The Tech Box

The Tech Box – November 2022

New Research -

The Effect of Flap Score Profiles on Box Compression Testing (BCT)

New research, has been completed by the Fibre Box Association (FBA) Technical Committee. It was a scoping project that examined the impact of score profile on box compression testing (BCT). This is the third research project completed by the committee since 2017.

To the committee and researcher’s knowledge, only one article has been published examining the effect of scoring on BCT. And that was approximately 60 years ago.

The objective of the study was to determine if different commonly used score profiles have statistically significant effects on BCT, i.e., a more than ten percent difference. The optimal result is to correspondingly improve BCT by strategically applying this information.

The study was performed at Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), part of the US Forest Service of USDA. The study used 21” x 15” x 16” single wall RSC samples with two different board grades (32 ECT and 44 ECT).

All flaps were taped, 10 replications were done per parameter. And all material testing was performed according to TAPPI. The sample material with score gaps was provided by Pratt Industries Wapakoneta Corrugated Division.

Results from this study showed that scoring profiles can potentially impact BCT by greater than 10 percent.

  • Score cracking reduces the compression strength by 10%+.
  • Scoring parameters (geometry, depth, etc.) and slotting depth both affect BCT.

While the data shows that scoring profile can impact BCT, since the scoring profiles didn’t produce a similar hierarchy of increasing/decreasing BCT between the two board grades using a given score profile, the data in this study didn’t pinpoint what is driving those differences. So further study is needed.

FBA held a free webinar yesterday, November 16th, for members, illustrating the new research. John M Considine, Materials Research Engineer at USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) and the project’s principal investigator, provided an overview of the technical research project and shared the findings.

Charts were shown and John explained FPL’s analysis of the variance in data sets - within 95 percent confidence interval (95%CI), so that statistically similar (and dis-similar) groups are easier to recognize. This can help to explain how information from eventual findings can be used to optimize box design for box plants and today’s sustainability strategies.

I would encourage all FBA members to watch the archived webinar




Mary Alice

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Mary Alice Drain is the Director of Technical Services at Fibre Box Association (FBA). If you have technical questions about the corrugated industry, you can reach her direct at