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Glossary of Flexible Packaging Terms






: Scuffing or wearing of a part against its package or vice versa. Scuffing of a package against external surfaces. The damage caused by friction such as rubbing, scuffing, or scratching.

Abrasion marks:  Marks on a photographic print or film appearing as streaks or scratches, caused by the condition of the developer.  Can be partially removed by swabbing with alcohol.

Abrasion resistance:  Ability to withstand the effects of repeated rubbing and scuffing.  Also called scuff or rub resistance.

Abrasion test:  A test designed to determine the ability to withstand the effects of rubbing and scuffing.

Abrasiveness:  That property of a substance that causes it to wear or scratch other surfaces.

Absorption:  In paper, the property which causes it to take up liquids or vapors in contact with it.  In optics, the partial suppression of light through a transparent or translucent material.

Acceptance sampling or inspection:  The evaluation of a definite lot of material or product that is already in existence to determine its acceptability within quality standards.

Accelerate:  In flexographic printing, as by the addition of a faster drying solvent or by increasing the temperature or volume of hot air applied to the printed surface.  Electrical - To speed rewind shafts during flying splices, and in taking up web slackness.

Accordion Fold:  Bindery term, two or more parallel folds which open like an accordion.

Acetone:  A very active solvent used in packaging gravure inks; the fastest drying solvent in the ketone family.

Aclar: A barrier laminated film. Often used in packaging medications. The scientific name is Chlorotrifluoroethylene (CTFE)

Activator:  A chemistry used on exposed photographic paper or film emulsion to develop the image.

Additive primaries:  In color reproduction, red, green and blue.  When lights of these colors are added together, they produce the sensation of white light.

Adhesion:  1) The sticking together of any two materials, e.g., adhesion of ink to paper or film.  2) The attractive force that exists between an electrodeposit and its substrate that can be measured as the force required to separate the two.

Adhesive: A substance, such as glue, used to laminate two structures together.

Adhesive Lamination: A laminating process in which individual layers of multi-layer packaging materials are laminated to each other with an adhesive.

Adsorb:  To attract and hold molecules on a surface, e.g. solvent molecules in a solvent recovery adsorption bed.

After-tack:  Tack that develops after ink has apparently dried or after a heat-drying operation.

Against the Grain:  At right angles to direction of paper grain.

Age resistance:  Shelf life.  The resistance to deterioration by oxygen and ozone in the air, by heat and light, or by internal chemical action.

Age stability:  A test to determine whether an ink formulation can withstand a specific temperature for a specified period without change.

Agglomeration:  A cluster of undispersed particles.

Air-Flow: Air-Flow is used in agricultural product packing and has die cut holes to reduce spoilage and ensure even cooling. Air-Flow replaces pallet netting and gives users all the advantages of conventional LLDPE Pallet Stretch Wrap, which include strength, load-holding and ease of use.

Alcohol:  A series of organic compounds characterized by the presence of the hydroxyl group; volatile solvents, the most common being ethyl alcohol.

Aliphatic solvents:  Saturated hydrocarbon solvents derived from petroleum, such as hexane, heptane and VM&P naphtha, used primarily in A-type gravure inks, or as diluents for other inks and coatings.

Alkaline paper:  Paper made with a synthetic alkaline size and an alkaline filter like calcium carbonate which gives the paper over four times the life (200 years) of acid sized papers (40-50 years).

Alkali resistance:  Property of an ink, coating or substrate so that it resists film breakdown, color change or color bleed when printed material is subjected to contact with alkaline materials such as soap or detergent.

Alteration:  Change in copy of specifications after production has begun.

Alumina hydrate:  Also known as hydrate.  A white, inorganic pigment used as an extender in inks and noted for its transparency.

Aluminum coating:  A coating composed of aluminum paste or powder and a mixing varnish or vehicle.

Aluminium Foil (AL): A thin gauge (6-12 microns) aluminium foil laminated to plastic films to provide maximum oxygen, aroma and water vapour barrier properties. Although it is by far the best barrier material, it is increasingly being replaced by metallised films, (see MET-PET, MET-OPP and VMPET) because of cost.

AM (Amplitude Modulation):  Halftone screening, as opposed to FM screening, has dots of variable size with equal spacing between dot centers (see halftone).

Ambidextrous Control: Separate right/left hand braking control which allows the operator to have total stretch control over 100% of the surface area of the stretch film while wrapping.

Anchor coat:  A coating applied to the surface of a substrate to effect or increase the adhesion of subsequent coatings.

Anchoring:  In flexographic printing, term describing process of bonding or fusing inks to the substrate.

Angle of wipe:  In gravure and flexographic printing, the angle the doctor blade is set from the centerline of cylinder, before loading.

Angel Hair: Thin strands of film left on the edges of rolls caused by improper bologna slicing.

Aniline dyes:  Derivatives of coal tar classified by chemical composition.  Basic dyes have extreme brightness, but are not fast to light, while acid dyes are less brilliant, but are faster to light.

Aniline printing:  Early name for rubber plate printing, using fast-drying fluid inks, now obsolete.

Anilox inking:  In flexography, two roll inking system with smooth fountain roll that transfers inks to an etched metal or ceramic coated metal roll with cells of fixed size and depth that transfer the ink to the plate.  Also used in keyless offset.

Anilox roll:  Mechanically engraved steel and chrome coated metering roll used in flexo presses to meter a controlled film of ink from the contacting elastomer covered fountain roller to the printing plates which print the web.  Volume of ink is affected by the cell count per linear inch and dimension of the cell and cell wall of the engraving.  Manufactured from copper and chromium plated steel.  Also given a coating of aluminum oxide (ceramic) or copper and chrome.

Anilox system:  The inking system commonly employed in flexographic presses consisting of an elastomer covered fountain roller running in the ink pan, adjustable against a contacting engraved metering roll, the two as a unit adjustable to the printing plate roll, design roll, or plain elastomer coating roll as the case may be.  Ink is flooded into the engraved cells of the metering roll, excess doctored off by the wiping or squeezing action of the fountain roll, or a doctor blade and that which remains beneath the surface of the metering roll is transferred to the printing plates.

Antifoaming agent:  An additive used in ink that prevents or eliminates foaming of a liquid or breaks foam already formed.

Anti-halation backing:  In photography, coating applied to back of film to prevent halation.

Anti-offset or set off spray:  In printing, dry spray of finely powdered starch used on press to prevent wet ink from transferring from the top of one sheet to the bottom of the next sheet.

Anti-skid varnish:  A generally clear resin coating formulated and applied to large flexible packaging to retard slippage during stacking and handling.

Anti-Stat: Contains an anti-static additive that dissipates static electrical charges. Good for short-term storage. Anti-Static and Static Shielding Bags

Antique finish:  A term describing the surface, usually on book and cover papers, that has a natural rough finish.

Aperture:  In photography, lens opening or lens stop expressed as a f/no., such as f/22.

Apochromatic:  In photography, color corrected lenses which focus the three colors, blue, green and red, in the same plane.

Applicator roll:  Coating; print roll, tint roll, lacquer or varnish roll.

Aquatint:  An early plate engraving method that created tonal variation by etching through granular material with varying concentrations of etchant.  Used only for fine art engraving.

Art:  All illustration copy used in preparing a job for printing.

Artboard:  Alternate term for mechanical art.

Art director:  The individual responsible for overseeing the creative and production process and managing other creative individuals.

Ascender:  That part of a lower case letter that rises above the main body, as in "b".

Asphaltum (Asphalt):  A dark colored resinous substance soluble in hydrocarbon solvents.  Used as a moisture barrier in heavy laminations.

Author's Corrections:  Also known as "AC's".  Changed and additions in copy after it has been typeset.

Auto Bander: Jumbo rolls of stretch film for automatic bundling equipment. Stretch Film and Wrap.

Automatic processor:  In photography, machine to automatically develop, fix, wash, and dry exposed photographic film.  In plate making, machine to develop, rinse, gum and dry printing plates.





Backlash:  Lost motion. Alt:  Looseness in the teeth of a gear mechanism, permitting movement of one or more gears without corresponding movement in the connected mechanisms.

Back Printing:  Printing on the underside of a transparent film.  Also called reverse printing.

Back up:  Printing the second side of a sheet already printed on one side.

Back up roll:  See impression cylinder.

Backbone:  The back of a bound book connecting the two covers; also called the spine.

Bad break:  In composition, starting a page or ending a paragraph with a single word, or widow.

Bags on a Roll: Continuous roll of seamless tubing perforated under bottom seal. Bags must be torn off to open. Flat and Plastic Poly Bags on Rolls

Ballooning: A pillow effect created when air is trapped within the shrinking bag.

Banding / Bundling: Wrapping several items together with plastic stretch wrap. Stretch Film and Wrap

Bar Code: A way of labeling or coding a product that allows a clear description of the contents. Bar codes can only be read by scanners. UPC Bar code Information See also UPC.

Bare cylinder diameter:  The diameter of the actual plate cylinder, before the stickyback and plates are mounted.

Barrier: Protection from deterioration or ingress of moisture / gas through package material.

Barrier Film: Specially formulated film typically used to extend the shelf life of food products. Prevents transmission of moisture and gases.

Barricade Tape: Non-adhesive warning films printed with standard text or custom logos. Barricade Tape

Base:  Often used in referring to a full strength ink or toner.  Generally refers to the major ingredient used in a clear lacquer, varnish or ink.  May refer to either the solvent or binder system.  A cylinder before it is engraved.  Base film before addition of coating.

Base ink:  A single-pigmented ink with high pigment-to-binder ratio, used in packaging applications for blending.

Basic size:  In inches 25 X 38 for book papers, 20 X 26 for cover papers, 22.5 x 28.5 or 22.5 X 35 for bristols, 25.5 X 30.5 for index.

Basis metal:  The material upon which coatings are deposited.

Bead Seal: A thin round weld created when pressure and heat are applied to two layers of film.

Bearers:  In presses, the flat surfaces or rings at the ends of cylinders that come in contact with each other during printing and serve as a basis for determining packing thickness.

Beater:  A large mixer in which the pulp for paper is mixed.

Beater Dyed:  A paper, the pulp for which is colored in the beater.

Ben day:  A system of dots or patterns used by the engraver to effect shading.

Bevel:  Angle, ground, honed, or filed on edge of doctor blade.

Bezier curve:  The description of a character or symbol or graphic by its outline used by drawing programs to define shades.

Bi-Axial Orientation: Oriented along both X and Y-axis. Bi-axially stretched films are generally well balanced in both directions and much stronger in terms of tear strength.

Binder:  In ink, the adhesive component, or components, of an ink, normally supplied by the resin formulation.  Alt:  Provide body to dyes and inks and act as fixing agents.

Blade line: Where the doctor blade on a rotogravure press develops an imperfection causing a line or streak in the print on the piece at this imperfection

Bleed: Where the printing on a piece goes all the way to the edge of the plastic film accomplished by printing beyond the margins of the piece and then trimming to the margin

Blister Pack: a type of packet in which small items are displayed and sold, consisting of a transparent dome of plastic or similar material mounted on a firm backing such as a thicker paper or thin cardboard backer

Blocking: A condition in which two layers of film adhere to one another.

Base Locking: The thick layer of film produced by manually applying stretch film at a 45 degree angle to the floor. This wrap helps lock the boxes to the skid to prevent shifting.

Bit:  In computers, the basic unit of digital information; contraction of Binary Digital.

Bit map:  In computer imaging, the electronic representation of a page, indicating the position of every possible spot (zero or one).

Blade coating:  In gravure and flexography, the predominant method of applying coatings to paper, in which an excess of coating is applied to a cylinder and then wiped off with a blade; the excess coating is returned to a reservoir for re-use.

Blade extension:  In gravure and flexography, the amount the back-up and doctor blades extend beyond the holder, 3/8 to 1/2 inches.

Black-and-White:  Originals or reproductions in single color, as distinguished by multicolor.

Black printer:  In color reproduction, the black plate, made to increase contrast of dark tones and make them neutral.

Bleed:  Printing that goes to the edge of the sheet after trimming. Alt:  An extra amount of printed image that extends beyond the trim edge of the sheet or page

Blister:  Small raised area, caused by expansion as of trapped gas or fluid beneath the surface.

Blocking: The undesired adhesion of two or more plies of material to the extent that surfaces become damaged or distorted, or the inks or coatings transfer from one surface to the other when adjacent layers are separated.

Blooming: The time period that the Poly Isobutylene takes to migrate to the surface of the stretch film. Once this happens high cling films are at their peak of perfection.

Blown Films: Plastic films produced from synthetic resins (such as polyethylene) by the blown process. In this process, the molten resin is extruded through a circular die into a tube. This tube is expanded (blown) by internal air pressure into a larger bubble with a much reduced wall thickness and cooled with external air quenching. Production Diagram

BMP:  A computer graphics format not generally used in professional printing.

Body type:  A type used for the main part or text of a printed piece, as distinguished from the heading.

Bold-face type: A name given to type that is heavier than the text type with which it is used.

Bologna Slicing: A film slitting process in which a rotating double edge blade cuts a roll of film while the roll is spinning. This is the quickest way for slitting film. However, the quickness can cause the film to melt in some places, resulting in the film hanging up and tearing it, as it is unwound off the roll.

Bond Strength: A measure of strength of a bond between two adhesives.

BON: Bi-axially Oriented Nylon film, with excellent oxygen and aroma barrier properties, (see Nylon), but it is a poor water vapour barrier. BON is much stiffer than cast nylon film, but cannot be thermoformed.

BOPP: biaxially oriented polypropylene

Bottom Seal Bags: Individually cut bags from seamless tubing, sealed on the bottom. Flat or side gusseted bags with a strong seal – usually have a tail. Custom Bottom Seal Poly Bag

Boxboard: a paperboard used in the manufacture of light non-corrugated containers. It can be plain, lined or clay-coated.

Braking Tension: The tension applied to stretch film mechanically or manually.

Break for color:  Also known as a color break.  In artwork and composition, to separate mechanically or by software the parts to be printed in different colors.

Break-out (Blade edge):  in gravure and flexography, a piece of doctor blade material which releases itself from the blade, causing a streak. 

Breaking strength:  A measure of the strength of paper, films, etc.

Bulkheading: A shipping technique that combines both unitization and stabilization. The pallet loads nearest the back door of a truck are unitized while the pallet loads towards the front of the trailer are stabilized.

Buna-N:  A synthetic rubber made from butadiene and acrylonitrile, used in the manufacture of flexo plates and rolls.  Resistant to aliphatic hydrocarbons, alcohols, cellosolve, and water.  Not resistant to aromatic hydrocarbons and esters (acetate), etc.

Bundling: Banding articles together into distinct and separate units with plastic stretch film. Plastic Stretch Film and Wrap

Burn:  In plate making, a common term used for a plate exposure.Exposing a printing plate to high intensity light or placing an image on a printing plate by light.  Burning a negative or Burning a printing plate

Burn Through: A temperature or condition where a film becomes cloudy or burns in the shrink tunnel.

Bursting strength:  Resistance of poly to rupture under pressure, as indicated in pounds per square inch on a Mullen tester.

Burr:  In gravure and flexography, a wire-like sliver formed by blade wear.

Butt:  Joining images without overlapping

Butt fit:  Printed colors that overlap one row of dots so they appear to butt.

Butt register:  Printing two or more colors that exactly meet without any provision for color overlap.

Butt splice:  An end to end joining of two similar materials.  For continuity of surface, design, etc.  Often used in joining stickyback, printing plates and webs of substrate in process such as heavy papers and boards at the unwind or rewind where the thickness or the substrate prohibits use of a lap (overlap) splice.

Byte:  In computers, a unit of digital information, equivalent to one character or 8 to 32 bits.





CA: Cellulose Accetate

CAD/CAM:  Acronym for Computer Assisted Design/Computer Assisted Makeup or Manufacturing.

Caking:  The collecting of dried ink upon rollers and plates.

Caliper: The thickness of sheet material expressed in "points" or mils (thousands of an inch). (see gauge)

Camera Ready Art: artwork that's ready for the process camera that captures the dots and density of your artwork and then translates it into a negative. No matter what color you'd like your imprint to be, the type, artwork and graphic materials should be a very high black-and-white contrast.

CAN: Cast Nylon Film (see Nylon). Used mostly for thermoformable packaging applications.

CAPP or CPP: Cast PP film. Unlike OPP, it is heat seal-able, but at much higher temperatures than LDPE, thus it is used as a heat seal layer in retort-able packaging. It is, however, not as stiff as OPP film. (PP = polypropylene)

Capillary action:  A phenomenon associated with surface tension and angle of contact.  That force which transfers inks and coatings from engraved cells to a contacting surface as from an anilox roll.  Also the rise of liquids in capillary tubes and the action of blotting paper and wicks are examples of capillary action or capillarity.

Caps and small caps:  Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type, commonly used in most roman typefaces.

Carbon tissue:  Light sensitive material attached to gravure cylinders and used as a resist in the chemical etching process consisting of layers of gelatin, dye, photosensitive material, and a paper or plastic backing.  Exposed to a screen and a continuous tone image, carbon tissue permits the etching of cells of variable depth according to the degree of exposure in each cell area.  Until the advent of electronic engraving, the predominant method of imaging a cylinder.

Carton: a container made from thin paperboard that typically measures between 0.25 and 1 millimeter in thickness. Cartons are primarily used for displaying products on store shelves. They typically feature a chipboard stock that can support printing and graphics. Boxes and Corrugated Containers

Carton-board: a paperboard that is used to make folding boxes or cartons.

Cartoner: a machine that erects and closes carton blanks or folded and side-seam sealed cartons.

Case: a container made out of corrugated cardboard that is 3 to 6 millimeters thick.

Case packer: a machine that is similar to a cartoner, but it typically works with a heavier type of paperboard.

Cast Film: The fabrication of a film by continuously pumping the polymer through a straight slot die, then chilling this hot plastic immediately through contacts with a chilled roll. Film width is determined by how fast the chill roll pulls the film away from the die.

Cellulose Acetate Butyrate:  A clear thermoplastic material made from cellulose, reacted with both acetic and butyric acid.  Used as a packaging film and in coatings, laminations, etc.

Centipoise:  A unit of measure of viscosity; 100 centipoise equal one poise.  Water has a viscosity of 1 centipoise (CP)

Center Fold Film: A film that has been folded in half, lengthwise. Custom Centerfold Poly Sheeting

Center Folder: A mechanical device used to create center folded film.

Central Impression Cylinder Press:  Printing press in which the web being printed is in continuous contact with a single large diameter impression cylinder.  The color stations are moved in to the central impression cylinder for printing and are arranged around its circumference.

