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How to Become an In-House Thermoformer Expert

Posted by rhelmke on Custom Packaging | Tuesday, July 12th, 2016 | 0 comments

While a classroom education can offer great package design industry insights, a hands-on internship can provide a one-of-a-kind experience for students interested in careers as their company’s in-house thermoforming expert. We wanted to share some key ideas and considerations for these aspiring thermoformer experts. What Makes a Good Thermoformed Part? There are many important considerations for custom thermoforming, but the key to all of them is quality. From material selection and distribution to implementing cleanroom technology and heat sealing tooling, to ensuring a high speed to market, quality should be the focus at every touchpoint. The Basics Thermoforming lines consist of three types: Sheet feed – heavy gauge Roll feed – thin gauge Inline thermoforming – thin gauge pellet to part Of the three, inline thermoforming is the best practice for high-quality plastic packaging. The two different mold types – male and female – differ in shape and the way in which the material sinks into the mold. With male molds, hot plastic shrinks to the mold and the bottom is the strongest part of the tray – a critical feature...

Do You Use Long Catheter Trays?

Posted by rhelmke on Medical packaging | Tuesday, December 1st, 2015 | 0 comments

Plastic Ingenuity redesigned the packaging for the implantable device in a percutaneous catheter delivery system. This thermoformed long catheter tray is larger than the standard catheter tray, with an advanced design that features roll-fed production, an additional perforated hinge, a snap feature, as well as eliminating the need for multiple die cuts. Much of what makes these custom plastic trays so advanced is their size. At 47.36″ x 7.72″ x 2.16″, a tray of this size typically needs to be sheet fed into the thermoforming machine and then trimmed in a CNC router or clicker press. This long catheter tray is instead roll-fed into the thermoforming machine, expediting the process by up to five times and at two-thirds the price. Advanced Design and Security In addition to the enhanced size and difference in production, the long catheter tray features numerous design advances. The most obvious is the additional perforated snap hinge to secure the catheter into place in the center. Previous packaging featured only one hinge on each end, with three sets of die cuts and wires securing the product...

What it Means to be a Full-Service Thermoformer

Posted by rhelmke on Custom Packaging | Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 | 0 comments

  With over 40 years of industrial experience, Plastic Ingenuity (PI) is a leading provider of custom thermoformed packaging. In fact, we’re a full-service, ISO certified thermoformer; this means that Plastic Ingenuity supports you throughout each step of the thermoforming process—from design and prototyping to full-size production runs and quality assurance. Our Approach to Thermoforming Plastic Ingenuity utilizes a vertically integrated structure to maintain the utmost control during our multi-step thermoforming process. This process allows our team to provide innovative services and highly customized finished packaging. Our thermoforming process includes: Design – Our design team is well-versed in strategizing innovative product packaging. Using the information gathered during evaluation—whether it’s from a napkin drawing, or a solid file—PI helps your vision come to life. Prototyping – PI then produces a prototype from the approved design. PI performs a QA check on the prototype, ensuring that the package meets the client’s specifications, is suitably durable, and is appropriate for the product and its market. Mold and Tool Building – PI engineers design and build all of the molds and tools required to...

What Makes a Good Thermoformed Packaging Design?

Posted by Rob on Thermoforming | Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 | 0 comments

  As specialists in the packaging industry, Plastic Ingenuity continually examines the best practices for developing safe, sanitary and secure designs. We’re always learning new ways to create protective thermoformed packaging designs, all while staying within clients’ timelines, budgets and quality standards. Wondering what will make your thermoformed packaging design stand out? Here, we explain a few considerations for excellent packaging, including material selection, tooling, distribution and more. Quality Design The first step to producing good thermoformed packaging is creating an excellent design. Your design will determine almost everything else for your packaging, including materials, tooling and more. When you sit down with your packaging design team, explain to them what you had in mind for your project, as well as any specifics about your product they should be aware of. They will then suggest various structures that provide high levels of protection that are still aesthetically appealing. Material Selection Next, your team will select the appropriate plastic material. Many companies commonly use PET and PETG plastics to create their thermoformed parts. Both have their advantages and are suitable for...

3 Types of Thermoformed Plastic Packaging Designs & Their Advantages

Posted by rhelmke on Custom Packaging | Thursday, July 17th, 2014 | 0 comments

  As thermoforming specialists, the PI team consistently gets questions from people asking what exactly the thermoforming process is and how to use it to create a custom packaging design. Here, we’ve outlined some of the basics behind the thermoforming process, as well as the different forming methods you can use for your products’ packaging: vacuum, plug assist and plug assist pressure. Consult with our guide to see which could work best for your plastic packaging design. What Is Thermoforming? Thermoforming is the process used to create custom plasticdesigns. To develop a thermoformed design, the packaging team stretches a heated sheet of plastic over a mold to create a one-of-a-kind design. To create these packaging designs, packaging specialists contain air pressure in a designated box. After the packaging design cools into the shape of the mold, the packaging team will trim and assemble the design. Thermoforming is used when the pressure on a plastic sheet exceeds 15 lbs. per square inch, up to 150 lbs. per square inch. Packaging created for the food, pharmaceutical and electronics industries all utilize thermoforming. Vacuum...

