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How Cardboard Moving Boxes are Made
Cardboard moving boxes have been used for moving and shipping since the late 1800's.Cardboard boxes were first commercially produced in England in 1817, and the first cardboard box made in the United States was made in 1895.Usage of cardboard boxes increased when the Kellogg brothers pioneered the use cardboard boxes as cereal containers.
Not just any box can be a moving box.Cardboard moving boxes need to be lightweight and cushion what is packed in them, while still being strong and protecting their contents.Because of this, most cardboard moving boxes are made from corrugated boxes, which have strong layers called liners and cushioning layers called corrugating medium.Understanding how cardboard moving boxes are made can help you better choose which moving boxes are right for you and how you should use them.
Cardboard moving boxes are made in factories called box plants.Huge rolls of long, thin sheets of cardboard are kept in the box plant's warehouse until they are needed.Cardboard moving boxes are usually made of recycled cardboard, with the corrugating medium being made up of the most recycled material.
The first step in making the cardboard into cardboard moving boxes is to make what is called the corrugating medium.The corrugating medium is a layer of ridged paper.Sheets of cardboard are heated to make them easier to bend.Then they go into a line of machines called a corrugating line or corrugators.The corrugating line has two ridged rolls that press against each other.One or more layers of cardboard (the amount of layers used depends on how strong the box needs to be - for stronger boxes more layers are used) go between the ridged rolls and are pressed together into one sold, corrugated (ridged) piece.The ridges are called flutes.Different amounts and sizes of flutes can be made and depends on what the box will be used for.
The next step in making cardboard moving boxes is to apply glue to one side of the flutes and press a flat piece of cardboard - called a liner - against it.Once the corrugated cardboard has a liner on one side, it is called a singleface corrugated board.Singleface corrugated board is sometimes used to protect breakable objects; for example, you may have seen a singleface corrugated board inside a box of light bulbs.
Next, a liner is glued to the other side, and the cardboard becomes a single wall corrugated board.Most moving boxes are made of single wall corrugated board, but if a stronger cardboard box is needed, another layer of corrugating medium and a third liner can be added.The cardboard is then known as a double wall corrugated board.If the box is being made to carry very heavy products, three layers of corrugating medium and four liners will be used to make a triple wall corrugated board.
Once the board is made, it needs to be converted into a box; so next, it goes into a converting machine.Converting machines cut the board to the right size and shape.Some converting machines also glue and fold the board into a box shape.In that case is folded so that it can be shipped flat, and the converting machine puts creases where the box can easily be folded into shape by the customer later.Some converting machines only cut and crease the board, and the customer must glue it together on their own.
The flat cardboard moving boxes are then put into bundles to be shipped; boxes are one of the few things not shipped in boxes.There are over 1,600 box plants in North America today.