Category Archives: Plastic Thermoforming

Custom Plastic Packaging: 5 Facts We Need To Know

While we write many articles providing helpful tips and facts about custom plastic packaging, sometimes we are ones who need information. Before you give us a call, we recommend that you compile some basic information about your project. Providing the following information will help provide us with a solid idea of exactly what type of custom plastic packaging you need.

1. Information About Your Product
During our first face-to-face meeting, our design team will be able to study your product in detail learning more about its design, construction and how best to display and protect the item or items. However, for our first phone call, we need to know some of the basic information about the product. For instance, what type of product do you have? Is it a food product? A tool? A battery?

Any details that you can provide about the product will be helpful, including the number of parts, the weight of each part, the size of the product and any special issues we need to address. For instance, perhaps you need packaging that is compliant for direct food contact or perhaps static or sterilization are issues that must be addressed. We have expertise in a variety of specialized markets, and our facility includes an array of thermoforming equipment to better help us meet the needs of each unique client.

2. Your Budget
Everyone is looking for ways to cut costs, and the good news about custom plastic packaging is that plastic is one of the most affordable materials on the planet. Not only are the materials themselves affordable, plastic is lightweight and we can design packaging that fits around your product precisely, eliminating excess wasteful packaging. This makes shipping easier and more affordable. Additionally, custom plastic packaging protects your product from moisture, tampering and other types of damage, all of which has a positive effect on your bottom line. Cost-containment is always a priority at Indepak. When you give us a call, let us know your budget and our team is sure to find a custom packaging solution that fits within these costs.

3. Project Timeline
During the initial phone call, give us an idea of when you need the project completed. Typically, you can expect that the development and design process will occupy the largest portion of your project’s timeline. Our expert designers work closely with customers throughout the design process to create innovative custom plastic packaging. Once designs and prototypes have been approved, our multiple lines of quality, high-speed thermoforming equipment will have your project completed as quickly as possible.

4. Types Of Materials You Prefer
Because we have a variety of equipment, we can process many types of rigid and foam materials. Our equipment can thermoform rigid materials from .008” to .080” in thickness, and foam materials from approximately 1/16″ to ¼”. We use many thermoform plastic materials, including ABS, HDPE, HIPS, OPS, PET, PETG, PP, PVC and even some starch-based bio materials.

Typically, cost, product requirements and sustainability are the three biggest factors a customer considers when selecting a material. Virtually all of the materials we use are recyclable, and we also often create combination designs, such a plastic and pulp or plastic and paperboard.

5. Additional Services You Might Need
In addition to designing and producing custom plastic packaging, we also offer many additional services, including package fulfilment. For instance, if you need RF welding or heat sealing, we have several sealing options. We also offer inventory management, and our facility includes 50,000 feet of warehouse space. We can create an inventory management system just for you.

If you need custom plastic packaging for any industry, contact Indepak today. We have been creating innovative packaging, parts, trays and much more since 1967, and we look forward to working on your project.

50 Plastic & Plastic Packaging Facts From Indepak

When we opened our doors back in 1967, the Beatles were singing about Sgt. Pepper, movie tickets cost $1.25 and the world’s first heart transplant operation was performed. While much has changed since during the last 50 years, our commitment to crafting the highest quality plastic packaging has remained the same. In honor of our 50th anniversary, we’d like to share 50 facts about plastic, plastic packaging and our services.

1. The First Manmade Plastics Were Bio-Based
We’ve been using natural plastics and rubber for hundreds of years, but the first official manmade plastic was introduced in the 1860s. Known as Parkesine and named for its inventor Alexander Parkes, this plastic was made from cellulose, a natural material.

2. Polyethylene Terephthalate Is The Most Widely Used Plastic
Polyethylene Terephthalate is a mouthful, so we just call it PET and this type of plastic is perhaps the most widely used thermoform plastic. You can create many types of plastic packaging with PET, and it is the source for most of the plastic water bottles we use.

3. PET Can Be A Fabric
While PET is an excellent option for many types of plastic packaging, it also is used to make fabric. We don’t call this fabric, PET fabric, it’s better known by the name polyester.

4. Each Plastic Has A Code
If you look on plastic packaging or plastic, you may see a triangle of arrows with a number inside. These numbers are known as resin identification codes, and they are put on packaging and bottles so that recycling centers can sort these materials. Currently, there are seven different resin codes for thermoform plastics.

5. PET Is Easy To Recycle
Of all the different thermoform plastics available, PET is one of the easiest for consumers to recycle. Its resin identification code is 1, and virtually all curbside recycling programs in the United States accept PET.

6. High-Density Polyethylene Is Easy To Recycle
Along with PET, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is also one of the easiest plastic materials to recycle. HDPE features a resin code of 2, and most recycling programs also accept HDPE as well as PET.

7. Clamshells Are Blisters
You might read that statement several times and have no idea what we are talking about. Blisters are a common type of plastic packaging that we create, and these often have paperboard backings. However, a blister pack can be folded onto itself with a hinge at one end. When we do this, we call this package a clamshell.

8. Plastics Can Save Lives
Plastic stents are used during heart surgery to open up blockages in coronary arteries. In fact, some of these stents actually dissolve over time, helping improve the condition of a heart and then just disappearing.

9. Tennis Balls Are Plastic
It might surprise you to learn that tennis balls are made of PET, and often recycled PET that was once used for water bottles and milk jugs.

