The acronym stands for “regular slotted container” and it is synonymous with certain corrugated fiberboard materials that are used commonly for shipping boxes and shipping materials.
In many ways, if you saw an RSC box, you would just think of it as a plain shipping box. That’s because it is the most common shipping box in the world. Looking at the materials of the cardboard used, you will find it consists of linerboard and corrugated medium, called fluting. Linerboard is the outermost paper on both sides. It is what you see most of the time. But if you look at the edges, you will see “waves” of paper weaving back and forth, connecting the two linerboards and giving the cardboard cushioning. This is the corrugated medium. Together these have become the standard way of building boxes.
Along with the way of constructing the cardboard itself, there is a standard way of constructing a box so that it is efficient for shipping. This results in the common way we see most RSC boxes, which is with one flap on each side, all with the ability to fold in and create that additional side of the box. Again, this is so common, most people do not give it a second thought that this is an efficient way to make a box and allow it to be taped up and shipped.
In mathematics and geometry, the way an RSC box is constructed would be called a net. A net of a polyhedron is a set of polygons that are connected by their edges that, when folded along those edges, they become a 3-dimensional shape. The net that becomes a common RSC box is the most recognizable, but common, simple ones that create a pyramid can also be quickly placed by the normal eyes. Of course, nets of polydrons can become much more complex. It can become quite the math game to guess from a net what type of polyhedron it will create.
What is common in shipping is to create a custom RSC box for a company or organization because these boxes have become so universal and homogenous. Have your company put your name and logo on them and you’ve added a bit of professionalism to a necessary step in the everyday business world: shipping and deliveries.
Every so often you may find a company looking outside the common RSC boxes and creating custom boxes that go outside the norm. Imagine a custom box that is still a net of a polyhedron when flat, but as you begin to fold the flaps, suddenly you have a dodecahedron or some other unusual shape that may be a bit of a trick to stack and ship, but who knows, it may just get people’s attention.