Changeover: the process of changing a packaging line from one product or type of package to another. It typically involves switching parts or fixtures. Changeover is an important indicator of lead time. Longer changeovers increase lead time and increase time to market; shorter changeovers reduce lead time and reduce time to market. Also called “set up.”

Chlorinated rubber:  A chemical compound of chlorine and rubber latex forming a binder for Type T inks.  Commercial trade names are Parlon and Alloprene

Choke (choking):  When trapping color closing the open spaces in a graphic to be filled with another color. Alt:  Overlap of overprinting images to avoid color or white fringes or borders around image detail called trapping in digital imaging systems.

Chromalin: Brand name for a laminated high-quality color proof. Another popular brand is called a matchprint. To make a Chromalin, the same color separation film negatives used to make print plates are used to apply each four-color process color to four sheets (one for each color) of clear plastic. The four sheets are then fused together in exact register and laminated, resulting in an extremely accurate representation of the desired image. press proofs of Chromalins, Matchprints, or other brand name color proofs are requested by magazines along with advertisement art to evaluate printed output for color quality.

Clarity: Transparency of the film based upon surface gloss and haze.

Cling: The characteristic of stretch film which makes it stick to itself. Plastic Stretch Film and Wrap

CMYK printing: (C - Cyan, M - Magenta, Y - Yellow, K - Black) The acronym for the four process color inks that uses different combinations & amounts of 4 ink colors to achieve a photographic like effect.

Closing Machine: a device that seals or closes filled packages by crimping, folding or tucking. Adhesives, gummed tape and ultrasonic welding are often used, in addition to heat sealing.

Co-extrusion: Two or more polymers extruded and combined in a die, each forming a distinct layer in the final film.

Coating:  In platemaking, the light-sensitive polymer or mixture applied to a metal plate.  In printing, an emulsion, varnish or lacquer applied over a printed surface to protect it. Alt:  The outer covering of a film or web. The film may be one side coated or two sides coated

Cobwebbing:  A filmy, web-like build-up of dried ink or clear material on the doctor blade, or on the ends of impression rolls.

Coefficient of Friction (C.O.F.): The amount of slip exhibited when one surface is dragged against an adjacent surface. Static COF is the force required to begin the structure moving. Kinetic COF is the force required to maintain structure movement at the test pull speed. Hi Slip = less than 0.2, Medium Slip = .2 - .5, Low Slip = more than 0.5 (kinetic) Commonly referred to as the “slipperiness” of plastic films and laminates.

Coffee Valve: A pressure relief valve added to coffee pouches to allow natural unwanted gasses to be vented whilst maintaining the freshness of the coffee. Also called an aroma valve as it allows you to smell the product through the valve.

Cohesion: That form of attraction by which the particles of a body are united throughout its mass.

Cold Slip: The amount of force required to slide two surfaces against one another at ambient temperature.

Cold Flex (CF): Ability of a film to perform at low temperatures without failure.

Color Fastness: The measurement of the permanence of a color in its resistance to sunlight and various chemicals as may be expressed.

Color Key: is an overlay proof created from the film separations that places each ink color on a separate clear acetate sheet then assembles them together over white paper. Color Key is actually a brandname for a specific process that is often used generically to apply to any overlay proofing system.

Color matching system:  A system of formulated ink colors used for communicating color. Pantone Matching System is a very common universal system used for this.

Color overlap:  The slight extension of one color over another.

Color overlay:  A transparent overlay, usually acetate, on a Black & White drawing on which each additional color is indicated as a guide for reproduction.  A term sometimes used at press side referring to the number of colors that overprint each other.

Color process:  Halftone color printing created by the color separation process whereby a piece of copy is broken down to the primary colors to produce individual halftones and these are recombined at the press to produce the complete range of colors of the original.

Color proofs:  See off-press proofs, progressive proofs.

Color Separation: The translation of an original photograph or other artwork into separate plates for four-color printing. More Printing Terms

Color stations:  Each section of the press or set of rollers used to print each individual color.

Color transparency:  A full-color photographic positive image on a transparent support.  Usually viewed with the aid of a lighted color transparency viewer.

Colorway:  A specific combination of colors in a pattern of a transfer printed design.

Colorimeter:  An instrument for measuring color the way the eye sees color.

Combination plate:  A single engraving that includes both line and halftone.

Commercial register:  Color printing on which the misregister allowable is within " one row of dots.

Common impression cylinder press:  In flexography, letterpress, and lithography, a press with a number of printing units around a large impression cylinder.

Composite film:  Combining two or more images on one or more pieces of film.

Complimentary colors:  A pair of contrasting colors that produce a hue neutral in color and value when mixed in suitable proportions.

Composing stick:  A unit used to hold each individual character of type that is needed.  The type can be locked into position until the proofs are pulled or a cast is made.

Compression set:  The extent to which distortion of rubber expressed as percentage of the original thickness has become permanent, after subjecting a test piece to a known load, for a specified time between plates.

Computer, analog:  A computer that solves a mathematical problem by using analogs, like voltage or density, of the variables in the problem.

Computer, digital:  A computer that processes information in discrete digital form.

Compressibility:  The behavior of paper under pressure, such as that applied by the gravure impression roller.  A function of basis weight and caliper.  No separate test for compressibility exists, but is evaluated during tests for smoothness.

Condensed type:  A narrow or slender typeface.

Consistency:  Property of a material that is evidenced by its resistance to flow.  The general body characteristics of an ink, for example, viscosity, uniformity.  Mostly used to describe the rheological property of an ink - such as "thick", "thin", "buttery".

Constant gloss test:  A paper test for gloss used on matte or uncoated papers, used to determine if undesirable reflections will hamper readability of the printed sheet  under normal viewing conditions.

Contact angle:  Actual wiping angle of doctor blade on cylinder.  Resultant of forces at work in the particular application.

Contact area:  Area of doctor blade in actual contact with print cylinder when wiping.

Contact positive:  A positive made from a negative by exposure to light in a contact frame, either continuous tone or screened.

Contact print:  A photographic print made from a negative or positive in contact with sensitized paper, film or printing plate.

Contact screen:  A halftone screen on film having a dot structure of graded density, used in vacuum contact with the photographic film to produce halftones.

Container-Board: solid fiber or corrugated and combined paperboard used in the manufacture of shipping containers.

Continuous-tone copy:  Illustrations, photographs or computer files that contain gradient tones from black to white or light to dark.

Contrast:  The tonal change in color from light to dark.

Control chart:  A visual record of quality performance in a statistical process that is produced by plotting the value of each sample drawn from the process in graph form with the number of the observation along the horizontal axis and the value of the observation along the vertical axis.

Conversion:  The process of creating a three dimensional (3D) item from a flat sheet of paper.  i.e. envelope conversion/box conversion.

Converter:  Refers to that type of manufacturer who produces printed rolls, sheets, bags or pouches, etc., from printed rolls of film, foil or paper.

Co-polymer: Result of two monomers being combined through polymerization.

Copy:  All furnished material or disc used in the production of a printed product.

Copyfitting:  In composition, the calculation of how much space a given amount of copy will take up in a given size and typeface.  Also, the adjusting of the type size to make it fit in a given amount of space.

Copy preparation:  Directions for, and checking of, desired size and other details for illustrations, and the arrangement into proper position of various parts of the page to be photographed or electronically processed for reproduction.

Copyright (8):  A group of legal rights granted to the author or creator of written or visual work.  All work appearing with the 8 symbol or word "copyright" is protected by its creator or his heirs.  For more information contact an attorney.

Core: A paper tube on which film is wound.

Corrugated: a durable, lightweight material used for making cases. Corrugated packaging has an arched layer, called fluting, between smooth sheets, called liner. The corrugated cardboard most commonly used to make cases has one layer of fluting between two smooth sheets. Boxes and Corrugated Containers

Core holder:  Device for affixing core to shaft.

Corrugation marks:  A paper defect having the appearance of "rope" or "chain" marks parallel to the direction of web travel, caused by adjacent hard and soft spots.

Counterchange:  To alternate tonal values within a design, e.g. from light against dark to dark against light.

Cover paper:  A heavy printing paper used to cover books, catalogs, brochures, booklets, make presentation folders, etc.

Coverage:  Ink or coating mileage:  The surface area covered by a given quantity of ink or coating material.  In flexography, the extent or degree to which a base material is covered, colored, or hidden by an ink or coating.  Hiding power.

Cover sheet:  A layer of clear material that is taped or laminated over artwork or proofs to protect the surface from damage.

Crash:  Excessive impression of plate to stock or transfer roll to plate.  Characterized by halo effect or double outline.

Crash finish:  A paper finish with a surface similar to coarse linen.

Crash number:  Numbering paper by pressing an image on the first sheet which is transferred to all parts of the printed set.

Crawling:  That property of an ink film in which the wetting of the surface is too poor  the film from contracting into drops, leaving a discontinuous covering.

Creep:  The deformation, in either cured or uncured rubber under stress, which occurs with lapse of time after immediate deformation.  With rubber covered rolls, the metal roll body is subject to creep, as well as the rubber.  Creep can also occur when a roll is kept in storage without turning.

Creepage:  The slight continuous cumulative tendency of a color to drift out of register or position, in the running direction.

Crimp seal:  A seal formed with a corrugated pressure type of heat seal mechanism.  The seal has a wavy appearance.

Crimping:  Puncture marks holding business forms together.

Crop:  To eliminate portions of the copy, usually on a photograph or plate, indicated on the original by cropmarks. Alt:  To cut off parts of a picture or image.

Crop marks:  Printed lines showing where to trim a printed sheet.

Cropping:  Trimming off unwanted areas of an illustration, photo, or other art work.

Cross-deckle Misregister:  Misregister caused by shrinking of a web between printing units.

Cross direction:  In paper, the direction across the grain.  Paper is weaker and more sensitive to changes in relative humidity in the cross direction than the grain direction.

Cross hatch:  Regularly crossed over parallel lines to create various effects of tones and shades.

Cross-Linking: A process which binds the polymer chains into a network. Significantly increasing a films heat stability and strength.

Cross Top Wrapping: A unitization technique which covers the top of a load. Not only does cross top wrapping protect the tops of pallet loads but it also helps to pull the load together as it settles during shipment.

Crow's Feet: A series of wrinkles radiating out from a finished package's corners.

Crown:  The difference in diameter between the center of a roll and reference points at or near the ends of the face.

CTFE: Scientific name is Chlorotrifluoroethylene. The common trade name is Aclar. Is most often used as a laminated barrier film in packaging medications in blister packs.

Cube: The total area inside a truck trailer. The length times width times the height of the trailer is the cube space.

Cure or Curing: 1) Conversion by chemical reaction of a wet coating or printing ink film to a solid film.  2) Also refers to the addition of a catalyst. Alt:  The step in the manufacture of a rubber roller or a rubber plate in which it is subjected to temperature elevation under pressure for a length of time to vulcanize the elastomer until it reaches its optimum in elasticity and tensile strength.  As applied to rubber rollers, the aging cycle required following vulcanization.  To treat (with heat) to make infusible.

Curl: An undesirable condition caused by uneven rates of absorption or evaporation of moisture, uneven rates of contraction or expansion, or internal stresses in the material. Curl is most prevalent in laminated structures where the components have differing physical property.

Curve direction:  Direction of web travel on a flexo press.

Cut:  Gravure/Flexography - To dilute an ink, lacquer or varnish with solvents or with clear base; to thin.

Cut-back:  The process of reducing the size of an image so that the printed area produced by such a cut-back can be covered by an overprinting area.

Cut-off:  In web printing, the cut or print length.

Cutscore:  In die-cutting, a sharp-edged knife, usually several thousandths of an inch lower than the cutting rules in a die, made to cut part way into the paper or board for folding purposes.

Cyan:  One of four standard process colors.   The color blue. Alt:  Hue of a subtractive primary and a 4-color process ink.  It reflects or transmits blue and green light and absorbs red light.

Cylinder: In flexography, for no particular reason, most rollers in the printing press are called rolls which the rubber plates are mounted, and the one which receives the impression, and these are usually referred to as cylinders, i.e., Plate Cylinders, Impression Cylinder.

Cylinder gap: In printing presses, the gap or space in the cylinders of a press where the mechanism for plate (or blanket), clamps and grippers (sheetfed) is housed.





Damper:  Usually a pivoted gate or valve used to control the flow of air or other gases, as in the dryer.

DDES:  Acronym for Digital Data Exchange Specifications.

Dead Fold: Stretch film sticking to itself during wrapping without the use of any additional heat sealing (i.e. – PVC films used in food wrapping have high dead fold). Plastic Stretch Film and Wrap

De-lamination: separations or splitting, usually caused by lack of adequate or sufficient adhesion in laminating or plied goods.

Densitometer:  A quality control device to measure the density of printing ink. Alt:  In photography, a photoelectric instrument which measures the density of photographic images, or of colors.  In printing, a reflection densitometer is used to measure and control the density of color inks on the substrate.

Density:  The degree of color or darkness of an image or photograph.

Descender:  That part of a lower case letter that extends below the main body, as in "p".

Desensitizer:  In platemaking, chemical treatment to make non-image areas of a plate repellant to ink.  In photography, an agent for decreasing color sensitivity of photographic emulsion to facilitate development under comparatively bright light.

Design roll:  Printing cylinder' with elastomeric plates affixed in position, for all-over printing.

Desktop publishing: A process for creating artwork on a personal computer that is almost always not acceptable for professional printing. It is meant for the user to communicate to a very small limited audience. Such as interoffice and NOT for professional marketing or design peieces.

Destruct Bond: A strong bond of two materials where if one attempts to pull the two apart a destruction of one of the materials will occur. The bonding agent is stronger than the materials bonded together.

Developer:  In photography, the chemical agent and process used to render photographic images visible after exposure to light.  In lithographic platemaking, the material used to remove the unexposed coating.

Dial indicator:  A watch-like instrument used to measure concentricity, run-on, deflection, and relative position of mechanical components.

Diatomaceous Earth:  A substance consisting of the skeletons of billions of microscopic plankton, containing a high amount of silicon.  A common paper filler, also used in ceramics, glazes and dynamite.

Diazo:  A light sensitive coating used on printing plates.

Die: A device used in extrusion processes to shape the extrudate.Metal rule or imaged block used to cut or place an image on paper in the finishing process. Alt:  Any of various sharp cutting forms, rotary or flat, used to cut desired shapes from paper, paperboard or other stocks.  Also a carry-over term for printing plates in flexo industries previously letterpress which in early years used metal printing plates, i.e., corrugated, publications, etc.

Die-cutting:  Cutting images in or out of paper. Alt:  The process of using sharp steel rules to cut special shapes for labels, boxes and containers, from printed sheets.  Die-cutting can be done on either flatbed or rotary presses.  Rotary die-cutting is usually done in-line with the printing.

Diffusion:  A spreading out or equalized dispersion of a material, force, or condition into the surrounding medium; as, the diffusion of heat by conduction; the diffusion of light through a translucent material or reflection from a rough surface; the diffusion of gases, liquids or granular solids into the surrounding medium.

Diffusion transfer:  In photography and platemaking, a system consisting of a photographic emulsion on which a negative is produced, and a receiver sheet on which a positive of the image is transferred during processing.

Digital color proof:  An off-press color proof produced from digital data without the need for separation films.

Digital imaging:  The process of creating a digital copy of an illustrated or photographic image.

Digital photography:  The process of recording images using a digital camera or a conventional camera with a digital adapter.

Digital plates:  Printing plates that can be exposed by lasers or other high energy sources driven by digital data in a platesetter.

Digital printing:  A system of printing, which involves linking state of the art printing presses and computers, bypassing the traditional route of making printing plates. Alt:  Printing by plateless imaging systems that are imaged by digital data from prepress systems.

Digitized typesetting:  In typographic imaging, the creation of typographic characters and symbols by the arrangement of black-and-white spots called pixels or pels.

Digitizer:  A computer peripheral device that converts an analog signal (images or sound) into a digital signal.

Dilatent:  Having the property of increasing in viscosity with increase in shear.  Dilatent fluids are solid or highly viscous when stirred, and fluid when undisturbed.  The condition can occur in flexo inks but is normally considered highly undesirable and one to be avoided through formulation.

Diluent:  A liquid having no solvent power by itself, used to thin an ink; not having a solvent action.

Dimensional stability:  Ability to maintain size; resistance of paper or film to dimensional change with change in moisture contact or relative humidity.

Direct screen halftone:  In color separation, a halftone negative made by direct exposure from the original on an enlarger or by contact through a halftone screen.

Dispersing Agents:  Materials added in small amounts to facilitate dispersion of a pigment into a liquid medium; also, wetting agents.  (Ink Additive)

Display type:  In composition, type set larger than the text.

Distorted:  Intentionally compensating of solid particles in a vehicle by mixing or milling.

Distortion copy:  Copy which is intentionally distorted in preparation, in order to compensate for the effects of dimensional changes due to subsequent processing or operation.  Flexographic printing requires such allowances to compensate for shrinkage, stretch, etc.

Distortion plate:  Plates made from distortion copy.

Dithering:  A technique of filling the gap between two pixels with another pixel having an average value of the two to minimize the difference or add detail to smooth the result.

Doctor blade:  In gravure and flexography, a knife-edge blade pressed against the engraved printing cylinder that wipes away the excess ink from the non-printing areas. Alt:  Thin flexible steel blade that passes over a cylinder, wiping off excess ink before impression is made on paper.  In the pressroom, refers to the entire assembly consisting of blade, doctor blade holder, and all necessary adjusting and loading devices.

Doctor blade holder:  Upper and lower clamp supports for doctor and back-up blades. Gravure/Flexography

Doctor blade Loading:  Applying doctor blade pressure against the engraved cylinder. Gravure/flexography

Doctor roll: The fountain roll in a flexographic press.

Dog-Ears: Triangular projections of un-shrunk film at the corners of finished packages.

Doorknob Bags: Side-weld bag, staple-packed with perforated lip and hole just below the top of the bag. Custom Door Knob Hanger Bags

Dot:  An element of halftones.  Using a loupe you will see that printed pictures are made up of many dots.

Dot etching:  In photography, chemically reducing halftone dots to vary the amount of color to be printed.  Dot etching on negatives increases color; dot etching on positives reduces color.

Dot gain or spread:  A term used to explain the difference in size between the dot on film versus on paper. Alt:  A phenomenon, which occurs when wet ink comes in contact with paper.  As the halftone dots are applied to the paper, the wet ink spreads, causing the dots to increase in size and halftones to appear darker.  A number of factors affect dot gain.

Dot growth:  The enlargement of a halftone dot from the printing plate to the printed image as a result of pressure needed to transfer the ink onto the substrate.