10. Golf Balls Are Plastic, Too
Plastic is stronger than you might think, and golf balls are certainly proof of that fact. These plastic balls can withstand the punishment of irons and woods repeatedly, with very little damage.

11. Thermoform Plastics & Thermoset Plastics
While these two “thermos” words might sound similar, they are quite different. Both are formed by heating up plastic, but thermoform plastics can be reused and recycled. Thermoset plastics cannot be recycled, but are useful for making car parts, computers and many other items.

12. Plastic Is Used As A Slang Term
The word plastic is commonly used in place of the words credit card or money, but it also can be used to describe a person who is shallow. The “shallow” usage sprang up during the 1960s, and was often used by the hippie and beatnik crowds.

13. PET Can Be Transformed Into Helpful Items
When PET is recycled, this thermoform plastic can be transformed into many helpful items, including upholstery, clothing, stuffed animals, toys, carpet and much more.

14. HDPE Also Can Be Transformed
As we stated before, PET and HDPE are accepted by most curbside recycling programs. When recycled, HDPE can be used to make plastic lumber, benches, liners for truck cargo bins and more.

15. PVC Was An Accident
Many substances were discovered accidently. PVC, which stands for polyvinyl chloride was discovered once in 1835 and then again in 1872, although neither of the chemists that discovered PVC utilized their discovery. It wasn’t until the 1920s that PVC became a commonly used plastic.

16. PVC Is Used For More Than Pipes
Most of us think about PVC as a material used to make water pipes, and this certainly is one application. However, it also can be used to make tents and tarps and different types of clothing.

17. You Can Visit “Plastic City”
Every city, no matter how large or small, tends to boast a nickname or two. Here in Portland, we are known as the City of Roses, and people visit here every year to enjoy the blooms at the International Rose Test Garden. However, if you were hoping to visit an official Plastic City, then you’d want to go a bit further east to Leominster, Massachusetts, which was well-known for its plastic industry.

18. There Once Was A Museum Dedicated To Plastic
If you wished to visit the National Plastics Hall of Fame, we are sorry to inform you that you have missed your chance. This hall of fame was an exhibit at the National Plastics Center & Museum located, not surprisingly, in Leominster, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, this fascinating museum closed its doors in 2008, but we can always hope for a reopening.

19. Tupperware Transformed The World
Well, maybe not the world, but definitely the ease of food storage. Tupperware was introduced shortly after World War II, providing housewives with an opportunity to store food safely and easily, as well as a great excuse to have a party. In fact, Tupperware is still mainly sold via Tupperware parties or through consultants.

20. Bubble Wrap Isn’t Just For Fun
We all know that Bubble Wrap wasn’t invented simply to provide children with hours of fun, the original purpose was to serve as packaging for some of the first computers way back in the early 1960s. Bubble Wrap is actually a brand name, but much like Kleenex and Band Aid, we tend to use the name generically, even though it is a trademarked term.

21. Plastic Flamingoes Are An Official Bird
Many cities and all of our states feature an official bird. In Portland, our official bird is the Great Blue Heron. In Madison, Wisconsin, the official city bird is the plastic flamingo. Apparently, this distinction derives from an incident that occurred in 1979, when a group of pranksters placed more than 1,000 of these plastic birds in front of the Dean’s Office at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

22. Teflon Was An Accident
Roy Plunkett was a legendary American chemist. During his time at DuPont, one of his tasks was to create a new type of Freon, which is a gas used for refrigeration. As he experimenting with various compounds, he accidently hit upon the formula for Teflon. This was not the first time, or the last, when a chemist searching for solutions to one problem, ended up finding solutions for another problem.

23. Plastics Protect Our Police & Soldiers
Kevlar, another item developed by the chemists at DuPont, was first used in the tires of racecars. However, it later was found to be an excellent synthetic fiber for the construction of body armor. Kevlar is used to create helmets and vests for soldiers and police as well as other protective clothing.

24. Recycling Saves Energy
Did you know that recycling just one plastic water bottle saves enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for more than five hours? While almost all of the materials we use are recyclable, our clients also can opt to use recycled materials for their thermoform plastic packaging.

25. We Use Many Types Of Plastic
At Indepak, we have a wide variety of thermoforming equipment which allows use to use many different types of thermoform plastics. Some of the plastics we use include HDPE, PET and PVC, which were mentioned earlier in this article. We also can use PP, ABS, HIPS, OPS and more.

26. We Use ABS Every Day
You could say that about a wide range of thermoform plastics, but if you work in an office and use a keyboard daily, chances are your keyboard is crafted from ABS, otherwise known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene.

27. Many Kids Use ABS Every Day, Too
ABS is used for keyboards as well as those face plates we place over wall sockets. However, the younger set uses colorful ABS blocks, better known as LEGOs, to build all manners of structures.

28. Polystyrene & Styrofoam
We use polystyrene for many plastic packaging applications, and this thermoform plastic is sometimes confused with Styrofoam, due to the similarity of the name. Styrofoam is a trademarked name for polystyrene foam, and while we do produce products using foam materials, there are other “varieties” of polystyrene that don’t have a foamy texture.

29. HIPS Is A Versatile Type Of Polystyrene
We use HIPS (high impact polystyrene) to make a number of items every year. This particular variety of polystyrene has many advantages. For instance, it is FDA compliant, which makes it an option for food packaging. It offers good impact resistance, so it is highly protective. It also is quite affordable, and that’s always a good thing.

