Active Standard ASTM D1974 / D1974M | Developed by Subcommittee: D10.27
Book of Standards Volume: 15.10
Historical (view previous versions of standard)
Significance and Use
The means of closing the flaps of corrugated shipping containers is one of the important decisions for a shipper. It may affect the overall material cost, the labor costs, the packaging equipment costs, and the performance of the box during distribution.
This practice provides a list of many available procedures for closing, sealing, and reinforcing boxes. Most of these describe a particular packaging material and a particular use of it on a box. Some methods involve package performance testing; any closure or reinforcement which passes prescribed tests (usually on the proposed box and contents) is considered to comply with that section of this practice. Performance-based methods are encouraged because they allow for considerable flexibility in the choice of packaging materials and methods yet provide assurance of a given level of performance.
A diverse range of methods are described in this practice but relative performance levels are not given. Laboratory package testing such as Practice D4169 and field experience are recommended to rate alternative methods on performance for the intended use.
The descriptions of materials and methods in this practice provide direction for the procurement of materials and for their common uses on boxes. These descriptions may be sufficient for some specification purposes, but others will require more thorough material and application requirements than those given here.
The list of methods in this practice is not exhaustive; deviation or variation from the listed methods is possible with the approval of the appropriate parties referencing this practice. Depending on the characteristics of the contents, the specific shipping container, the acceptable package costs, the distribution hazards, and the desired degree of assurance of successful shipment, more stringent methods than those listed may be needed or less stringent methods than those listed may be adequate. The methods described are typical uses of the closure, reinforcing, or sealing materials; many of these materials can be used for other box styles or other methods on boxes but all of these are not included in this practice. Materials for box closure, reinforcement, or sealing are commercially available which have higher or lower performance characteristics than those listed in this practice; these may often be used in a lesser or greater quantity than the described applications of the listed materials.
This practice assumes the following:
Normal, reasonable care is taken in shipment, including storage, handling, loading, and bracing, and
Normal, reasonable care is taken in the application of the closure, reinforcing, or sealing materials to the shipping container.
1.1 This practice describes several methods for closing, sealing, and reinforcing fiberboard (solid and corrugated, excluding triple wall) shipping boxes used for shipment. One or several methods listed in this practice may be referenced in regulations, specifications, or contracts. (See Appendix for cross reference).
1.2 The values stated in either SI units or inch-pound units are to be regarded separately as standard. The values stated in each system may not be exact equivalents; therefore, each system shall be used independently of the other. Combining values from the two systems may result in non-conformance with the standard.
Note 1—This practice is intended to be workable in both inch-pound units and SI units. Unit conversions are intended to be functional but are not necessarily exact; this should not significantly affect the performance of the closing, sealing, or reinforcing methods. Descriptions in inch-pound and SI units are considered interchangeable in this practice.
Note 2—All references to this standard should be made by closure number.
1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.
D644 Test Method for Moisture Content of Paper and Paperboard by Oven Drying
D951 Test Method for Water Resistance of Shipping Containers by Spray Method
D996 Terminology of Packaging and Distribution Environments
D3654/D3654M Test Methods for Shear Adhesion of Pressure-Sensitive Tapes
D3759/D3759M Test Method for Breaking Strength and Elongation of Pressure-Sensitive Tape
D3950 Specification for Strapping, Nonmetallic (and Joining Methods)
D3953 Specification for Strapping, Flat Steel and Seals
D4169 Practice for Performance Testing of Shipping Containers and Systems
D4675 Guide for Selection and Use of Flat Strapping Materials
D4727/D4727M Specification for Corrugated and Solid Fiberboard Sheet Stock (Container Grade) and Cut Shapes
D5118/D5118M Practice for Fabrication of Fiberboard Shipping Boxes
D5330/D5330M Specification for Pressure-Sensitive Tape for Packaging, Filament-Reinforced
D5486/D5486M Specification for Pressure-Sensitive Tape for Packaging, Box Closure, and Sealing
D5570 Test Method for Water Resistance of Tape and Adhesives Used as Box Closure
D5749 Specification for Reinforced and Plain Gummed Tape for Sealing and Securing
F592 Terminology of Collated and Cohered Fasteners and Their Application Tools
U.S. Government DocumentsMMM-A-250 Adhesive, Water Resistant (For Closure of Fiberboard Boxes)
Other StandardsInternational Fiberboard Case Code International Fiberboard Case Code, European Federation of Manufacturers of Corrugated Board (FEFCO), 37 rue dAmsterdam, 75008, Paris, France, 874-63-76.
ICS Number Code 55.180.20 (General purpose pallets)