Dots per inch (dpi): A measure of the resolution of a screen image or printed page.  Spots per inch (spi) is a more appropriate term.

Double burn:  Exposing a plate to multiple images.

Doughnut:The appearance of a screen dot that has printed the circumference of the cell while not printing a complete dot.

Double Stacking: One pallet placed on top of another during shipping.

Doypack (Doyen): A stand-up pouch that has seals on both sides and around the bottom gusset. In 1962, Louis Doyen invented and patented the first soft sack with an inflated bottom called Doy pack®. Although this new packaging was not the immediate success hoped for, it is booming today since the patent has entered the public domain.

Drape: The softness of a film characterized by the ability to conform to irregular shapes.

Draw Down: A thin coating applied and spread by a number of instruments, hand rollers or pulling a smooth flat knife blade. Used to check such coating characteristics as shade, color strength and tones.

Drier:  In ink making, a substance added to hasten drying.

Drift:  1) The continued deformation of rubber under strain.  2) The change in a given durometer reading after a specified period of time.

Driving Side:   The side of a flexographic press on which the main gear train(s) are located; also gear side; opposite of operating side.

Drop-out:  Portions of original artwork that do not reproduce or print, especially colored lines or background areas (often on purpose).

Dry back:  The change in color or finish of an ink film as it dries.

Dry color:  Pigment in dry or powder form.

Dry cut:  A paper defect consisting of a long cut in the paper.  This is a calendar cut occurring without wrinkling.

Dryer:  The auxiliary unit of a flexographic or gravure printing press through which the printed web travels and is dried prior to rewinding.  A drying unit placed as required between the color stations.

Drying in:  Ink drying in cells of a anilox roll or gravure cylinder.  In screenprinting, a state where ink has started to dry onto the screen, causing the mesh to clog and resulting in loss of detail and poor definition.

Dry-up:  See catching up.

Dull-coated:  A moderately glossy coated publication stock, more reflective than matte, but less so than glossy.

Dummy:   A rough layout of a printed piece showing position and finished size. Alt:  A preliminary layout showing the position of illustrations and text as they are to appear in the final reproduction.  A set of blank pages made up in advance to show the size, shape, form and general style of a piece of printing.

Duotone:  A halftone picture made up of two printed colors.

Duplex paper:  Paper with a different color or finish on each side.

Duplicating film: A film for making positives from positives, and negatives from negatives.  In color reproduction, a special film used for making duplicates of color transparencies.

Dwell time: The time usually expressed in seconds at a given temperature that is required for the application of heat to seal a heat sealing membrane.

Dye:  A colored substance, usually differing from a pigment tin its solubility in various solvents.

Dye transfer:  In photography, a process of producing color prints by tanning photographic emulsions and using them to transfer dye solutions to film or paper coated with gelatin.

Dylux:  Photographic paper made by DuPont and used for bluelines.

Dynamic balance:  When the rotating masses are in equilibrium.

Dynamic range:  Density difference between highlights and shadows of scanned subjects.





EAA: See Ethylene Acrylic Acid co-polymer.

Eccentricity:  Off center or out-of-round condition, such as a roll or cylinder which does not rotate in a true concentric circle in relation to its axis.

Eco-Wrap: Micron Pallet Wrap. Stiffer and stronger than conventional hand wrap. Has a high resistance to stretch for superior load retention. Plastic Stretch Film and Wrap.

Editing:  To review original copy and make necessary changes or corrections before the type is finally set.

Efflorescence:  A specific form of spontaneous desiccation (drying up).  The property of a crystalline substance to become dehydrated or anhydrous when exposed to air and to crumble to a powder.  Opposite of delinqescence.

Efflux cup:  A simple viscometer such as the Zahn, Shell or Hiccup, which give viscosity readings rapidly in terms of the number of seconds required for the cup to empty through an orifice of known size.  Gravure/Flexographic/Screen

Elastic Elongation:  The ability of a material to stretch without breaking.  To describe this properly as measured, it is more accurate to speak of "ultimate elongation" or "elongation at break" since its value, expressed as per cent of original length, is taken at the moment of rupture.

Elasticity: The property of a substance that enables it to return to its original size or shape after being stretched or deformed.

Elastomer:  Any rubber-like substance or polymer.

Elastomeric:  Flexible and resilient.

Electronic dot generation (EDG):  A method of producing halftones electronically on scanners and prepress systems.

Electronic printing:  Any technology that reproduces pages without the use of traditional ink, water or chemistry.

Electronic publishing:  A new process by which information is distributed in electronic or magnetic formats. (i.e. articles available on computer services or books on CD ROM.)

Electronic color scanner:  This device brings the flexibility of electronic controls to photographic techniques in continuous tone color separations.  A high-speed computer is built into the scanner that instantaneously calculates the necessary color correction from the original copy.

Electrophotography:  Image transfer systems used in copiers to produce images using electrostatic forces.
Elliptical dot:  In halftone photography, elongated dots that give improved gradation of tones particularly in middle tones and vignettes - also called chain dots.
Elongation:  Longitudinal deformation resulting from stress, from stretching.

Elasticity: the ability of paper or plastic to rebound back to its original state after being stretched.

Electrically Conductive: Carbon-impregnated polyethylene bags providing exterior protection from static charges. Anit-Static and Static Shielding Bags

Electron Beam: A device used in the cross-linking process.

Elmendorf Tear Test: A standard test for determining the internal Tearing Resistance, named after its inventor, Armin Elmendorf.

Em space:  A lateral space equal to the width f the lower case letter "m". Alt:  In composition, a unit of measurement exactly as wide and high as the point size being set.  So named because the letter "M" in early fonts was usually cast on a square body.

Emulsion:  Light sensitive coating found on printing plates and film. Alt:  The chemically treated side of photographic film. (The dull side not the shiny side.)  Depending on the printing process involved, film will be requested as "right reading" emulsion up or emulsion down.

Emulsion side:  In photography, the side of the film coated with the silver halide emulsion.

End product:  The final package or printed piece after all blanking, folding, gluing, or heat sealing is done ready for customer use.
En space:  A lateral space equal to half an em space, roughly the width of a lower case "n".

Engraved roll:  Transfer roll having mechanically engraved cells.  See Anilox Roll.

Engraving:  A general term normally applied to any pattern which has been cut in or incised in a surface by hand, mechanical or etching processes.

Epoxy resins:  Plastic or resinous materials used for strong, fast setting adhesives, as heat resistant coatings and binders, etc.

EPS (EPSF) Encapsulate Postscript file:  A vector based, computer graphics file format developed by Adobe Systems.  EPS is the preferred format for many computer illustrations, because of its efficient use of memory and fine color control. Alt:  An alternative picture file format that allows Postscript data to be stored and edited and is easy to transfer between Macintosh, MS-DOS and other systems.

Equalizer rod / Meyer rod:  A metal rod wound with fine wire around its axis so that liquids can be drawn down evenly at a given thickness across a substrate.  Flexographic / Gravure printing.

Etch:  In photoengraving, to produce an image on a plate by chemical or electrolytic action.  In offset lithography, an acidified gum solution used to desensitize the non-printing areas of the plate; also, an acid solution added to the fountain water to help keep non-printing areas of the plate free from ink.

Ethyl cellulose:  A cellulose ether, soluble in most organic and hydrocarbon solvents, available as a transparent flexible packaging film.  Also used as an ingredient in inks, coatings and adhesives.

Ethylene Acrylic Acid Copolymer: (Abrevation: EAA): used for adhesion to unprimed foil, paper, and metallized film and provides substrate protection for improved structure reliability and barrier integrity.

Ethylene-Methyl Acrylate: (Abreviation EMA)

End-of-line packaging: the final step in most packaging lines; the process consists of cartoning, case packing and palletizing. State of the art Extrusion.

Ethylene-Ethyl Acrylate: (Abreviation: EEA) an organic. It is the ethyl ester of acrylic acid. It is a colourless liquid with a characteristic acrid odor. It is mainly produced for paints, textiles, and non-woven fibers It is also a reagent in the synthesis of various pharmaceutical intermediates.

Ethylene-Vinyl Alcohol: (Abreviation: EVOH)

EVA ( Ethylene Vinyl Acetate): A co-polymer put in stretch film adding strength to ordinary polyethylene film.: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate co-polymer. Much softer and clearer than LDPE or LLDPE and has lower melt temperature. Its melt temperature goes down, while its softness increases with increasing vinyl acetate (VA) content. EVA resins with 2-18% VA content are used for cast and blown packaging films. Strengthens and improves seal-ability. Appropriate for use in cold-temperature applications. 

Evaporation:  The changing from the liquid to the gaseous or vapor stage, as when the solvent leaves the printed ink film.

EVOH: Ethylene-Vinyl Alcohol co-polymer, used in co extruded plastic films to improve oxygen barrier properties. It is, however, a poor water vapour barrier. Even its otherwise excellent OTR, (oxygen transmission rate) is sensitive to high humidity, therefore, for packaging applications, it is usually the core layer of co extruded plastic films, where it is shielded from moisture by protective layers of polyethylene. Its OTR also depends on its VOH (vinyl alcohol) content.

Expanded type:  A type whose width is greater than normal.

Expose:  To subject (a sensitive film, plate, etc.) to the action of lights.

Exposure:  The step in photographic processes during which light produces the image on the light-sensitive coating.

Extenders:  Materials used to weaken, or extend, a fountain ink without changing its viscosity; usually an extender varnish or an extender transparent white.

Extensible:  Stretchable as in many packaging materials such as polyethylene which elongate during processing.

Extrusion:  The production of a continuous sheet or film (or other shapes not connected with flexography) by forcing hot thermoplastic material through a die or orifice.

Extrusion coating:  A process whereby paper stock is coated by extrusion, normally plastic such as polyethylene; extrusion laminating.

Extensibility: the ability of paper or plastic to be stretched without breaking.

Extra Bright Foil: Foil having a uniform extra bright specular finish.

Extra Hard: Maximum hardness and tensile properties.

Extruder: A machine that makes stretch film. It consists of a large steel barrel surrounded by heaters, which melt the plastic resin pellets. Inside of the barrel is a large screw to force the liquid plastic under pressure through a die to be made into plastic sheeting by either the cast or blown processes. Production Diagram

Extrusion: A product formed by pushing material through a die. Production Diagram

Extrusion Lamination: A laminating process in which individual layers of multi-layer packaging materials are laminated to each other by extruding a thin layer of molten synthetic resin (such as polyethylene) between the layers.Production Diagram

Eye Spot: Sometimes referred to as an "Eye-mark". It is a small solid image, usually in the shape of a rectangular mark that may be printed at one of the corners of each printed bag. A possible alternative to this are microdots.

Eye marker or eye spot:  A small rectangular printed area usually located near the edge of a web or design, to activate an automatic electronic position regulator for controlling register of the printed design with subsequent equipment or operations.




F.O.B. Destination: The seller will bear transportation charges to the Ship to location served by common carrier where the buyer or designated person/party takes custody of the goods.

F.O.B. Plant: Buyer will bear all transportation charges, and will take custody of the products at the shipping point

Faraday Cage: Provides both interior and exterior protection from static and other charges. Anit-Static and Static Shielding Bags

FFS: Form Fill Seal

Filling Machine: a device that measures a predetermined volume, weight or number of product and fills it into a bag, bottle, box, container, sack, tube or other type of package. Semi-Automatic Pre-Opened Bag on Roll Machines

Fill and Seal Machines: Packaging machines which combine the functions of filling and closing in one machine.Semi-Automatic Pre-Opened Bag on Roll Machines

Fish Eyes: A scalloped surface on a finished product surface.

Five Sided Wrapping: Wrapping a pallet load’s four sides plus the top. The top of a pallet can be wrapped by using the cross top wrapping technique. Plastic Stretch Film and Wrap

Flange: The extended lip of the hand brake that keeps the operator’s hand from sliding down and rubbing against the roll.

Flap Lock: Bag has lip folded back with side seals. Commonly known as a sandwich bag.

Flat Bags: Two-dimensional bag (width x length) with bottom or side seals. Flat Poly Bags

Flat -Bottom Stand-up Pouch: a stand-up pouch that is made from one piece of film. The front, gusset, and back are continuous, so there is no seal at the gusset. Holds more weight than Doy-style pouches, so are commonly used for heavy products.

Flexibility: The property of a material, which will permit its being bent or twisted without breaking, the state of being non-rigid.

Flexographic Printing: (Abbrev: flexo) An economical printing method, mostly done on web-fed equipment, in which a rubber roll, partially immersed in an ink fountain, transfers ink to a fine-screened steel roller carrying the design to be printed, which in turn deposits a thin layer of ink on the printing plate. The print pattern is raised and the non-print area is lower. The ink is applied to the raised area of the rubber plate, then transfers to the material to be printed in the desired pattern. Flexographic printing produces remarkably sharp reproductions of multicolor work, including lettering in small type sizes. Also called aniline printing because flexographic inks originally used aniline dyes. Detailed illustration

Floor Loading: A technique used for packing a truck in which pallets and stretch film are not used. Hand carrying (conveyors are frequently used) a load on a truck and shipping the load by leaving it on the trailer floor.

Foil (AL): A thin gauge (6-12 microns) aluminium foil laminated to plastic films to provide maximum oxygen, aroma and water vapour barrier properties. Although it is by far the best barrier material, it is increasingly being replaced by metallised films, (see MET-PET, MET-OPP and VMPET) because of cost.

Form, Fill and Seal Machines: Packaging machines which form, fill and seal a package in the same machine. Semi-Automatic Pre-Opened Bag on Roll Machines

Four Color Process Printing: Also called process printing - Indicates the four-color plates or cylinders commonly used in color printing. Usually of photographic quality. (C - Cyan, M - Magenta, Y - Yellow, K - Black.) In flexographic printing the minimums are much higher, and the cost more substantial than in spot color printing.

4-color-process:  The process of combining four basic colors to create a printed color picture or colors composed from the basic four colors.

Face printing:  Printing on the outer surface of a transparent film in contrast to printing on the back (reverse) of film.

Facsimile transmission:  The process of converting graphic images into electronic signals.

Fadeometer:  An instrument used to measure the fading properties of inks and other pigmented coatings.

Fading:  The change of strength or color on exposure to light, heat, or other influences.

Fake color:  In color reproduction, producing a color illustration by using one image as a key and making the other separations from it manually.

False body:  Thixotropic flow property of a fluid.  When a composition thins on stirring and thickens on standing it is said to exhibit false body.
Fastness:  Term used to denote the stability or resistance of stock or colorants to influences such as light, alkali, etc.

Fast solvent:  Solvent of low boiling point that evaporates rapidly; a fast-drying solvent.

Feathering:  A ragged or feather edge that shows at the edge of type or cuts.

Feeder:  In printing presses, the section that separates the sheets and feeds them in position for printing.

Filler:  Inert substance in a composition to increase bulk, strength, and/or lower cost, etc.

Fill-in:  Generally used to refer to the open portions of small type and half tones filled by ink.

Film:  Unsupported, basically organic, nonfibrous, thin, flexible material of a thickness not exceeding 0.010 inch.  Such material in excess of 0.0100 inch in thickness is usually called "sheeting".  A variety of special designations, such as gussetted film, "J" film, "U" film, "W" film, etc. refer to films wound with a single or double fold or gusset on one or both sides, the designations describing the shape of a cross-section.

Film, cast:  Generally refers to films made by coating, or casting, a solution of a film former on an endless belt, drying the solvents, stripping the film from the belt and winding it up.  Polyethylene cast film refers to the film made by extruding the molten polyethylene through a flat die onto a series of relatively cool rolls to chill it and winding-up the film so formed.

Film Former:  A type of resin (binder) with qualities of forming a tough, continuous film; usually refers to such plastics as ethyl cellulose, nitrocellulose, chlorinated rubber and vinyl used in inks and coatings.

Film gauge:  A number indicative of the thickness of films.

Film treatment:  The surface oxidation of film to increase adhesion of inks.

Film, tubular:  Generally used to mean polyethylene tubular film - produced by extruding the molten polyethylene in the form of a tube through a round die, cooling the plastic, flattening the tube so formed by means of nip rolls, and winding it up.

Filling in (or filling up):  In letterpress or offset lithography, a condition where ink fills the area between the halftone dots or plugs up (fills in) the type.

Fineness of grind:  The degree of grinding or dispersion of a pigment in a printing ink or vehicle. Extent to which particle size has been reduced to its ultimate by grinding technique.  Fineness of granular structure.

Finish:  The degree of gloss or flatness of a print or surface.

First down color:  The first color printed on the substrate.

Fixer:  Chemical used to stop the developed photographic image from continuing to develop.

Fixing:  Chemical action following development to remove unexposed silver halide, to make the image stable and insensitive to further exposure.

Flash exposure:  In halftone photography, the supplementary exposure given to strengthen the dots in the shadow areas of negatives.

Flat: A photograph or halftone that is lacking in contrast.

Flat seal:  A heat seal characterized by being flat.  Compare with crimp seal.

Flatbed scanner:  A device that scans images in a manner similar to a photocopy machine; the original art is positioned face down on a glass plate.

Flat etching:  The chemical reduction of the silver deposit in a continuous-tone or halftone plate, brought about by placing it in a tray containing an etching solution.

Flex:  Another term for deflection of rolls or cylinders in press.  Also, bending qualities or characteristics, of any material, including printing substrates.

Flexible glue:  Animal glue which has been plasticized so that permanently flexible films are formed.  Commonly used to denote any flexible adhesive.

Flexing strength:  The ability of a sheet or film to withstand breakage by folding.  Flexing strength may be measured by a test to determine the number of folds required to cause failure.

Flexography:  A method of direct rotary printing using resilient raised image printing plates, affixed to variable repeat plate cylinders, inked by a roll or doctor blade wiped engraved metal roll, carrying fluid or paste type inks to virtually any substrate.

Flocculation:   The aggregation of pigment particles in the ink to form clusters or chains; may result in a loss of color strength and a change in hue.

Flood:  To cover a printed page with ink, varnish, or plastic coating.

Flop:  The reverse side of an image.

Flow:  The property of an ink causing it to level out as would a true liquid.  Inks of poor flow are classed as short in body, while inks of good flow are said to be long.  Rheological properties of a fluid.

Fluidity:  The ability of a material to flow.  The ease of flow of a material.  As opposed to viscosity, the greater the viscosity the less fluidity.

Fluorocarbons:  Organic compounds in which fluorine atoms are bonded to carbon atoms.  Example, Teflon* - Trade Mark Reg. DuPont.

Flush cover:  A cover that has been trimmed the same size as the inside text pages.

Flush left (or right):  In composition, type set to line up at the left (or right).  This page is set flush left and right.