30. Understanding The “Poly” In Thermoform Plastics
All of these chemical names can be a bit confusing, and the word root “poly” shows up a great deal. A few examples include high density polyethylene, low density polyethylene and polystyrene and polypropylene and on and on. Poly is a root that means “many” and from a chemistry perspective, it has to do with polymers, which are substances formed by many long chains of molecules.

31. Yogurt, Margarine & The Polypropylene Connection
If you enjoy eating yogurt for breakfast or spreading margarine on a slice of toast, chances are you have come into contact with polypropylene. This thermoform plastic, also known as PP, is used to make many types of plastic packaging, especially for the food and pharmaceutical industries.

32. There Are Plastic Organizations
If you love plastics as much as we do, you might be interested to learn that there are quite a few organizations out there for those of us in the plastics trade. For instance, the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) is an international group that was founded in 1942. The Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP) is another organization. These are just two of the many organizations that benefit those of us in the plastics industry.

33. There Are Periodicals About Plastic
Just about any industry has its shares of handy periodicals, such as magazines, and the plastics industry is no exception. For instance, Plastics Technology is a monthly magazine that provides technical information about thermoforming, injection molding and other plastics processing. This is just one of several periodicals that might be helpful and informative to someone in our industry.

34. Vinyl Records Are Plastic
The very first vinyl record made its debut in 1946, and these new records were crafted from polyvinyl chloride or PVC. Prior to that, records were made from shellac, which is a natural resin secreted by a type of bug.

35. Is It Nylon Or Duparooh?
Nylon, is a synthetic polymer that is used for everything from hosiery to toothbrushes. This was one of the many plastics invented by the chemists of DuPont, who tossed around quite a few names for this polymer before settling on nylon. One of the options was Duparooh, which, sadly, stood for “DuPont pulled a rabbit out of a hat.” In the end, we are certain that they made the right choice as Duparooh stockings just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

36. Silly Putty – A Toy With Military Applications?
During World War II, rubber was in such high demand, that this substance was rationed. Rubber was needed for tires for military trucks and aircraft as well as for boots for soldiers. The government paid for chemists and scientists to discover new types of synthetic rubber. It was out of these experiments that Silly Putty was discovered. While it wasn’t quite what was needed to replace natural rubber, it became a beloved children’s novelty that is still enjoyed today.

37. Is Plastic Greek?
If you’ve ever watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” then you know the main character’s father was fond of showcasing that every word has its roots in the Greek language. Plastic is no exception, as this word comes from the Greek word plastikos, which basically means something that can be molded or shape. We certainly do mold and shape large amounts of thermoform plastic every day here at Indepak.

38. We Use Special Machines Known As Thermoformers
Our thermoformers can accomplish amazing things. Each machine can take a thin sheet of plastic and transform it into perfectly shaped plastic packaging. You can watch some cool Kiefel thermoforming machines in action on YouTube videos, and we highly recommend taking a look.

39. Bioplastics Are A Sustainable Option
If you are searching for sustainable plastic packaging, we have many options for your consideration. Bioplastics are becoming all the rage and these plastics are created from renewable resources, typically some source of plant-based starch. There are also bio-based plastics which contain both renewable resources and synthetic plastics.

40. Plastic Resists Mold
One great reason to consider using thermoform plastics is that many of these materials are resistant to mold and fungi. You can preserve food from spoiling and protect products from damage using these certain types of mold-resistant plastic.

41. Plastic Is Collectible
As stated earlier in this article, there are thermoset plastics and thermoform plastics. One of the first thermoset plastics was known as Bakelite, and was used to create plates, radios, jewelry and toys among other things. Today, Bakelite items are highly collectible bits of memorabilia, and most Bakelite items were created from the 1920s to the 1940s.

42. Plastics Are Used For 3D Printing
The filaments that you use to create projects with 3D printers are all thermoform plastics. The most common materials used to make filaments are polylactic acid (PLA) and ABS (the plastic that is used for LEGOs).

43. Glue Is Now Horse-Free, But Not Plastic-Free
In the past, the connective tissues of animals such as horses, was an ingredient in school glue. Today, we use manmade polymers to create glue, specifically polyvinyl acetate. So, these days, no horses were harmed to make your second grader’s delightful art projects.

44. Portland Is A Leader In Recycling
Our fair city of Portland has long been a leader of environmentalism, and we take recycling very seriously. In fact, more than 70% of all recyclable materials in Portland are recycled and kept out of landfills. Only San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose have higher recycling rates. At Indepak, we are a low waste organization and we recycle everything we possibly can recycle.

45. Recycling Can Help You Earn Cash
Every time you purchase a plastic water bottle, you pay a deposit fee. This fee, usually five cents, is a small incentive to get you to recycle that bottle. While recycling one or two bottles might not seem like a great way to make money, if you collect all your bottles and cans and turn them into a recycling center, you can collect a good amount of money. In fact, one boy in Southern California has recycled more than 200,000 bottles and cans, raising more than $1,600 for charity.

46. There Are Packaging Awards
If you design plastic packaging, you can win awards for these designs. DuPont, for example, presents awards each year for manufacturers who have created especially innovative packaging designs. Everything from soda bottles to milk cartons to toothpaste containers can be judged and possibly win an award.

