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Updated 17 January 2011

Machine Coated – Paper that has a single or double-sided coat applied by a paper machine.

Machine direction See MD or Grain direction.

Machine glazed (MG) finish – The term used to describe the finish imparted to the surface of a paper by passing it over the surface of a very large, highly polished, steam heated cylinder.

MACT – Maximum Available Control Technology

Magazine paper – LWC, MWC or SC paper for printing magazines, advertising material, etc.

Magenta – One of the process ink colours for printing. Pure magenta is the “greenless” colour; it absorbs all wavelengths of green from light and reflects all red and blue wavelengths.

Magnetic Inks – A combination of ferric and ferrous oxide in a finely ground state that can be magnetized.

Mailing/Shipping Tubes – Spiral paper mailing tubes are the lightweight, durable option for general purpose mailings. Open end and crimped end mailing tubes are ideal for sending posters, artwork, blueprints, or signage and resist folding or bending during shipment or storage. Open end mailing tubes require end closures, such as plastic plugs or paper caps; crimped mailing tubes do not. Plain kraft mailing tubes are the most economical, while coloured paper, custom one-colour printing, and lithographic labelling are preferred among retailers, advertisers, and promoters.  Shipping tubes are similar to mailing tubes but are manufactured with a thicker wall to protect heavier products during transport.

Make-Ready – General preparatory operations prior to the actual production of printing, or cutting and creasing. It usually involves the adjustment of the impression by overlaying or underlaying the printing plates; the cutting of the female part of the die. Also used in connection with finishing machines such as gluer, waxer, windower.

Maleic – A synthetic hard resin.

Male Die – Die that applies pressure during embossing or debossing. Also called force card.

Mandrel – Cylinder that is not permanently mounted on a shaft and can be removed.

Manila – A semi-bleached chemical sulphate paper. Not as strong as kraft, but has better printing qualities.

Manila Board – Boxboard made principally from mechanical ground wood pulp used largely for packaging foods. It has a light straw colour and a suitable surface for printing.

Manipulation – Adjustments to doctor blade required to get optimum results.

Manufacturer – Natural or legal person, individual or organization with the responsibility for packaging and/or sterilizing the medical device (ref. ISO 11607 – 2003(E)).

Manufacturer Number – The digits allocated by an EAN numbering authority to a labeller which, together with the prefix, item reference and check digits, make up the standard article number.

Manufacturer’s Joint – The mechanical connection between two panels to create a tube. In the classic four-panel tube, the manufacturer’s joint is comprised of a flap and an adhesively secured overlying panel.

MAP – Modified Atmosphere Packaging. A packaging as result of a process by which air in a pack is replaced with another gas.

MAP (bread)

MAP (flowers)

Marbling – Addition of strongly stained fibres to the stock to give the paper a marbled appearance.

Margin – Imprinted space around the edge of the printed material.

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

Mar Resistance – Ability to retain a satisfactory surface appearance when subjected to rubbing, scuffing, scratching, etc.

Mask – In offset printing, an opaque material that protects certain areas of a printing plate during camera exposure.

Mass Tone – The reflected colour of ink in bulk. Opaque inks print nearly the bulk colour. Transparent inks are much darker in bulk than the printing colour.

Masterbatch – A pelletized plastic material containing highly loaded pigments which is used in a polymer system to change the final colour and/or properties of a plastic part.

Mat calendered paper – The paper web is passed between soft nip(s).

Matchprint – Trade name for 3M integral colour proof. A form of a four-colour-process proofing system.

Mater-Bi – Trademark of a starch-based material from Novamont, which is cloudy in appearance.

Matte – The least reflective coating finish for gravure coated publication papers. More glossy sheets are, successively, dull and glossy.

Matt finish – A dull finish given to the surface of paper and board.

Maximum Angle of Wipe – Flattest wipe obtainable.

