Different Types of Plastic Corrugated

Answers from the expert

Question: Can you please explain the different types of Plastic Corrugated?
Answer: Yes, there are several variations of plastic corrugated with different configurations and different advantages.
The first and most common is Profile Sheet.

Example: Corrugated Profile Sheet
Different Types of Plastic Corrugated

Plastic corrugated profile sheet is available in both polyethylene and polypropylene from 2mm up to 25mm in thickness. It is made by an extrusion process forcing heated resin through a hardened metal die. When the resin is pressed through the die it creates a sheet that has flat surfaces to both sides and an I-beam structure between the two flat surfaces.
Profile Sheet is the most diverse to work with since it is available in so many different thicknesses and can be extruded at variable weights.

The next sheet type is Laminated Sheet.

Plastic corrugated laminated sheet comes is only available in Polyethylene. Laminated sheet is made in a very similar way to paper corrugated fiber. Most commonly made with two flat sheets on each side with a third wave pattern sheet in the middle. Instead of glue being used to attach the sheets together they are brought together while the resin is hot and the layers are melted together. There is another form of laminated sheet called single face. This version only has one flat side and the wave pattern is exposed on the opposite side. Single face laminated sheet can be rolled and is much more pliable than the standard laminated sheet.

Example: Corrugated Laminated Sheet

Plastic Corrugated

The newest and last variation of Corrugated Plastic is Honeycomb or Bubble sheet

Available in polypropylene and comes in multiple thicknesses. It has two flat surfaces with either a honeycomb type pattern in the middle or a bubble format in the middle. It has better rigidity in both directions and is incredibly flat on the sides. Although more expensive than the other two options this sheet variation has some performance advantages in particular applications.

No matter what combination is best suited for your project corrugated plastic is a perfect replacement when there is an opportunity to reuse the packaging or the packaging or display needs to withstand weather or other variables in the environment. Unlike paper products it is also archive safe and does not contaminate the environment like paper dust making it a great alternative for clean room applications. It can also be customized economically when compared to molded plastic products or thermal formed products.

Example: Corrugated Plastic Honeycomb or Bubble sheet

Corrugated Plastic Bubble Sheet

Durability of Plastic vs Fiber Corrugated

Question: How much longer do plastic corrugated boxes last than paper corrugated boxes?

Answer: This will depend on both its usage as well as the environment.

In the most common scenarios you can expect the following. You may get longer or shorter usage results depending on the environment, weather and usage or handling situations.

Durability of Plastic vs Fiber Corrugated

We have seen scenarios where our customers have seen over 100 times the usage of trips that their old paper/fiber boxes had made. There are other cases that saw fewer usages because of the abuse that the boxes or totes take in their system.

Some of our customers have had our plastic containers in use after decades of service.

If you are currently getting more than one use from your paper/fiber corrugated box then you are a perfect candidate to switch to plastic corrugated. The most important thing is that you can reuse the container, tote or tray.

When using plastic corrugated as a storage unit the material id either polypropylene or polyethylene and is unaffected by moisture and most all chemicals so the life in these circumstances could be indefinite.

UV exposure can have an effect on plastics of all kinds. Sun exposure can have adverse effects over time. Even long-term UV lighting can eventually deteriorate plastics although indoor lighting has much less effect than outdoor UV exposure. Even the color of the plastic can determine effects of UV exposure with colors like red being less tolerant to UV lighting.

Bottom line when it comes to durability and long-term saving changing over from your fiber corrugated containers to corrugated plastic ones is a smart investment in the long run.

One Case Study:

Wal-Mart was using a fiber corrugated distribution box with an average usage of 2 ½ trips per container. During the initial case study, we had the same container made from our plastic corrugated making over 80 trips in some cases between Distribution Center and Retail Stores.

Custom Corrugated Recyclers

Q) Can I customize one of your recyclers?

A) Yes, absolutely.

Any of our recyclers can be customized for your needs.

Custom Corrugated Recyclers

We have standard recyclers available in our online store with various lid combinations at https://plasticpkgsolutions.com/product-category/recycling-bins/ as well as custom variations that may or may not require any tooling at https://plasticpkgsolutions.com/recyclers/.

In addition, we can custom design and manufacture a recycler to your exact specifications.

Corrugated Plastic Recyclers are an ideal product as they are very light weight and durable as well as having the ability to ship and store flat to save on your shipping and storage costs.

Your options are endless as far as configuration, colors and size.

One of the great things about the corrugated plastic recyclers is that it that they are not effected by moisture or chemicals making it your best choice for reusability while still maintaining a very lightweight container. Our recyclers can be used with or without a liner.

We can print you unit with whatever message you want to share with your users. It can be as simple as a one color recycle message to a 4-color process advertisement. You can print your message on just the body or add an additional message on the lid.

It is also possible to design the lid to be permanently attached the body for applications that may not require needing to remove the lid completely.

The options are virtually endless and are dependent on your needs and application for your Recycling Unit.

Corrugated Plastic for a room divider?

  1. Laminated Polyethylene Corrugated Plastic Sheet - 53.5in x 58inQ) I’m looking for a roll of corrugated plastic to be used as a room divider and need it to be approximately 38 ft long and 6-8 ft wide. Can we add two heavy duty grommets on each end and is the material available in cardinal “Stanford” red?
  2. A) Thanks for your inquiry. Sorry, but the rolled corrugated plastic is only available up to a 53” in width.For the project, you are considering I would suggest using 4’ x 8’ corrugated plastic sheets. You could add grommets if needed to link the panels together with something like cable ties. This would allow you to accordion fold the sheets when not in use.

