Pakd Explains – FEFCO

FEFCO – The International Corrugated Cardboard Carton Code

Developed by FEFCO and ESBO as an official system to substitute long and complicated verbal construction style descriptions of corrugated cardboard case and packaging constructions with simple symbols internationally understood by all regardless of language.

FEFCO is the European Standard for standard packaging solutions. If you order standard cardboard boxes and packing cases, you will soon become familiar with their FEFCO code.

FEFCO 0201 is the ubiquitous cardboard box seen almost everywhere, used for storage, packing and transportation, this corrugated carton, known as a regular slotted container, is delivered flat-packed and requires taping of the bottom flaps prior to use. All flaps are the same length and the major flaps meet in the centre of the box.

FEFCO stands for Fédération Européenne des Fabricants de Carton Ondule (European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers).

There are 9 FEFCO categories, defining each family of similar FEFCO corrugated board carton styles:

To correctly specify the dimensions of a standard corrugated cardboard box, you just need to follow 2 simple rules:

1. Measure carton INTERNALLY ideally in millimeters

2. Specify as Length (L) x Width (W) x Height (H)

FEFCO styles are normally the basis for more complicated special designs that incorporate, for example, locking tabs or internal fittings.

Understanding a Specific FEFCO Style Code

Bespoke cardboard cartons based on FEFCO standard cartons are described using an 8 digit code: XXXX-XXXX that is made up from the standard FEFCO style code that describes the general shape/design of the cardboard box and a specific version number used to differentiate the bespoke packaging product variation from the standard design, corresponding to an individual drawing or CAD/CAM library file.

Combination of Types

A bespoke packaging design may make use of a combination of two or three of the basic FEFCO models, for example where the cardboard box has differing top and bottom flap arrangements: “top flaps as 0204, bottom flaps as 0215“, this type may also be described as 0204/0215 (top flaps / bottom flaps).

Telescope Type Boxes – 03XX

Telescope-type boxes consist of more than one piece and are characterised by a lid and/or bottom telescoping over the body of the cardboard box.

Telescopic Cartons can be fully telescopic or partially telescopic (where the lid is not as deep as the bottom). The sections may be formed by staples, die-cut locks, or adhesive, etc.

Telescope-type cardboard cases offer a flexible packaging solution suited to a wide variety of uses including gift packaging and clothing packaging. FEFCO code 0301 combines a bottom tray and a matching lid. The 0301 is often used for packing shallow products.

Slotted Type Boxes – 02XX

Slotted type cardboard boxes consist of basically one piece of corrugated board with a glued, stitched or taped manufacturer’s joint and top and bottom flaps. They are shipped flat (knocked down), ready to use and require closing using the flaps provided.

The bottom of the box requires sealing before use and is easily sealed with adhesive packaging tape, carton box sealer, hot melt adhesive or staples. These corrugated containers do not require a cutting form and can be manufactured quickly, making the one of the most cost-effective storage, shipment and packaging products.

Key styles are:

FEFCO code 0200 is a cardboard box that is open at the top with flaps at the bottom that can be sealed with packing tape to provide a bottom for storage. This FEFCO style is often used along with FEFCO code 0422 for use as a box lid.

FEFCO 0201 is the ubiquitous cardboard box seen almost everywhere, bought flat-packed, it is used extensively for storage, packing and transportation.

FEFCO code 0203 is the same as 0201 but with flaps that cover the base and top completely, known as a full overlap box. This gives extra strength to the cardboard box when assembled for heavy-weight product packaging needs.

Folder Type Boxes and Trays – 04XX

Folder type boxes and trays usually consist of only one piece of board. The bottom of the box is hinged to form two or all side walls and the cover. They can be referred to as five panel wraps and are often used for packaging catalogues and mail order products. Locking tabs, handles, display panels etc can be incorporated in some designs.

Key Styles are:

FEFCO code 0411 is ideal for packaging flat products and is often used for flat packed furniture packaging.

FEFCO code 0422 can be made up from flat without using tape. It has tabs that tuck into the bottom of the box but requires tooling for manufacture.

FEFCO style 0427 has 3 sheets of cardboard on the side walls for added downward strength and durability. It lends itself to many packaging solutions and is seen in regular use for fast moving consumer electronics packaging, custom printed, with bespoke cardboard inserts that both protect and effectively display the product to deliver the best customer box-opening experience.

FEFCO code 0471 is very similar to 0427 but can be a cheaper packaging product solution for large volumes due to a higher board utilisation percentage.

Slide-Type Boxes – 05XX

Slide type boxes consist of several pieces of cardboard liners and sleeves sliding in different directions into each other. This group also includes outside sleeves for other fibreboard cases.

FEFCO code 0509 is the code for the more commonly named postal pack. Postal packs are ideal for mail order packaging – posting books and other media safely – ensuring that your product is well protected.

Rigid-Type Boxes – 06XX

Rigid type boxes consist of two separate end pieces and a body and require stitching or a similar operation before they can be used.

Ready-Glued Cases – 07XX

Ready glued cardboard cases consist of basically one piece, are shipped flat and ready to use by simple setting up.

Key Styles are:

In popular use include FEFCO 0700, FEFCO 0701 and FEFCO 0715 which, used in combination with interlocking division inserts, is commonly seen as beverage packaging (for bottles of wines and spirits).

FEFCO code 0759 is similar to 0427 and 0471 apart from its lesser downward strength. Its advantages include speedy carton assembly and its health and safety conscious packaging design offering minimal potential for repetitive strain injury, although it can more expensive.

Retail and E-commerce Packaging – 08XX

Retail and e-commerce packaging category shows the typical styles used for Point of Sale (POS) displays and trays as well as styles for the online trade.

Interior Fitments – 09XX

Interior fitments such as inside liners, pads, partitions, dividers etc., a range of cushioning and protective packaging products, either tied to a bespoke carton design or as singular general packaging items.