What Is a Base Box?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A base box is a unit of measurement used in tin plating for inventory and sales references. It consists of a fixed surface area equal to one base or basis box, with the precise quantity of tin expressed as a weight per base box to provide information about the thickness of the coating. This unit of measurement is used in metalworking shops and other facilities, and in some nations a standard set of grades is assigned to tin-plated products with this as the backing measurement. These allow consumers to do things such as ordering a set grade to get a plating of a desired thickness.

Scientist with beakers
Scientist with beakers

The hypothetical base box includes 112 sheets of tin-plated material. Each sheet is 10 inches (25.4 cm) by 14 inches (35.6 cm), to create a fixed surface area. The weight of the box will depend on the thickness of the coating. Thus, a manufacturer might describe a product as 55 pounds (24.9 kg) per base box, for example. The use of a fixed unit of surface area makes it possible to easily communicate information about orders for tin plating and tin-plated products.

A variety of metal products can be coated with tin for different applications. When consumers such as metalworkers or fabricators place orders, they can decide what kind of material they want to use as a base and how thick they need the tin plating to be. In some cases, there might be industry or legal standards that must be followed when ordering plated metal products, and in other cases, the thickness of the coating is determined as a matter of judgment.

The base box is a reflection of a standardized shipping size and amount. Standardization makes it easier for manufacturers to prepare and package products for sale, and it allows them to keep stock on hand for many of their customers. In the event of a custom order, they can carve out production capacity to meet the need. Custom orders tend to be more expensive, especially for smaller orders, for which the company has to set up for the order but produces only a limited number of plated sheets.

If a consumer has concerns about the unit of measurement that a manufacturer defines as a base box, it is possible for him or her to ask for a clarification. Many manufacturers produce charts detailing the base box sizes and the level of thickness to which each weight translates. Prices tend to increase for heavier weights because they require more raw material.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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