Types of Flutes and Their Thickness Inches
Unlike paperboard folding cartons, corrugated material is made up of several types of flutes. These different flute sizes vary in thickness, allowing for a wide range of possibilities in packaging materials.
An A flute is the thickest of single-wall fluting materials, offering great crush resistance and stacking strength. It also provides a good surface for printing.
The E flute is a very fine flute, with good crush resistance and compression strength. It is a great choice for lightweight retail cartons and offers an excellent printing surface. It can be used for point of purchase boxes and is suitable for screen, flexo or new generation litho printing.
It is also possible to combine fluting types to create double-walled materials. These grades are often used for transit and shipping cartons, as they offer great protection and a high-quality printing surface. Examples of these are the EB and BC flutes, which are combination of B and C flutes to form a strong, rigid structure.
These are often the preferred options for bespoke packaging, as they allow for better structural integrity and print quality without compromising on the box’s design or cost. They are suitable for the majority of product sizes and are ideal for high-quality graphic prints. In addition, they are lightweight and easy to handle, making them perfect for transportation and logistics.
The F-flute is the thinnest of all flute profiles. It is a great option for small, lightweight packaging, especially in food and beverage industries. This profile also offers a high-quality printing surface, making it ideal for decorative packaging.
The C flute is the second thickest, measuring 3.2 millimeters-11/64 inch in thickness and having 41 flutes per linear foot. It is an excellent choice for shipping cases because it resists crusting and compression, and provides an exceptional print surface for branding and marketing materials. It is also a good choice for mailer boxes because it resists crushing and provides a strong structure to keep your items safe in transit.
Double-wall corrugated fiberboard consists of three layers of linerboard and two layers of fluting. It is used for products that require extra insulating and content protection, such as pallet packs. It also provides sufficient stacking strength and features a laminated printed top sheet. It is available in several different wall thicknesses, known as flute sizes.
The thickness of a flute is one of the most important considerations for designing custom corrugated fiberboard. Each type of flute profile has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. For instance, the size of the wave-shaped arches known as fluting affects everything from shipping strength to printability and cushioning.
B-flute has a lower arch height than A-flute and more flutes per foot, so it provides superior crush resistance, stacking strength and printability. It is also easier to fold and can be used for more intricate designs.
E-flute is thinner than both B and C flute, so it’s a good choice for lightweight packaging. It has excellent crush resistance and great print quality, but it doesn’t have the best puncture or compression resistance so it isn’t recommended for heavy-duty applications. E-flute can be combined with B flute to make a double-walled carton for more substantial products. This type of carton is called EB or BC flute.
The C flute came along next to split the difference between A and B. With 42 flutes per foot, it is thinner than A and thicker than B and offers a good balance of stacking strength and printing capabilities. It is believed to be used in over 80% of today’s corrugated boxes.
Larger flute profiles deliver greater vertical compression strength and cushioning protection, while smaller fluting gives you a higher quality print surface for retail packaging. Depending on your packaging requirements, you can mix and match different flute types in a single piece of combined board to manipulate printability, compression strengths and cushioning capacities.
Double-walled material like EB and BC flute is an excellent option for transit containers and items that require extra transit protection. Combining a thinner A flute with a larger C flute creates a robust alternative to paperboard folding cartons and is commonly used in e-commerce mailers, POP displays and more intricate packaging designs.