If you need custom plastic packaging, you need to talk with a thermoformer. These are the professionals that design and produce all types of plastic packaging. Before you select a thermoforming company, ask the sales representative some of the following questions.

1. What Kind Of Packaging Can You Create?
Obviously, the first step should be to determine whether or not the thermoformer can accommodate your needs. While some thermoforming companies can produce a wide range of packaging options, some companies focus on a specific niche area.

At Indepak, we can create clamshells, thermoform trays, blister packaging, plastic tubs with lids and much more. Keep in mind, not everything we design is a package. We can create custom thermoform stands to hold thermoform trays, thermoform plastic parts and products made of thermoformed foam.

Additionally, it’s smart to find a thermoformer with experience creating packaging for your specific industry. For instance, if you have static-sensitive products and need packaging or business-to-business tote trays, it’s crucial to find someone who has experience working with dissipative or conductive materials and understands the challenges of protecting static-sensitive products or parts.

For food manufacturers, you need to work with a company that has experience working with materials approved for direct food contact. If you need modified atmosphere packaging, you need to work with a thermoformer that understands the challenges associated with MAP.

We work with a wide range of industries, including the electronics industry, the specialty foods industry, many industrial firms, agricultural companies and more. We also can produce low-particulate packaging, intended for non-sterile and downstream sterilization applications for our medical industry clients. We provide detailed record-keeping that ensures traceability down to the box level.

2. What Type Of Materials Can You Use?
There are many types of thermoform plastic and each has its own unique characteristics. Let’s consider the challenges of food packaging as an example. Some materials are suitable for food contact, but what if you need a material approved food that also can handle the temperature of a freezer as well as a microwave or oven? You need a thermoformer that can work the type of materials best suited to your packaging.

At our facility, we have multiple lines of high-speed thermoform equipment capable of processing a wide range of thin gauge thermoform plastics. This includes PET, PETG, HDPE, HIPS, PVC, OPS, PP, ABS and starch-based biomaterials. We have many years of experience using each of these materials, and this level of experience is crucial.

For instance, let’s think about PET. This stands for polyethylene terephthalate and it is one of the most commonly used thermoform plastics. PET is used for water bottles, clamshells, blisters and much more. PETG is PET with glycol added to it. The result is a less brittle, highly impact-resistant plastic that might be a better option for some packaging. However, PETG can be tricky to process, so you need to work with a thermoformer that has a great deal of experience processing PETG.

3. Do You Have Sustainable Options?
Virtually every type of thermoform plastic is recyclable. PET and HDPE are two of the easiest plastics for consumers to recycle, accepted by virtually all curbside recycling programs. However, many other types of plastic can be tossed into recycle bins as well as PET and HDPE.

We can provide you with materials that are easy to recycle, and we also can provide you with packaging formed from materials with recycled content. We also are experts at creating trap blisters, which incorporates paperboard and plastic, and greatly reduces the amount of plastic needed to create a package. Additionally, we can create many packages and trays using starch-based biomaterials, which are created using renewable sources.

4. Do You Offer Packaging Fulfilment?
Yes, we do! If you have a product, we can design your packaging and then provide you with fulfillment services, including heat sealing, RF sealing and more. Many thermoformers do not offer fulfillment services and this means that you must pay another company to provide this service.

We try to keep as much of the thermoforming process in house, as this reduces costs for our clients. We can provide you with packaging design services, prototyping, production, fulfillment and even inventory management and shipping services. Whatever you need, we aim to provide you with a total packaging solution.

5. What Is Your Turnaround Time?
Every project is unique, so the turnaround time varies depending on the size and complexity of a project. We do have a large facility with a variety of thermoforming equipment which allows us to meet the needs of many clients in a timely fashion.

When you give us a call, let us know what type of timetable you are considering and we will let you know if that is feasible given your specific thermoforming project. We always do our best to provide quality services on time and on budget, according to agreed-on specifications.

If you need a thermoformer for clamshells, blisters, trays, tubs, parts or have another type of thermoforming project, give us a call at any time. We’ve been a leader in the thermoforming industry for more than 50 years and look forward to working on a custom solution that meets your needs and budget.