Packaging Glossary

Packaging Terms

The packaging industry can be very confusing at times and Kaufman Container is here to help! Below you will see a variety of packaging terms and their definitions. If you would like any further clarification, contact us and one of our Account Managers will reach out to you to schedule a time to chat.

Acid Etching: A decorating process that creates a frosted look by immersing a glass container in a chemical solution (hydrofluoric acid) that reacts with the surface of the glass.

Aluminum Barrier Laminated Tube (ABL): The benefits of an aluminum tube with the look and feel of plastic. Layers = (Plastic, EVOH, Aluminum, EVOH, Plastic).

Bird Swings: A quality issue that occurs with glass where a string of glass is hanging across the inside of a defective glass container. This is also referred to as a birdcage.

Blisters: A quality issue that occurs with glass when there are bubbles in the glass.

Blow and Blow: The glass molding process where compressed air forces the molten gob into a partially shaped container in the blank side of the forming machine. From there it is transferred to the blow mold where compressed air is used to finish the shape.

Blow Mold: Cavity that receives the preform, which will be blow into the desired shape.

Blow Pin: Used in Extrusion Blow Molding. Hollow tube that pierces the preform and introduces air to blow preform into shape of blow mold.

Capacity: The measure, by volume, of the maximum amount that can be contained in a vessel.

Carbon Spots: A quality issue that occurs with glass when all of the graphite does not burn off during the molding process. You can identify carbon spots by little black specs in your glass.

Cavity: The part of the mold which contains reverse image of the product being formed.

Checks: A quality issue that occurs with glass that has small cracks in the glass.

Cold Fill: When filling a bottle or container, a cold fill is considered a processing temperature that falls between 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Continuous Thread: A continuous helical bead extending around the neck of the container onto which a closure, with a matching helical bead is screwed.

Debossing: A decorating process where the design is heat-pressed into the surface of the bottle, creating a depressed or indented image.

Embossing: A decorating process where an image or lettering “raises” on the bottle created during the glass molding process.

Extrusion Blow Molding (EBM): A molding process whereby heat-softened polymer is forced into the shape of a hollow tube. While still soft, a mold closes around the tube, pinching the top and bottom of the tube closed. A blow pin is introduced and air is forced through the pin forcing the tube to take the shape of a blow mold cavity.

Finish: The upper portion of the container in which the threads for capping are located.

Flame Treating: A method of rendering inert thermoplastic objects receptive to inks, lacquers, paints, adhesives etc. in which the object is bathed in an open flame to promote oxidation of the surface of the article.

Flash: Extra plastic attached to molded ware along the parting line, which must be removed before the part can be considered finished.

Fluorination: A process that seals the entire container inside and out, creating a double-sided barrier to resist permeation.

Gate: Used in Injection, Injection Blow and Injection Stretch Blow Molding. The orifice through which the heat-softened polymer enters the cavity.

HDPE: Abbreviation for High-Density Polyethylene. HDPE is a polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum. HDPE plastic has good impact strength and is resistant to most chemicals. HDPE is commonly used for personal care, household chemical and automotive products. SPI resin identification code #2.

Heat Transfer Labeling: A decorating process in which the bottle and label carrier is heated so that the graphic is released from the carrier and transferred to the bottle by a special thermally activated application process. The bottle is then reheated so that the label bonds with the glass surface.

Hopper: Conical feed reservoir into which polymer pellets are loaded. These pellets then fall into a heated barrel (Plastifier), sometimes through a metering device.

Hot Fill: When filling a bottle or container, a hot fill is considered a processing temperature that falls between 150 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

Injection Blow Molding (IBM): A molding process in which heat-softened polymer is injected from a Plastifier into a mold cavity creating a Preform. This is then transferred to a Blow Mold where air is blown into the Preform, forcing it to take the shape of the Blow Mold Cavity.

Injection Molding: A molding process whereby a heat-softened polymer is injected from a Plastifier into a relatively cool cavity, which gives the article the desired shape.

Injection Stretch Blow Molding: A molding process whereby preforms are introduced into a cavity, stretched axially by a stretch rod, and then blow circumferentially to the shape of the blow mold cavity.

Label Panel: The portion of a container designed to accept a decoration or label.

LDPE: Abbreviation for Low-Density Polyethylene. LDPE is a thermoplastic made from the monomer ethylene. LDPE is typically made in a translucent or opaque color, is quite flexible and is almost unbreakable. SPI resin identification code #4.

Lehr: A continuous-belt oven for annealing, fusion ceramic color and control the cooling of glass.

Lug Thread: An intermittent external protrusion extending around the neck of the container onto which a lug style closure attaches. Unlike the continuous thread, lug style thread does not have a continuous bead.

MDPE: A blend between LDPE and HDPE plastic. MDPE is useful in squeeze containers where more rigidity than LDPE and less rigidity than HDPE is required.

Mold: Contains the cavity or cavities of a desired part in which a heat-softened polymer is shaped.

Narrow Neck Press and Blow: A glass molding process where a metal plunger forces the gob into the shape of the blank mold. The parison is then inverted and compressed air blows the container into its final shape. The plunger is much smaller in diameter for this technique compared to the Wide Mouth Press and Blow.

Neck: The portion of the container including the orifice to which a closure is attached.

Orifice: The opening in a container through which product is dispensed. Its size and design are commonly specified on dispensing caps and fitments to control the delivery of contents.

Orifice Reducer: A plug or fitment that is formed with a controlled-diameter opening through which the product is dispensed.

