Thermoform Packaging

Thermoform Packaging

The formed plastic is then cooled and trimmed resulting in custom designed thermoform packaging. PAX Solutions can design and manufacture custom thermoformed packaging solutions such as trays, clamshells, blisters, and more.

Thermoform Design

PAX Solutions understands the importance of thermoform design. High quality thermoform design leads to effective thermoform tooling, which is essential to yield consistent thermoform packaging parts.

How do I start?

PAX Solutions is able to translate your needs to packaging engineers who create your Solid Model thermoform design. Renderings of the thermoform packaging design are provided for customer review and approval.

What if I need to make changes?

Thermoform packaging projects can go through several iterations as the scope and needs of the project change. PAX Solutions is proficient with creating, revising, or replicating different Solid Model designs.

Can I get a sample?

Once the design is approved, PAX Solutions creates a prototype mold to make physical samples for your review. This allows you to test fit, function, and presentation while helping us finalize production tooling details. Once the samples are approved, we create the final production tooling and proceed with manufacturing.

Packaging for every product.

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Thermoform Packaging Types

Thermoform Tray Packaging

Thermoform trays are great for organizing and protecting products inside of a folding carton, rigid setup box, corrugated shipper, or other various forms of retail packaging. Some thermoform trays also help with the manufacturing process as the cavities of the trays are designed to hold work-in-progress parts.

Thermoforming is an accurate process, so cavities can also be designed with clearance areas for fragile sections of the part. This is very common for medical devices, optics, electronics and other sensitive components. Thermoform trays can be designed to stack or nest together.

Thermoform trays can also be used as retail POP displays or in marketing kits to improve end customer experience.

Thermoform Tray Packaging
Thermoform Earbud Packaging

Thermoform Clamshells

Thermoform clamshells are rigid plastic containers that offer protection, organization, and effective retail presentation to your products.

Unlike thermoform trays, thermoform clamshells do not require additional packaging to function; this is because thermoform clamshells include a thermoformed cover that is typically hinged to the clamshell.

The clamshell opens and closes like a book and is designed to snap closed to keep the product locked inside of the packaging.

Thermoform clamshells are often transparent so the product can be easily viewed while inside of the packaging. Retail features such as hang-holes and formed feet can be included in the clamshell design allowing the package to either hang or stand on a shelf.

Thermoform Clamshells

Thermoform Blisters

Thermoform blisters are an affordable and effective solutions for retail merchandising. The primary component of a blister pack is a cavity or pocket thermoformed into a plastic sheet.

The thermoformed plastic sheet is then heat-sealed to an adhesive coated card locking the product inside of the package. This creates a barrier to protect the product and maintain cleanliness during transit and the retail environment.

Thermoform blisters are commonly used with foods, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, and smaller electronics. They can be designed using many different materials depending on the specific application.

Thermoform Blisters

Thermoforming Packaging Materials

There are many different types of thermoform packaging materials that specialize in different aspects of packaging. The material comes in various thicknesses depending on the application. Below are some general characteristics used to describe unique properties of thermoforming materials.

  • Impact Strength – how much damage can the material take before it breaks

  • Stiffness – material rigidity

  • Hardness – material resistance to scratching, chipping, or cracking

  • Tensile Strength – resistance to being pulled apart

  • Chemical Resistance – affect of chemical interactions and the material

  • Thermal Conductivity – amount of heat able to be conducted through the material

  • Thermal Expansion – amount of expansion / contraction at a given temperature

  • Heat Deflection – temperature in which material will begin to distort

  • Forming Range – temperature range at which material can be thermoformed

  • Dielectric Strength – electrical insulation characteristics

Below are some of the more common thermoform material used for thermoform packaging:

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): The least expensive option which is primarily used for small parts and shipping trays. PVC has high chemical resistance, good stiffness and impact strength, and naturally flame retardant. Its properties do not work well for certain applications such as medical because of its relatively poor barrier against moisture ingress and oxygen ingress. Common industries and uses include: machine shops, work-in-progress trays, handling trays, consumer goods, display cases, marketing kits, blister packs, storage bins.

Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG): Great option for optics, medical trays, and other various medical applications. PETG comes in many different thickness options. This material has excellent strength, good clarity, chemical resistance, and overall outstanding thermoforming characteristics. Common industries and uses include: medical trays, medical clamshells, POP displays, signs, machine guards, consumer goods, electronics, display cases, marketing kits, blister packs.

Polystyrene (PS): Commonly used for disposable foodservice applications. PETG offers many great characteristics such as high chemical resistance, good clarity, easily moldable, inexpensive, and high electrical and heat resistance. Polystyrene is also easily recycled. One disadvantage of PS is low hardness and impact strength meaning it can crack or break easier than other thermoform materials. Common industries and uses include: disposable cups, disposable applications, electrical application, POP displays, signs, electronics, foodservice applications, disposable shipping trays.

High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS): Compared to Polystyrene (PS), HIPS trades off the natural clarity offered by PS for greatly improved impact resistance and hardness. Similar to PS, HIPS has other advantages such as chemical resistance, inexpensive, dimensional stiffness, and easily moldable. HIPS is recyclable although the process is uneconomical. Common industries and uses include: consumer food containers, foodservice applications, POP displays, clamshell packaging, signs, consumer goods, bottles, shipping trays, reusable trays, picture frames.

Polypropylene (PP): Commonly used for medical applications because of its unique chemical resistance properties and high heat deflection. Polypropylene material can withstand sterilization processes like autoclave. PP has a high level of stiffness but is not that hard making it susceptible to scratching or chipping. Common industries and uses include: medical trays, medical clamshells, dental trays, dental clamshells, food containers, consumer goods, shipping trays, storage trays.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS): Engineered plastic that can have customized characteristics. ABS has good baseline impact strength, stiffness, and hardness as well as other beneficial properties such as heat deflection. It is cost effective but more expensive than PS, PVC, or PETG. Common industries and uses include: POP displays, signs, tool cases, automotive applications, consumer goods, storage trays, storage cases.

ESD Thermoform Materials

There are many different ESD Thermoform Materials. Common Materials are briefly described below:

  • Anti-Static PVC: Mostly used for shipping applications. Not ideal for long-term use since coating provides anti-static properties. Generally a thin gauge option.

  • Conductive PS: Material can be used for reusable trays. ESD properties are set in material. Generally a thin gauge option.

  • Anti-Static PETG: Mostly used for shipping applications. Not ideal for long-term use since coating provides anti-static properties. Generally a thin gauge option.

  • Anti-Static Blue HDPE: Mostly used in clean room applications. High impact strength. Material does not hold a charge for very long. Generally blue in color.

  • ESD Material: Heavy gauge for reusable trays.

  • Conductive Black HDPE: Conductive containers are always black because the material contains carbon black, which allows the containers to conduct and not create an ESD moment. Conductivity is set in the material. May not be acceptable in certain clean rooms.

  • Conductive ABS: Used for long term ESD applications such as storage trays. Relatively expensive material.

  • Inherently Static Dissipative PETG: Used for long term ESD applications such as storage trays. Relatively expensive material.

History of Thermoforming

History of Thermoform

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