Custom thermoforming is the process we use to create packaging for our clients, and this versatile production method allows us to produce packaging for just about any industry. Let’s take a look at thermoforming and how it can benefit your company.
What Is Thermoforming?
Thermoforming is an industrial process where sheets of plastic are heated to a malleable temperature and then forced into molds, either using pressure force, vacuum force or a combination of the two.
At Indepak, we focus on thin-gauge thermoforming and the creation of all types of custom packaging as well as thermoform plastic parts and products. Heavy-gauge thermoforming is another type of thermoforming, but this is primarily used for items such as automotive parts, equipment parts, etc.
You may have heard the terms “thermoform” and “thermoset,” and while they sound similar, they are unique. Thermoform plastics are plastic materials that can be recycled and reused again and again, while thermoset plastics cannot be recycled.
Typically, thermoset applications are considered when you need a product or part that is durable and strong and meant to last for many years, whereas a thermoform plastic, such as a plastic food clamshell, will be disposed of and placed in a recycling bin immediately after use. Although, in some cases, thermoform plastic items can be used as parts or products that also are meant to last many years, such as trays, toys, reusable water bottles and some medical devices, etc.
Thermoforming Is An Inexpensive Packaging Option
While there are many reasons to consider plastic thermoforming for your next packaging project, cost containment is certainly a powerful enticement. Plastic materials are less expensive than any other packaging material, and they cost less to ship because they weigh less. This is a huge reason why plastic packaging continues to remain a top packaging choice worldwide.
We Can Use Many Plastics
At Indepak, we have multiple lines of high-speed thermoforming equipment, allowing us to meet the needs of a diverse clientele. The industries we serve include:
- Specialty Foods
- Medical & Pharmaceutical
- Retail & Personal Care
- Industrial (business-to-business tote trays, etc.)
Each of these industries has unique packaging needs. For instance, with the specialty foods industry, we need to use plastic materials that are approved for food contact and there are many options, including PET, PP, HDPE and even some starch-based bioplastics.
At Indepak, we have earned FSSC 22000 certification. This is an internationally-recognized food safety certification that ensures that your food packaging is created using exacting standards. These specifications were created to improve food safety at a global level, and we take these standards seriously when we create your custom food packaging.
With other industries, such as the medical and pharmaceutical industries, we select plastics that can be used either for non-sterile applications or downstream sterilization applications. Our detailed record keeping ensures that your medical packaging includes traceability down to the box level.
For electronics packaging and for our industrial clients, we have the option of using a wide range of plastics to protect your static-sensitive components or products. We work with materials that range from conductive to dissipative and easily can find the ideal material match for your products or processes.
We Have Many Sustainable Options
Sustainability is always a priority for our clients, as we all work toward greater sustainability worldwide. At Indepak, virtually all of the materials we work with are recyclable. Furthermore, we have the ability to work with starch-based bioplastics for some projects as well as with plastics that contain recycled content. Reducing packaging sizes is another way we can provide you with sustainable packaging.
Of course, it’s important to look at the flip side of the issue. While plastics often get a bad rap regarding sustainability, they have advantages over many other packaging materials. For instance, plastics are much more lightweight than paper, aluminum and glass materials, which means it takes less energy to transport items in plastic packaging than with other packaging materials.
Plastics also are highly protective, keeping out moisture and mold, and providing impact resistance during transport or when an item is knocked off a store shelf, etc. As another example, let’s think about food packaging, plastic packaging can preserve food better than other materials, reducing food waste. With modified atmosphere packaging, we extend the shelf life of many foods by days or even weeks. If you do need MAP packaging, we can work with your lidding supplier to ensure material compatibility.
We Can Create Just About Any Packaging Design
At Indepak, we’ve been designing custom plastic packaging for more than 50 years and we can create just about any type of packaging that you might need. Through the years, we have become experts at designing and producing the following:
- Blister Packaging (including trap blisters, face seal blisters, etc.)
- Clamshell Packaging (including tri-fold designs, mock clamshells, etc.)
- Thermoformed Trays (for medical kits, specialty food items, etc.)
- Tubs (with or without lids)
Of course, if you want a unique design that doesn’t fit into these aforementioned cavities, our design team is equal to the challenge. Just let us know what you need, and we can come up with a design that meets your needs and your budget. Thermoforming is a highly versatile production process, so we can create just about any type of packaging you could imagine.
But, Custom Thermoforming Isn’t Just About Packages
While we are custom product packaging specialists, not everything we design at Indepak is a package. Thermoforming can be a great option for making custom parts or various products, and we can help determine if custom thermoforming is the right choice for your product.
Many products are created using custom thermoforming. For instance, toys such as LEGO bricks are created using the thermoforming process. Point-of-purchase displays, plastic utensils, cups, phone cases and much more can be created using thermoforming and thermoform plastics.
Contact Indepak Today!
Indepak has been a leader in the thermoforming industry since 1967. If you need thermoforming services for custom plastic packaging or thin-gauge thermoform plastic parts or products, contact the team at Indepak at any time. Fill out our quick contact form or give us a call at (800) 526-6273.