Flush paragraph:  A paragraph with no indention.

Flying:  Ink thrown off the press by the inking rollers; throwing, splashing.

FM (frequency modulation) screening:  A means of digital screening.  See stochastic screening.

Foaming:  A property of a liquid related to its surface tension; frothing.  Foaming is a problem mostly with water base ink, usually occurring when inks are circulated through the ink pumps on a press fountain.  Another class of inks, called foam inks, are purposely formulated to be applied as a foam.

Focal length:  In photography, the distance from the center of the lens to the image of an object at infinity.  At same size, the distance from copy to image is four times the focal length of the lens.

Focaltone:  A proprietary color matching system for process color.  (Similar to Pantone Matching System)

Fog:  In photography, silver density in the non-image areas. Alt:  A defect in a print or negative containing a deposit of silver extraneous to the intended image. Fog may be caused by improper developing, or by light leaks in the darkroom

Foil:  A metallic or pigmented coating on plastic sheets or rolls used in foil stamping and foil embossing.

Foil emboss:  Foil stamping and embossing a image with a die.  

Folio:  The page number.

Font:  Complete assortment of all the different characters of a particular style and size of type.

Form rollers:  The rollers, either inking or dampening (lithography), which directly contact the plate on a printing press.

Format:  The size, style, type page, margins, printing requirements, etc., of a printed piece.
Fountain:  A pan or trough on a flexographic press in which the fountain roller revolves.  Sometimes loosely applied to the entire printing station.

Fountain roll:  Roll that picks up ink or coating material from the fountain and applies it to the transfer roll.

Freeze/Thaw Stability:  The ability of an ink system to undergo freezing and thawing cycles.

"f" stops:  In photography, fixed stops for setting lens apertures.

French fold:  Two folds at right angles to each other.

Frequency distribution:  A grouping of statistical data in either tabular or graphic film.

Front end system:  In electronic publishing, the workstation or group of work stations containing the applications software for preparing pages of type and graphics.

Fugitive:  1) Poor color fastness because of exposure to light, heat or other agents.  
2) Term used to describe unstable plasticizers that leave a printed film because of their volatility.
Fuse:  To join two surfaces by heating them to their melting or softening point.

Fusible:  Capable of being melted or liquefied by action of heat.




Gauge: A term used in referring to the thickness. The higher the gauge, the thicker the material. Also gage.  1) (Noun) an instrument for exact measuring. 2) (Verb) to measure exactly. 3) A standard measure, usually of thickness or diameter, expressed by a number which has a standard dimensional equivalent that varies for different materials and for different standards.

Here are some examples and equivalents:

1mil = 1/1000 of an inch = .001
1 mil = 25.4 microns
1 micron = one millionth of a meter
1 inch = 25.4 mm = 2.54 cm
100 gauge = 1 mil
80 gauge = 8/10 mil = .0008 inches

Gauge Band:Thickness irregularity in films.

Gel: Small piece of undissolved resin causing imperfection in film.

Gravure Printing: (Rotogravure). With gravure printing an image is etched on the surface of a metal plate, the etched area is filled with ink, then the plate is rotated on a cylinder that transfers the image to the film or other material. Gravure is abbreviated from Rotogravure. Gravure printing is ideal for printing in long runs and contributes to higher printing speeds. Gives excellent reproduction of detail to the image printed.

Gusset: the fold in the side or bottom of the pouch, allowing it to expand when contents are inserted

Gusseted Bags: Flat style bag with both sides or bottom tucked in to form gussets. Designated with three dimensions; Side Gusset (width x depth x length) or Bottom Gusset (width x length + gusset). Custom Gusseted Poly Bags

Galley proof:  Text copy before it is put into a mechanical layout or desktop layout.

Gamma:  A measure of contrast in photographic images.

Gang:  Getting the most out of a printing press by using the maximum sheet size to print multiple images or jobs on the same sheet.  A way to save money.

Gathering:  In binding, the assembling of folded signatures in proper sequence.

GCR:  Acronym for Gray Component Replacement.

Gear chart, or gear selector:  A handy reference compilation of the various printing lengths, or repeats, obtainable within the different gearing systems.

Gear marks:  A defect in flexographic printing.  Usually appears as uniformly spaced, lateral variations in tone exactly corresponding to the distance between gear teeth.

Gear side:  See driving side.

Gear streaks:  In printing, parallel streaks appearing across the printed sheet at same interval as gear teeth on the cylinder.

Gel:  A state or condition which an ink or vehicle has a jellylike consistency.

Gelatin:  A hard, colloidal protein, an animal byproduct (mostly from bone).  Dissolves in hot water, but is insoluble in alcohol and some other solvents.  Used as a coating for carbon tissue and other photographic products.

Generation:  Stages of reproduction from original copy.  A first generation reproduction yields the best quality.

Generic:  Pertaining to or applicable to all members of a genus or class.

Generic designs:  Not protected by trademark registration.

Ghost bars:  A quality control method used to reduce ghosted image created by heat or chemical contamination.

Ghosting:  A faint printed image that appears on a printed sheet where it was not intended.  More often than not this problem is a function of graphical design.  It is hard to tell when or where ghosting will occur.  Sometimes you can see the problem developing immediately after printing the sheet, other times the problem occurs while drying.  However the problem occurs it is costly to fix, if it can be fixed.  Occasionally it can be eliminated by changing the color sequence, the inks, the paper, changing to a press with a drier, printing the problem area in a separate pass through the press or changing the racking (reducing the number of sheets on the drying racks).  Since it is a function of graphical design, the buyer pays for the increased cost.

GIF:  An eight bit (256 colors or shades of grey) or less computer file format.  Though commonly used to post photographic images to computer bulletin boards, GIF files are almost never used for professional printing.

Gigabyte (GB):  One billion bytes.
Gloss:  A shiny look reflecting light.

Gloss Ink:  An ink that dries with a minimum of penetration into the stock and yields a high luster.

Gloss Meter:  An instrument used to measure the specular (mirror) reflectance from a surface at a given angle.

Glue line:  The line of adhesive between the two surfaces to be adhered.  Also paste line.

Grain:  In papermaking, the direction in which most fibers lie which corresponds with the direction the paper is made on a paper machine.

Grain direction:  The direction taken by a majority of the fibers in any sheet of paper.  Synonymous with "machine direction", the opposite of "cross direction".

Grammage:  A term in the metric system for expressing the basis weight of paper.  It is the weight in grams of a square meter of the paper expressed in g/m2.

Graphic:  A non-text item (illustration or photograph) to be printed.

Graphic design:  A process of problem solving, using visual elements (pictures and type) usually to communicate a concept or idea.

Graphic designer:  An individual who solves communication problems, using visual elements (pictures and type) to convey an idea or concept.

Gray balance:  The dot values or densities of cyan, magenta and yellow that produce a neutral gray.

Gray level:  The number of gray values that can be distinguished by a color separation filter - usually 256.

Gray scale:  A strip of standard gray tones, ranging from white to black, placed at the side of original copy during photography to measure tonal range and contrast (gamma) obtained.

Grease proofness:  Resistance of material to grease.

Greek:  Usually nonsense words and letterforms used in a design to approximate the flow of written language.  Used primarily before final text is available.

Grippers:  The metal fingers on a printing press that hold the paper as it passes through the press.

Gripper edge:  The leading edge of paper as it passes through a printing press.  Also the front edge of a lithographic or wrap-around plat that is secured to front clam of plate cylinder.

Gripper margin:  Unprintable blank edge of paper on which grippers bear, usually 2 " or less.

Grooving the cylinder:  Cylinder damage due to foreign material.

Grounding:  Removal of electric charges by leading them into the ground through electrical conductors.

Gum:  A water-soluble amorphous substance exuded by or prepared from plants, which is sticky when moist but hardens upon exposure to air; any material having the above properties, natural or synthetic, regardless of source.  Loosely used in reference to unvulcanized rubber.

Gusset:  The bellows fold or tuck on the side or bottom of a bag; the capacity of the bag is measured with the gusset unfolded.




Halftone: A plate or cylinder or printed piece or process involving the shooting of artwork through a lined screen, which breaks up the art into a dot pattern

HandyWrap: Pallet stretch wrap with disposable extended core handles. Stretch Film and Wrap

HDPE: High density, (0.95-0.965) polyethylene. Has much higher stiffness, higher temperature resistance and much better water vapour barrier properties than LDPE, but it is considerably hazier.

Header Bags: Side-weld bag with continuous seal along top, 2"-3" below fold. Bag is loaded and sealed from the bottom and typically has a hang hole. Custom Ziplock Bags in a Header Pack

Heat Seal Coating: A coating on a material, which allows that material to be laminated to a second material with a surface that when heat is applied the two materials will bond together. The bond strength is such that the materials will be destructed if one tries to peel apart the two. Also called a "destruct bond".

Heat Seal Layer: A heat seal-able innermost layer in plastic packaging films and laminates. Can be either adhesive laminated or extrusion coated onto a non-seal-able film (or foil).

Heat Seal Strength: Strength of heat seal measured after the seal is cooled, (not to be confused with “hot tack”). Impulse Bag Sealers and Closures

Hickeys: Marks on printed material caused by dirt or foreign material during the printing process.

High Density Load / Product: A load or product that is relatively heavy (i.e. – an engine block on a pallet).

High Density Polyethylene: Thinner, yet stronger than low density polyethylene. Moisture and vapor barrier, non-porous.

Hole Punch: A mechanical device used to produce an air evacuation hole. Custom Vent Hole or Vent Hole Poly Bags

Hot Slip: The amount of force required to side two surfaces of heated film against on another. Impulse Bag Sealers and Closures

Hot Tack: Strength of heat seal measured before the seal is cooled, which is very important for high-speed packaging operations. Impulse Bag Sealers and Closures

Hairline:  A very thin line or gap about the width of a hair or 1/100 inch

Hairline register:  Register within " 2 row of dots.

Halation:  In photography, a blurred effect, resembling a halo, usually occurring in highlight areas or around bright objects.

Halftone:  Converting a continuous tone to dots for printing. Alt:  A reproduction of a continuous-tone image (i.e. a photograph or painting), through a screening process, using fine dots of varying size and spacing to reproduce the shades and textures of the original.

Halo:  An undesirable peripheral outline of the printed image.

Hand-set:  When type is put into a composing stick by hand instead of by machine.

Hard chromium:  Chromium plated for engineering rather than decorative applications.  Not necessarily harder than decorative chromium.  Gravure applications are hard chromium.

Hard copy:  The permanent visual record of the output of a computer or printer.  Also the material sent to a typesetter in typed form, for conversion into typeset material. Alt:  The output of a computer printer, or typed text sent for typesetting.

Hard proof:  A proof on paper or other substrate as distinguished from a soft proof, which is an image on a VDT screen.

Hard sized:  Refers to a type of paper that has been treated with considerable size to resist water.  Opposite of slack-sized.

Hardware:  Computer and peripherals as distinguished from software, which is a program for operating hardware.

Heat resistance:  The ability to withstand the effects of exposure to high temperature.  Care must be exercised in defining degree.

Heat seal:  A method of uniting two or more surfaces by fusion, either of the coatings or of the base materials, under controlled conditions of temperature, pressure, and time (dwell).

Heat seal lacquer:  A lacquer which when applied to a stock and dried, is capable of softening under heat and can be sealed to itself or other surface.

Heat sealing paper:  Any paper coated with heat sealable materials.

Heavy-bodied inks:  Inks of a high viscosity or stiff consistency.

Hermetic:  Air tight or impervious to the passage of air.

Hexachrome:  A proprietary color separation process, developed by Pantone that uses six (6) instead of four process colors.

Hiccup:  A form of efflux cup viscometer.

High-bulk paper:  A paper made thicker than its standard basis weight.

High Impact Polystyyrene: (Abbreviation is HIPS) a low cost plastic material that is easy to machine and fabricate. HIPS is often specified for low strength structural applications when impact resistance, machinability, and low cost are required. It is frequently used machining pre-production prototypes since it has excellent dimensional stability and is easy to fabricate, paint and glue. Natural (translucent white) HIPS is FDA compliant for use in food processing applications.

High key:  Term used to describe photographs in which the majority of tones are lighter in value than a middle gray.

Highlight:  The whitest or lightest areas in a picture represented in a halftone reproduction by the smallest dots or the absence of dots.

Holdout:  In printing, a property of coated paper with low ink absorption which allows ink to set on the surface with high gloss.  Papers with too much holdout cause problems with set-off.

Homogeneous:  Of the same uniform composition or construction throughout.

HSV:  Acronym for hue, saturation and value (or brilliance or luminance)-a color space used in some graphic programs.

Hue:  In color, the main attribute of a color that distinguishes it from other colors.

Humidifier:  A device that causes water vapor to be diffused into the atmosphere of an enclosed area.

Humidity:  The moisture condition of the air.  Actual humidity is the number of grains of moisture in the air at any given time.  Relative humidity is the percent of moisture relative to the maximum which air at any given temperature can retain without precipitation.

Hydrocarbon:  Materials composed entirely of carbon and hydrogen.  General term for family of petroleum solvents.

Hydrometer:  An instrument used for measuring the specific gravity of a liquid.

Hygrometer:  An instrument for measurement of the relative humidity of air.

Hygroscopic:  The ability of a material to absorb or otherwise take up moisture from the surroundings.

Hysteresis:  A loss of energy due to successive deformations and relaxation.




Identi Film: Pallet stretch film in colors. Tinted films give protection from tampering and theft. Improves load appearance, product rotation. 12 - 18 inch Stretch Film

Intermediate Temper: obtained by controlled strain hardening

Impulse Seal: A heat sealing technique where the element is pulsed with voltage during the sealing cycle. Impulse Bag Sealers and Closures

Impulse Sealer: also known as a heat sealer. These units use an electrical current passed through a Ni-Chrome wire heating element to seal bags & tubing. Can be used on many plastic materials to create strong permanent welds. Impulse Bag Sealers and Closures

Icicles:  Strings of dried ink hanging around cylinder area including applicator, bafflers, etc.

Idler rolls:  Roller mechanisms on converting machines used to support, smooth or direct the web in its course of travel through a machine.  Not driven.

Ionomer: Commonly refered to as Surlyn a polymer that comprises repeat units of both electrically neutral repeating units and a fraction of ionized units (usually no more than 15 mole percent) covalently bonded to the polymer backbone as pendant moieties. This means that most ionomers are copolymers of the neutral segments and the ionized units, which usually consist of carboxylic acid groups.

Illustrator:  An individual who draws or paints original artistic images for use in commercial art.

Image:  A design or drawing.

Image area:  Portion of paper on which ink can appear.

Image assembly:  See stripping.

Image carrier:  Any plate, form, cylinder or other surface which contains an image, receives ink, and transfers it to another surface or substrate, e.g., gravure cylinders, offset plates, and letterpress stereotypes.

Imagesetter:  A high-resolution device that prints directly to plate ready film.

Impression bar:  A small diameter rod or bar, supported by a back-up member of sufficient rigidity, mounted in place of the impression cylinder for running certain types of work, e.g., porous tissue.  Gravure, Flexographic

Impression cylinder:  In printing, the cylinder on a printing press against which the paper picks up the impression from the inked plate in direct printing, or the blanket in offset printing.

Indicia:  Postal information place on a printed product.

Infeed:  A mechanism designed to control the forward travel of the web into the press.

Inhibitor:  A substance or agent that slows or prevents chemical reactions even though present only in small quantities.

Ink, flexographic:  Fast drying fluid or paste type inks for flexographic printing.

Ink fountain:  The reservoir on a printing press that holds the ink.

Ink holdout:  A paper's ability to resist penetration of ink components beneath its surface.

Ink mist:  Flying filaments or threads formed by long inks like newspaper ink.

Inkometer:  An instrument for measuring the tack of printing inks.

In-line press:  A press coupled to another operation such as bag-making, sheeting, die-cutting, creasing, etc.  A multi-color press in which the color stations are mounted horizontally in a line.

Insert:  A printed piece prepared for insertion into a publication or another printed piece.

Intaglio:  Any printing process using a recessed image carrier.  Refers to fin art copper plate printing from etchings; commercial copper plate " engraving" used for business cards, stationery, stamps and security printing; and all sheetfed and rotogravure printing.  General used in an historical context, and to distinguish gravure from other processes, the term is falling into general disuse in the commercial sector of the industry.

Intensity:  Purity of hue or color tone or the degree of hue as seen by the eye.

Interleave:  To insert separate sheets of paper, etc., between foil, printed paper, or other stacked sheet material to facilitate handling or to prevent blocking or smudging.

Iridescent:  A term used to indicate the property that is possessed by certain materials of exhibiting prismatic colors.

Irradiation:  Treated with ultra-violet light or another high-energy ray.

Iodine number:  A number that indicates that relative drying potential of vegetable oils; the higher the number, the faster the drying and oxidation.

Iron blue:  A warm, purplish blue ink, also called Milori Blue.

Iron perchloride:  Chemical used for copper cylinder etching.  Chemical formula: FeCl3.  Also known as ferric chloride.

Italic:  The style of letters that slant, in distinction from upright, or roman letters.  Used for emphasis within the text.




Custom J or Lip Poly Sheeting: One side of the plastic film is longer than the other, which allows for quick and easy separation. Very convenient for a wide range of odd products with unusual shapes or compositions. Custom J or Lip Poly Sheeting

Jelling:  The thickening of an ink or other liquid which cannot be reversed by stirring.

Jet:  Term used to describe the blackness or intensity of the mass tone of black or near black surfaces.
Journals:  The end shafts on which a roll rotates.

JPEG:  Joint Photographic Electronic Group:  A common standard for compressing image data.  JPEG is not commonly used in printing because of data loss.

Jumbo roll:  A roll of web material the outside diameter of which is larger than standard diameter.

Justify:  In composition, to space out lines uniformly to the correct length.




Kern:  To adjust the lateral space between individual letters.

Key:  To code copy to a dummy by means of symbols, usually letters.  Insertions are sometimes keyed in like manner.

Keyboard:  The input device to input information directly into a typesetter, computer, workstation or, as a stand-alone unit, to record it on paper or magnetic tape.

Keylines:  In artwork, an outline drawing of finished art to indicate the exact shape, position and size for such elements as half-tones, line sketches, etc. Alt:  Lines on mechanical art that show position of photographs or illustrations. Also called a mechanical. This is the guide used in making plates or engraving cylinders, and printing a piece - a diagram of copy and art for reproduction.

Key plate:  The plate of a set of color plates which carries detail and to which the other plates are registered.

Kilobyte (KB):  1,000 bytes.

Kiss die cut:  To cut the top layer of a pressure sensitive sheet and not the backing.