Overcaps: A secondary closure of plastic or metal that fits over the primary closure or seal mechanism. The overcap protects the primary closure from accidentally dispensing.

Overflow Capacity: The volume measurement of a container to the point of overflow.

Parison: A plastic tubular form produced by extrusion or injection molding.

PolyCarbonate (PC): PolyCarbonate is a rigid and strong plastic material that has excellent clarity but poor barrier properties. SPI resin identification code #7.

Phenolic: Phenol Formaldehyde which is a thermosetting plastic. Phenolic caps can be produced in dark colors only.

Plug: A closure that is pressed into the bottle neck opening to close off the passage.

Post-Consumer Resin (PCR): A blend of reclaimed natural HDPE and virgin resin. The recycled material is cleaned, ground and recompounded into uniform pellets along with prime virgin material especially designed to build up environmental stress crack resistance. PCR has no odor but exhibits a slight yellow tint in its natural state. This tint can be hidden by the addition of color. PCR can be produced in a variety of recycled content percentages up to 100%.

PET or PETE: Abbreviations for Polyethylene Terephthalate. PET is a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family and is used in synthetic fibers, beverage, food and other liquid containers. PET is known for its crystal clear appearance and is a lightweight plastic. SPI resin identification code #1.

PETG: Polyethylene Terephthalate with a Glycol modifier added. PETG is a durable material with excellent gloss, clarity and sparkled desired for clear bottles. PETG can be processed via conventional extrusion blow molding methods.

Plastifier: Assembly whereby polymer pellets are fed from a hopper into a barrel where they drop onto a turning screw which forces the pellets forward. Heater bands wrapped around the barrel melt the pellets as they are forced forward along the inside of the barrel. The molten polymer is then forced out the end of the barrel through the nozzle.

Preform: Used in blow molding processes. Heat softened-polymer is formed into a shape similar to a thick test tube with neck threads. This tube is subsequently inflated while inside a blow mold to create the shape of the desired article.

PolyPropylene (PP): PolyPropylene is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications including packaging and labeling. PP has good resistance to fatigue which is why its commonly used in caps and closures. SPI resin identification code #5.

Pressure Sensitive Labeling: A decorating process where the transfer of a graphic image on a pre-cut adhesive backed film is applied to the bottle or container.

Polystyrene: Polystyrene is made from the monomer styrene, a liquid petrochemical. Polystyrene is typically Clear in color but is hard and brittle. SPI resin identification code #6.

PVC: Abbreviation for Poly (Vinyl-Chloride). By today’s recyclability standards, PVC has lost favor in consumer use, but is still a popular choice for oils and other chemicals. SPI resin identification code #3.

Ratchet: Non-removable finish and closure finish system that resists rotational movement so as to be rendered substantially non-removable by the consumer.

Recycle: The ability to capture, reprocess and reuse a primary material in a productive manner after its first use has been completed.

Regrind: A thermoplastic from a processor’s own production that has been reground or re-pelletized after having been previously processed by molding.

Screen Printing & Silk Screen Printing: Screen printing is a form of decoration where ink is directly printed onto a container. The ink is forced through a mesh screen and is then printed onto the bottle by a squeegee. Once the ink is applied, it is cured under UV or LED lights to ensure the ink sticks to the bottle and will not smear or rub off. 

Shrink Sleeve Labeling: A decorating process in which a full body PVC or PETG pre-printed sleeve is applied over the bottle and shrunk with heat or steam to fit the contour of the bottle.

Spray Frosting: A decorating process that involves spray coating containers to create a frosted, matte translucent appearance.

Stones: A quality issue that occurs in glass when there are foreign inclusions in the glass

Stretch Rod: Used in Injection Stretch Blow Molding. A rod that is introduced into the preform to stretch it in an axial direction prior to the preform being blown into the shape of the cavity.

Tamper Evident: Any device that will show visible signs that the container has been opened.

Thermal Deflection: Some food and beverage bottles are filled at elevated temperatures to kill germs or improve fill line efficiencies. At temperatures over 140 degrees, PET bottles can soften. The bottle creates an internal vacuum as the products cool causing the bottles to distort. This is called Thermal Deflection.

Torque: The measurement of force needed to apply or remove a threaded closure from a threaded bottle finish.

Type 1 Glass: Glass that is made from borosilicate, which has a highly resistant composition. Type 1 Glass is commonly used for pharmaceutical or fine chemical products that are sensitive to PH changes.

Type 2 Glass: Glass that is made from commercial soda lime glass that has been de-alkalized to obtain a great improvement in chemical resistance.

Type 3 Glass: Glass that is made of untreated commercial soda-lime and has an average or somewhat above average chemical resistance. It is the most common in use and is compatible with most items including food, beverages, beauty products and chemicals.

Unishell: a closure that is made from tin-plated steel and is designed to fit standard 400 CT finishes. Conceptualized and designed to give to the finished product an attractive and trendy look, the Unishell® hides the threads inside the closure, consequently showing an elegant and smooth external side.

Urea: Urea Formaldehyde. A thermosetting compound used to produce light colored plastic closures.

Vial: A cylindrical container often made from glass or plastic tubing

Warm Fill: When filling a bottle or container, a warm fill is considered a processing temperature that falls between 90 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wide Mouth: Containers with a large finish opening or those that have a larger finish size in proportion to their capacity.

Wide Mouth Press and Blow: A glass molding process where a metal plunger forces the gob into the shape of the blank mold. The parison is then inverted and compressed air blows the container into its final shape.

70G-450: Also known as home canning style closures with or without a vacuum button.