Corrugated Plastic or Plastic Corrugated started getting acknowledged as a reusable alternative for paper corrugated boxes in Europe in the late 1970’s. The United States took notice and began producing corrugated plastic in the mid 80’s. Kiva Plastics was one of the first converters to produce plastic corrugated finished product in the U.S. in the early 80’s. Originally having to import sheets from Europe until the first extrusion lines began producing sheets here in the U.S. in the mid 80’s.
Corrugated Plastic has come a long way and is now manufactured with three variables. Laminated sheet, Profile sheet with a new Honeycomb or Bubble pattern now available.
Plastic corrugated laminated sheet comes in 4mm and is manufactured in Polyethylene in a very similar way to corrugated fiber. Most commonly made with two flat sheets on each side with a third wave pattern sheet in the middle. Instead of gluing these sheets together they are brought together hot and melted together. The second variety is in the form called single face. This version only has one flat side and the wave pattern is exposed on the opposite side. Single face laminated sheet can be rolled and is much more pliable than the standard sheet.
Plastic corrugated profile sheet is available in both polyethylene and polypropylene from 2mm up to 25mm in thickness. It is made by an extrusion process through a die and when resin is pressed through the die it creates a sheet that has flat surfaces to both sides and an I-beam structure between the two flat surfaces.
Newer to the market is Honeycomb or Bubble plastic corrugated. Available in polypropylene and comes in multiple thicknesses. It has two flat surfaces with either a honeycomb type pattern in the middle or a bubble format in the middle. It has better rigidity in both directions and is incredibly flat on the sides. Although more expensive than the other two options it has performance advantages in some scenarios.
No matter what combination is best suited for your project corrugated plastic is a perfect replacement for fiber corrugated when there is an opportunity to reuse the packaging or the packaging or display needs to withstand weather or other variables in the environment. Unlike paper products it is also archive safe and does not contaminate the environment with paper dust making it a great alternative for clean room handling. It can also be customized economically when compared to molded plastic products or even thermal formed products. Tooling is normally in the hundreds of dollars instead of thousands or tens of thousands needed for molded or thermal formed plastic products.