Kiss impression:  In printing, a very light impression, just enough to produce an image on the paper.

Kiss register:  See Butt Register

Knock out:  To mask out an image.




L-Sealer: A term used to describe equipment where the seal area is in the shape of a "L". Portable Shrink Wrap Systems

Laminate: A general term used to describe structures comprised of two or more materials. 3M ScotchPad Hanging Tabs

Lamination: Composite product consisting of two or more sheets or films joined together, with glue, adhesive, wax, etc.

Lap Seal: A seal made with two layers of film overlapping one another.

Laundry Wraps: All purpose PVC over wrap for use in commercial laundries.

Layout: A rendering of a proposed printed piece, indicating positions for headings, copy, art and borders. May also indicate color treatments. Custom Artwork Services

LDPE or PE (Low Density Polyethylene): A resin base for making film. Porous and somewhat stretchable. Good clarity. Even though LDPE is a relatively strong transparent film with good tensile strength it does not match the performance of the newer LLDPE. Used mainly for heat seal-ability and bulk in packaging. (0.92-0.934) polyethylene.

Line print / Spot Color: Solid color art work which does not require half-tone reproduction. Custom Artwork Services

<id="Linear Low Density Polyethylene">Linear Low Density Polyethylene: Stronger than low density. Resistant to punctures and tears, non-porous, and stretchable.

LLDPE: Linear low density polyethylene. Tougher than LDPE and has better heat seal strength, but has higher haze. Clear Trash Bags for Regular Duty

Lip: One side of the bag is longer than the other, allows bag to be opened more easily. Custom Lip Poly Bags with or without Tape 

Lake:  An insoluble compound of a dye colorant.  A depression or dishing in the surface of a rubber plate.  Flexographic

Lamella:  A blade angle etched or ground to a thinner gauge than the base thickness of the blade stock.

Laminant:  An adhesive for combining and bonding a combination of films, foils, plastics, papers, or other material in sheet or web form.

Laminate:  To cover with film, to bond or glue one surface to another.

Lamination:  A plastic film bonded by heat and pressure to a printed sheet for protection or appearance.

Land area:  The area of a roller, upon which the doctor blade rides.

Lap:  An area where on color overprints another adjacent color, usually held to a fine line, but which can vary  considerably depending upon the press equipment and the effect created by overprinting two or more colors.

Laser:  The acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.  The laser is an intense light beam with very narrow band width that can produce images by electronic impulses from digital media.

Lateral adjustment:  Move blade toward or away from cylinder; also, parallel blade to cylinder.

Layflat:  See Eurobind.

Layout:  The drawing or sketch of a proposed printed piece.  In platemaking, a sheet indicating the settings for a step-and-repeat machine.

Leaders:  In composition, rows of dashes or dots to guide the eye across the page.  Used in tabular work, programs, tables of contents, etc.

Leading:  (Pronounced ledding) The space, measured in points, between consecutive lines of type.  (From the strips of lead placed between lines of hot type.)

Ledger paper:  A grade of business paper generally used for keeping records where it is subjected to appreciable wear so it requires a high degree of durability and permanence.

Length:  The property of an ink whereby it can be stretched out into a long thread without breaking; long inks exhibit good flow characteristics.

Letter spacing:  The spacing of letters for proper optical balance.  Also adding or subtracting a small amount of space between each letter or character to adjust (justify) the length of a line of copy.

Letterspacing:  The place of additional space between each letter of a word.

Leveling action:  The ability of a plating solution to produce a surface smoother than the substrate of base metal.

Lightfastness:  The resistance of printed or colored material to the action of sunlight or artificial light.

Light reflection:  The light, striking an object, which is turned back.  The opposite of absorption.

Light stability:  A measure of the ability of a pigment, dye, or other colorant to retain its original color and physical properties either alone or when incorporated into plastics, paints, inks and other colored surfaces upon exposure to sun or other light.  Ability of a plastic or other organic film or surface to withstand the deteriorating effect of exposure to sun or other light independently of the stability of any pigmentation it contains.

Line copy:  High contrast copy not requiring a halftone.

Line cut:  Engraving made from line copy.

Line films:  Photographic film that converts all tones of gray to just black or white granular solids.

Line growth:  The growth of a printed line as a result of pressure between the printing plate and the substrate.

Liner:  One of the outer, smooth members of corrugated board.

Lines per inch:  The number of rows of dots per inch in a halftone.

Line screen:  A number used to express the fineness of a halftone screen, ranging from 25 to 300 or more lines per linear inch.  The number refers to the number of dots such a screen is capable of producing in a single row exactly one inch long.

Linetone:  A form of halftone composed of lines instead of dots.

Lint: Loose fibers.

Lip of the blade:  Wiping edge of a doctor blade.

Livering:  An irreversible increase in the body of inks as a result of gelation or chemical change during storage.

Load:  The total weight supported by the force of a roll.  It usually is expressed in pounds per linear inch, abbreviated PLI.

Local area network (LAN):  In electronic publishing, the linking of workstations, storage units (file servers) and printout devices (print servers).

Log:  A master roll of paper from which finished rolls are slitted, spliced and rewound for shipment to the printer.

Logotype (or logo):  The name of a company or product in a special design used as a trademark in advertising.

Long ink:  An ink that has good flow on ink rollers.  If the ink is too long, it breaks up into filaments on the press, and causes flying as on a newspaper press.

Loupe:  A magnifying glass used to review a printed image, plate and position film.

Lower case:  Small letters in type, as distinguished from the capital letters.




Machinability:The ability to form and seal on over wrapping equipment.

Machine Direction (MD): The direction the film is manufactured and moves through the sealing equipment.

Maximum Stretch: The ability of the film to stretch as far as it can without tearing.

<id="MDPE"> MDPE: Medium density, (0.934-0.95) polyethylene. Has higher stiffness, higher melting point and better water vapor barrier properties.

Memory: The ability of a film to maintain its characteristics after shrinking.

MET-PET: Metallised PET film. It has all the good properties of PET film, plus much improved oxygen and water vapor barrier properties. However, it is not transparent. see also VMPET.

strong id="MET-OPP"> MET-OPP: Metallised OPP film. It has all the good properties of OPP film, plus much improved oxygen and water vapor barrier properties, (but not as good as MET-PET).

Metallocene: Thinner and stronger than low density polyethylene. Puncture resistant.

Metric conversions:

1 kilogram (kg) = 2.2046 pounds
1 meter = 39.37 inches = 1.0936 yards
1 pound = 0.4536 kilograms
1 mile = 1.6094 kilometers
1 short ton = 2000 pounds
1 yard = 0.9144 meter
1 kilometer = 0.6237 miles
1mil = 1/1000 of an inch = .001
1 mil = 25.4 microns
1 micron = one millionth of a meter
1 inch = 25.4 mm = 2.54 cm
100 gauge = 1 mil
80 gauge = 8/10 mil = .0008 inches

Microdots: A non visible "to the naked eye" dot that is used in the place of Eye-marks. Microdots are not always available to be used.

Mil: Thickness of material: The higher the mil, the stronger the material. (1/1000 inch = 1 mil)

Monitor Calibration: A simple method starts with the adjustment of monitor settings in terms of brightness and contrast.

Monitor Calibration Chart: Here is a free computer monitor calibration chart. to be used by our customers to adjust their computer monitors so that they might have a better idea of what ink colors might look like when finally printed. It is not a high level precision calibration chart but it is a decent standard to try to use.

Mono-Layer Film: A single layer film extruded from one or a blend of raw materials.

mPE: see Metallocene Polyethylene.

Mullen Test: Measurement of bursting strength of paper and paperboard, in pounds per square inch. A relatively simple machine, either motor-driven or hand-operated, applies increasing pressure to one square inch of the sample until it ruptures.

Multilayer Film: A film comprised of more than one layer of similar or different polymers.

MVTR: Moisture vapor transmission rate, usually measured at 100% relative humidity, expressed in grams/100 square inches/24 hours, (or grams/square meter/24 Hrs.) See WVTR.

Mylar™: Mylar is a registered trademark of the Dupont-Teijin Corporation. Is the industrial brand name for that corporation’s polyester (PET) film. Polyester film is a staple of multi-layer packaging for a wide variety of applications.

Machine direction:  Same as grain direction in paper.

Machine finish:  The finish applied on the paper machine.  The finish is commonly referred to as M.F.

Machine glazed:  (M.G.) The finish produced in glaze on the wire side of a sheet as it is passed in contact over a single, large diameter, steam-heated cylinder on the Yankee Machine.  The finish is commonly referred to as M.G.

Machine set:  When type is set by using a keyboard on a machine instead of setting each character by hand into a typestick.

Machine wire:  The continuous copper or bronze wire which is the traveling surface upon which the web of paper is formed.  I is usually referred to as the "wire".

Magenta:  Process red, one of the basic colors in process color.

Magenta screen:  a dyed contact screen, used for making half-tones.

Magnetic storage:  Any disc, film, tape, drum, or core that is used to store digital information.

Makeover:  In platemaking, a plate which is remade.

Makeready:  All the activities required to prepare a press for printing.

Makeup:  In composition, the arrangement of lines of type and illustrations into sections or pages of proper length.

Mandrel:  A shaft upon which cylinders, or other devices, are mounted or affixed.

Manipulation:  Adjustment to doctor blade required to get optimum results.

Marginal words:  Call outs for directions on various parts of a business form.

Mask:  In color separation photography, an intermediate photographic negative or positive used in color correction.  In offset lithography, opaque material used to protect open or selected areas of a printing plate during exposure. Alt:  Blocking light from reaching parts of a printing plate.

Master:  A plate for a duplicating machine.

Matrix: A mold in which type is cast in linecasting machines.  In stereotyping, the paper mold or mat made from a type form.

Matte finish:  Dull paper or ink finish.

Maximum angle of wipe:  Flattest wipe obtainable.

Mealiness:  See Snow Flaking, specifically middle tones.

Measure:  In composition, the width of type, usually expressed in picas.

Mechanical:  A term for a camera-ready pasteup of artwork.  It includes type, photos, line art, etc., all on one piece of artboard.

Mechanical separation:  Mechanical art overlay for each color to be printed.

Megabyte (MB):  One million bytes.

Menu:  In electronic publishing, a method for selecting alternative functions displayed as a list on a workstation screen.  Selection via mouse key or sequence of keys.

Metamerism:  A condition when colors match under one light source, but do not match under another light source.

Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK):  A relatively fast drying organic solvent of the ketone family.  Highly flammable.  Good solvent for nitrocellulose and vinyl lacquers.  Small amounts will swell Buna-N plates, large amounts will swell natural rubber.  Boiling point 175 degrees F, flash point 24 degrees F.

Mezzotint: 1) An early copper plate engraving method that created the impression of tonal variation through patterns of dots cut with tools.  Used only in fine art engraving.  2) Any of a variety of special effect screens used to convert line art into fine patterns without the use of halftone dots.

Micrometer:  Instrument used to measure the thickness of different papers.

Middle tones:  The tones in a photograph that are approximately half as dark as the shadow area.

Mileage:  The surface area covered by a given quantity of ink or coating material.

Mill roll:  Roll of paper, film, or foil as received by converter from mill.

Mineral spirits:  Hydrocarbon petroleum distillates having a boiling range of approximately 300-350 degrees F.

Minimum Angle of Wipe:  Sharpest (steepest) wipe obtainable.

Misting:  A mist or fog of tiny ink droplets thrown off the press by the rollers.  Flying.

Moire:  In color process printing, the undesirable screen pattern caused by incorrect screen angles of overprinting halftones. Alt:  Occurs when screen angles are wrong causing odd patterns in photographs.

Moisture content:  The percentage of water in a finished material such as film or paper, expressed as percent of original weight of the test samples.

Moisture proof:  Not affected by moisture.  A barrier to moisture; although materials which resist passage of moisture are often called moisture proof, their preferable designation is moisture barrier.

Mold:  A female form used for the production of desired shapes.  To form a matrix or rubber plate.  See Matrix.

Molding press:  A platen press in which matrices or rubber plates are formed.

Montage:  In artwork, several photographs combined to form a composite illustration.

Mottle:  The spotty or uneven appearance of printing, mostly in solid areas.

Mounting and proofing machine:  Device for accurately positioning rubber plates to the plate cylinder and for obtaining proofs for register and impression, off the press.

Mounting:  The process of affixing plates on a cylinder or base in proper position to register color to color as well as to the wrapper or bag to be printed.

Mullen tester:  A machine for testing the bursting strength of paper.

Multicolor overprinting:  The technique of overprinting a given number of transparent colors to produce additional colors without using halftones.  Orange, green, purple, and brown may be thus produced by overprinting cyan, magenta and lemon yellow resulting in a total of seven colors from three.

Mylar:  A polyester film which exhibits exceptional mechanical strength and dimensional stability. Common substrate used in flexographic film printing.




Neck Down: The narrowing tendency of stretch film when being stretched or pulled.

Nylon: Polyamide resins, with very high melting points, excellent clarity and stiffness. Two types are used for films - nylon-6 and nylon-66. The latter has much higher melt temperature, thus better temperature resistance, but the former is easier to process, and it is cheaper. Both have good oxygen and aroma barrier properties, but they are poor barriers to water vapor. Also, nylon films can be cast (see CAN), or oriented, (see BON).

Naphthas:  Aliphatic hydrocarbon solvent derived from petroleum such as hexane, VM&P naphtha, etc.  Characterized by low K.B. values.  Will swell natural or butyl rubber, have slight effect on Buna-n or Neoprene.

Natural drying time:  The amount of time taken from the last printing unit until elevated web temperature begins.

Negative:  In photography, film containing an image in which the values of the original are reversed so that the dark areas appear light and vice versa.  (See positive) Alt:  The image on film that makes the white areas of originals black and black areas white.

Neoprene:  A synthetic chlorinated butadiene rubber used in making flexo-rollers resistant to alcohols, cellosolve, water, aliphatic hydrocarbons and to a limited extent esters (acetates).  Not resistant to aromatic hydrocarbons.

Neutral Sodium Sulfite Process:  A chemical pulping method adaptable to many tree species and operable with minimal environmental problems.

Newsprint:  Paper made mostly from groundwood pulp and small amounts of chemical pulp; used for printing newspapers.

Nip:  Line of contact between two Rolls.

Nitrocellulose:  A film former widely used in flexographic and gravure inks; nitrated cellulose.  See Pyroxylene.

Nodule:  A small lump of rounded or irregular shape such as chrome projections on an anilox roll needing additional polishing for removal.

Non-fogging film:  Film that does not become cloudy from moisture condensation caused by temperature and humidity changes.

Non-impact printer:  An electronic device like a copier, laser or ink-jet printer that creates images on a surface without contacting it.

Non-increment press:  A flexographic press capable of printing infinite variable repeats, not dependent on standard gear pitch increments.

Non-reproducing blue:  A blue color the camera cannot see.  Used in marking up artwork.

Non-scratch:  Inks that have high abrasion and mar-resistance when dry.

No-screen exposure:  See bump exposure.

Nonvolatile:  That portion of a material that does not evaporate at ordinary temperatures.

Nutrition Facts: The area of information on a food product. The best and most up todate information can be found here on FDA.gov.




Offset Printing: The process of printing by indirect image transfer, especially by using a metal or paper plate to ink a smooth rubber cylinder that transfers the ink to the paper.

Olefin polymers: FDA Regulations concerning.

Opacity: Hiding power of pigmented (mostly white) plastic films. It is beneficial for packing materials sensitive to light (visible or ultraviolet).

Opaque: Relatively impervious to light

Optics: The visual properties of a film. Examples; an anti fog shrink film providing clear presentation in refigerator and freezer applications.

OPP: Oriented PP (polypropylene) film. A stiff, high clarity film, but not heat sealable. Usually combined with other films, (such as LDPE) for heat sealability. Can be coated with PVDC (polyvinylidene chloride), or metallised for much improved barrier properties.

Orientation: The stretching technique used in the manufacturing of film.

Oriented: The stretching and aligning of a film's molecules at a temperature below its melting point.

OTR: Oxygen transmission rate. OTR of plastic materials varies considerably with humidity, therefore it needs to be specified. Standard conditions of testing are 0, 60 or 100% relative humidity. Units are cc./100 square inches/24 hours, (or cc/square meter/24 Hrs.) (cc = cubic centimeters)

Object oriented:  An approach in drawing and layout programs that treats graphics as line and arc segments rather than individual dots.  Also called vector oriented.

Oblong:  A booklet or catalog bound on the shorter dimension.

OCR:  Acronym for Optical Character Reader; a device that allows a computer to read printed or written material.

OD:  Outside diameter of a part, generally a cylinder or roll.  Outside dimensions of a container, package, or part.

Off balance weight:  Weight added to the doctor blade by its mechanism.

Off loading:  Relieving the intensive amount of data processing associated with a specific application (i.e., graphics) from the CPU, by performing those calculations in a dedicated or specialized processor.

Off-press proofs:  Proofs made by photomechanical or digital means in less time and at lower cost than press proofs.

Offset:  The transfer of improperly or incompletely dried ink from the face of the print to the back of the stock on top of it in the roll or pile.  The accidental transfer of ink from the idler or other rolls in a press to the web.

Offset core:  A core in a substrate roll that protrudes from the roll.

Offsetting:  See set-off.  In printing, the process of using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer an image from the image carrier to the substrate.  Short for offset lithography. Alt:  Also, an unpleasant happening when the images of freshly printed sheets transfer images to each other.

Offset paper:  Term for uncoated book paper.

Offset Printing (Offset Lithography): Commercial printing method, in which ink is offset from the printing plate to a rubber roller then to substrate.

OK Sheet:  Final approved color inking sheet before production begins.

Oleophilic:  Oil receptive.  Literally - loving oil.  A term that may be used in food packaging.

Oleophobic:  Oil repellant.  Literally - hating oil.  A term that may be used in food packaging.

Opacity:  The amount of show-through on a printed sheet.  The more opacity or the thicker the paper the less show-through.  (The thicker/heavier the paper the higher the cost.) Alt:  That property of paper which minimizes the show-through of printing from the back side or the next sheet.

Opaque:  In photoengraving and offset lithography, to paint out areas on a negative not wanted on the plate.  In paper, the property which makes it less transparent.

Opaque ink: Ink that conceals all color beneath it.

Operating side:  That side of a flexographic press on which the printing unit adjustments are located; opposite of driving side or gear side.

Optical distortion:  Change in appearance of objects viewed through a transparent material adding certain defects such as waviness of surface, etc.

Oriented Polypropylene: (Abreviation is OPP) Relatively new to the decorative overlay category, these films are stretched (oriented) in both the machine and cross-machine direction to deliver improved dimensional stability.

