glossary

Here's a list of industry terms that will help you get a better understanding of the production process and what packaging elements are the best fit for your brand.

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3SS (3-side seal pouch)

  • Pouch sealed with a machine on 3 sides

A

AI (Aluminum/foil)

  • A thin foil, often laminated to the inside of packaging to provide maximum oxygen, aroma and water vapor barrier protection

B

Barrier

  • Material designed to prevent the penetration of water, oils or certain gases that lead to spoilage, color/consistency change, stale-tasting product; therefore increasing shelf life and effectiveness

Biodegradable

  • Eco-friendly that is decomposed by bacteria and other living organisms

BOPP (Biaxially-oriented Polypropylene) 

  • A variant of polypropylene that’s stretched flat, used for applications that require moisture resistance, optical clarity and high tensile strength

C

Child-resistant (CR) zipper

  • Type of packaging closure that is designed to reduce the risk of children opening a package and ingesting potentially harmful or hazardous products

Cold seal

  • Type of sealing process that can be used on heat-sensitive products without causing any melting or damage

Compostable

  • Products that break down into non-toxic components, with the assistance of heat, water, oxygen and microorganisms, nourishing the soil that it returns to
  • Compostable materials are biodegradable; however, not all biodegradable materials are compostable

Convertor

  • Company that  “converts” raw materials into finished products

Copolymer Resin

  • Resins that are made from flexible, tough, and clear plastic material

D

DOY Seal (aka doyen, round bottom or doypack)

  • One of the most common style of pouch bottoms, with a U-shape gusset that uses the bottom seal as “feet” to stand up on
  • Ideal for lightweight products (typically less than 1 lb)

E

EVOH (Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol)

  • Used in multi-layer films as a barrier to reduce the amount of oxygen that permeates the plastic
  • Will typically serve as a based layer, surrounded by other plastics such PET

F

Flat bottom stand up pouch

  • Type of pouch that is sealed on the sides and uses one continuous piece of film so that the product sits at the bottom of the pouch
  • Ideal use for heavier products

Flexible packaging

  • Type of packaging whose shape can readily be changed

G

Gusset

  • Fold in the side or bottom of the pouch, allowing it to expand when contents are inserted, allowing it to stand freely

H

Hang hole

  • Allows packages to be hung via hooks on retail shelving. 2 common types are round or sombrero hang holes

HDPE (High density polyethylene)

  • Versatile plastic made from strong, lightweight material that easily malleable and is widely recyclable in flexible and rigid forms

I

Impulse sealer (also known as heat sealer)

  • Can be used on a variety of plastics to strongly seal packaging

J

K

K-Seal

  • Type of pouch bottom, ideal for products weighing up to 5lbs

L

LDPE (Low density polyethylene)

  • Soft, flexible plastic with a low melting point
  • Product example: sandwich bag

LLDPE (Linear low density polyethylene)

  • Primarily used in film applications due to its toughness, flexibility, and relative transparency, with higher puncture resistance than LDPE
  • Product example: Saran or bubble wrap

M

Matte finish

  • Flat, non-shiny look used to play up image texture and is less susceptible to shine and fingerprints

Met BOPP (Metalized BOPP)

  • A BOPP film coated with a thin layer of metal (typically aluminum)

Metallic finish

  • Slightly glossy, metallic look used for artistic images to brighten colors and deepen saturation

MET PET (Metalized Polyethylene Terephthalate)

  • Same properties as PET, but with increased oxygen and water vapor barrier qualities

MVTR (Moisture Vapor Transfer Rate)

  • Standard indicator of how easily moisture can permeate a packaging film

N

O

OTR (Oxygen Transmission Ratio/Rate)

  • Measurement of the amount of oxygen gas that passes through a substance over a given period

P

PE (Polyethylene)

  • Most common and environmentally friendly type of plastic, used primarily for plastic bags and packaging

PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

  • Tough, temperature-resistant plastic, often combined with other films for heat sealability and improved barrier properties

Plow Bottom (aka plough, corner or folded bottom)

  • Type of pouch with no seal on the bottom, only sides of pouch, with product sitting flush on bottom
  • Ideal for heavier products (5+lbs)

PMS (Pantone Matching System) 

  • A proprietary color system used for color matching during the printing process

Polymer

  • A molecule comprised of many smaller molecules called monomers

Post Consumer Recyclable (PCR)

  • Content created by consumers after it has fulfilled its purpose/use that is diverted from landfills and repurposed into other commodities

PP (Polypropylene)

  • Has the lowest density all the plastics

Press to close (PTC or P2C) zipper

  • Type of zipper where consumers use their fingers to pull the brim apart and push the ribs together in order to open and close package

PVDC (Polyvinylidene Chloride PET)

  • Applied to plastics such as BOPP and PET as a water-based coating to increase barrier properties, giving the packaging a glossy finish and increase resistance to scuffing

Q

Quality Check (QC)

  • A step used in many stages of the production process, used to ensure that what is being produced is up to the appropriate and expected standards

R

Resin Identification Code (RIC)

  • Number on plastic packaging , enclosed in a triangular, used to guide recycling

S

Slitter

  • Machine used to convert a master roll into one or more narrower rolls

Solvent

  • A substance capable of dissolving another, such as a liquid which dissolves a solid

ST PET (Soft touch PET)

  • A type of film finish that gives packaging a unique, more luxurious texture

Stock keeping unit (SKU)

  • Unique code which distinguishes one product from another

Substrate

  • Any surface on which printing is done

SUP (stand up pouch)

  • Type of pouch with the ability to stand up, is sealed on both sides and around the bottom gusset.

T

Tear notch

  • Small, intentional tear in packaging, allowing for packaging to be easily opened

U

V

Variable data printing (VDP), also known as Variable Image Printing (VIP) or Variable Imaging (VI)

  • Type of digital printing that allows for unique text and graphics to be printed on each package, making it ideal for product launches, promotions, regional and event marketing
  • Brand protection, product authentication, track & trace and customer loyalty programs can all be enabled with a VDP solution

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

  • Toxic chemicals emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids, some of which may have short and long-term adverse health effects

W

Web

  • Roll of printing paper used in web or rotary printing

Window

  • Packaging feature that allows you to see the contents inside of a package

X

Y

Yield

  • Extent to which film can be stretched without tearing or puncturing

Z

Zipper

  • Feature that allows packaging to be reclosed or resealed to preserve freshness and minimize content spillage