We do sell quantities as low as 50 sheets in our laminated corrugated plastic product line available in a standard red but laminated sheet is only available in 4mm thickness. I would highly suggest using our profile corrugated plastic sheet. The advantage of our profile corrugated plastic sheet is that it can be ordered in a much thicker “heavier” profile giving more structure to your walls. I would suggest something like our 10mm or heavier would be helpful for the added structural integrity.

You would most likely have to paint the sheets because in the smaller quantities that you are needing we only have standard red available not a cardinal “Stanford University” red. We do offer custom matched colors in much larger quantities.

I hope this was of some assistance to you and feel free to contact me for more information or details.

 

Best Regards,

Tom

Plastic Corrugated Boxes Tooling

Q) Why do plastic corrugated boxes need tooling when fiber corrugated boxes don’t?

A) This is a very good question.

You are correct that many standard design styles like a regular RSC (regular slotted container) do not need tooling or cutting dies when manufactured from fiber corrugated. They are most often manufactured on equipment that can score the box and cut the top and bottom flap slots without the need for a cutting die. These are most often the standard boxes that you would require you to tape the flaps down when closing the box. Many other styles like a pizza style box require tooling for either plastic corrugated or fiber corrugated boxes.
The reason this standard equipment cannot be used for plastic corrugated is that the plastic does not cut or score (crease) as easily as fiber corrugated boxes. The plastic corrugated wants to stretch and tear when attempting to run the material on standard box equipment. So, in order to get clean cuts or strong creases to allow the container to fold correctly the plastic corrugated needs to be cut and creased with a tool or cutting die.
Tooling or cutting dies for plastic corrugated are priced very similar to the cutting dies needed for fiber corrugated. They are manufactured from wood and steel rule. The die or tooling can either be made flat or curved depending on the type of equipment that will be used to produce your product. The steel rule has either a sharp edge for cutting or a flat or rounded edge for creasing to make the folds in the container. The main difference is that plastic corrugated needs different cutting edges as well as a slightly different scoring configuration. Plastic corrugated also needs additional pressure due to the memory of the material during the die cutting process to cut and crease the plastic.
When we are producing containers or other parts from heavier gauges of plastic corrugated we often use a special tool and heated die cutter to not only cut and crease the plastic but to heat the scoring to allow the item fold easier after production.
Example of a flat cutting die:

Plastic Corrugated Boxes Tooling

Reusable Plastic Corrugated Box

Q) If I shouldn’t use tape for closing a reusable plastic corrugated box what are my other options?

A) Here is a list of a few optional closures to take the place of using tape for your reusable carton.

• Self-Locking Flaps
• Auto-Lock Flaps
• Velcro
• Magnets
• Buckles
• Webbing with Buckles or Other Closures
• Seat Belt Type System
• Hard Fasteners (Screws, Bolts, etc.)
• Locking Tabs (Tongue Lock, Wing Lock, etc.)
• Change the box design style to a self-closing box. (Example: RETT or RELF “pizza box style”)

Here is the reason why:
If you tape a box or carton closed almost every time the person opening the box at its destination will use some kind of sharp cutting tool like a razor box opener to “cut” the tape to get your carton opened. There is a good chance that that same tool used to cut the tape will end up cutting in to your box as well.
The use of optional closures that do not require a sharp tool to open your box or carton will help assure that it will have a long and useful life in your reusable system.
In cases where tape must be used for security reasons than a release label can be applied to the box. The release label has a permanent adhesive on one side that is applied to the plastic corrugated box or carton and has a proprietary plastic coating on the opposite surface that does not allow for labels or tape to adhere well to its surface. If one or both of the ends of the tape overlap this label it will not adhere well to the release coating on the label. This allows the person unpacking the container to more easily grab the end of the tape on the release label and pull the tape from the container instead of using a sharp tool to cut the tape.

Tape and Plastic Corrugated Boxes

Q) Should I use tape on a plastic corrugated box?
A) Good question. “NO”!!!
I would have to say a BIG NO 95% of the time.

Plastic Corrugated Boxes

The only exceptions would be if the plastic box or carton is being used for a one-time shipment or it is being shipped by common carrier like FedEx, UPS or freight shipper and it must be secured with tape with the intent to get it back for re-use.

Let me try to explain in a little further detail.
Most customers use plastic corrugated products because they are durable and can be used time and time again. They are considered “reusable” packaging.
It is not very common that a customer pays the added expense for plastic corrugated in place of fiber corrugated to use the container for a onetime use. We have sold products that have been used as a onetime use package because of international shipping requirements or for the added protection for an expensive, sensitive or fragile product. It has also been used for one time usage for promotional items because of the attractive appearance plastic packaging has over paper or fiber type packaging.
So, since plastic corrugated is most commonly used for its reusable properties using tape to close the box or carton can be asking for trouble.

Here is the reason why:
If you tape a box or carton closed almost every time the person opening the box at its final destination will use some kind of sharp cutting tool like a razor box opener to “cut” the tape to get your carton opened. “YIKES”, what happens when someone cuts the tape? They will most assuredly cut the box at the same time. You invested in the plastic corrugated box because it can be used repeatedly. The last thing you want it for someone to start cutting it up with a sharp blade!
There are many options that can be used in place of taping or if tape must be used there are options we can add to help prevent the use of a cutting tool to open the taped carton or box.