Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thermoform Molding: Some Common Terms We Use

Every industry has its own special and unique terminology, and those of us tasked with thermoformed molding are no exception. To help you decipher a bit of our thermoform molding jargon, here are a few of the many common terms we use and what they mean.

Thermoform molding is a process that uses heat to increase the temperature of plastic to the point where it is easy to mold. Once the thermoplastic has been molded, we cool it down and trim off any excess plastic. That, of course, is a very simplified explanation of the thermoform molding process. Before we actually create your product, we design a mold and produce a prototype to ensure that your product or package is exactly right for your needs.

When it comes to thermoform molding, you can often separate this process into two categories. This includes thin-gauge thermoformed molding and thick-gauge thermoformed molding. At Indepak, we use thin-gauge thermoplastics that range from .008” up to .080” and foam materials that range from about 1/16” to ¼”.

In general, when you are creating high volumes of products, such as packaging, bottles, lightweight containers and thermoformed trays, thin-gauge is the ideal choice. Thick gauge thermoform molding is typically used to create very sturdy items and a lower volume of items.

Within the world of thin-gauge thermoform molding, we can create virtually any product, package or tray you might need. This includes items such as clamshells and blister packs, which are two more commonly used terms within the thermoformed molding and packaging industries.

A blister pack is a type of thermoform molding package that includes one or more cavities to hold a product. For instance, individual pills of over-the-counter medicine often are housed in a thermoplastic blister pack with a foil backing. However, countless other products can be sealed in a blister pack. Another example would be a 10-pack of batteries where cavities are formed in thermoplastic to perfectly surround and protect the batteries. This type of blister package might have a paperboard backing rather than foil.

A clamshell is a blister pack that simply folds onto itself, and we see these all the time at retail stores. For instance, a set of headphones might be encased entirely in a thermoplastic clamshell. In this case, the process of thermoform molding also would include the sealing of the clamshell. For a simple clamshell that might hold baked goods or berries, the clamshell might simply snap shut without being sealed. These are just two examples of clamshell packaging, and we create all different sizes and shapes of clamshells for our clients from a wide variety of industries.

Packages created via thermoform molding can be made using a wide variety of thermoplastics. Usually, we simply refer to these plastics by their abbreviations. For instance, polyethylene terephthalate is quite a mouthful, so we just refer to it as PET or PETE. Likewise, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene typically is just called ABS. These are just types of thermoplastic with which we work.

When we begin a thermoformed molding project, one of our first decisions will be to decide what type of thermoplastic will best work for your project. This depends, of course, on the materials used to create your product as well as your budget and the volume of units that you need to have produced. There are many types of thermoplastic, as well as options that include plastic and paperboard or foil, so it’s generally easy to come up with options to suit every client.

Sustainability is another aspect of thermoformed molding with which many of our clients are concerned. The good news is that the majority of materials we use are recyclable, and we also have some renewable and bio-based options. Bio-based includes products that are created or partially created using biological products, forestry products or renewable agricultural materials. We also can use materials that include recycled content, which is a popular option with many of our clients.

These are just a few terms that you might hear as we discuss your project or as you research thermoform molding companies. While the terminology sometimes can seem confusing, we can make it easy for you to understand every aspect of your thermoformed molding and answer any questions that you might have along the way.

Custom Retail Packaging: 3 Mistakes To Avoid

When you are getting ready to launch a new product or perhaps seeking to redesign the packaging of an existing product, there are many design elements to consider. We can create any size or shape of custom retail packaging that you might need, and our design team also can help you avoid many of these common retail packaging mistakes.

1. You Have Too Much Packaging

These days, consumers are environmentally-conscious. This means they don’t want to see an excess of packaging. Less is typically more when it comes to custom retail packaging, and creating a package design that limits waste is not just attractive to customers. Smaller packaging costs less because you are using a smaller amount of materials. In addition, you typically can fit more items into shipping boxes and the weight can be a bit lower, which can save you money.

At Indepak, we are committed to being a low-waste operation. This means that our design team creates custom retail packaging with as little excess packaging as possible. With custom thermoforming, we use large, thin sheets of plastic, and our careful design process ensures that we maximize the use of each sheet of plastic. Our goal is always to produce as little waste as possible, but any excess thermoplastics that are trimmed off will be recycled.