Benefits of Clamshell Packaging

Posted by rhelmke on Food Packaging | Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 | 0 comments

  At Plastic Ingenuity, we continually examine the benefits of thermoformed plastic packaging. Among the many options available, we believe clamshell packaging is one of the strongest and most attractive plastic packaging options. Created from thermoformed plastic resins, clamshell designs are growing as one of the most reliable packaging options for both food and retail items. Thermoformed clamshell plastics are ideal packaging solutions for many industries, especially for food and retail. Clamshell packaging gives products an eye-catching display that is still structurally sound and durable. Learn more about the benefits of clamshell packaging and how this design can work for your products. Eye-Catching Clamshell packaging has an uncomplicated one-piece design that makes it a fuss-free way to get complete enclosure on your products for enhanced protection. Even though clamshell packaging is simplistic by nature, businesses have many options to enhance its aesthetics. Similar to blister packs, companies can insert graphics cards into their retail clamshell packaging designs for added shelf appeal with consumers. Companies can customize their food packaging, as well, by printing the logo or other designs onto the...

Common Plastics for Thermoforming

Posted by rhelmke on Thermoforming | Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 | 0 comments

  At PI, we specialize in thermoforming plastics for standard and custom sizes, generally using PET plastic. In the industry, though, six plastics lead the way for thermoforming: ABS, HIPS, HDPE, PVC, PET and PETG. See the differences with each of these thermoformable plastics to decide which one could work best for your products’ packaging: ABS A common thermoformed plastic, ABS is comprised of acrylonitrile, styrene and butadiene. ABS is known for its tough resilience to the elements, including heat; it can handle temperatures anywhere from -4 to 176 °F. This allows the plastic to be molded at high temperatures. Most commonly used for mechanical purposes, like for pipe systems, it can also be used for protective headgear, golf club heads, musical instruments, like recorders, and even for toys, like Legos. The plastic can also be used in some tattoo inks. HIPS HIPS plastic, or polystyrene, can be used for foamed or rigid plastic. This plastic’s clear and brittle composure makes it an ideal plastic for protective packaging, like packing peanuts, or food and drink items, like clamshell containers, bottles...

Plastic Ingenuity Included on Plastic News Top 100 Thermoformers

Posted by rhelmke on Environment | Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 | 0 comments

Plastic Ingenuity is excited to announce our inclusion in Plastic News magazines’ list of top 100 thermoformers in the country.  The magazine releases this list annually highlighting the top thermoforming companies in the industry. This year, PI was among the top 25 percent of the U.S.’s thermoformers. How the List was Created As the magazine editors and writers compiled their list, they considered thermoformers across the country, examining multiple factors, like thermoforming sales, materials used, number of manufacturing plants, primary end markets and annual resin throughput. Overall, the magazine ranked packaging companies with the largest sales and biggest market output. Our Thoughts At PI, we were very pleased to make the list once again. Plastic News only included industry-leading thermoformers for their list, so making it is quite an honor.  Still, because we are always dedicated to improving upon our thermoforming packaging processes, as well as creating new ones, we were also expecting to be included on this list. In the past year, we have introduced new technology that streamlines the packaging process by removing the need to “hot stamp”...

All About Rigid Plastic

Posted by rhelmke on Custom Packaging | Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 | 0 comments

  At Plastic Ingenuity, we offer many different types of rigid plastics for all types of consumers’ needs. Wondering what rigid plastic actually is, though? Here, we outline the basics of rigid plastic, as well as some of its many perks. Protection and durability One of the biggest advantages of rigid plastic is its protection. Whether it’s clamshell food containers or cell phone packaging, rigid plastic can ensure your product is delivered just as it was intended. This thermoformed plastic is resistant to the elements, keeping outside debris from the product, so you don’t have to worry about the product becoming damaged. In addition to providing protection for your products, hard, rigid plastic also can be extremely durable. Variety of substrates No matter your plastic packaging needs, there is a substrate for you. From durable and lightweight PET plastics to heavy-duty HDPE, a talented manufacturer can help you determine the material that will be most cost-effective while fitting your product’s needs. Variety of shapes Thanks to custom thermoforming molds, rigid thermoformed plastic can be molded in a virtually-unlimited number of...

Thermoforming 101: A Plastic Packaging Manufacturing Infographic

Posted by rhelmke on Plastics | Monday, December 2nd, 2013 | 0 comments

When you work in the plastic packaging industry, it can be easy to take your years of experience for granted. Here at PI, we’ve been thermoforming plastic long enough to know the process inside and out, from the varying properties of different materials to the best ways to work with them. If you aren’t yet familiar with the thermoforming process, though, where do you start? Right here. The PI team is proud to share this new infographic explaining the history of thermoforming plastic, and how plastic packaging manufacturers like us manage the process using modern technology. If you want to see how the process has changed over the years, or you just want to understand a little more about how plastic packaging manufacturers create the products you see on store shelves every day, check out the infographic below. Embed this infographic on your site