Pop and soda. They’re two different words used to describe the exact same thing, and when you hear one, you know it also means the other. And then there is coke. You see, in the southern U.S., it’s not just a term for a brand name cola, it’s an all-encompassing word for the soft drink we affectionately call pop in the Midwest and soda on the coasts. Confusing right?
The same is true for paperboard, or as we noted in our previous blog, converted chipboard, (not the same as manufactured chipboard.) Different names from different places for the same thing. It’s all fun and games until you have to place an order with a company that has a different vocabulary than you. That’s the purpose of this blog, to help you understand which products are which in the packaging industry.
You know that sheet of paperboard you use to separate stacks of product on your pallet? Well, depending on where you are from, you’ll either call it a layer sheet or a tier sheet; they are the exact same product. Think of it this way: you either describe it by what it is creating (layers) or what it is separating (tiers.)
The term slip sheet is used a lot in packaging. Some people use it in reference to layer or tier sheets, while others use it as another name for pallet sheets, the thicker guard sheet placed between the pallets and the goods to protect from nails and splinters. However, there is also a thin sheet of paperboard or plastic that’s used as an alternative to pallets, and it too is called a slip sheet, since it is used to ‘slip’ into warehouses. While a special forklift is needed to transport loads on slip sheets, it is important you clarify with any shipping manager what they mean by the term ‘slip sheet.’
You may have guessed that corner guard and corner board are the same thing, but what about an edge protector? Assuming they are made of the same material, corner guard and edge protectors are the same thing, though since some manufacturers use Styrofoam instead of 100% recyclable materials like paperboard, we suggest checking with your packer to ensure a more ecofriendly shipment.
These are just a few examples. Long story short: without universal terminology for packaging materials, it’s in the best interest of you and your customers to double check with your shipper if they say something or you see something in an invoice or bill of lading that you aren’t completely sure about. As they say, there’s no such thing as a stupid question, especially when it comes to your business!