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.
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.
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 a variety of applications. Packaging companies often utilize PET plastic to create thinner thermoformed products, like water bottles. PETG has added glycol to create a stronger design, which makes it suitable for clamshell or blister packaging. Both plastic materials are FDA friendly and acceptable for food packaging designs.
Once you and your packaging company determine a design and materials, your team will then need to produce customized tooling to create your package. To make this step of the packaging creation process easier, consider working with an all-inclusive company. A vertically integrated packaging company will be able to produce tooling in-house, which also provides the added benefit of cost savings.
To develop your packaging, your team will next need to develop a plug design. If you are using stock packaging, your team may already have a plug design available for you to use. However, for custom packaging designs, they will need to produce a one-of-a-kind plug form.
Some packaging designs, especially those in the medical industry, must be processed in highly sterile environment in which outside contamination cannot enter. The best packaging designs are processed in state-of-the-art, ISO Class 8 clean room environment. These facilities are equipped with the necessary components, including a positive pressure HVAC system with HEPA filtration, customized material handling, and proprietary trimming.
Speed to Market
Packaging designs must be produced in an expedited time frame to ensure products can reach their intended markets when needed. Without an efficient timeline in place, the packaging design, creation and revision could take months; in that time, products may lose their relevancy or popularity with consumers. Again, choosing a vertically integrated company can be beneficial because all of your processes will be completed in the same place and your packaging can be completed that much more quickly.
Good Material Distribution
Before your company fulfills your entire packaging order, they will produce a prototype of the design to determine if they need to adjust anything, such as material distribution or shape. Thermoforming allows for much greater control for material distribution in comparison to other processes, such as vacuum forming, so they will most likely not need to make any drastic changes and finalize your project. Still, consult with your team to ensure material is distributed as needed and the gauge meets requirements.
To learn more about what makes for a good thermoformed part or to get started on your own project, contact PI today.