Maximum Available Control Technology (MACT) – The emission standard for sources of air pollution requiring the maximum reduction of hazardous emissions, taking cost and feasibility into account. Under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the MACT must not be less than the average emission level achieved by controls on the best performing 12 percent of existing sources, by category of industrial and utility sources.

MD – Machine Direction – The direction of the moving forming fabric of the paper machine – the long direction of the paper web. See also Cross Direction and Grain Direction.

MDF – Medium density fibreboard; used in the furniture industry in place of particleboard and other boards

MDPE – Medium density, (0.934-0.95) polyethylene. Has higher stiffness, higher melting point and better water vapour barrier properties.

Meadium – Mead’s brand of corrugating medium.

MeadWestvaco Corp

Mealiness – See also – Snowflaking, specifically middle tones.

Mebane Packaging – MeadWestvaco company that specializes in designing and producing high-quality packaging for pharmaceutical products and personal care items.

Mechanical – Camera-ready assembly of type, graphic and other copy complete with instructions to the printer. A hard mechanical consists of paper and/or acetate, is made using paste-up techniques, and may also be called an artboard, board or paste-up. A soft mechanical, also called an electronic mechanical, exists as a file of type and other images assembled using a computer.

Mechanical Board – Mounted, camera-ready artwork used in traditional (non-digital) prepress.

Mechanical Pulp – Pulp produced by reducing pulpwood logs and chips into their fibre components by the use of mechanical energy, via grinding stones or refiners, without the use of chemicals.

Medium See Corrugating Medium.

Melamine Formaldehyde Resin (aka Melamine, MF Resin) – A clear, water-based resin used in making laminates. Curing this resin causes cross-linking, resulting in an extremely hard compound. Additions to the base resin system are made to improve flexibility, water absorption, hardness, heat resistance and/or electrical properties.

Meltblowing – A method of forming fabric from thermoplastic resins; the resin is melted, extruded and blown with fast-moving air that stretches or attenuates the fibres, which are then condensed and compressed.

Membrane closure – A flexible material attached to the end of a rigid package with a peelable heat seal. This material can be a coax plastic film or a lamination of plastic film, foil and paper with a heat seal coating.

Metal Cans

Metallic Appearance

Metallic Ink – Bronze, gold, copper or aluminium powder suspended in an appropriate vehicle and applied as a printing ink to produce designs with a metallic lustre on the surface being printed. In addition to the natural metals, lustrous tints of other colours may be produced by adding small amounts of transparent colour to aluminium inks. Coated papers with good holdout give the best results. For absorbent papers, a base ink of similar colour (but non-metallic) may be printed first, allowed to dry and then overprinted with metallic inks.

Metallised film – Flexible films coated with an ultra-thin layer of metal, usually aluminium.

Metallising – Applying, through a vacuum process, a thin aluminium layer onto flexible plastic film substrates used to package a variety of foods.

Metamerism – A condition when colours match under one light source, but do not match under another light source.

MET-OPP – Metallised OPP film. It has all the good properties of OPP film, plus much improved oxygen and water vapour barrier properties, (but not as good as MET-PET).

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

Metric Ton (a.k.a Tonne or mton) – About 2,205 pounds, or 1.1 short tons.

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.

MF – Machine finished. The paper is glazed in a machine stack. The paper is less smooth than supercalendered paper.

MF resin – Melamine resin. Melamine Formaldehyde Resin.

MG – Machine glazed. Paper with a glossy finish on one side produced on the paper machine by a Yankee cylinder.

Microbial barrier – Attribute of the packaging system that prevents the ingress of micro-organisms under specified conditions (ref. ISO 11607 – 2003(E)).

Micro-creping – A way of improving the extensibility of paper by pressing a wet mesh against the paper web.

Micrometer – Instrument used to measure the thickness.

Micron – One millionth of a metre or one micrometer (µm).

Microperforated film

Microrite susceptor technology

Microthrowing Power – The ability of a plating solution or a specified set of plating conditions to deposit metal in pores or scratches.

