Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Plastic Blister Versus The Plastic Clamshell: Which Do You Need?

Thermoplastic packaging is our passion at Indepak, and every year we design thousands of custom plastic blister packages and plastic clamshell packages. These versatile package options can be created in a wide variety of sizes and shapes to suit the needs of just about any product. Here are some facts about these packages and some information about which types of best for certain products.

First it might help to understand the differences between a plastic blister and a plastic clamshell. A plastic blister features a thermoform plastic cavity or cavities with a backing of paperboard, foil or perhaps plastic. A plastic clamshell is a container that resembles a clamshell. It is a single piece with a hinge and it can be closed with a tab or snap or even sealed closed. Technically, a plastic clamshell is simply a blister pack that folds onto itself.

These two types of packages are some of the most popular packaging styles and are used by virtually every industry. Our clients include those in food services and food production, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, electronics and retail companies.

A plastic clamshell is often a top choice for specialty food stores, bakeries, grocery stores and restaurants. Take-away containers and leftover containers typically are placed in a plastic clamshell. At the grocery store, you often see items such as berries, pastries, veggies and other fresh food items stored in a plastic clamshell. These plastic clamshells typically feature a simple tab or perhaps an adhesive label to keep them closed.

The plastic clamshell, however, can feature a more secure closing. Adhesive and strong tapes or labels can keep items secure. For instance, perhaps you need a plastic clamshell to secure a package of thumbtacks. A strong label can seal the tacks and provide helpful information about the product.

Sometimes you need a plastic clamshell with a very strong, tamper resistant seal. We can use strong adhesives or heat sealing to ensure that your product is protected. You see these types of sealed plastic clamshells all the time at a wide variety of retail stores including office supply stores, hardware stores, electronics stores and much more.

The plastic clamshell can be used to hold scissors, staplers, headphones, toys, hammers, nails, screwdrivers, flashlights, lightbulbs and about a million other items. Using a strong thermoplastic material, the plastic clamshell can keep your product secure and greatly reduce the possibility of damage.

The plastic blister is equally versatile, but slightly different in style. A blister pack often features a paperboard backing with a cavity of thermoplastic in the front. Just as with the plastic clamshell, this paperboard and plastic blister can be used to store a huge variety of items. Again, this can be used to hold pens, batteries, flash drives, toys, tools, toiletries and so much more.

A plastic blister also is often the packaging of choice for pharmaceutical companies. We’ve all taken medicines that are stored in a plastic blister. Often this blister has a strong foil seal on the back which prevents tampering. The plastic blister will be designed to keep the medicines secure but also to ensure that moisture or humidity doesn’t get into the package and compromise the quality of the medications inside.

We can design a plastic blister or a plastic clamshell specifically for your special product. We use a wide variety of thermoplastics and other materials, most of which are even recyclable. Contact us today and let’s discuss your packaging needs.

What We Can Create Using Thermoformed Plastics

When people ask us what we can create using thermoformed plastics, the answer we usually give is that virtually anything can be created using these versatile materials. People hire us to create packages, trays, parts and products. Basically, whatever you might need, we can create using thermoformed plastic.

There are two distinct categories of plastic, thermoformed and thermoset. These two terms sound very similar and both include the use of heat to mold and shape plastic. However, thermoformed plastic is plastic that can be melted down again and again and reused. At Indepak, we create products and packages using thin-gauge thermoformed plastics.

Thermoset plastic cannot be melted down for reuse and, as its name suggests, it is “set” permanently. While these types of plastics, unlike thermoformed plastics, cannot be recycled, they are quite strong and often used for items such as car parts or particleboard or flooring. These thermoset plastic items are meant to last for a very long time unlike a water bottle or a cookie tray made from thermoformed plastic, which can be recycled very easily.

At any rate, there are many different types of thermoformed plastics that we use, and each type has properties that make it ideal for different clients. For instance, for our food and pharmaceutical clients, we need to use products that are safe for storing foods and medicines. For these types of products, you might use plastics such as PET, HDPE, LDPE or PP.

It might interest you to know that some plastics are ideally suited to beverages while others are not. In addition, some types of plastic can be heated in microwaves or ovens safely, while others cannot. If you produce a beverage or a microwavable meal, we will find a type of thermoformed plastic that is safe for use to hold beverages or a tray material that is safe for microwave use.

Along the same lines as beverages, some plastics are ideally suitable for holding chemicals. These are thermoformed plastics that have good chemical resistance, which is a good option if you produce detergents, solvents, cleaners and so on. We can create any shape or size of plastic bottle to hold just about any liquid.