Organosol:  A suspension of particles in an organic solvent, usually made with vinyl resins, solvents, and plasticizers.

Orthochromatic:  Photographic surfaces insensitive to red, but sensitive to ultraviolet, blue, green and yellow rays.

Oscillation:  Side-to-side motion of the doctor blade mechanism over the cylinder.

Outline halftone:  Removing the background of a picture or silhouetting an image in a picture.

Overhang cover:  A cover larger in size than the page it encloses.

Overlay:  In artwork, a transparent covering over the copy where color break, instructions or corrections are marked.  Also, transparent or translucent prints which, when place one on the other, form a composite picture. Alt:  The transparent cover sheet on artwork often used for instructions.

Overprinting:  Double printing; printing over an area that already has been printed.

Overrun or overs:  In printing, copies printed in excess of the specified quantity.  (Printing trade terms allow for +/- 10% to represent a completed order.)

Overtone:  The modifying hue or tone of a color.

Overwrap:  A wrapper applied around a product, package, carton, box, etc.




Pallet: a portable, horizontal, rigid platform used as a base for assembling, storing, stacking, handling and transporting goods as a unit load. A pallet typically contains a raised superstructure that allows it to be lifted and moved by a forklift without damaging any cases.

Palletizer: a machine that forms, dismantles or secures pallets and other loading units. Can be either conventional (fixed) or robotic (flexible).

Peel Seal Coating: Similar to heat-seal coating except that the bond will allow the two materials to be peeled apart.

Perforations: The practice of creating a long series of holes so that plastic film can be torn more easily. Postage stamps are one common application of this. Custom Plastic Bags on Rolls

PET - Polyester, (Polyethylene Terephtalate): Tough, temperature resistant polymer. Biaxially oriented PET film is used in laminates for packaging, where it provides strength, stiffness and temperature resistance. It is usually combined with other films for heat sealability and improved barrier properties. A number of our 3M Tapes offer this.

Pillow Pouch: (Three Side Weld) - A pouch made from two pieces of film, sealed on three sides leaving one side open. This has no gusset.

Pin Perforators: A device used to produce small holes in film to allow air to escape during the shrinking process.

Plug-and-pack: a multi-vendor drive-controller interface for packaging machinery that is based upon the Open, Modular Architecture Control (OMAC) standard.

PMS Number: The Pantone® Matching System is the universally accepted color definition system. Colors can be blended or individually specified to match a specified Pantone reference color exactly. PMS color chart

Polyacrylonitrile: (Abreviation is PAN) a synthetic, semicrystalline organic polymer resin, with the linear formula (C3H3N)n. Though it is thermoplastic, it does not melt under normal conditions. It degrades before melting. It melts above 300 °C if the heating rates are 50 degrees per minute or above. Almost all polyacrylonitrile resins are copolymers made from mixtures of monomers with acrylonitrile as the main component. It is a versatile polymer used to produce large variety of products including ultra filtration membranes, hollow fibers for reverse osmosis, fibers for textiles, oxidized PAN fibers. PAN fibers are the chemical precursor of high-quality carbon fiber. PAN is first thermally oxidized in air at 230 degrees to form an oxidized PAN fiber and then carbonized above 1000 degrees in inert atmosphere to make carbon fibers found in plenty of both high-tech and common daily applications such as civil and military aircraft primary and secondary structures, missiles, solid propellant rocket motors, pressure vessels, fishing rods, tennis rackets, badminton rackets & high-tech bicycles. It is a component repeat unit in several important copolymers, such as styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic.

Polyamide: (Abreviation is PA) a macromolecule with repeating units linked by amide bonds.They can occur both naturally and artificially. Examples of naturally occurring polyamides are proteins, such as wool and silk. Artificially made polyamides can be made through step-growth polymerization or solid-phase synthesis, examples being nylons, aramids, and sodium poly(aspartate). Synthetic polyamides are commonly used in textiles, automotives, carpet and sportswear due to their extreme durability and strength.

Polyethylene: A simple thermoplastic polymer of ethylene. Highly puncture and tear resistant. Not affected by extreme temperatures. Does not possess barrier properties. Good clarity. Depending on its density, it may be low density (see LDPE). medium density (see MDPE). or high density, (see HDPE).

Polyethylene Terephthalate: (Abreviation is PET) a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family and is used in synthetic fibers; beverage, food and other liquid containers; thermoforming applications; and engineering resins often in combination with glass fiber. It may also be referred to by the brand name Dacron; in Britain, Terylene or, in Russia as Lavsan.

Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol: (Abreviation is PETG) Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG) is a water clear material and designed to be very ‘easy to use’ in a range of applications. It’s a thermoplastic polymer created through the copolymerisation of PET and ethylene glycol.

Polylactic Acid or poly(lactic acid): (Abbreviation is PLS) Poly or polylactide is a biodegradable thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch, tapioca roots, chips or starch, or sugarcane.

Polymer: A material made through the process of polymerization.

Polymerization: A gas heated under pressure forms a solid.

Polyolefin: A generic term used to describe ethylene and/or propylene based plastics. Polyolefin Shrink Wrap / Polyolefin Shrink Film

Polypropylene: A thermoplastic polymer of propylene. Has much higher melting point, thus better temperature resistance than PE. Preserves freshness with vapor and moisture barriers. Non-porous and excellent clarity. Possesses ability to withstand high temperatures. Two types of these film are used for packaging - cast, (see CAPP) and oriented (see OPP Stronger and more rigid than polyethylene.)

Polystyrene: (Apprviation is PS): Polystyrene is a synthetic aromatic polymer made from the monomer styrene, a liquid petrochemical. Polystyrene can be rigid or foamed. General purpose polystyrene is clear, hard and brittle. It is a very inexpensive resin per unit weight.

Polytetrafluoroethylene: (Abbreviation is PTFE) a fluorocarbon solid, as it is a high-molecular-weight compound consisting wholly of carbon and fluorine. It is more commonly known by it's commercial name, Teflon, which was developed by the DuPont comany. PTFE is hydrophobic: neither water nor water-containing substances wet PTFE, as fluorocarbons demonstrate mitigated London dispersion forces due to the high electronegativity of fluorine. PTFE has one of the lowest coefficients of friction against any solid.

Polyurethane: (abbreviation is PUR) Polyurethane is a polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by carbamate links. While most polyurethanes are thermosetting polymers that do not melt when heated, thermoplastic polyurethanes are also available.

Pouches/Sachets: A flexible material (usually paper, foil, PE, PET or a multi-laminate) used to package medication.

Packing:  In printing presses, paper used to underlay the image or impression cylinder in letterpress, the plate or blanket in lithography, to get proper squeeze or pressure for printing.

Page buffering:  The ability to spool an entire image to disk and print in a continuous motion.

Page count:  Total number of pages in a book including blanks.

Page description language:  In computer imaging, a method for communicating page, font and graphic information from the work station to the printout device.

Page makeup:  In stripping, assembly of all elements to make up a page.  In computerized typesetting and CEPS, the electronic assembly of page elements to compose a complete page with all elements in place on a video display terminal and on film or plate.

Pagination:  In computerized typesetting, the process of performing page makeup automatically.

Palette:  The collection of colors or shade available to a graphic system or program.

Panchromatic:  Photographic film sensitive to all visible colors.

Paper master:  A paper printing plate used on an offset-duplicator.  The image is made by hand drawing, typewriter, or electrophotography.

Paste drier:  In ink making, a type of drier, usually a combination of drying compounds.

Pasteup:  See mechanical.

Pattern carbon:  Special carbon paper used in business forms that only transfers in certain areas.

Pattern plate:  The engraving or combination of plates used for making the matrices from which rubber plates are made.

PDF (Portable Document File):  A proprietary format developed by Adobe Systems for the transfer of designs across multiple computer platforms.

Penetration:  The ability of a liquid (ink, varnish, or solvent) to be absorbed into a substrate.

Perfect bind:  A type of binding that glues the edge of sheets to a cover like a telephone book, software manuals, or magazines.

Perfecting press:  A sheet fed printing press that prints both sides of a sheet in one pass.

Perforated tapes:  Paper tape that is perforated when used on a computer typesetter.  The perforated tape can be used to expose the wanted type copy and for future recall just like a floppy disc.

PET: Poly-ethylene terephthalate glycol, See MET-PET

pH:  A number used for expressing the acidity or alkalinity of solutions.  A value of 7 is neutral in a scale ranging from 0 to 14.  Solutions with values below 7 are acid, above 7 are alkaline.

Phenolic:  Generic name for phenol-formaldehyde plastic.

Photo CD:  A proprietary format developed by Eastman Kodak for storing photographic images on a compact disc.  Images can be easily accesses for use in professional printing.

Photo composition:  Process of setting type copy photographically, as opposed to using the method of inking and proofing lead type characters.

Photconductor:  Materials used in electrophotography that are light sensitive when charged by corona.

Photo Copy:  A mechanical printing process that uses a light sensitive printing element, magnetic toner and a heating element to fuse the toner to the paper.
Photoengraving:  A metal plate prepared by the photochemical process, from which the matrix or rubber mold is reproduced.

Photograph:  An image or picture made by exposing light sensitive film with a camera.

Photo illustration:  An image, primarily consisting of a photograph or composite image containing a photograph.

Photomechanical:  Pertaining to any platemaking process using photographic negatives or positives exposed onto plates or cylinders covered with photosensitive coatings.

Photo plate:  A light sensitive printing plate.  The plate is developed like film, and then used on a printing press.

Photopolymer coating:  In photomechanics, a plate coating consisting of compounds that polymerize on exposure to produce tough abrasion-resistant plates capable of long runs especially when baked in an oven after processing.

Photostat:  A photographic reproduction on paper.  Photostats may be positive or negative.

Phototypesetting:  The method of setting type photographically.

Pica:  Printers unit of measure in typesetting.  One pica = 1/6 inch.

Picking:  Printers nightmare that occurs as the surface of a sheet lifts off during printing.  Generally a paper manufacturer's quality control problem.

Alt:  The lifting of the paper surface during printing.  It occurs when pulling force (tack) of ink is greater than surface strength of paper.  Transfers from the substrate web to a roller - gravure.

Pigment:  In printing inks, the fine solid particles used to give color, transparency or opacity.

Piling:  In printing, the building up or caking of ink on rollers, plate or blanket; will not transfer readily.  Also, the accumulation of paper dust or coating on the blanket of offset press.

Pin register:  The use of accurately positioned holes and special pins on copy, film plates and presses to insure proper register or fit of colors.

Alt:  A standard used to fit film to film and film to plates and plates to press to assure the proper registrations of printer colors.

Pinholing:  Failure of a printed ink to form a complete continuous film.  Visible in the form of small holes in the printed area.

Pitch diameter:  The measurement of a gear or plate cylinder, determined by dividing the pitch line (or circumference) by Pi.

Pitch line:  An imaginary circle on the gear, roughly at the point of mesh with the mating gear.  Determines the "repeat" of the gear.  Also equal to the printing repeat of the cylinder.

PIV:  Pulsating Invariable Variator.  A speed variator control is applicable to various types of equipment, with various specific functions.  On printing press it synchronizes line speed of press (gear speed) or draw.  Rolls with that or the moving eb.

Pixel:  In electronic imaging, a basic unit of digital imaging.

Pixel depth:  The amount of data used to describe each colored dot on the computer screen, i.e. Monochrome is 1 bit deep, Greyscale is 8 bits deep, RGB is 24 bits deep.  Images to be printed as CMYK separation should be 32 bits deep.

Plasticizers:  Liquid or solid additives used to impart flexibility to a dry ink film or overprint varnish.

Plastisol:  A suspension of particles in an organic liquid, similar to an organosol, but containing no solvents.

Plate cylinder:  The cylinder of a press on which the plate is mounted.

Plate gap:  Gripper space.  The area where the grippers hold the sheet as it passes through the press.

Plate ready film:  Final photographic film used to "burn" printing plates.

Platen:  The heated plates of a printing plate vulcanizer, which press the engraving into the matrix or matrix into the rubber during the plate making process.  Also the heated plate on a flat bed transfer printing press, which press the heat transfer paper onto the fabric to produce the finished design.

Ply:  Each layer in a multi-layered structure.

PMS:  The abbreviated name of the Pantone Color Matching System.  Alt:  A proprietary color system for choosing and matching specific spot and process colors

PMT:  The abbreviated name for photomechanical transfer.  Often used to make position prints.

Point:  For paper, a unit of thickness equaling 1/1000 inch.  For typesetting, a unit of height equalling 1/72 inch. Alt:  Normally used to measure type size or fractions of a pica for the design process.

Polar solvents:  Solvents with oxygen in their molecule, such as water, alcohols, esters and ketones.

Polyamides:  Polymers containing amide groups.  For example:  Nylon, Versamid Resins, etc.

Polybutylene: (Abreviation is PB) a polyolefin or saturated polymer with the chemical formula (C4H8)n. It should not be confused with polybutene, a low molecular weight oligomer. Several Polybutylene grades are commercially available for various applications and conversion technologies (blown film, cast film, extrusion coating). Peelable easy-to-open packaging where Polybutylene is used as blend component predominantly in polyethyelene to tailor peel strength and peel quality, mainly in alimentary consumer packaging and medical packaging. Lowering seal initiation temperature  of high speed packaging polypropylene based films. Blending Polybutylene into polypropylene, heat sealing temperatures as low as 65 °C can be achieved, maintaining a broad sealing window and good optical film properties

Polyethylene:  A synthetic resin of high molecular weight resulting from the polymerization of ethylene gas under pressure.

Polymer:  A compound formed by the linking of simple and identical molecules having functional groups that permit their combination to proceed to higher molecular weights under suitable conditions.

Polymerization:  A chemical reaction in which the molecules of a monomer are linked together to from large molecules whose weight is a multiple of that of the original substance.

Polypropylene:  A synthetic resin of high molecular weight resulting from the polymerization of propylene gas.

Polystyrene:  a thermoplastic material derived from the polymerization of styrene.

Polyvinyl Chloride: (Abbreviation is PVC) A tough, stiff, very clear film. The oriented version is used mainly for shrink film applications. Polyolefin and PVC Shrink Film

Polyvinylidene chloride. A very good oxygen and water vapor barrier, but not extricable, therefore it is found primarily as a coating to improve barrier properties of other plastic films, (such as OPP and PET) for packaging. PVDC coated and ‘saran’ coated are the same. Help Glossary Resin Indentification

Porosity: The property of paper that allows the permeation of air, an important factor in ink penetration.

Position proof:  Color proof for checking position, layout and/or color breakout of image elements.

Positive:  In photography, film containing an image in which the dark and light values are the same as the original.  The reverse of negative.

PostScript:  The computer language most recognized by printing devices.

Premakeready:  In flexography, process by which surface of printing plates is varied in height for better printability before going on press.

Pre-Press:  The various printing related services, performed before ink is actually put on the printing press(i.e. scanning, color separating, etc.)

Pre-press proofs:  See off-press proofs.

Presensitized plate:  In photomechanics, a metal or paper plate that has been precoated with a light-sensitive coating.

Preseparated art:  Artwork in which the basic layout, register marks and major color is prepared on illustration board and each additional color plate is drawn on a separate sheet or film overlay.

Press number:  A method of numbering manufacturing business forms or ticks.

Press proof:  In color reproduction, an approved copy or version of the final image to be printed, to be used as reference while printing.

Pressure-sensitive paper:  Paper material with self-sticking adhesive covered by a backing sheet.

Primary colors:  See additive primaries, subtractive primaries.

Prime coat:  Base coat applied first to enhance subsequent printing.

Printability:  The ability of a paper or substrate to produce an acceptable printed image, as distinguished from runnability, which deals only with the paper's ability to pass mechanically through the press.

Print quality:  A term describing the visual impression of a printed piece.  In paper, the properties of the paper that affect its appearance and the quality of reproduction.

Preferential Shrink: The characteristics of a film to shrink more or less in a specific direction.

Primary Packaging: refers to packaging that immediately envelopes a product. It provides most of the strength and the moisture, vapor or grease barrier needed to safeguard a product’s purity, potency and integrity from the time it leaves the assembly line until it’s used by the consumer. Examples of primary packaging include blister packs, clam shells and trays.

Printing:  The process of applying ink to substrate.

Printing Terms: Blade line, Bleed, Chromalin, Color Key Proof, Color Separation, Flexographic Printing, Gravure printing, Half Tone, Hickies, Line print, Rotogravure printing, Process print,

Process control:  That procedure for examining a process, which aims at evaluating future performance through the use of statistical quality control methods.

Process blue:  The blue or cyan color in process printing.

Process colors:  Cyan (blue), magenta (process red), yellow (process yellow), black (process black).

Process inks:  For high reproduction illustrations by halftone color separation process.  Colors are:  yellow, magenta, cyan, with or without black.

Process lens:  A highly corrected photographic lens with a flat field for graphic arts line, halftone and color photography.

Process Print: Also called four-color process - Indicates the four-color plates or cylinders commonly used in color printing. Usually of photographic quality. C - Cyan, M - Magenta, Y - Yellow, K - Black. For a close up example of four color process print look here and select the Cherrios Racing Bag.

Process printing:  The printing from a series of two or more halftone plates to produce intermediate colors and shades.

Production artist (pasteup artist):  A skilled laborer who produces finished camera ready or plate ready artwork from the visual elements and instructions provided by the designer or client.

Production run:  The final printing requested by the customer from the original artwork.

Progressive proofs (progs):  Proofs made from the separate plates in color process work, showing the sequence of printing and the result after each additional color has been applied.

Proofing:  The stage of making a number of trial prints to judge the final result prior to editioning.

Psychrometer:  A wet-and-dry bulb type of hygrometer.  Considered the most accurate of the instruments practical for industrial plant used for determining relative humidity.

PVC: See Polyvinyl Chloride
PVDC: See Polyvinylidene chloride.




Quart: The quart is an imperial and US customary unit of volume equalto one quarter of a gallon.




Random Repeat: Refers to the randomness of artwork to be printed, most often, on plastic film, but not positioned in the exact same location on every bag or length of tubing. This type of printing is extemly beneficial in saving money by allowing fewer plates to be used while printing many images. The printing length of a plate cylinder determined by one revolution of the plate cylinder gear.

Reclosable Bags: Seal-top reclosable bags can be made with or without a tamper-evident adhesive seal. Also includes zipper and slider zipper bags

Recovery: Stretch film trying to return back to its original form after it has been stretched. This action constantly pulls the load together since the stretch film tightly form-fits the load. Stretch wrapping continues to tighten the load as it settles during shipment, due to the recovery property, keeping the load safe and secure during shipment.

