Through vacuum forming, thermoforming companies can create virtually any type of custom plastic packaging that you might need. This includes blister packs, clamshells, thermoformed trays, cups and even parts. Here’s a quick look at the power of a thermoforming vacuum and the types of packaging we can create at Indepak.
Vacuum Forming & Thermoforming
Thermoforming is a blanket term for the process by which sheets of plastic are heated and formed into packaging, plastic bottles, cups and hundreds of other thermoform plastic items. For thermoforming, vacuum and pressure are used to force this now malleable plastic into custom-made molds. Once the item has been formed, it is cooled and trimmed. Of course, a great deal of design work and prototyping will occur before these sheets of plastic are ready for thermoforming machines.
At Indepak, we have multiple lines of high-speed thermoforming equipment, which can create a nearly endless array of plastic items. We serve customers in a range of industries, including the specialty foods industry, the medical & pharmaceutical industries, the electronics industry, the agricultural industry and, of course, we create packaging and trays for a myriad of general retail products, including tools, office supplies, personal care items and much, much more.
Plastics, in general, can be divided into two basic categories: thermoform plastics and thermoset plastics. At Indepak, we work with thermoform plastics, which are plastics that can be recycled and reused. Thermoset plastics are formed for one specific use and then cannot be recycled. Typically, thermoset plastic items are those that are meant to have a very long life or used as a resin to bond materials together.
All thermoform plastics can be recycled, which makes them a smart choice for custom packaging. Once consumers have used the packaging, they can simply toss these materials into the recycling bin. We use a wide variety of thermoform plastics for vacuum forming. Thermoforming plastics such as PET, HDPE, LDPE, PVC and ABS can be used to create everything from bottles to toys. We also can use bio-plastics, derived from starch, to create many types of packaging, and this sustainable option is becoming more and more popular. Our design team will study your product carefully to determine which type of thermoform materials are the best fit.
Types Of Packaging
Two of the most common types of custom plastic packaging include the blister pack and the clamshell package. There are many different types of blister packs, and, technically, a clamshell is a blister pack that folds onto itself. Clamshells can be used to hold grocery items, as well as many retail products. Other types of blisters, such as a face seal blister, also can be used to protect and display many retail products and personal care items.
Not everything we produce at Indepak is a package. With vacuum forming, thermoforming companies also can create trays, bottles, cups, utensils and plastic parts. Trays include business-to-business tote trays as well as trays for specialty food products and retail products. For instance, we might design a tray to hold cookies or crackers that will slide into a bag or box. We might design a tray to hold various product parts, such as toys, which will then be surrounded by additional packaging. For our medical clients, we might design trays with custom cavities to hold medical equipment and supplies.
While plastics often get a bad rap, there are actually many sustainable options for thermoforming. Vacuum forming, as we stated before, can process many highly recyclable materials. Plastics, such as PET and HDPE, for instance, are accepted by nearly all curbside recycling centers. For consumers, these two materials are perhaps the easiest to recycle and these materials can be used for a huge range of products.
Additionally, we can use combination designs that incorporate paper or pulp to reduce the amount of plastic we use for vacuum forming. Thermoforming companies, such as ourselves, also can use materials with post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled content. We also offer starch-based bioplastics, created from renewable sources, for some types of packaging. Our design team works diligently to reduce waste through smarter packaging design. This often translates to smaller packages, which also allows you to transport more units in a single shipment, thus reducing the amount of energy needed to move your goods not to mention reducing your overall transportation costs.
If you are interested in learning more about vacuum forming & thermoforming, give the team at Indepak a call at any time. We’ve been creating high-quality packaging since 1967, and we look forward to providing you with a total solution for all of your packaging and thermoforming needs.