Fast 5 Facts: Folding And Gluing

Published On: November 17, 2015

Folding and gluing is what ultimately brings a packaging design together. Understanding the different stages of packaging development is useful for creating successful designs. In addition to adhesives, brand managers need to understand how different folds end up creating a specific packaging design.

Here are five facts about folding and gluing for packaging designs:

Folding & Gluing can save vendors and buyers from assembly costs

1.    What is Folding/Gluing?

Automated folding and gluing is the process of transforming flat die-cut material into finished folding cartons, promotional material, or envelopes. This process can save vendors and buyers hundreds of dollars in hand assembly costs.

2.    What is the Folding/Gluing Process?

Make Ready

The first step in Folding/Gluing process is the make-ready.  Here the operator manually configures the machine for fast paced high quality production.  


The flat material is stacked on the automated friction based feeder.  Here, it is essential to feed the pieces straight and consistent for quality purposes.


When producing folding cartons, the pieces are pre-broken.

When producing folding cartons, the pieces are pre-broken on the creases, not folded, in the final folding section. This step creates an opening force needed for processing automated fillers.

Adhesive Application

Cold or Hot Melt adhesive is then applied to the carton before the final folds. The adhesives are applied using laser detection system and glue valves that functions accurately at high run speeds. Cold glue can also be applied using a glue wheel for a simpler change-over rate and consistency.

Folding Section

After the adhesive is applied, the final folds take place near the end of the line and are then stacked on the transfer section.

Transfer Section

Here any non-conforming pieces are rejected using a bar-code scanner and the rest are stacked on a conveyor belt where pressure is applied for the adhesives to effectively bond.


The finished product is then manually or automatically pulled from the transfer section, quality checked, and packed for shipping or the next process.                                     

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3.    What Stock can be used for Automated Folding/Gluing?

Most folder/gluers are designed to be vastly versatile when it comes to the stock they are capable of finishing and can be configured numerous ways to satisfy customers’ requests. These materials include but not limited to:

  •       Paper
  •       Carton board
  •       Corrugated board
  •       Heavy solid board
  •       Semi-rigid plastics

4.    What are some key factors?


Accurate design dimensions, using a calibrated steel rule and laser cutting dies, are essential during the folding/gluing process. A flaw in the design will greatly affect the product’s functionality as well as hinder the folding/gluing operator’s ability to run the job.


A score is a crease on a folding carton to prevent cracking when folding takes place. The score lines are determined in the initial design process and are created during the die-cutting process. Factors that can affect the folding of a score are the grain direction of the stock and the consistency of the scores themselves. Collaboration between design, die cutting, and folding/gluing are essential to ensure high quality for every job.   

Ink Coatings and Frictional Properties

Applying ink coatings can improve the product’s ability

Applying ink coatings during the printing process can greatly affect the product’s ability to catch the eye of the end-user, but it can also affect how the job is run through the Folder/Gluer. Certain coatings do not bond as well to standard cold adhesives. In this case, using a hot melt adhesive will create a stronger-quicker bond.

5.    Other Applications?  


Using a laser detection system to place messages on products

Using a secondary feeder and temporary “fugitive” glue; business cards, product samples (shown above), gift cards, or any other messaging can be automatically placed on (“tipped-on”) the products processed through the Folder/Gluer using a laser detection system. This application is only limited to the size of the item being tipped-on.


Maximum visibility of the product for the customer

Folder/Gluers are also capable of applying a clear plastic cover over cut window from die-cutting.  This application gives the product within the carton maximum visibility for the end-user.     

Bringing It Together

The right print and packaging supplier will be able to advise you on best suited application necessary for your projects folding and gluing process.

Contact JohnsByrne to learn more about folding and gluing techniques that can bring your project’s vision to life.

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