To fulfill the needs of high strength folding carton packaging, 3 main options come to mind : Folding boxboard, micro-flute (E, N, F) and solidboard.
Boxboard is the most commonly used board used for folding carton packaging. It offers interesting features regarding its strength, print quality and foldability but the maximum thickness available is 28-32 pts which may not be enough if the products need to be stacked on pallet with no corrugated box as an outer packaging.
To save on secondary packaging, E-flute is often considered as ‘’The Alternative’’. Due to its thickness (up to 56 pts), its strength is very good for the purpose. But printing on corrugated board has been historically the weak point in the production process. Commonly it has been a 2 steps process: Pre-print on rolls then laminate (E-Flute).
Since it is thinner, N and F-microflute sheets could be printed directly on an offset press. Skipping the lamination step is a great source of savings in dollars but also in production time. This allows more flexibility in the planning process. Being corrugated, micro-flute is a light weight option.
Solidboard is also an appropriate option for highly protective packaging. Solidboard is made with a core of recycled/virgin board which is laminated with several layers of paper and carton. Because its production is a lamination process, very specific need can be addressed. Depending on the type of each lamination layer and the type of glue used, solidboard may offer a high resistance to water, grease, and other barrier properties.
Solidboard vs N-flute properties