We also can create food storage containers and other types of storage containers using thermoformed plastics. We can create containers with matching lids and even create trays for these containers or create a container with compartments. Thermoformed trays are one of our most popular products, and we make these in all shapes and sizes for food companies, pharmaceutical companies, retail companies, agricultural companies and much more.

For a huge variety of retail clients, we create blister and clamshell packaging out of thermoformed plastics. Clamshells are popular within the food and restaurant industries, for take-out foods or bakery and produce items. We can also seal the clamshell packaging in a variety of ways for use with retail products. These sealing options include heat sealing for tamper resistance as well as using adhesives, labels and more.

Blister packs are another popular type of packaging. These are packages that typically combine thermoformed plastics and either a foil seal or a paperboard seal. For instance, an over-the-counter cold remedy package will include small plastic cavities to hold a single dose with a foil backing. A set of writing pens might have a paperboard backing that includes information about the product with a thermoformed plastic cover for the product which allows the consumer to view the product. These blister packs are used for everything from office supplies to electronics accessories to hardware and much more.

We also make a variety of parts and products using thermoformed plastics, so if you need a specific product, give us a call and we can figure out if thermoformed plastic is the best material for your needs. In addition to using thermoformed plastics, we can create many different items using thermoformed foam.

Eco-Friendly Options For Custom Food Packaging

Custom food packaging is a huge industry, and thermoplastic is often the main material used to create these packages. Many of our clients love the light weight, versatility and affordability of our thermoplastic custom food packaging, but also are looking for ways to lessen their global footprint. The good news is that we offer many different eco-friendly packaging options for our clients in food-related industries.

For restaurateurs, for example, you might need custom food packaging that allows your customers to either order a carry-out meal or tote home leftovers. Grocery stores might be in need of clamshell packaging to hold bakery goods and deli items. Food companies, of course, need custom food packaging to hold thousands of commonly used foods such as microwavable dinner, salad dressing, cookies, crackers, cereals, spices and much more.

For grocery stores and restaurants, we can create custom food packaging crafted from easy-to-recycle materials with recycled content or perhaps bio-based materials. For food product companies, we can use these aforementioned types of materials and well as easy-to-recycle thermoplastics and a combination of thermoplastic with paper or pulp or foil. It all depends on your specific product, your needs and your budget.

When it comes to custom food packaging with recycled content, this means that the materials contain either pre-consumer or post-consumer material. Pre-consumer materials are those materials that are perhaps trimmed off during the manufacturing process and never come into contact with consumers. Post-consumer materials are those thermoplastic packages or products that were handled by consumers, recycled and now the materials are being re-used for a new purpose.

For custom food packaging crafted out of bio-based materials, this simply means that all or a significant portion of the packaging was created using biological products or renewable agricultural materials. This can include plant, animal, marine or forestry materials. At Indepak, our bio-based materials are starch-based bio materials, and these can be an excellent option for some types of custom food packaging.

Custom food packaging can be created entirely out of new thermoplastics, and while all types of thermoplastic usually can be recycled, some are easier to recycle than others. For instance, many pieces of custom food packaging are created using either PET (polyethylene terephthalate) or HDPE (high-density polyethylene). These are the two types of plastic that are the most widely accepted by curbside recycling programs, which makes them easy for consumers to recycle.

Every thermoplastic has been designated with a resin identification code to indicate which type of plastic was used to create a product. PET has a resin identification code of 1 and HDPE has a resin identification code of 2. This code will be placed on your custom food packaging so that consumers and recycling centers will be able to see which type of plastic they have. PET and HDPE might be excellent choices for custom food packaging if you are searching for something affordable and easily recyclable.

At Indepak, we also can design custom food packaging using more than one recyclable material. For instance, you might have us create a package that includes paper or pulp as well as thermoplastic. Consumers can then recycle both the paper and the thermoplastic portions of the package. This provides you with a way to still enjoy the affordability and durability of thermoplastic while still reducing the amount of plastic in your packaging.

Reducing is a big part of conservation and another way that we help our clients reduce is through our careful, meticulous design process. How often have you seen a custom package that really was far too large for the product that was inside? When custom food packaging is created, our design team works diligently to ensure that there is as little waste as possible and that your custom product packaging keeps your product safe and secure and fresh while using the smallest amount of thermoplastic possible. Packaging doesn’t have to be oversized in order to effectively store and protect your product.

If you are searching for affordable, high-quality and eco-friendly custom food packaging, give Indepak a call today. We are located in the Portland area, which is a hub of environmental innovation and we always do our best to come up with custom packaging solutions that are as environmentally friendly as possible.