purpose?

Published - 28th Feb 2023

Is it strong enough, too strong, over-engineered or not performing?

Customers may not be aware that rather than just being single or double wall options there are a whole variety of board grades available within these categories, which have different levels of performance and strength. But how do you know if the box you are buying is the correct strength?

You may be throwing your profit’s away on over-specified material, or you may be getting unnecessary breakages because the material is not strong enough.

Over the past six months, we have been developing our own theoretical data, along with trialling and testing different paper liners for different concepts off our Corrugator. The most exciting of these trials was for paper made almost entirely of crop waste, and we have some updates on this to follow as we look to head into full production. Coupled with sampling our designs and cardboard to customers, the framework we have behind specification selection is a key capability and we would like to share this expertise.

Historically, the strength of a box or material was determined by the grams per square metre, (the weight of the material) but over the last two decades or so, the move away from the weight of liners as a measure, and the proactive move to more lightweight solutions and more concentration on the fibres in the board has gained momentum. Board manufacturers (including ourselves) are now able to offer liners and corrugated options based on performance, fibre length along with weight being an ‘important consideration’ rather than a determiner for strength.

What this translates to is an offering that contains a whole variety of flute types, board grades and paper thicknesses all off of our own Corrugator. Just by way of an example, on we are able to offer over 50 different board grades, all made in house

But how do we provide the expertise to select the right board grade, and how do our customers decide which board grades to use?

The answer to this is in three or four ways.

  • History and product/sector knowledge provide us with a 40-year framework of experience in recommending the right grade
  • Sampling either proves or disproves if a board grade is fit for purpose, and forms part of the order process
  • Our board grade calculator, based on our own paper offerings gives us a strong theoretical drop back.

All of these features are available to you now. Our new calculator which we have launched just this week analyses your packaging need and is dependent on your products.

if you are able to provide us with a little bit of information on what’s going in the box, how many what some of the environmental properties are such as length of storage and humidity, what the product type is (e.g. a tube, a glass or plastic bottle or even a specific product) we will be able to advise if your existing packaging is fit for purpose or if re-engineering is an option to improve performance or reduce cost

Is your current packaging suitable, and what are the other options?

A lot of the performance of the box is down to palletisation. If you already palletise your products we will be able to analyse the data to check the spec is where it should be. We also have the capability to help you with palletisation and suggest different patterns if necessary and nominate pallet stacking pattern for you to ensure you maximise transportation and performance of the packaging.


Do you have new products that require our experience to nominate suitable cardboard cases?


Using theoretical data, we have been able to nominate performance grades suitable for a host of different business sectors, from cosmetic products, cider and security devices to, yoghurts, medical devices and beds. We have also been able to design our own board grades off that of our corrugator.

The data we use follows the well-known formulas used to determine box performance such as edge crash and burst compression test data.

Theoretical data is exactly that, however, it provides an educated framework for product generation to a suggested specification and our experience is that samples are more likely to pass, and the product is more likely to perform with theoretical data to back it up.

Our Design Manager Matt Acott said:“This software has been selected by RH because it combines a number of complex algorithms that allow for perforations, scores, handholes and other constraints within Packaging Design.

Providing a service for our customers to help them with things like the stacking orientation of their product on a pallet or advising on a specific board grade gives them peace of mind that their needs are of paramount importance to us. Lean engineering is at the forefront of what we do, minimal waste and a ‘fit for purpose’ approach keep us focused”.

If you have a bespoke project you need advice on, please give us a call.

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