blog    Plastic Ingenuity January 2013 Archive

Perfect Packaging Materials – Part 7: ABS

Posted by rhelmke on Custom Packaging | Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 | 0 comments

Also known as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, this material is a combination of styrene, butadiene and acrylic. What does all that add up to, exactly? A high-gloss, high-impact resistant, rigid material used everywhere from hospitals to preschools around the world. Perfect for Playtime As a combination plastic, ABS boasts various traits that make it versatile across industries. For example, this material has high impact resistance—five times higher than HIPS—and with its shock absorbency, it is oftentimes seen in the heads of golf clubs. The same light weight that makes it useful for hitting balls comes in handy in concert halls, too, as ABS is used in the construction of certain musical instruments. People of all ages are able to enjoy ABS-constructed consumer products, too—this rigid, injection-moldable material is used to make Lego bricks. Strong Enough for the Elements While plastic manufacturers may utilize ABS when making toys for kids and adults, don’t let that make you think this material is all play and no work. Remember, ABS is lightweight but remarkably strong, so it can withstand serious impacts without giving way....

Perfect Packaging Materials – Part 6: HIPS

Posted by rhelmke on Custom Packaging | Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 | 0 comments

Like so many of the plastics we work with here at PI, High Impact Polystyrene, or HIPS, is something that a great deal of people encounter almost every single day. Clear, brittle and impact-resistant, this amorphous material has a low shrink rate and is safe enough to use in different food-related applications. Good Enough to Eat (With) HIPS is flexible, hygienic and cost-effective, making it a perfect fit for food service and containment. The plastic cutlery in your office break room, for example, may be made of HIPS, as is the disposable salad bowl that your lunch came in (though these may also be made out of a different member of the styrene family, too). It withstands cold temperatures and humidity, it’s lightweight and provides excellent insulation, so you may also see it used in the construction of refrigerators. A Real Jewel While HIPS is clear by default, it lends itself to colorization through the use of modifiers, enabling you to create clear, colored plastics that also boast high impact strength. One of the most easily recognizable and universal uses...

Perfect Packaging Materials – Part 5: HDPE

Posted by rhelmke on Custom Packaging | Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 | 0 comments

If you’re looking for plastic that’s tough but versatile, High Density Polyethylene, or HDPE, is the material for you. Renowned for its strength but applicable for everyday consumer products, too, HDPE is used the world over for the unique molecular structure that gives it its durability—in fact, this plastic is produced by plastic molding companies more than any other type, and can be found everywhere from the grocery store to the battlefield. HDPE’s Unique Strength HDPE is an exceptionally dense plastic, which is part of what makes it so strong. It can withstand relatively high temperatures and isn’t affected by chemicals like gasoline, which may have the power to completely melt other types of plastic. This is the strength that industry professionals rely on, which is why you see HDPE used in the construction of things like hard hats, mortars and chemical piping. It even plays a role in the medical industry—HDPE is so strong and so safe, it is used in reconstructive surgery. HDPE and Your Everyday Life What really makes HDPE special isn’t just its strength, though. This...

Perfect Packaging Materials – Part 4: CPET Plastics

Posted by rhelmke on Custom Packaging | Tuesday, January 8th, 2013 | 0 comments

PET plastics are popular for plenty of reasons, not the least of which is their clarity—remember, this is a plastic that you use when you want to show off your product. If you don’t necessarily need something transparent, but you want something strong and resilient, CPET could be exactly what you’re looking for. CPET stands for crystallizable PET. Normally, crystallizing is the opposite of what you want with PET plastics—it robs the material of its translucency. But with CPET, crystallizing is exactly what you want. When we produce CPET at PI, we do it for products like food trays that need to resist the high heat of an oven or microwave. CPET is the type of plastic you see in TV dinner trays or mobile food services, because it can take the heat. The CPET Challenge Just like any other type of plastic, though, you need trained hands to create and thermoform CPET. You have to add a nucleating agent and heat it to the point of crystallization, and once it’s crystallized to the point you want, you use a...

Perfect Packaging Materials – Part 3: PETG Plastics

Posted by rhelmke on Custom Packaging | Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 | 0 comments

Once you get past the basic types of PET plastics, you get into the modified copolymers—these are PET plastics that have been treated with something that changes its structure. Today, I want to introduce PETG plastic, otherwise known as polyethylene terephthalate – glycol modified. Despite the similarities in the names, PETG isn’t technically in the same family as PET, RPET and APET. While those are all different forms of PET, PETG adds a little something extra: Glycol. So what does the glycol do? Glycol prevents crystallization in the thermoforming process. Remember, when a thermoforming company tries to mold PET plastics but doesn’t have the right experience, the plastic can crystallize and lose all the transparency that makes it so popular. By adding glycol, you take away the material’s ability to crystallize and turn hazy, but that isn’t the only effect. Why Consider PETG? Because of the added glycol, PETG has a few distinct advantages over your typical PET plastics: It’s transparent – great for showcasing products It’s tougher than PET – more impact and chemical-resistant Easier to thermoform than PET...