Recycling Resin Symbols: Detailed Explanation

Registration Print: The lining up 1 or more colors in prnting to achieve the same placement on a substrate each and every time.

Registration Mark: Marks made on a surface to help with alignment of both placement of art on a bag and alignment of one color to another. It can be compared to, in appearance, to cross hairs in a rifle scope. Registration Mark Example.

Release Coating: A coating applied to the non-sealing side of cold-seal-able packaging films and laminates supplied in a roll form that will allow the packer to unwind these films or laminates on packaging machines.

Release Coating: A coating applied to the non-sealing side of cold-seal-able packaging films and laminates supplied in a roll form that will allow the packer to unwind these films or laminates on packaging machines.

Relieved Area: An area that is predesigned into a package for easier opening.

Resin:(Upclose Picture of Plastic Yellow Resin Pellets) Any of a class of solid or semi-solid organic products of natural or synthetic origin, generally of high molecular weight with no definite melting point. Most resins are polymers. (Plastics Engineering Handbook of The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., edited by Michael L. Berins, 1991). Recycling Symbols.

Retort: The thermal processing or cooking packaged food or other products in a pressurized vessel for purposes of sterilizing the contents to maintain freshness for extended storage times. Retort pouches are manufactured with materials suitable for the higher temperatures of the retort process, generally around 121 degrees C.

Reverse Printing: When the outermost layer is printed on the backside of a transparent material and laminated to the rest of a multi-layer structure so that when viewed from the front the image is correct. While not mandatory in all industries, it is the preferred method for the food industry as it guarantees there will be no ink contact with the food product.

Rotogravure print: See Gravure printing

Ragged left:  In typesetting, type that is justified to the right margin and the line lengths vary on the left.

Ragged right:  In typesetting, type that is justified to the left margin and the line lengths vary on the right.

Railroading:  Printing of a continuous mark or line on the non-image areas of a design, often resulting in the marking or scratching of a cylinder.  Can be caused by particles lodged behind the doctor blade.  

Railroad tracks:  A streak developed by oscillation of a nicked doctor blade, resulting in a heavy, wide line printed on the we at the ends of the stroke, with fine lines running in between.

Ream:  Five hundred sheets of paper.

Recto:  Right-hand page of an open book.

Reducers:  In printing inks, varnishes, solvents, oily or greasy compounds used to reduce the consistency for printing.  In photography, chemicals used to reduced the density of negative or positive images or the size of halftone dots (dot etching) Alt:  Copy that is not transparent.

Reflection copy:  In photography, illustrative copy that is viewed and must be photographed by light reflected from its surface.  Examples are photographs, drawings, etc.

Reflective process camera:  A camera that is capable of reproducing an original image that has been prepared on an opaque substrate.

Register:  In printing, fitting of two or more printing images in exact alignment with each other. Alt:  To position print in the proper position in relation to the edge of the sheet and to other printing on the same sheet.

Register marks:  Crosses or other targets applied to original copy prior to photography.  Used for positioning films in register, or for register of two or more colors in process printing.Alt:  Cross-hair lines or marks on film, plates, and paper that guide strippers, platemakers, pressmen, and bindery personnel in processing a print order from start to finish.

Registration:  The quality of alignment of the different colored inks as they are applied to paper.  (i.e. If the inks can be seen to overlap improperly or to leave white gaps on the page, the printing is said to be "out of registration" or "poor register".)

Relative humidity (RH):  The amount of water vapor present in the atmosphere expressed as a percentage of the maximum that could be present at the same temperature.

Repeat:  The printing length of a plate cylinder determined by one revolution of the plate cylinder gear.

Repeatability:  The ability to keep photo film and the images thereon in proper register.  Repeatability is usually measured in micrometers.

Reprography:  Copying and duplicating.

Resin:  A complex organic substance that, in solvent solution, forms the gravure varnish; after drying, resins become the binder, or film-forming materials.

Resist:  In photomechanics, a light-hardened stencil to prevent etching of non-printing areas on plates.

Resolution:  In electronic imaging, the quantification of printout quality using the number of spots per inch.

Respi screen:  A contact screen with 110-line screen ruling in the highlights and 220-line in the middle tones and shadows to produce a longer scale and smoother gradation of tones in the light areas of the copy.

Retarder:  Solvents added to ink to slow the evaporation rate.

Retrofit:  Backwards integration of advanced capability into a device or program not originally intended for that purpose.

Reverse:  The opposite of what you see.  Printing the background of an image.  For example; type your name on a piece of paper.  The reverse would be a black piece of paper with a white name.

Reverse angle doctor blade:  In flexography, similar to doctor blade in gravure except used with much lighter pressure and a reverse angle on the anilox roll.

Reverse printing:  Printing on the underside of a transparent film.  Design in which the copy is "dropped out" and the background is printed.

Rewound:  After the desired substrate has been printed it is taped to a shaft and wound back into the original unprinted roll form.

RGB:  Red, Green, Blue - additive primary colors.

Rhodamine reds:  A class of clean, blue shade organic reds possessing good light fastness often called magenta in process printing.

Right-angle fold:  In binding, a term used for two or more folds that are at 90 degree angles to each other.

Rip film:  A method of making printing negatives from PostScript files created by desktop publishing.

Rollout:  Ink spread for testing or sampling purposes by using a hand-roller.

Roller stripping:  In lithography, a term denoting that the ink does not adhere to the metal ink rollers on a press.

Roto News:  Any of five grades of uncoated groundwood manufactured expressly for gravure printing.

Rub-proof:  In printing, ink that has reach maximum dryness and does not mar with normal abrasion.

Rub test:  See abrasion test.

Rubber:  An elastomer material that is capable of recovering from large deformations quickly and forcibly.

Rubylith:  A hand cut masking film used in screen and flexographic printing.

Run-around:  In composition, the term describing type set to fit around a picture or other element of the design.

Runnability:  Paper properties that affect the ability of the paper to run on the press. Alt:  The physical ability of a roll of paper or substrate to pass through a press under prevailing conditions of tension and speed without web breaks.  Distinguished from printability.

Running head:  A headline or title repeated at the top of each page.

Running In:  The process of seating a doctor blade to a cylinder.  Also called toning in.

Running register:  That control on a flexographic press, which accurately positions the printing of each color station, in the direction of the web travel.  Also called Circumferential register and Longitudinal register.




Seal Strength: Measurement of force required to break or destroy a heat seal formed by any of the heat sealing sheets.

Seal Wire: An element made from nichrome wire used to seal film.

Secondary Packaging: the outer package into which the primary package is placed. Its major function is to protect the product during shipping and distribution. Examples of secondary packaging include cartons, containers and pallets. Boxes and Corrugated Containers

Security Wrap: Opaque pallet stretch film. Opaque film blocks UV rays from damaging products. Protects shipments during transit by not allowing contents to be seen. Stretch Film and Wrap

Set Up: The process of getting a printing press ready to print a job. Also referred to as Change Over" when a finished job is complete and the new job is being transferred onto the press.

Selvage: Another term for trim waste.

Shrink: Defined as the ability to become smaller. Polyolefin and PVC Shrink Film

Sheeting: The cutting of a large master roll into sheets.

Shrink Tunnel: A type of equipment featuring a chamber producing heat and airflow designed to shrink film.

Shrink Wrapping: a technique of packaging in which the strains in a plastic film are released by raising the temperature of the film, thus causing it to shrink over the package. Polyolefin and PVC Shrink Film

Side-Gusset Pouch: A Pouch with gussets on both sides, with a fin-seal running from top to bottom and sealed horizontally at the bottom and the top. Commonly used in the coffee industry.

Side Weld: Bags are sealed on the side. No bottom seal. Custom Side Seal (Side Weld) Poly bag

Singlewound Film (SW): A single layer of shrink film wrapped around a core. Polyolefin and PVC Shrink Film

Slip: The quality of a film to move over surfaces with little resistance. Additive that helps prevent bags from sticking to each other and promotes easy insertion of packaged goods. Also see C.O.F

Slitting: The cutting of a large master roll into smaller rolls used.King Size Packaging Foam Roll

Soft Temper Foil: Foil completely softened by thermal annealing treatment.

Spot Color / Line Print: Solid color art work which does not require half-tone reproduction. Custom Artwork Services. A PMS spot ink color chart can be view and or downloaded here.

Spout Pouch: A reclosable or resealable pouch produced with a weld spout and a cap which allows for reclosablility in a flexible package, particularly appropriate for liquids.

Stability Testing: The process used to confirm the efficacy of individual medicines for a set time within a given package under elevated humidity and temperature conditions.

Stand-up Pouch: A pouch that has seals on both sides and around the bottom gusset having the ability to stand up – see Doy Pack.

Star Seal: Strongest bottom seal for liners that combines four sections in a star design. Seal maximizes carrying capacity. Black Trash Bags for Regular Duty

Static: An electrical charge built-up in plastic film. Anit-Static and Static Shielding Bags

Static Seal: A type of longitudinal seal used in FFS equipment. Overlapping film edges are adhered to one another via a static charge.

Static Shielding: Four layer construction providing Faraday Cage protection. Offers greater protection than anti-static. Anit-Static and Static Shielding Bags

Strip Pack: A package used to protect solid dose pharmaceutical products, and to provide relatively inexpensive protection for individual dosages.

Strong-Bow: Pre-stretched pallet wrap. Film has been stretched leaving better load retention and lighter weight rolls.

Surface Print: The process where by the ink is deposited directly onto the outermost surface of the packaging film or material. The process is most commonly used in short run printing. A UV (ultraviolet) coating may be added to provide a hard exterior finish that prevents the ink from flaking or chipping. Custom Artwork Services

Safelight:  In photography, the special darkroom lamp used for illumination without fogging sensitized materials.

Sans Serif:  A typeface that has not tails or curled points (serifs) at the ends.

Scale:  A defect in coated papers consisting of slightly colored reflective spots, caused by dry coating material embedded in the paper during calendaring. 

Scanner:  An electronic device used to make color separations, halftones, duo tones and tri tones.  Also a device used to scan art, pictures or drawings in desktop publishing.

Scaling:  Determining the proper size of an image to be reduced or enlarged to fit an area.
Screen angles:  In color reproduction, angles at which the halftone screens are placed in relation to one another, to avoid undesirable moiré patterns.  A set of angles often used is:  black 45E, magenta 75E, yellow 90E, cyan 105E. Alt:  Frequently a desktop publisher's nightmare.  The angles at which halftone, duo tones, tri tones, and color separation printing films are placed to make them look right.

Screen-printing:  In flexography, refers to any tone printing work, whether half-tone or Ben Day.

Screened print:  In photography, a print with a halftone screen made from a halftone negative or by diffusion transfer.

Screen ruling:  The number of lines or dots per inch on a halftone screen.

Screen sizes:  Designated by the number of half tone dots in one linear inch of perpendicular or horizontal ruling.

Scribe lines:  The fine lines on the surface of the plate cylinder in an evenly spaced horizontal and vertical position to aid in mounting rubber plates accurately.  Center lines or other positioning guide lines applied to the non-printing areas of a rubber printing plate, to facilitate mounting on a cylinder.

Script:  A typeface that mimics the appearance of hand written text.

Scuff:  The action of rubbing again with applied pressure.  The damage that has taken place through a rubbing.

Scumming: A deposit on ink on the non-printing areas of a gravure cylinder often leaving a residual haze over a large area of web.

Sealing solvent:  A method of adhering packaging materials which depends on the use of small amounts of a volatile organic liquid to soften the coating or surface of the material to the point where the materials will adhere when the solvent evaporates.

Secondary colors:  Those obtained by mixing any two of the primary colors in equal proportions.

Self cover:  A cover of the same paper as inside text pages.

Semi-chemical pulp:  A combination of chemical and mechanical pulping with properties similar to chemical pulp.

Separations:  A set of three or four continuous tone or halftone negatives made by color filter exposures from a full color film transparency, photographic print or painting.  Each negative represents one of the printer colors abstracted.  They are used to make printing plates in color process printing.

Serif:  The curls and points that appear as adornments on some type faces.

Service bureau:  The facility that provides professional services to graphics and printing professionals.  (i.e. plate ready film, matchprints, color keys, etc..)

Set:  The strain remaining after complete release of a load producing the deformation in rubber.

Set-off:  In presswork, when the ink of a printed sheet rubs off or marks the next sheet as it is being delivered.  Also called offset.

Shade:  A color produced by a pigment or dye having some black mixed in it, therefore darkening it.  Opposite of tint.

Shading:  The addition of a color, shade or tone to suggest three-dimensionality, shadow or diminished light in a picture or design.

Shadow:  The darkest areas of a photograph.

Sharp wipe:  The resultant angle of the doctor blade to the cylinder as the doctor blade angle is decreased.  Also referred to as Steep Wipe.

Sharpen:  To decrease in color strength, as when halftone dots become smaller; opposite of dot spread or dot gain.

Sheetwise:  To print one side of a sheet of paper with one plate, then turn the sheet over and print the other side with another plate using same gripper and opposite side guide.

Shell cup:  A device for measuring viscosity.

Shellac:  An alcohol-soluble natural resin widely used in flexographic inks.

Short ink: Ink that is buttery and does not flow freely.

Show-through:  In printing, the undesirable condition in which the printing on the reverse side of a sheet can be seen through the sheet under normal lighting conditions. Alt:  Printing on one side of a sheet that can be seen on the other side of the sheet.

Side register:The control of print register on the horizontal axis, i.e., from one edge of the web to the other.

Side weld:  In bag making, refers to the seal formed by a hot knife cutting through two layers of thermoplastic material, like polyethylene, and sealing that edge.

Side wire:  In binding, to wire the sheets or signatures of a magazine or booklet on the side near the backbone.

Silhouette halftone:  A term used for an outline halftone. Alt:  A halftone with all of the background removed.

Skid:  A pallet used for a pile of cut sheets.

Skirt:  That portion of a bag between the bottom seal and the bottom edge of the bag.

Slime hole:  A paper defect caused by bacteria or fungus, which replace or impose themselves upon paper fibers.

Slip compound:  An additive for ink that imparts lubricating qualities to the dried ink film.

Slip sheet:  A separator between sheets of film, foil, paper, board, etc. to prevent blocking and to facilitate removal of sheets singly.

Slipped core:  A paper defect in which the paper in a roll is not properly glued to the core.

Slit:  To cut rolls of stock to specified widths.  Either rotary or stationary knives or blades are used with mechanical unwinding and rewinding devices.

Slitting:  Cutting printed sheets or webs into two or more sections by means of cutting wheels on a press or folder.

Slitter:  A machine to cut roll stock in the long direction.  Three types are widely used.  a. Razor blade slitter b.  Sheer slitter c.  Score cutter.

Slitter turnover:  An edge break on a roll of paper caused by a slitter, which turns over during winding.  The edge of the break protrudes from the roll.

Slug:  A rubber plate section, usually type, used as an insert.

Slug hole:  A paper defect resulting from the paper machine picking out a group of fibers superimposed over the sheet.

Slur:  A condition caused by slippage at the moment of impression between any two of the following:  substrate, plate, blanket.

Slur stick:  A small, specially designed stick of wood or other soft material used to dislodge foreign particles from the edge of a doctor blade.

Slurry:  A suspensions of solids in water.

Smoothness:  A physical characteristic of paper describing its levelness or flatness, essential for total contact with the gravure cylinder.

Snap:  The action of the mesh continually lifting away from the paper during printing.

Snowflaking:  Condition of a printed area characterized by very small dots of unprinted areas showing throughout a deposited ink.

Soft end:  A paper defect caused by web thickness variation - one part of the roll feels soft compared with an adjacent end.

Soft ink:  Descriptive of the consistency of paste inks.

Softening point:  Temperature at which plastic material will start to deform with no externally applied load.

Solids content:  The percentage of non-volatile matter of which a compound or mixture is composed, based on weight of the entire mixture.

Solid loading:  The spring or hydraulic or pneumatic cylinder in a press.  When completely compressed, it causes the loading to become direct.

Solids content:  The percentage of solid material contained in an ink formulation; includes pigment, extender, binder, plasticizers and wax.

Solvent:  Liquid which dissolves a solid.  In ink, the evaporation of solvent leaves the solids behind as an ink film on the substrate.

Solvent coating:  A type of coating, applied in liquid form, which dries by evaporation.

Solvent load:  The maximum rate of solvents to be evaporated in a dryer or solvent recovery system.

Solvent release:  In ink, the ability of a binder to influence the rate of evaporation of a solvent.

Souring:  The precipitation or coagulation of the ingredients of an ink due to the presence of water or other foreign materials.

SPC:  Acronym for statistical process control.

Specifications:  A precise description of a print order.

Spectrophotometer:  The most sophisticated instrument for measuring brightness and color, able to test at varying wavelengths.

Spectrum:  The complete range of colors in the rainbow from short wavelengths (blue) to long wavelengths (red).

Specular gloss test:  A means of measuring paper or ink gloss by determining the amount of light reflected from a sample at specified angles.

Spiral binding:  A book bound with wires in spiral form inserted through holes punched along the binding side.

Split fountain:  Putting more than one ink in a printing fountain to achieve special color affects.

Splitting:  See flying.  Misting.

Splice:  The joining of the ends of rolled material.

Spoilage:  Planned paper waste for all printing operations.

Spot color:  Single colors applied to printing when process color is not necessary (i.e. one, two and three color printing), or when process colors need to be augmented (i.e. a fluorescent pink headline or a metallic tint).

Spot varnish:  Varnish used to highlight a specific part of the printed sheet.

Spread 1):  A design that encompasses two or more facing pages (i.e. the center spread in the morning newspaper). 2):  Literally, spreading the ink around a colored object so that there is no gap between it and the next colored object.  (i.e. yellow text on a blue background)

Stabilizer:  Chemical used to stop the developed photographic image from continuing to develop.

Stable overlays:  A transparent sheet of material used as part of the finished art that will not stretch or shrink.

Stack press:  Flexographic press where the printing stations are placed one above the other, each with its own impression cylinder.

Staining:  When two different color inks touch or overlap each other they create a third color referred to as a stain.

Stamping:  Term for foil stamping.

Starred roll:  A paper roll exhibiting a "starred" visual effect on the end of the roll, caused by uneven winding-causes fluctuations in reel tension during press runs.

Static eliminator:  A device for neutralizing static electricity.

Static neutralizer:  In printing presses, an attachment designed to remove the static electricity from the paper to avoid ink set-off and trouble with feeding the paper.

Step-and-repeat:  A procedure for placing the same image on plates in multiple places. Alt:  In photomechanics, the procedure of multiple exposure using the same image by stepping it in position according to a predetermined layout or program.