Microwave Sterilization Process – A sterilization process developed over a 13-year period by Washington State University (WSU) professor Juming Tang and a team of university, industry and US military scientists. The technology received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance late 2009 to process mashed potato and the group is currently working on authorisation for other foods. The system also has huge potential to be developed as a pasteurisation tool for such items as frozen products.
The technology immerses packaged food in pressurised hot water while simultaneously heating it with microwaves at a frequency of 915 MHz – a frequency which penetrates food more deeply than the 2450 MHz used in home microwave ovens. This combination is said to  eliminate food pathogens and spoilage microorganisms in just five to eight minutes and produces safe foods with much higher quality than conventionally processed ready-to-eat products.

Microwave susceptor


Microwaveable Steel Can

Mid-IR Radiation – The range of electromagnetic radiation from 2500+ nm.  This energy does not exist within solar radiation.  Soil and plants can emit energy in this range (like a black body at the appropriate temperature) at 7-12µ, as a result of NIR absorption changes from the sun.

Midtone – Tonal value of dot, located approximately halfway between the highlight value and the shadow value, generally described as 50%.

Mil – One-thousandth of an inch.

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

Mimeograph – A cheap method of printing using a plastic stencil made by hand which is mounted on a rotating drum containing ink. It can print off up to several thousands of copies at a time.

Mini-Flute – A term used for corrugated boards with small flute heights. These boards can be printed and converted on folding carton equipment with minor modifications. Also referred to as small flute boards, mini-flute boards include E, F, G and N flute.

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

Minimum Wall – A term that designates the thickness of the wall (body) of a container. Usually specified as the minimum thickness allowable for the body of the container.

Mirel – Trademark of a corn-sugar-based resin from Telles, a joint venture of Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). Mirel is a family of bioplastic materials made from a renewable resource, plant derived sugar. Mirel resins are durable but will biodegrade at the end of their useful life. Mirel resin is unique in that it shares many of the physical properties of petroleum based resins but is both biobased and biodegradable.  Mirel resins are certified to biodegrade in soil and water environments, as well as home composting and industrial composting facilities. However, like nearly all bioplastics and organic matter, Mirel will not biodegrade in conventional landfills. (www.mirelplastics.com/)

Mirror effect sleeve

Misting – A mist or fog of tiny ink droplets thrown off the press by the rollers. Also known as Flying or Spitting.

Mist Lined Chipboards – Coloured manila top liner boxboard containing some long black fibres to give a mist effect on bending chipboard.

mLLDPE – metallocene linear low density polyethylene.

Mock Up – A reproduction of the original printed matter and possibly containing instructions or direction.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) – A packaging as result of a process by which air in a pack is replaced with another gas.

Modifier – A material added to the basic ink formulation to improve the behaviour of the ink on the press, or to improve the characteristics of the ink film. Often used interchangeably with additive.

Moiré – An undesirable checkerboard or plaid pattern in a printed image that appears when two or more halftones are overlapped at incongruous angles. See also – Rosette Pattern.

Moisture – The sheet must have the correct moisture content throughout, to prevent the paper from curling inside the machine, which can also result in jams and misfeeds. Moisture content varies according to the raw materials used in paperboard and the humidity of the air around it (since wood fibres actually pull water out of the air). Pine paperboard averages about 6% moisture at 50% humidity, while hardwood averages about 5%. Although moisture affects some properties of the board, moisture content cannot accurately predict the board’s performance. Uniformity is more important – moisture within the board should be uniform and the humidity in the environment where it is stored or converted should be controlled.

Moisture Content – The amount of water in boxboard expressed as a percent of factory paper weight of the test sample.

Moisture Proof – A coating, extrusion or laminated barrier which resists the passage of moisture through a package.

Moisture Vapour Transmission Rate (MVTR) – The rate at which water vapour permeates through a plastic film or wall at a specified temperature and humidity.

Moisture Wrinkle or Welt – A paper defect consisting of wrinkles running in the web direction, caused by dry paper acquiring moisture in storage.

