How a Cardboard Box Is Made
Cardboard boxes are a commodity we might take for granted. When we order products off of the Internet, they arrive on our doorstep packaged neatly inside of a cardboard box. We use cardboard boxes when we move to a different apartment, and we also use them to wrap up presents for loved ones during the holidays. These sturdy boxes come in handy, but how are they made?
First things first, a cardboard box is made up of recycled materials. This includes the flute and the liners. Although the flute is inserted between two liners, both components typically consist of material from recycled cardboard. But a cardboard box has to start somewhere before it is recycled.
It all starts with the trees. We all know that paper is made from trees, and the same rings true for cardboard. Softwood trees turn into the best cardboard since they have long fibers, which hold more tension and produce burst resistant boxes. Examples of softwood trees include Fir, Spruce, and Pine trees. Typically, Scandinavian Softwood trees produce boxes of a dark brown color while Russian Softwood trees create cardboard containing dark patches and variations of its brown color.
Now that we know which trees are used, how do they actually transform into cardboard? Well, the trees are first chopped into logs, debarked and chipped. Next, the trees either undergo mechanical or chemical pulping.
After the chips are broken down into a brown raw material to be made into paper or cardboard, the fluting process begins. Fluting is a fancy word for the wavy piece of cardboard you see in between two straight pieces of paper, or liners. Fluting makes the cardboard box strong enough to hold material and resistant to damage.
After all the pieces of cardboard have been properly fluted and lined, the cardboard box is sprayed with an adhesive to act as a protectant, as well as to help assemble the final product into the shape of a box. So there you have it – a simple product, a complex process.