47. There Are Plastics On The Moon
During the course of space exploration, both Russia and United States left a variety of artificial objects on our moon. For instance, the lunar module for the Apollo 11 space mission used plastic film coated with aluminum to insulate the spacecraft. This lunar module, plastic and all, still rests peacefully in the Sea of Tranquility.

48. We Create Plastic Packaging & Products For Many Industries
Our long list of customers includes companies from the specialty food industry, the medical & pharmaceutical industry, the agricultural industry, the electronics industry and retail manufacturers just to name a few.

49. We Can Create All Types Of Plastic Packaging
The team at Indepak can create virtually any type of thermoform plastic packaging that you might need. This includes clamshells, blisters, multi-folds and thermoform trays for a wide range of industries.

50. Plastic Packaging With A Total Solution
In addition to designing and producing all types of plastic packaging, trays and other products using thermoform plastics, we also offer several additional services to provide each of our clients with a total solution. We can help you with sealing, fulfilment, inventory management and shipping. At Indepak, we’ve been creating quality plastic packaging for 50 years, and are looking forward to another 50 years (and beyond) of creating packaging for our clients.

5 Reasons To Consider Thermoplastic Packaging Solutions

When it comes to packaging, thermoplastic materials are often a top choice. At Indepak, we can design thermoplastic packaging for virtually any product from any industry. If you are searching for packaging solutions, here are a few reasons why we encourage you to consider thermoplastics.

1. Thermoplastic Is Versatile
Thermoforming is the process by which we take a sheet of thermoplastic, heat it up and then mold into the shape of a package, part or product. Obviously, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but one of the key advantages of thermoplastic is that you can create any shape that you might need. For instance, you can create a package for a product with many parts, and this package can feature perfectly shaped cavities that fit each part exactly.

2. Thermoplastic Is Affordable
The affordability factor is another reason why thermoplastics are such an attractive packaging solution. At our facility, we work with a wide range of thermoplastics, including PET, PETG, ABS, PVC, HIPS, PP, HDPE and more. It’s usually easy to find packaging solutions that meet all of your product needs as well as fitting within your budget.

Additionally, because thermoplastics are lightweight, this can help reduce your shipping and transportation costs. We also are able to create packages that fit your product exactly, eliminating the need for excess packaging, which means you can fit more units into shipping boxes and containers.

3. Thermoplastics Protect Products
While the thermoplastics we use might be thin in width, they offer a high level of protection for your products. Thermoplastics are highly impact resistant and moisture resistant. Additionally with heat sealing and RF sealing, we can create packages that are highly tamper-resistant.

4. Thermoplastic Attracts Customers
When customers actually can see a product, they are more likely to select that option over a product that is packaged in a box. Because thermoplastics are clear, consumers are able to get a good look at your product and this can entice them to select your item off the shelf and leave another product behind. In addition to focusing on factors such as strength, weight and cost containment, our design team also strives to make each package aesthetically pleasing to entice customers to select your unique product.

5. Thermoplastic Can Be An Eco-Friendly Choice
Virtually all of the materials we use are recyclable, and materials such as PET, PETG and HDPE are some of the easiest materials on earth to recycle, accepted by virtually all curbside recycling programs in the United States. Our range of packaging solutions also includes thermoplastics with post-consumer content as well as some starch-based bioplastics. We also can create trap blisters or other combination packages that include thermoplastic and paper or pulp.

For half a century, the team at Indepak has been hard at work, creating packaging solutions for a wide range of clients in many industries. In addition to the package design and production, we also offer services such as inventory management and package fulfilment, truly providing each client with a total solution. If you need any type of thermoplastic packaging, don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.

Customized Packaging: 4 Great Design Options

When we design customized packaging for our clients, we focus on many factors. For instance, we concentrate on creating a packaging design that protects your product and fits within your budget. But we also understand that the design must appeal to the consumer. There are many different types of customized packaging to consider, including the following.

1. Clamshells
Clamshells can be an excellent option for many products, and we create thousands of clamshells throughout the year. A clamshell features two halves connected by a hinge, and we can create virtually any size clamshell you might need.

For instance, small clamshells might be suitable for holding items such as nails, thumbtacks and other tiny items. Larger clamshells can be used to hold specialty foods, such as produce and baked goods, but also retail goods such as glue sticks, headphones, razors, computer cables and almost anything else you can imagine. We also can seal these clamshell packages for you using processes such as heat sealing and RF welding.

2. Blisters & Trap Blisters

Blisters are a very common option for retail customized packaging. A blister is similar to a clamshell, but it doesn’t feature a hinge. Instead we seal the two halves of the package together to form a tight bond that protects your product from moisture and tampering. This can be an excellent option for many retail products from toys to electronics to tools and much more. If you product includes multiple parts, we can design blister packs with cavities that fit each part perfectly, offering optimal protection.

Trap blisters are a type of blister pack that includes a paperboard backing and this can be an excellent option for your customized packaging. Using combination designs that include thermoplastic and paper or pulp are a very eco-friendly option, allowing you to reduce the amount of plastic you use while still protecting and displaying your product for consumers.

3. Thermoform Trays

Thermoform trays are an ideal option for many of our clients. For instance, we use these trays to hold items such as cookies, candy, crackers or frozen dinners for our many specialty food clients. For our medical clients, these trays can be used to hold various types of medical kits, with a specially designed cavity for each instrument or bottle of medicine. For retail clients, a tray can be created to hold all of the parts of your product, such as a dozen batteries or perhaps perfume bottles. Once the trays have been produced, these can be placed into other types of customized packaging, such as a sealed bag or perhaps a cardboard container or even a plastic blister or clamshell.

