Process of Making Cardboard

Written by alexa mergen
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Process of Making Cardboard
Making a cardboard box requires several steps. (cardboard box image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com)

Cardboard enables goods to be packaged and shipped easily and with less weight than wooden crates. The secret to cardboard's effectiveness is its wavy-looking corrugated (or crimped) centre. The process of making cardboard starts with debarking trees and ends with glue-like starch.

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Trees to Pulp

Cardboard is made from pine trees. Trees are debarked by passing through a ring-type debarker, a rotating ring of knives like a giant pencil sharpener. Debarked trees are then chipped. The chips go into a pressurised tank to undergo the kraft process, which makes pulp. In this process, used in approximately 80 per cent of paper production, chemicals break down the lignin, the organic substance that binds plant cells and, in trees, holds the wood fibres together. The resulting wood pulp is pressed into rolls of paper.

Process of Making Cardboard
Cardboard is made from trees. (Pine Trees image by Antonio Oquias from Fotolia.com)

Pulp to Paper

Cardboard consists of three layers of paper--a corrugated sheet (the medium) between two flat sheets (liners)--held together with starch.

Process of Making Cardboard
The wavy layer in cardboard creates strength. (angled corrugated cardboard image by leafy from Fotolia.com)

Three Strong Layers

Considering that it consists only of three layers of paper, cardboard is strong, due to the corrugated material's fluted middle layer that lends strength. Stacked boxes, with the flutes lining up in the vertical dimension, are especially strong.

Process of Making Cardboard
Cardboard's strength and light weight make its use ubiquitous in shipping cartons. (warehouse image by Niki from Fotolia.com)

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