Ever wondered how cardboard boxes are manufactured? Well don’t just wonder more, we would tell you in this blog the whole process of how the cardboard box you receive every time you order something, is made. 

Cardboard boxes start their journey from a natural resource called ‘trees’. Yes, just like paper, cardboard is made from trees as well. A cardboard box is made of flutes which are sandwiched between two liners. Fluting provides strength to the cardboard sheet and protect it from impact damage as well. In many cases these liners are made of recycled paper as well. However, every cardboard box ever made started out as a virgin paper (Kraft paper) which was made from a tree. High-quality cardboard boxes are still made from Virgin Kraft paper. 

Step how a cardboard box is made:

Sourcing:

The two liners of a cardboard sheet is made of test paper (inner lining) and Kraft paper (outer lining). The outer lining is made of Kraft paper for obvious reasons: for smoother finish and gives an easily printable surface. Kraft paper is made from softwood trees having long fibers such as Pine, Spruce, and Fur trees. On the flip side test papers are made from hardwood trees which have short fibers such as Oak, Sycamore, Birch etc. or many times from recycled paper. 

Pulping:

The process of pulping starts with cutting and lumbering tree logs. These logs are then put through a machine to be debarked and chipped. Once chipped, the chips are then put through pulping which could be of two types; mechanical or chemical. Pulping reduces the wood chips to individual cellulose fibers. Mechanical pulping is low cost as compared to chemical pulping. Pulping is done to reduce ‘lignin’ which is responsible for reducing paper quality. 

Fluting:

The process of fluting has been around since the 18th century which originally added ruffles to shirts and hats. The same was adopted for manufacturing cardboard boxes. To create the flutes, paper is fed into roller machines which give them the distinct ‘wavy’ finish. 

Production:

Production is the final step in the procedure, which sticks the fluted paper, the test paper and the Kraft paper together to form a cardboard sheet. Hot steam is sprayed on the paper which allows it to be pressed and a roller glues one side of the flute. The liners; inner and outer are then adhered to the board by another machine. The cardboard sheet is then outlines different styles for different categories of boxes such as slotted-types, telescope style, folder types etc. 

 Trimming and Bending:

The boards are then fed to a trimmer. A trimmer machine trims the cardboard designs by cutting the handles and flaps precisely with rubber blades. This creates scored lines on the sheet which helps a bending machine fold the boxes along these scored lines. 

Cardboard boxes are life to packaging. Climate concerns, global warming, sustainable living and eco-friendliness has pushed us to recycle most of the used cardboard to make new cardboard boxes. However, a chunk of cardboard boxes manufactured in the world is still made from trees. We might recycle 100% of cardboard boxes in future, till then we will witness the process of how cardboard boxes are made.