In addition to medical and food trays, our design and production teams are capable of creating a myriad of thermoform trays, including pick & place trays, shipping trays, part protection trays, dunnage trays, automation trays and more.

4. Tubs & Lids
Sometimes rather than opting for a clamshell, you might prefer to have us create tubs with removable lids. These can be used to hold many types of products, such as food items, but these tubs and lids might actually be the product you need rather than the container. For instance, perhaps you sell storage tubs with removable lids that are meant to hold a wide range of products. Not everything that we design is a package; we also create whole products and parts, so keep us in mind for your product needs as well as your custom packaging needs.

If you do need customized packaging for any type of retail or specialty food business, these are two of the areas in which we specialize. We also specialize in the design and production of custom packaging for electronics companies, industrial firms, pharmaceutical and medical companies and agricultural companies.

5 Historical Facts About Thermoform Plastics

Thermoform plastics can be used to create a myriad of products and packaging. At Indepak, we have spent the last 40 or so years designing and producing packaging and other thermoform plastic projects for our clients. Obviously, plastic is our passion, and as such, we’d like to share a few historical facts about this unique material.

1. Ancient Plastics 101

For most of us, the word “plastic” conjures up an image of a synthetically-made product, such as a water bottle. However, there are natural materials and polymers that have been used for centuries to create all sorts of projects. Natural rubber, for example, was used to create balls that were used as sports equipment by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. In the Middle Ages, natural plastics derived from animal horns were used to create window panes. These are just two examples of how people used the natural elements around them to create the earliest forms of plastic products.

2. Vulcan, Charles Goodyear & Thomas Hancock

Natural rubber could be used to create many products, but it wasn’t particularly durable. Both Charles Goodyear, an American, and Thomas Hancock, an English engineer, were experimenting with ways to make natural rubber more durable. They both found that adding Sulphur to rubber would improve its durability, and Hancock named this process vulcanization, after Vulcan, the roman God of fire. While Hancock coined the name of the process, there is much debate as to which of these men actually first invented the process itself. Hancock filed his patent a mere eight weeks before Goodyear filed his patent, and many people contend that Hancock knew that adding Sulphur to rubber would be an ideal option, based upon seeing samples of Goodyear’s work.

3. How Plastics Saved Elephants

While many people worry that plastics are harming the planet, it can be said that the invention of one type of plastic saved the lives of many elephants. Inventor John Wesley Hyatt was the first person to create a practical type of artificial plastic. In 1866, he invented the process by which celluloid could be made. This new, durable plastic was then used to produce both billiard balls and piano keys, both of which previously were crafted out of ivory, or rather, the tusks of elephants.

4. Polystyrene, Bakelite & Thermoset Vs. Thermoform Plastics

Many people are confused when they hear the terms “thermoset plastics” and “thermoform plastics.” After all, they both sound very similar, however they have one main difference. A thermoset plastic cannot be melted down again and again and re-used to make new items. Thermoform plastics can be recycled and reused, and these are the types of plastics that we use at Indepak.

During the 19th and early 20th Centuries, chemists and engineers were busy creating all sorts of new synthetic materials. In 1839, a German apothecary discovered polystyrene. However, this thermoform plastic would not be mass produced until the 1930s and wouldn’t really come into vogue until the 1960s, when the first polystyrene cups were mass produced.

Thermoset plastics, on the other hand, began appearing on the scene in the early 1900s. Chemist Leo Baekeland developed the first highly marketed and used form of thermoset plastics, which was known as Bakelite and has been designated as the world’s first synthetic form of plastic by the American Chemical Company. While Bakelite had many practical uses as electrical insulation, it is more commonly known today as a collectible item. Many people collect Bakelite radios, kitchenware and even Bakelite toys.

5. Making Recycling Easier

Believe or not, conservation is by no means a modern concept. People have been recycling and reusing for centuries. In fact, the first paper recycling mill opened its doors in Philadelphia back in 1690. While most thermoform plastics are recyclable, it hasn’t always been easy for recycling centers to sort and separate these items. In 1988, resin identification codes were developed to make it easier for recycling center employees and consumers to better identify the various types of thermoform plastics.

For instance, if you look at a plastic water bottle, you will notice that it probably has a “1” listed on it somewhere, surrounded by a circle of arrows. This indicates that the material used to create this bottle was polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, which is a type of plastic accepted by all curbside recycling programs.

These are just a few of the great moments in the history of plastics. If you’d like some great thermoform plastic packaging to go along with this mini history lesson, give the team at Indepak a call today.

11 Products That Are Ideal For Plastic Clamshell Packaging

The title of this blog post is a bit misleading. While we have compiled a list of 11 amazing products that would be a perfect fit for plastic clamshell packaging, there are millions of products out there that would be a fantastic match for this package type. Over the years, we have designed plastic clamshells for a number of products and industries, including some of the following.

1. Fresh Fruit
We can create clamshell packaging to hold strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, individual apple packs, tomatoes, grapes, gooseberries (a favorite here in Oregon) and many other fruits.