2. Your Packaging Materials Aren’t Strong Enough

When most people head out to the store and purchase a retail product, they avoid products with damaged packaging. Not only does damage retail packaging look unattractive to consumers, there’s always a chance that the product inside is damaged. With clear thermoplastic, consumers can look and ensure for themselves that the product is in good shape, but they still tend to avoid purchasing items if the packaging has been damaged in anyway.

Studies have shown that about 75% of consumers will bypass a damaged package and purchase a product with a pristine package instead, even if it’s obvious that the product inside is fine. It’s not hard to understand why consumers feel this way, particularly if the item is something that is given as a gift. This is why it’s so important to make sure that your custom retail packaging is strong enough to withstand the rigors of shipping as well as handling by the general public.

Even if you pay a bit more for materials, you will save money in the long run by opting for materials that are strong and sturdy. With a strong design, you won’t have to deal with the extra labor costs and shipping costs associated with product returns due to damaged packaging. Our design team can create custom retail packaging using many different types of thermoplastic. Many thermoplastics are highly durable as well as water-resistant and chemical-resistant, which can ensure your product’s safety.

3. Your Package Design Doesn’t Work

When it comes to retail packaging, the package design is a huge part of your success. For many products, a great design truly can make the difference between a consumer selecting your product or the product of a competitor. You need a simple, attractive, retail packaging design that instantly expresses to the consumer the most important information about your product. Your brand name also should be prominent on the package. If possible, stick with a similar style for your entire line of products, as this builds up your brand image. For instance, you might feature the same colors on all your package labels and feature the same graphics and fonts and type sizes. Consistency helps to improve your branding because customers begin to associate a specific design style with your product.

Our design team can provide you with a creative, attractive retail packaging design that will catch the consumer’s attention and display your product to its best advantage. Thermoplastic materials are an excellent option for custom retail packaging as we can create virtually any shape of package, and consumers can easily see your product.

Different Types Of Thermoform Trays We Can Create

Custom thermoformed trays are something needed by just about every industry, from retail to medical and beyond. At Indepak, we have been creating custom thermoform trays for our clients for decades and can design a tray to exactly fit your product or product components. Here’s a look at just a few of the types of thermoform trays we can create.

For our retail customers, we can create many types of thermoform trays, such as retail display trays. These are components that work along with POP or point-of-purchase displays and offer an ideal way to display your unique product at a retail store. In addition to designing thermoformed trays for your display, we also can create custom thermoformed packaging, such as clamshells or blister packs to hold your product.

Plastic insert trays are another option that often fits the needs of retail customers. These thermoformed trays are created to hold a product that will be placed inside an outer container. These thermoform trays are ideal if you have a product with several parts that need to be housed separately. Because of the flexibility inherent in using thermoplastics, we are able to design virtually any custom shape you need for your thermoform trays.

Of course, you’ll find that plastic insert trays are used for many food products, as well. These thermoformed trays will be loaded up with food and then perhaps encased in a box or even a plastic clamshell. One example might be a plastic insert tray designed to hold several dozen cookies. Another example would be the thermoform trays that hold many different shapes of gourmet chocolates.

Another type of thermoformed trays that we often create are work-in-process trays which allow for movement along a production line or for shipment out of one plant and over to another plant. Again these can be constructed as single or multi-cavity thermoform trays and we can configure the cavities precisely to store a variety of parts or components of your product.

For our medical, pharmaceutical or electronics clients, we can create trays that meet your special needs, as well. For instance, we create low particulate thermoform trays for medical and pharmaceutical clients, specifically for non-sterile or downstream sterilization applications. We also ensure traceability down to the box level.

For companies that produce electronics or electronic components, we will ensure that your static-sensitive products are well protected. We can create static dissipative packaging and thermoform trays that are fully traceable.

In general, we can create any type of thin-gauge thermoformed trays as well as lids for your trays. We have a wide variety of thermoplastics that we can use for your trays, including some bio-based options, and nearly all of our thermoplastics are recyclable. Give us a call today and we can get started creating a design prototype for your unique thermoformed trays.