4 Types of Paper Grade for Packaging
When you are designing packaging for your brand and product, it’s important you know everything about it. It’s only with sound knowledge that you’ll be able to design a packaging box that tells a unique story and provides ample security for your product.
Paper grades play an important role in delivering a positive boxing experience for your customer. If questions like “What is paper grade?” and “What type of paper grade is ideal for my product?” stump you — read this blog.
We explain what are paper grades, highlight four of the most common paper-grades, and also go into detail about the pros and cons of each.
Demystifying Paper Grades
What are paper grades?
In packaging, paper grades refer to the various classifications and qualities of paper used for different applications. These grades determine the strength, durability, printability, and overall suitability of the paper for specific packing needs.
Other specifications that are also used to determine a paper grade are:
- Raw material used in making paper
- Moisture resistance
- Abrasive quality
- Colour — more yellowness or whiteness
4 Types of Popular Paper Grades
Here are some of the most common paper grades used in packaging:
1.Clay Coated News Blackboard (CCNB)
Clay coated news blackboards, commonly known as CCNB in industry jargon, are made of recycled secondary paper, newspaper, and old corrugated containers. It’s generally used for low-cost and light-weight folding packaging like pharmaceutical products, dry pet food, dry food, laundry detergents, and other non-food items.
It’s an eco-friendly option that is also affordable. One can achieve high-quality printing and vibrant graphics on CCNB. Many sustainable businesses prefer using CCNB because it’s made of recycled material that decreases the need for new paperboard production and reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
However CCNB has lower tensile strength and is prone to moisture absorption. These factors make it unsuitable for wet products. Another disadvantage of using this is that the clay coating can be difficult to remove.
What a quick example of CCNB? Think cereal boxes. That’s the quality of printing and durability you’ll get using this paper grade.
2.Folding Box Board (FBB)
What is a folding box board (FBB) paper grade?
Folding box board (FBB) is a high-quality paperboard grade commonly used in various packaging applications. This paper grade is known for its strength, durability, folding properties, and versatility.
FBBs are made from multiple layers of chemicals and pulp. It can withstand compression, tearing, and impact. The stiffer composition and properties make it an ideal option for fragile products or shipment packages.
FBBs are also preferred for its printing capabilities. The smooth surface lends itself to printing complex graphics and vibrant colours. If you’re looking to get your brand colours and logo on the boxes, look no further than folding box boards.
Another reason that makes FBBs popular is its versatility. This paper grade comes in various thicknesses and coatings that can cater to a wide range of product requirements. For instance, thicker boards offer more protection for heavy items, while lighter ones are suitable for smaller products. The coatings enhance printability and provide moisture and grease resistance.
Unfortunately, folding boards are made from fibre. It requires the cutting down of trees and by choosing this paper grade, you are indirectly contributing to the long-term damage of the environment.
3.Solid Bleached Sulfate (SBS)
Solid Bleached Sulfate (SBS) is a chemically pulped and bleached bright white-coloured paperboard. It’s regarded as a premium quality paperboard that is made from 100% virgin fibre.
The bleaching process gives the boxes a white finish, both inside and outside the box, that makes printing of high quality graphics and fonts possible. SBS’s quality also allows for special processes such as embossing and debossing, hot foil stamping, or spot UV printing. This flexibility to print on both sides of the box is another reason SBS is one of the popular paper grades.
Because of its strength and durability, SBS is commonly used for luxury goods, personal care items, retail products, cosmetics, baked items, and tobacco items.
However, it’s not all glory when it comes to SBS. SBS is produced from virgin fibres which means it involves active chopping down of trees. For businesses looking to be sustainable and eco-friendly, this isn’t the best option.
Bleached sulfate boards also come with a higher price tag. This can put them out of budget for companies. Lastly, like CCNB, solid bleached sulfate boards have poor water resistance.
4.Natural Kraft (SUS) and Coated Unbleached Kraft (CUK)
Natural kraft (SUS) and coated unbleached kraft is a paper grade that has a natural finish and unique earthiness quality to it. This is because unlike other paper grades (SBS and FBB) natural and unbleached kraft are not chemically processed.
Natural kraft paper has a distinctive brown colour due to the presence of lignin, a natural component of wood pulp that remains unbleached during the Kraft pulping process. It also has a coarse or slightly bumpy texture.
One of the key strengths of natural kraft paper is its exceptional tear resistance and tensile strength. This makes it ideal for heavy-duty packaging applications where durability is crucial.
As SUS is made from unbleached virgin wood pulp or a combination with up to 5% recycled material, this paper grade boasts of an eco-friendly profile.
While not as smooth as some other paperboard grades, SUS and CUK can still give good print results. Some even prefer its brown colour as it provides a different aesthetic backdrop for branding and designs.
What’s the Difference Between Natural Kraft and Unbleached Kraft?
The difference is actually in the coating. While, SUS is often coated with a naturally occurring clay coating that provides a smooth surface ideal for printing, CUK are coated with a layer of polyethylene (PE) resin The PE resin coating offers the paperboard some tear resistance, durability, and water/grease resistance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Paper Grades
What Paper Grade is Best?
This really depends on your industry, product’s weight and fragility, print requirements, and budget. For instance, natural kraft paper grade is a great choice for packaging and wrapping needs where strength, affordability, and a natural aesthetic are desired. For those with luxury products and higher budget, can opt for folding box boards.
What’s the Most Expensive Paper Grade?
Determining the absolute “most expensive” paper grade is challenging because price points can be dynamic and fluctuate based on manufacturer, type of paper, and current market conditions. Having said that, FBB is usually the most expensive paper grade from the four we have described in our blog.
OyeBoxes — Your One-Stop Packaging Partner
To understand which paper grade will be ideal for your product, talk to our team at Oye Boxes. We have 25 years of experience in printing and packaging. Our designers can deliver a rigid box prototype for you in two to three days. What are you waiting for? Give us a call and see how we can solve your packaging needs.