2. Vegetables
A plastic clamshell can be used to hold those cute little mini bell peppers and mini cucumbers as well as lettuce, fennel, mushrooms (technically a fungus and not a vegetable), broccoli, cauliflower and so on.

3. Fresh Herbs

We can design special plastic clamshell suitable for preserving and displaying fresh herbs, such as parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, or any herb not mentioned in a melancholy Simon and Garfunkel song.

4. Other Foods
Clamshells can be used to hold bakery goods such as cookies and brownies as well as deli items. You could place sandwiches, wraps, sushi, salads and much more in a lightweight, protective clamshell package. Additionally, egg cartons feature a clamshell design and can be made from thermoplastic, which can help protect these precious products.

5. Toys, Toys & More Toys
While the plastic clamshells that hold fruits, veggies and herbs are typically quite easy to pop open, we can ensure that your clamshell packaging is very secure. This is especially important with toys, as little hands often cannot resist trying to a get a toy out of the packaging. We can seal the package securely so that children can enjoy looking at the cars, action figures, dolls or tiny hand-held games that you produce without being able to tamper with the product.

6. Electronics & Electronic Accessories
At Indepak, we can design, produce and seal clamshells for products such as computer cables, headphones, flash drives, cellular phones, calculators, cordless phones, phone chargers and much more. If your product has multiple parts, we can design cavities that fit each item exactly, and we also can design clamshells for static-sensitive products.

7. Toiletries
If you sell toothpaste, toothbrushes or perhaps a plastic razor, we can create a clamshell for you. We also can create clamshells that hold make-up and beauty products, brushes and combs, lotions and skin care products just to name a few.

8. Tools
Whether you produce nails or screws or perhaps drills or screwdrivers, we can create a clamshell package that protects and displays your product. A few other tools that might be a good fit for plastic clamshell packaging include pocket knives and multi-tools, scissors, wrenches and pliers.

9. Batteries
Battery packs often are sold in blister packs with a thermoplastic cavity holding the batteries with a paperboard backing. However, using a plastic clamshell can make your battery packaging even more secure and we can create both types of packaging for batteries, depending on what you need.

9. Medicine Bottles
If you produce allergy pills, pain relivers, cold medicines or other over-the-counter medications, we can create a clamshell package that fits around your medication bottle or container. This significantly can reduce tampering and theft, while still allowing consumers to study your product carefully before making a purchase.

10. Baby Items
For companies that produce bottles or pacifiers, baby toothbrushes, teething rings or the thousands of other items needed by parents, a clamshell can be a great option, keeping items safe and secure while allowing consumers to be enticed by the design of your product.

11. Lightbulbs
In the past, lightbulbs tended to just be packaged in lightweight cardboard. However, thermoplastics can do a far superior job of protecting your product. We can create clamshell packing for a single bulb or perhaps a set of lightbulbs, with multiple cavities designed to hold and protect each individual bulb.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, as virtually any retail product can be stored in a plastic clamshell. No matter what type of product you might have, the team at Indepak can come up with a total packaging solution that fits your needs and budget. If you are ready to get started with your packaging project, give us a call or send us an email today.

4 Industries That Need Blister Packaging

Blister packaging is one of the most common types of custom thermoplastic packaging, and at Indepak, we create thousands of blister packs throughout the year. Here is some information about the blister pack, as well as a list of industries for whom we often design blister packaging.

A blister pack typically includes a cavity or cavities where products are placed, such as pill tablets or perhaps small parts. Then a backing, often foil or paperboard, is affixed and sealed to the back to keep the products safe and secure. Sometimes we simply design two identical halves of a blister and fold them together, forming a clamshell package. The clamshell can be sealed or secured so that the product is preserved and tamper-proof.

1. Specialty Food Companies

Many food companies will use a blister pack, although, we typically find that the blister packaging used by the food industry tends to be a clamshell. Clamshells can be used for many purposes. You often see these in the produce section of the grocery, filled with cherry tomatoes, miniature bell peppers, kumquats, berries and other fruits and veggies. These packages also are often used to hold bakery items as well as food products such as fresh sushi, deli sandwiches and other freshly prepared foods. Many restaurants also use clamshells as take-away containers.

2. Medical Supply Companies

Medical firms often design special kits, such as syringe kits and these can be placed into a carefully designed blister pack. We can first create a thermoplastic tray that securely holds each part of the kit, and then it can be sealed to ensure safety. We can produce low particulate packaging, intended for downstream sterilization applications as well as non-sterile applications. We also can provide traceability down to the box level. In addition, to designing medical kit trays and packaging, we also can create thermoplastic packaging to hold just about any medical product or device.

3. Pharmaceutical Firms

Blister packaging is commonly associated with both over-the-counter medications and prescription medications. You often see a blister pack that has specially designed cavities that hold either a single pill or perhaps a single dose of medication in each cavity. The back keeps the medicine secure and also allows the user to eject the pills through the backing while keeping the remaining medicine safe and secure.

4. Retail Manufacturers

There are literally thousands of retail products that can fit inside blister packaging. For instance, head down the electronics aisle and you will find headphones, cellular phone chargers and accessories, batteries, cables and much more all packaged in the blister packs, either with a paperboard backing or perhaps folded over and sealed into a clamshell. Often, electronics products are static sensitive, and we work with a variety of materials, from conductive to dissipative to protect these types of products.

