Creating quality corrugated depends on a few different factors. The process itself is fairly simple, but it requires a lot of different parts working in perfect harmony as well as good source material. One key part of that source material is the adhesive—a top quality adhesive can make finished corrugated material much better.
How Corrugating Machines Work
The process of corrugating begins with reels of paper being fed into the corrugating machine. Heat and steam is used to condition the paper and prepare it for the process. The central rolls of paper, known as the fluting medium, gets fed through rollers which give it a fluted shape. This wavy paper is then glued to straight paper known as linerboard using adhesive. Another straight piece of paper goes on the other side, again attached with adhesive to make a sort of “sandwich”, and then the finished corrugated gets cut and stacked.
Parts of Corrugating Machines
There are many parts that make up a corrugating machine. First is the feeder roll or rolls that pull the material into the machine. The single facer is the part that gives the fluting medium its fluted shape, and it is made up of a series of cylinders or rolls. The double backer glues the outer paper to the fluting medium, and it involves heating elements, and adhesive application units, in addition to the rollers to pull the material along. The bridge adjusts the speed of the double backer. The hot plate section removes moisture and strengthens the bond of the adhesive.
The finishing process begins with the rotary shear, which cuts out damaged lengths of material. Next, the slitter/scorer slits and scores the material in different patterns, depending on what the finished product is supposed to be. The cut off knives cut the material to the final size to be used and the stacker stacks the sheets of finished corrugated automatically.
The Importance of Adhesive in the Corrugating Process
Since corrugated material is essentially a fluted piece of paper glued between two other pieces or paper, you can imagine that the glue is fairly important. The stronger the adhesive, the better the finished product will hold together. Factors like bond strength, water resistance, and heat and cold tolerance are all good things to consider when assessing the quality of corrugated adhesive. Adhesives for this purpose are often starch based, and some carry the added benefit of being made from renewable resources, like corn.