Monitor Calibration – The process of correcting the colour rendition settings of a monitor to match selected colours of printed output.

Monitor RGB – Same as RGB; monitor RGB refers specifically to the colour space that can be achieved by a particular monitor using combinations of red, green, and blue light.

Mono-axial Orientation – Orientation of plastic films by stretching in one direction, (machine or cross machine direction) only. These films are generally much stronger and stiffer, but have very poor tear strength in the direction of orientation.

Monochrome – A single colour as in a monochromatic display monitor.

Mono-Oriented Filament – In mono-oriented filament processing, a flat or round profile is extruded and then oriented in the same way as mono-oriented tape to obtain the right tenacity and denier. Then, the film is wound onto a bobbin. These products are used in strapping, which secure goods during transport, boxes and other materials. (source: http://www.dow.com/)

Mono-Oriented Tape – In mono-oriented tape processing, a film is produced in one of three ways: by the blown film process, by cast film using a chilled roller, or by film extrusion through a water-bath. The film is then slit into predetermined widths which are then orientated into the required denier and strength through a heating phase such as a hot table or a stretching oven. These slit tapes can also be fibrillated and wound onto bobbins for later use in final products. The entire process as described is continuous.
Once the slit tape is created, it is woven into various applications which range from woven bags, intermittent bulk containers, carpet backing, cement reinforcing, industrial fabrics, packaging twine, ropes and cords, and more. (source: http://www.dow.com/)

Mono-pack – Packaging made from the same material for easy sorting and recycling. An aluminium can with a paper label is not a mono-pack.

Mordant – A substance that, when applied to fibre in conjunction with a dye, causes increased dye fixation.

Morph Printing – Lenticular printing process that involves fluid transition between graphical elements, usually of like size and shape.
Motion Printing – Lenticular printing process that re-creates a motion event from video or series of stills.

Mottle – An uneven appearance in solids manifested by small dark and light areas.

Mould (Glass) – A set of iron forms that are fastened on a bottle machine to provide a means of shaping a glass container. Parts of the set are tips, neck rings, blank moulds, finish moulds, and bottom plates with a plunger used in producing wide mouth containers.

Mould  (Plastics) – The cavity or matrix into which the plastic composition is placed and from which it takes its form.

Moulding – Integral adhesive films can be used in both continuous and “piece” moulding operations. Heat activates the adhesive, and pressure fastens the film to the substrate. A film with the right combination of properties can melt into nonwoven and other fibrous substrates, to provide adhesion and enable thermoforming into desired shapes. (source: http://www.dow.com/)

Mould Seam – A vertical line formed at the point of contact of the mould halves. The prominence of the line depends on the accuracy with which the mating mould halves are matched.

MPMA – Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association

Mulch – An agricultural protective layer over the ground, which covers an area upon which a crop is grown and is used to enhance productivity by conserving moisture and preventing evaporation, suppressing weed growth, extending growing seasons, and aid in fumigation and fertilization.

Mullen Tester – A machine that measures the bursting strength of paper.

Multicolour Printing – Printing in more than one ink colour (but not four-colour process). Also called polychrome printing.

Multi-layer bottles – Containers composed of layers of specially selected plastics, which are co-extruded so that the unique characteristics of each material are retained. The objective is to improve the barrier qualities of the container, resulting in a longer product shelf life.

Multi-layer web forming – Usually applied to a board machine on which several webs are combined into one.

Multi-stage cooking – Chemical pulping process in which the alkalinity of the cooking liquor is varied by charging the alkali in several stages

Multi-wall Corrugated – A corrugated structure of two or more fluted layers.

Munsell Color System – The colour identification of a specimen by its Munsell hue, value and chroma as visually estimated by comparison with the Munsell Book of Color.

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

M Weight – Weight of 1,000 sheets of paper in any specific size.

Mylar – Mylar is a registered trademark of the DuPont-Teijin Corporation. It 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.

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