In the toy aisle, you will find many products placed in blister packs and clamshells. Office supplies, such as packs of pens and markers, often are packaged in blister packs. Tools, from nails to small drills and beyond, also can be stored in blister packs. Virtually any product you might have can be placed in a blister package or a clamshell. Our thermoplastic packaging is ideal for many products because it not only keeps your items secure, it also displays the products so that your customers can see exactly what they are purchasing.

If your business falls into any of these categories and you need custom product packaging, give us a call today. Our design team can assess your needs and decide if a blister pack or perhaps a clamshell or another type of packaging will be the best fit for you.

6 Surprising Facts About Plastic Thermoforming

If you are searching for a packaging company and not entirely sure what type of packaging you want or need, plastic thermoforming can be a good fit for virtually any type of company.

1. Plastic Thermoforming Offers Something For Every Industry

The team at Indepak has been designing plastic packaging, thermoform trays and thermoplastic products for more than 40 years. During these years, we have served virtually any industry imaginable, including pharmaceutical and medical firms, electronics companies, specialty food companies and too many retail manufacturers to name in this short blog post. Plastic thermoforming is so diverse that we can meet just about any specification you might have. For instance, some clients need plastics with anti-static properties while others may need plastics suitable for downstream sterilization, and still others might need plastics that have been approved to hold food products or beverages. With thermoplastics, it’s easy to find a great match.

2. There Is A Perfect Plastic For Everything

It doesn’t matter if your company makes cookies or power drills, there is a type of plastic ideal for use as packaging. Each type of plastic available for plastic thermoforming boasts unique chemical properties.

For instance, polypropylene (PP) is one type of thermoplastic we use. PP offers excellent resistant to weak acids, weak alkalis and strong alkalis. It is also quite heat resistant. Because of these special characteristics, it can be a good choice for reusable food containers that need to withstand the heat of the dishwasher and microwave. This is just one of many types of thermoplastics we can use for packaging or products. Our design team will consider the specifications for your unique product and match it to an ideal type of plastic.

3. Most Thermoplastics Are Recyclable

We also know that the thermoplastics used for those our water bottles are recyclable, but it might surprise you to learn that virtually all thermoplastics can be recycled and reused. While polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene are the two thermoplastics that are most commonly collected from our homes, that doesn’t mean that plastics such as PVC and LDPE cannot also be recycled. More and more recycling centers in the United States are accepting a larger range of thermoplastics, so be sure to check and see what types of plastics you can place in your recycling bins.

4. Recycling Transforms Thermoplastics Into An Array Of Products

While some of the plastics we use at our plastic thermoforming facility will be recycled and reused to make new packaging, this is not the only way recycled plastics are used. For instance, recycled plastics can be used to make everything from rugs to dinner plates. Even clothing can be created using thermoplastics, as well as your backyard patio furniture and the plastic playhouse or playground equipment your children enjoy using at the park.

5. We Can Make Plastics Out Of Starch

While you can recycle almost all commonly used thermoplastics, there are some options that are even more sustainable. At Indepak, we can use starch-based bioplastics to create some types of packaging. These plastics are created from renewable resources and are biodegradable. While these are not an option for all types of plastic thermoforming projects, they are a good choice for some food containers, cups and lids. This type of thermoplastic is known as PLA or polylactic acid. In the United States, corn starch is used to create PLA and, in other countries, other types of plants such as sugarcane or tapioca are used.

Not only can we make cups and containers out of PLA, this starch-based thermoplastic can be used to create items such as clothing, diapers, upholstery and even 3D printer filament. While PLA is biodegradable, it does need to be processed separately from the trash in your regular trash bin and the recyclables in your recycling bin. Specific conditions are needed in order for PLA to biodegrade quickly. If sent to a composting facility, it will take a few months for PLA to biodegrade as these facilities offer the ideal conditions for biodegradation of PLA. At the landfill, the PLA will biodegrade but the process will take a significantly longer period of time.

6. Plastic Thermoforming Saves Money

Using thermoplastics for your packaging is sure to be your most economical choice, and it’s not just because thermoplastics tend to be inexpensive materials. The material cost is certainly lower than many other options, but using plastic thermoforming also means that you will be producing very lightweight packaging. With shipping costs continuing to rise, using packaging that weighs very little just makes good economic sense. We also can create strong, protective packaging that fits the shape of your product exactly. This also can reduce the size of packaging, which also reduces weight and saves money.

If you need packaging or thermoplastic products, contact us today and we will get started on your unique plastic thermoforming project. You can contact us via phone or click on the Contact tab at the top of our homepage and fill out our quick contact form. A representative from our sales team quickly will get in touch with you to discuss your plastic thermoforming needs.

Thermoform Trays & Other Products We Create

Here at Indepak, we understand that product packaging can be the heart and soul of your branding efforts. Great packaging should offer a holistic benefit to your product and brand. It shouldn’t just be functionally sound; it should also add a little flair, substance, and style to your products. That is why Indepak boasts a broad variety of packaging, ranging from thermoform trays to clamshell packaging and everything in between.

Our state-of-the-art facility churns out top-notch product packaging suitable for practically every industry. Pharmaceuticals, the food sector, laboratories, electronics firms, the agricultural industry, and many different types of retail companies to name a few. Our full line of packaging solutions includes the following items:

Thermoformed Trays
We opened our doors at Indepak back in 1967 and since that time, thermoformed trays have been a big part of our business. And for good reason. These versatile trays can be designed to hold just about any product or products and are applicable to a variety of industries, ranging from food service to pharmaceutical.