Stereotype:  Duplicate relief plate used for newspaper printing.

Stet:  A proof mark meaning let the original copy stand.

Stickyback:  Double faced adhesive coated material used for mounting elastomeric printing plates to the plate cylinder (flexo).

Stippling:  Art work in which a series of miscellaneous and usually random dots are used instead of lines.

Stochastic screening:  A digital screen process that converts images into very small dots (14-40 microns) of equal size and variable spacing.  Second order screened images have variable size dots and variable spacing.  Also called Frequency Modulated (FM) screening.

Stock:  The material to be printed.

Stopping out:  In photomechanics, application of opaque to photographic negatives; application of special lacquer to protect areas on films in dot etching; staging of halftone plates during relief etching.

Streaking:  Not wiping clean, leaving stripes or lines of color on web.

Strength:  Usually refers to intensity of a color of ink.

Stretch:  Intensity of color of flexographic ink.

Stretch/shrink factors:  Calculations of dimensional change that occur in rubber plate molding and mounting and photopolymer plate mounting when applied to the flexo plate cylinder.

Striation:  A fine streaky pattern of parallel lines, usually in the direction of the web. flexo, gravure.

Strike through:  Penetration of ink through the web.  Flexo and gravure.

Stringiness:   The property of an ink to draw into filaments or threads.

Striping:  A printing imperfection observed when the printed copy becomes alternately more and less intense across the web.

Stripped:  When separate pieces of film are taped together to create the complete printing image.

Strike-on composition:  Type set by a direct-impression method, or on typewriter composing machines.  Also known as cold type.

Stripping:  In lithography, the positioning of negatives (or positives) on a flat to compose a page or layout for platemaking. Alt:  The positioning of film on a flat prior to platemaking.

Stroke of Oscillation:  The distance the doctor blade oscillates.

Style sheet:  A page or group of pages designating the type faces to be used in a design. i.e. Headlines, captions and body text.

Stylus:  A hard pointed pen shaped instrument used in marking, writing, incising, tracing, etc.

Sublimable dyes:  Dyes that have the capacity to move from a solid state to gas and back to a solid without passing through a liquid phase.

Sublimation:  The process in chemistry whereby a solid is volatilized by heat and then converted back into a solid without passing through a liquid phase.

Substance:  The weight in pounds of a ream (either 480 or 500 sheets) of paper cut to a given size.

Substance weight:  A term of basis weight when referring to bond papers.

Substrate:  Any surface on which printing is done.

Subtractive primaries:  Yellow, magenta and cyan, the hues used for process color printing inks.

Sulphate process:  The chemical pulping method(s) employing caustic soda and sodium sulfide as reagents to break down wood into free fiber.  Called sulfate because the sodium salt introduced is sodium sulfate.  Sulfate pulps are also called Kraft.

Sulphate pulp:  Paper pulp made from wood chips cooked under pressure in a solution of caustic soda and sodium sulphide.  Known as kraft paper.

Sulphite process:  Any of several chemical pulping methods employing bisulfites of calcium, ammonia, magnesium or sodium.  Bisulfites in solution with water create sulfurous acid, the active ingredient in this process.

Sulphite pulp:  Paper pulp made from wood chips cooked under pressure in a solution of bisulfite of lime.

Surface tension:  The tendency of a liquid surface to contract rather than flow out.

Surprint:  In photomechanics, exposure from a second negative or flat superimposed on an exposed image of a previous negative or flat.

Swatch: A small piece of material cut for a sample.




Tacifier: A general term used to refer to cling additives in stretch film (see blooming, cling, poly isobutylene). Stretch Film and Wrap

Tack:  In printing inks, the property of cohesion between particles; the separation force of ink needed for proper transfer and trapping on multicolor presses.  A tacky ink has high separation forces and can cause surface picking or splitting of weak papers.

Tagged image file format (TIFF):  A file format for exchanging bitmapped images (usually scans) between applications.

Taper:  To become progressively smaller in thickness, diameter, or width as in a cylinder or roll.

Tamper Evident: One or more safety features used to indicate that a package is not in the original condition as it was when shipped from the manufacturer or packager.

Tap Switch: An electrical device used to control the amount of voltage introduced to sealing elements.

Tear Initiation: The amount of force required to initiate a tear.

Tear Resistance: The ability of a film to resist the propagation of a tear.

Tear Strength: See "Elmendorf Tear Test"

Tearing bond:  A type of bond in which it is necessary to tear fibers of one or the other adhered sheets in order to separate them while at the same time there is no failure in adhesion or cohesion of the adhesive.

Tear strip:  A narrow ribbon of film, cord, etc, usually incorporated mechanically in wrapper or overwrap during the wrapping operation to facilitate opening of the package.

Telescoping:  Transverse slipping of successive winds of a roll of material so that the edge is conical rather than flat.

Tensile strength:  The maximum load in tension that a material can withstand without failure.

Terabyte(TB):  One trillion bytes.

Text:  The body matter of a page or book, as distinguished from the headings.

Text paper:  Grades of uncoated paper with textured surfaces.

Tensile Strength: The force required to break through film and bags, or snap rope, cable ties, and wire by pulling on opposite ends. Determined by material thickness and width.

Thermoforming: a process of forming thermoplastic sheet that consists of heating the sheet and forcing it into a mold by vacuum, air pressure or mechanical pressure.

Three Side Weld Pouch: (Pillow) - A pouch made from two pieces of film, sealed on three sides leaving one side open. This has no gusset.

Thermal dye sublimation:  Like thermal printers, except pigments are vaporized and float to desired proofing stock.  Similar to Thermal Dye Diffusion Transfer, or D2T2.

Thermal printers:  These printers use a transfer sheet that carries ink in contact with the paper or transparency, and a heated printhead

Thermography:  A printing process that results in raised type similar to engraved printing.

Thermo-mechanical pulp:  In papermaking, made by steaming wood chips prior to and during refining, producing  higher yield and stronger pulp than regular groundwood.

Thinners:  Liquids, solvents and/or diluents, added to fountain ink for the purpose of reducing the viscosity of the ink.

Thixotropy:  The property of a liquid or plastic material that involves a reversible decrease of viscosity as the material is agitated or worked.

Thread:  In a press or coating machine, initial passage of a web between the various rollers or other parts of the machine.

TIFF:  See Tagged Image File Format.

Tinctorial strength:  The relative ability of a pigment or dye to impart color value to a printing ink.

Tints:  A shade of single color or combined colors. Alt:  1) A color of very low strength or intensity, usually made by adding a small amount of color ink or toner to a large amount of extender or opaque white.  2) A lighter shade of ink created by printing a finer dot pattern, but using full strength ink.  A wide gamut of hundreds of shades can be created by surprinting tints of the process colors.

Tissue overlay:  Usually a thin transparent paper placed over artwork for protection uses for making color breaks and other printer instructions.

Tolerances:  The specification of acceptable variations in register, density, dot size, plate or paper thickness, concentration of chemicals and other printing parameters.

Toner:  Imaging material used in electrophotography and some off-press proofing systems.  In inks, dye used to tone printing inks, especially black. Alt:  1) A highly concentrated pigment and/or dye used to modify the hue or color strength of an ink.  2) Black and colored electrostatic imaging materials used in xerographic copiers and in toner-based proofing systems.

Tolerance: Allowable deviation from a nominal or specified dimension. Minimum/maximum range of measurement.

Top Sheeting: A protective covering put on the top of a load to protect the top from dust, dirt, and other objects that might damage or dirty the load. Pallet Top Covers on Rolls

Transmission: Quantity of moisture and/or gas passing through the packaging film or foil over a specific period of time.

Transverse Direction (TD): The direction parallel to the film width.

Transfer roll:  Plain roll rotating in contact with another plain roll transferring variable amounts of ink in an inking system.

Transfer screens:  Halftone screens of different sizes that can be transferred from its original carrier sheet to the artwork by rubbing it with a stylus.

Transfer sheets:  Carrier sheets of type characters, design elements, or halftone screens that will release the image when pressure is applied.

Transfer tape:  A peel and stick tape used in business forms.

Transfer type:  Type characters of different sizes and styles that can be transferred from its original carrier sheet to the artwork by rubbing it with a stylus.

Transparency:  A positive photographic slide on film allowing light to pass through.

Transparent copy:  A film that light must pass through for it to be seen or reproduced. Alt:  In photography, illustrative copy such as a color transparency or positive film through which light must pass in order for it to be seen or reproduced.

Transparent ink:  A printing ink that does not conceal the color under it.  Process inks are transparent so that the will blend to form other colors.

Trap Print: Another term for Reverse Printing (see Reverse Printing). Trap printing derives its name from the fact that the ink is trapped between the outer layer of material and the substrate.

Trapping:  In printing, the ability to print a wet ink film over previously printed ink.  Dry trapping is printing wet ink over dry ink.  Wet trapping is printing wet ink over previously printed wet ink.  In prepress, refers to how much overprinting colors overlap to eliminate white lines between colors in printing. Alt:  The process of closing gas between different color inks as they appear on the printed page. Trapping color is achieved by use of chokes and spreads.

Tray: a multicavity package thermoformed from plastic that holds numerous parts or products. Trays are often used as standalone retail-store displays.

Trim: The amount of excess film severed during the sealing process.

Trim Seal: A seal made by using a sealing wire element.

Trim marks:  In printing, marks placed on the copy to indicate the edge of the page. Alt:  Similar to crop or register marks.  These marks show where to trim the printed sheet.

Trim size: The final size of one printed image after the last trim is made.

Tunnel:  The compartment through which the web passes for final drying after printing.

Turning bars:  An arrangement of stationary bars on a flexo press, which guide the web in such a manner that it is turned front to back, and will be printed on the reverse side by the printing units located subsequent to the turning bars.

Twin-wire machine:  In papermaking, a four-denier paper machine with two wires instead of one producing paper with less two-sidedness.

Two-sheet detector:  In printing presses, a device for stopping or tripping the press when more than one sheet attempts to feed into the grippers.

Two-sidedness:  In paper, the property denoting difference in appearance and printability between its top (felt) and wire sides).

Type gauge:  In composition, a printer's tool calibrated in picas and points used for type measurement.

Typography:  The style, arrangement or appearance of typeset matter.  The art of selecting and arranging typefaces.




UCA:  Acronym for Under Color Addition.

UCR:  Acronym for Under Color Removal- In process multicolor printing, color separation films are reduced in color in neutral areas where all three colors overprint and the black film is increased an equivalent amount in these areas.  This improves trapping and can reduce makeready and ink costs.

Unbalance:  The uneven distribution of weight or forces in a roll.  In flexo there are two recognized types of unbalance:  Static and Dynamic.

Unbalanced: Unequal orientation in the LD and TD.

Undercut:  In printing presses the difference between the radius of the cylinder bearers and the cylinder body , to allow for plate (or blanket) and packing  thickness.

Under-run:  Production of fewer copies than ordered.  See over run.

Undistorted artwork:  Artwork that has been prepared without compensation for the distortion that takes place after the printing plate has been mounted on the printing cylinder.

Unit:  In multicolor presses, refers to the combination of inking, plate and impression operations to print each color.  A 4-color press has 4 printing units each with its own inking, plate and impression functions.

Unitization: Wrapping techniques that protect a pallet load from top to bottom, making all packages in the load one single unit. These techniques are ideal for long distance hauls and less than truckload shipments. X-wrapping, Wrapping Low, and Cross Top Wrapping are wrapping techniques that promote the best unitization.

UPC: Universal Price Code or bar code. UPC Bar code InformationSheet.

UVI: Ultra Violet Inhibitor. Additive extends life of the product in sunlight conditions.

Up:  Printing two (...three, four, etc) up means printing multiple copies of the same image on the same sheet.

UV coating:  Liquid laminate bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

UV ink:  Solventless ink that is cured by UV radiation.




Vacuum back:  The top or back of a process camera with a vacuum that can be used to hold the photographic paper or film in place during exposure.

Vacuum forming:  The process of heating a plastic until it is soft, placing it over a mold and then molding it to form by means of a vacuum.

Vacuum frame:  In platemaking, a vacuum device for holding copy and reproduction material in contact during exposure.

Varnish:  A thin, protective coating applied to a printed sheet for protection or appearance.  Also, in ink making, it can be all or part of the ink vehicle. Alt:  A clear liquid applied to printed surfaces for looks and protection.  (UV coating looks better.)

VCI Film (Vapour Corrosion Inhibitor): Functions as a Vapour Corrosion Inhibitor in packaging products in the form of Plastic Film. A significant breakthrough in protective packaging technology. It offers a new concept in production protection without the need for rust preventative coatings. It provides protection for aluminum alloys and copper while providing excellent protection for ferrous metals, steel, and stainless steel. IT PROTECTS PRODUCTS SUCH AS; Tools, spare parts, components, bin/box liners, motor and mechanical controls, electrical equipment and controls, long tubular products and pipes, interleaving, etc. METALS PROTECTED: Copper, Brass, Aluminum, Steel, Tin, Silver Iron, etc.

Vent Hole: Air evacuation holes in a film made by pin perforators.

Vehicle:  In printing inks, the fluid component which acts as a carrier for pigment.

Vellum:  High quality translucent paper used for tracing.

Vellum finish:  In papermaking, a toothy finish which is relatively absorbent for fast ink penetration.

Velox:  A black and white photographic print of very good quality that can be used as part of the artwork and later reproduced for printing plates.

Verso:  The left hand page of an open book.

Verticle adjustment:  A method of analysis that depends upon measurement of the volume of standard solution consumed in a titration.

Vignette halftone:  An illustration in which the background fades gradually away until it blends into the unprinted paper. Alt:  A halftone whose background gradually fades to white.

Vinyl:  Informal generic term for any of the vinyl resins, or for film, or other products made from them.

Vinyl plastics:  Plastics based on resins made from vinyl monomers, except those specifically covered by other classifications such as acrylic and styrene plastics.  Typical vinyl plastics are polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl acetate, polyvinyl alcohol, and polyvinyl butyryl, and copolymers of vinyl monomers and unsaturated compounds.

Viscosimeter:  Instrument used to measure the viscosity of ink, varnish, or other solution.

Viscosity:  Resistance to flow.


VMPET: Vacuum Metallised PET film. It has all the good properties of PET film, plus much improved oxygen and water vapour barrier properties.

Vulcanization:  A curing process in which the physical properties of a rubber are changed.




Warm color:  In printing, a color with a yellowish or reddish cast.

Washup:  Removing printing ink from a press, washing the rollers and blanket.  Certain ink colors require multiple washups to avoid ink and chemical contamination.

Water break:  The appearance of a discontinuous film of water on a surface signifying nonuniform wetting and usually associated with surface contamination.

Waterless printing:  In offset, printing on a press using special waterless plates and no dampening system.

Watermark:  Translucent mark made in paper while it is still wet for purposes of identification.

Waste:  A term for planned spoilage.

Watermark:  A distinctive design created in paper at the time of manufacture that can be easily seen by holding the paper up to a light.

Wear in (seat):  Break in a rotating doctor blade by applying pressure against cylinder without printing to wear in the blade.

Web:  A roll of printing paper used in web or rotary printing.

Web guide:  Device that keeps the web traveling straight or true through the press.

Web press:  The name of a type of presses that print from rolls of paper. Alt:  A high speed printing press that prints on both sides of a continuous roll of paper.  Web presses are used for high volume printing such as newspapers and magazines.

Web strength:  A measure of the physical strength properties of paper when saturated with water, expresses in terms of wet tensile-strength, wet bursting-strength, etc.

Web tension:  The amount of pull or tension applied in the direction of travel of a web of paper by the action of a web press.

Weld Spout - See Spout Pouch

Wetting:  Surrounding minute particles of pigment with resin solutions during ink-making.

Wetting agent:  A substance that reduces the surface tension of a liquid, thereby causing it to spread more readily on a solid surface.

Whip:  See bounce.

Whiskers:  Hairy edges of shadow areas due to static electricity.

Widow:  In composition, a single word in a line by itself, ending a paragraph, or starting a page, frowned upon in good typography.

Wind: The direction in which the film or shrink film is wound on the core.

Winder Wrinkles:  A paper defect caused by a hard spot on the winder reel.

Winding:  The process of transferring paper from the master machine roll to rolls suitable for use on a press.  Also called rewinding.

Wire mark:  The impression left in a web of paper by the wire of a four-denier machine.

Wire O:  A bindery trade name for mechanical binding using double loops of wire through a hole.

Wire-O binding:  A method of wire binding books along the binding edge that will allow the book to lay flat using double loops.  See Wire O.

With the grain:  Folding or feeding paper into the press or folder parallel to the grain of the paper.

Woodcut:  An illustration in lines of varying thickness, cut in relief on plank-grain wood, for the purpose of making prints.

Work and tumble:  Printing one side of a sheet and turning it over from the gripper to the tail to print the second side using the same side guide and plate for the second side.

Work and turn:  Printing one side of a sheet and running it over from left to right using the same side guides and plate for the second side.

Wove paper:  A paper having a uniformed unlined surface with a smooth finish.

WrapNet: Netting pallet wrap. Knitted pallet wrap that hold load together but also allows air to circulated throughout the pallet.

Wrapping Machine: a device that wraps a flexible material, such as plastic film, around a product or group of products.

Wrinkles:  Creases in paper occurring during printing.  In inks, the uneven surface formed during drying.

WVTR: Water Vapor Transmission Rate, (also known as MVTR moisture vapor transmission rate), is the rate which moisture vapor can permeate through the structure and into a dry atmosphere on the other side. It is recorded in units of gm/100 inches square / 24 hour (g/m2/24 hr). WVTR is dependant on the gauge of the structure, the materials used in the structure, and the quality of the materials used. Vapor can pass through channels in the seals, holes, tears, or imperfections in the package.




Xerography:  An electrophotographic copying process that uses a corona charged selenium photoconductor surface, electrostatic forces and dry or liquid toner to form an image.




Yield: The amount of stretch a film gets without interfering with the performance of other properties like tear and puncture resistance.




Zahn cup:  A device for measuring viscosity.

Zip Top Pouch: A reclosable or resealable pouch produced with a plastic track in which two plastic components interlock to provide a mechanism that allows for reclosablility in a flexible package. AKA: Ziplock




Pocket Pal, A Graphic Arts Production Handbook, International Paper Company, July 1995.

Gravure Process and Technology, Gravure Association of America, 1991

Glossary of Printing Terms, Print USA, October 27, 1995

Index of (Printing) Terms, Johnathan Lee Lyons, Lyons Digital Media, 1995

Screen Printing:  Design & Technique, Nicholas Bristow, 1990

Flexography Principles and Practices, Flexographic Technical Association, 1980



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