Quality Management in Corrugated Box Making Plant

The quality and profitability are closely tied up  with each other through quality cost. Studies have shown that companies loose 10-40 per cent of their turnover as quality cost of manufacturing and correcting defects, discarding faulty products, Solving internal conflicts and taking care of the complaints. The quality development offers a company a possibility to lower costs significantly. In certain cases customers are ready to pay additional price for better quality products.

Internal Defect Costs

Internal defect cost contain the costs of defects, which are notices before the delivery to the customer internal defect costs are quality costs, which are traditionally monitored by the companies.

External Defect Costs

External defect cost contain the costs of defects which are noticed only after the product has been delivered to the customer.

Surveillance Cost

Surveillance costs contain the costs of the action, Which controls the products manufactured in different stages meet the demands set for them and that faulty products are not delivered forward.

Preventive operation costs

Preventive operation costs contain the cost of the operation, Which aims at gaining and maintaining the desired quality level. The costs are created from that input, Which tried to reduce surveillance inspection and defect cost. In other words they are from procedures with which it is secured that tasks are done right immediately at the first time.


Corrugated board process on the whole consists of innumerable details which affect the quality matters and which several parties deal with every day. The quality development work is done continuously in the field and new techniques have been brought into use during the last few years. The international organization for standardization, ISO has developed a whole family of standards (ISO 9000). Adapting and adopting it right a system of comprehensive quality management is created.


A company – specific quality system based on the ISO 9000 standards is one way to take the technical, administrative and human factors systematically into control. With the help of the System Company and different parties connected to it, can be transformed to a measurable directed and changeable entity. Customers and customer group are defined in the system, as well as principles for the acquisition of information and feedback process and organizing of work, objectives and indicators, resources, training of the employees and pro-active operations.

The control of the quality system requires some kind of documentation in the companies. Documentation can consist of the quality manual, description of practice, detailed work instructions and other related documents. However the documentation of the quality system must not be a purpose, but it has to be made only so far as the company profit from it. The biggest benefit is usually gained from the process that creates the documentation of the quality system. The planning process is a learning and repetition process, which usually leads to rich discussion about the development needs of different functions inside the company.


Quality management refer to the method in which totally faultless operation and minimization of quality costs are aimed at with the help of a comprehensive quality assurance system. Product quality inspection and responsibility are included in the obligations at every stage and position according to the principle of the internal customer ship. The quality manual includes the general quality instructions and manufacturing instruction include the specific instructions. In addition testing related to material and packaging strength are made mainly in the laboratory.


Testing related to the production of corrugated board can be divided into three groups:

Testing of raw materials

Corrugated Board

Corrugated Board Packaging

In all three areas the testing has long traditions and established ways of action. Many tests are obtained from research institutions but a part also from inside the industry. After spreading more widely into use they have been taken as standards first in small areas and same even worldwide.

There is a big group of standard publishing institutions. Usually each country has its own national standardizing institution as SFS in Finland, SIS in Sweden, DIN in Germany etc.  These institution have some standards totally of their own for testing corrugated board but they usually tend to publish international standards as their own. The European by CEN organization. The ISO standards are meant for worldwide use. The status of standard is given to those, with the most general testing methods and those found reliable. The work is continuous in all the institutions so new standards are being published and the old ones continuously revised.


The above mentioned institutions publish official standards but there are other generally accepted testing method in the field as well. Their significance is actually bigger in practical testing.  European Federation of Manufacturers of Corrugated Board Called FEFCO, has published a series of corrugated board tests, which deal with the testing of corrugated board and corrugated board packaging but not the testing methods of raw materials. These test are widely used in Europe. American Technical Association of pulp and paper Industry TAPPI has correspondingly published testing methods and recommendations concerning the whole field. They are most common in the United States and slightly used elsewhere in the world or in Europe to each other and their results can be compared with small reservations. The Nordic SCAN tests are also used within the corrugated board industry especially in the testing of raw materials.


Testing of RAW Materials

The testing of raw materials is directed mainly to the paper technical properties of the board. The manufacturers of boards test their products as a part of their quality control. The corrugated board plant often uses some of these test result particularly if the plants are integrated and it is unnecessary to perform the same tests twice. Furthermore the quality agreements between the corrugated board plant and the raw material suppliers and also the certified quality systems, Which have become common among both reduce the need for the testing when the are operating well. Still many corrugated board plants test boards as a part of their quality control of incoming raw materials.

Some board tests can be performed with the same devices and methods as the actual corrugated board test. Therefore they are most generally used in the field. These are, for example, moisture, bursting strength, grammage and thickness. In the following the will be briefly explained. More detailed information can be found in literature to the board making.


Moisture Contents of the Board


Especially the moisture content of the liners and its even distribution in the cross machine direction of the web has an essential significance on the corrugated board process. Unfortunately, the testing of this important property in the corrugated board plant dose not succeed in practice otherwise than in unwinding in other words during production run. Even during short transport and storage the surface layers of the roll are conditioned by environment in that case the resulted of the samples taken from the roll will not describe the moisture content of the board. Sometimes the temperature differences during transport and storage causes condensation of humidity especially at the ends of the roll.


Testing Of Corrugated Board

Those corrugated board test which are in principle similar to the testing of raw materials (bursting strength, grammage, Thickness, Friction and cobb) have been dealt with above. Only the test executed to the corrugated board are discussed here.


Testing Of Corrugated Board Packaging

Finished corrugated board packaging has been tested for a long time. Relatively spoken, corrugated boxes were most often tested before world war 2, when the industry replaced wooden boxes with corrugated board and the reliability of the new product required tests. Among others a big turning drum, in which the boxes bumped into obstacles is from this pioneer era. Likewise a load carriage on inclined track hitting against a solid wall and a vibration table were used. Both are still standardized testing method although they are no longer often seen in factories because they require much space. The reliability of a corrugated box as a transportation package is no longer questioned.