When it comes to thermoform trays, Indepak is a clear leader. Here, we leverage long-standing knowledge on thermoforming, function-specific materials and the latest techniques to come up with thermoform trays that marry well with your products. Our thermoform trays are as unique as your company.

Business-to-Business Thermoform Trays
For decades, Indepak has offered high-tech industries with thermoform tray solutions that fit the bill, including business-to-business and internal tote trays. Most of them have anti-static properties as a mainstay feature. We process them to the highest standards, with high tolerance and immaculate precision to work seamlessly with your process.

Pharmaceutical/Medical Thermoform Trays
We produce thermoform trays for downstream sterilization or non-sterile applications. Our process ensures that each product can be traced to box level.

Other Types Of Thermoform Trays & Containers
Other industries we serve include agriculture, retail, specialty foods and electronics. Most of these trays are made to agreed-upon terms, with such features as anti-static, conductive or non-abrasion. For our food industry clients, we design packaging, containers and thermoform trays to hold a myriad of food items. We can create everything from trays that hold cookies and crackers to trays for frozen dinners and much more.

Blister Packaging
Beyond thermoform trays, blister packaging is another one of our specialties. Our team of packaging engineers and designers endeavor to create blister packaging with no or minimal waste. We also opt for materials for use in packaging that either contain post-consumer grade materials or are very recyclable. This includes thermoplastics such as PET or HDPE, both of which are quite easily recycled.

Clamshell Packaging
Our clamshell containers feature a hinge along one edge, making it suitable for thousands of products from a variety of industries. For instance, a thermoformed clamshell can be used to protect and store fresh veggies, fruits, baked goodies and any dessert. Clamshell packages also can hold a variety of retail products and we offer several different sealing options to ensure that your product stays safe and secure.

Of course, we can create more than thermoplastic packaging and thermoform trays. If you need a product created from thermoplastic, give us a call. We can design just about any thermoplastic product that you might need. Thermoplastic is not only highly versatile, it’s also highly affordable, and our goal is always to provide clients with the highest qualities products at the lowest possible cost.

4 Great Reasons To Consider Plastic Thermoforming

Because you have a fantastic, top-notch product, don’t you feel your specialty item deserves the highest quality packaging? You need appealing and functional product packaging and that’s where we come in. At Indepak, we’ve been using plastic thermoforming to craft packaging for companies from just about every industry imaginable.

Plastic thermoforming is a process by which a sheet of plastic is fed into an industrial thermoforming machine. While in this machine, the plastic will be heated to pliable temperature and then formed into a custom shape. From there the new packaging is cooled and excess thermoplastic is trimmed away and reused for other thermoforming products. If you’ve not considered plastic thermoforming for your packaging needs, here are a few reasons to think about doing so.

Reason #1: Plastic Thermoforming Offer Unmatched Versatility

The allure of plastic thermoforming in the product packaging arena lies in its ability to churn out plastics of just about any size, shape, style, and price range. Impressive, right? If your niche calls for constant change in the size or shape of your packaging, this technique is your best shot.

Additionally, plastic thermoforming also allows us to create packaging that fits snugly around your product. Not only does this help protect your product, it also keeps costs down because less packaging will need to be created in order to securely cover your product.

Reason #2: Plastic Thermoforming is Cost-Effective

Plastic thermoforming is a budget-friendly option for several reasons. As mentioned previously, because we can create virtually any shape and eliminate waste, this reduces your materials costs as well as your shipping costs. After all, smaller packages cost less to ship than larger ones. Thermoplastic also is quite lightweight, which further reduces your shipping costs.

Because thermoplastic is so protective and we can create tightly sealed clamshell and blister packs, this also reduces the probability of damage or theft. This, too, has a positive effect on your overall bottom line.

Finally, thermoplastic, in general, is a highly affordable material. We use a wide variety of thermoplastics and many are quite inexpensive. We easily can find a type of thermoplastic that fits your needs as well as your budget.

Reason #3: Plastic Thermoforming Is A Solution For Many Industries

Thermoformed plastics find a home in a variety of industries – from the food services sector to pharmaceuticals and everything in between. If you manufacture cross-platform products, then plastic thermoforming is truly a slice of heaven for you.

Because there are so many types of thermoplastics, there are options for virtually every industry imaginable. There are thermoplastics safe for food and beverage packaging as well as thermoplastics we use for our pharmaceutical and medical industry clients. We create low-particulate packaging that is intended for non-sterile as well as downstream sterilization applications. For those in a high tech field, we can develop all types of packaging or business-to-business tote trays. For the electronics sector, we can produce packaging and trays that ensure that static-sensitive products are well protected.

Reason #4: Thermoformed Plastics Can be Eco-Friendly

If you want to up your ante regarding your company’s carbon footprints, thermoformed plastic packaging could be your answer. Virtually all thermoplastics are recyclable, and many are accepted by curbside recycling programs, which makes recycling as easy as possible. For some packaging, starch-based bio materials might be a good option. We also can create combination packaging that combines recyclable thermoplastics with paperboard or pulp.

These are just a few reasons why thermoplastic might be the ideal option for your packaging or product needs. We can handle every aspect of your project from design to production to shipping and fulfillment, providing you with a total solution that meets your needs and budget. Give us a call today to discuss your plastic thermoforming needs.