Folding box

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Sturdy folding box made of corrugated cardboard

Folding boxes are industrially prefabricated boxes , which saves space in collapsed condition from the manufacturer to the manufacturing companies come to there with simple hand movements or machine to a box folded up to be.

The design is a foldable box, which consists of a folding box body ( frame ) with a lateral connection running parallel to the height with attached bottom and lid flaps or attached plug-in bottom and lid.

Most boxes are already glued at the side seam at the factory. The customer has to apply light pressure on the sides of the folded box so that it unfolds into a fillable box.

Folding boxes primarily fulfill four functions:

  • You protect the goods,
  • They serve as an advertising medium ,
  • They guarantee the stackability of the goods and
  • They support the identification of the product by means of printed or affixed labels.


The boxes are classified depending on the material used (carton / cardboard ↔ corrugated cardboard) or the area of ​​application ( primary packaging ↔ transport packaging ).

a) Cardboard / cardboard or primary packaging

According to the classification system of the European Carton Makers Association (ECMA) for cardboard packaging, six categories of box types are distinguished.

b) Corrugated cardboard or shipping packaging

According to the classification system of the Fédération Européenne des Fabricants de Carton Ondule (FEFCO, transl. European Association of Corrugated Cardboard Manufacturers) and European Solid Board Organization (ESBO, transl. European Organization for Solid Cardboard ) - called FEFCO-ESBO code for short - eight categories of box types are identified for shipping packaging made of corrugated cardboard.


The dimensions are to be specified in the order A × W × H. Sometimes, instead of the A, the L.


A or L The measure between the side flaps
B. The other width dimension
H The height measured parallel to the length of the glue seam

This dimension is the so-called crease dimension, which must always be given in millimeters (mm). It is measured on the flat blank from the middle of the groove to the middle of the groove.

The Rillmaß must not with the inner and outer dimensions of a folding box confounded be.


Folding boxes are mainly made from cardboard, solid cardboard or corrugated cardboard. The choice of material depends on the application of the box.

Carton :

Corrugated cardboard :

z. B.

  • B-flute (fine flute)
  • C-wave (medium wave)
  • E-flute (fine flute)
  • F-flute (fine flute)

Composite materials (PE or aluminum-laminated material) are also used. Folding boxes made of plastic ( PET , PP) or tinplate are rather the exception, but they do happen.

Furthermore, folding boxes with window gluing (PE and PET partially wrapped in cellophane ) are offered.


  • 1839: First boxes from the USA detectable. They were held together with pens.
  • 1879: Machine cutting and punching is developed in the USA.
  • 1895: Industrialized bonding. First gluing machine is patented.
  • From 1900: The need for suitable folding boxes for the newly emerging branded articles increases enormously.


Folding box with staggered tuck-in flaps

The folding box is individual in form and function. There are some standard versions, but basically every folding box is made for the specific product.

The standard folding box , as described in the ECMA , has a tuck-in flap with safety slits at the top (lid) and at the bottom (in cosmetics, it can also be stop prills at the top). The tuck-in flap can usually be closed from the back to the front. Except in the cosmetics industry, in order to avoid open edges of the cardboard box, the folding box (FS) is closed from front to back. The dust flaps can be cut out for filling the machine (magazine slots).

The bottom (below) varies even more, it is available with tuck-in flaps (opposite or offset). A plug-in base, which gives the base a more stable hold, is also possible. The glued folding base or patent base is one of the types that ensures quick assembly, as it erects itself with folded and glued 45 ° angled tabs and you only have to fill in the contents and close the lid.

Another design is the machine folding box, the flaps of which are glued at the top and bottom of the filling system. In the case of grit, they are even sealed dust-tight. So only the side seam gluing is necessary.

According to the classification system of the ECMA code, a distinction is made between six categories of box types:

  • Folding box rectangular with longitudinal seam gluing,
  • Folding box rectangular without longitudinal seam gluing,
  • Folding box not rectangular with longitudinal seam gluing,
  • Folding box not rectangular without longitudinal seam gluing,
  • Folding box with product integration and
  • Other folding box.

The most common types are:

  • Folding boxes with tuck-in flap : The tuck-in flap box is the simplest and has a top and bottom closure with two dust flaps and a push-in flap with friction lock. The tuck-in flap can also be provided with locking slots or a locking tongue. Tuck-in flap boxes are mainly used for medicines, software, cosmetics, tubes of all kinds, small bottles.
  • Folding boxes with tuck-in bottom: is a special form of tuck-in flap box. The plug-in base consists of four tabs attached to each side of the base. The tabs fold inwards when you straighten up and interlock.
  • Folding boxes with automatic bottom : Another special type of tuck-in flap box with automatic bottom (quick-release bottom or folding bottom). The floor is glued during manufacture. In the case of folding boxes with a longitudinal-seam automatic bottom, the bottom closes automatically when it is erected.
  • Hanging boxes : These boxes also have a stable additional flap with a punched-out hanging hole in the lid. Mainly used for hanging goods in supermarkets, electronics stores or hardware stores.
  • Slip-lid boxes: have a particularly large lid opening. Are mainly used for gift packaging.

Dust flap

The dust flap is part of a folding box.

Their job is to prevent dust and other foreign bodies from getting inside the box.

In addition, dust flaps serve to lock the tuck-in flap in folding boxes so that the lid of the box can no longer open. They also prevent the lid flap from breaking into the folding box, so to speak as counter pressure.

With telescopic boxes, the dust flaps sit in the four corners of the box. What all dust flaps have in common is that they are no longer visible when the box is closed.


The folding box is developed on the computer with a CAD program.

Usually the designer only has the "ABH" dimensions or the packaged goods themselves as a template. For this he has to choose the right material (cardboard or corrugated cardboard). He also has to specify a style that the customer wants or that results from the templates.

To first white pattern to create for the customer, the data of different using tools (to be sent to a flatbed plotter, cutter , Oszillationsmesser , scoring knife , creasing etc.) created the pattern. This means that even very small editions as well as proofs or laminated samples can be produced.

The punching tool is also created on the CAD system. A sheet division is created for this, which means that several copies with intermediate cuts and gripper edge are divided as one sheet.


Folding boxes are made with a punching tool . The production of a folding box begins with printing. Here, cardboard sheets are inserted into a printing machine and printed. The printed sheets are then punched, intermediate and edge waste broken out and the individual blanks separated from one another and stacked in the depaneling station. Stripping, blanking and stacking can also be carried out manually. Then the blanks are placed in a folder gluer, where they are folded and glued. Finally, the folding box is filled and put on the market.

Manufacturer (selection)

See also


  • Handbook for the packaging mechanic (HPV). 1983
  • ECMA catalog (for cardboard packaging)
  • FEFCO catalog (PDF) for shipping packaging made of corrugated cardboard
  • Work folder for the packaging practitioner (paper, cardboard, cardboard) . 1985, published by neueverpackung in cooperation with D. Berndt, TFH Berlin

Web links

Commons : Cardboard boxes  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence