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Thermoforming packaging

Is your business interested in the groundbreaking innovation of thermoforming packaging? Or are you just interested in learning more about this concept? Below you will find a detailed explanation of what thermoforming packaging is, how it works and how it can benefit you as a manufacturer. If you look to the left of this page, you will find exactly what is used to make this idea a realization. Interested? Read more about this special packaging below.

What is thermoforming packaging?

Thermoforming packaging is the procedure of making a custom plastic design, to make sure the packaging fits whatever you want to pack. To summarize how it works, a plastic sheet is heated up and placed within a mould. This is done by using pressurised air and a vacuum, thus creating the made-to-order design. But why would a business, in for example the pharmaceutical or retail industry, choose for thermoforming packaging? As stated below, it has multiple upsides:

  • A fast and automated process where the packaging machine heats, forms and cuts the product to your liking
  • Your business is able to create large-scale custom designs, specifically made to the dimensions of your product or products
  • Choosing for thermoforming packaging suits very well with clamshell packaging and child-resistant packaging.

How does thermoform packaging work?

Within this subsection we will go in to the more technical aspect of thermoform packaging. Thermoforming blister packaging involves a manufacturing technique in which a plastic sheet is warmed to a malleable temperature suitable for shaping. The sheet, often referred to as 'film', is then placed in an oven where it is heated to an elevated temperature. Once adequately heated, the sheet is carefully stretched and moulded onto a specific form. Subsequently, it is allowed to cool, and any excess material is trimmed away.

At its most basic iteration, thermoform packaging can be executed with a compact tabletop or laboratory-sized device. These machines apply heat to small, pre-cut portions of plastic sheets, which are subsequently stretched over moulds through a vacuum-based procedure. This technique is frequently employed for crafting sample and prototype components. Conversely, in intricate and high-capacity scenarios, extensive production machinery is employed to both heat and shape plastic sheets, while also consistently removing formed components from the sheets via an uninterrupted, rapid process. Depending on the machinery and mould dimensions, this approach has the capability to yield thousands of finalized parts per hour. You can find more about the thermoform packaging machine here.

The routine method

In the routine method for high-volume, continuous thermoforming packaging of blisters, a plastic sheet is drawn from a roll and introduced into a series of indexing chains. These chains are equipped with pins or spikes that penetrate the sheet and carry it through an oven for heating until it reaches the required forming temperature. Subsequently, the heated sheet advances to a forming station where a corresponding mold and pressure-box come together around the sheet. Through the application of vacuum and pressurized air, any trapped air is eliminated, causing the material to conform precisely to the shape of the mold.

Once the parts have been shaped in the sheet, it proceeds to either a trim station located on the same machine, where a die is employed to separate the parts from the remaining sheet matrix, or to a separate trim press that trims the formed parts. The sheet matrix that remains subsequent to the trimming of the formed parts is usually wound onto a take-up reel or directed to an inline granulator for recycling.

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Timo Kubbinga

Timo Kubbinga

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Wim Henk Stoppkotte

Wim Henk Stoppkotte

Gianni Linssen

Gianni Linssen


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