Custom Blister Packaging Gets Smart

It’s not enough for custom blister packaging to provide security, support visual elements, and address security concerns. It has to be smart, too. 

To be fair, this idea of ‘smart packaging’ has been around for a while. It evolved out of ‘active packaging.’ Active packaging simply refers to some kind of function beyond containment of a product. Something as simple as an expiration date meets this criteria. As technology embeds itself further and further into the fabric of our lives, from smartphones to AI systems, this expectation of engagement extends to packaging. Intelligent or smart packaging refers to some method of information transfer between users and packaging. 

You’ve probably heard the word ‘smart’ appended to other things. Smart phones, most commonly, but also smart houses, smart cars, etc. When it comes to packaging, it has just as many possible variants. Moisture control. RFID tags. Oxygen control. The list goes on. But when we talk about custom blister packaging, there are some interesting immediate applications we’re seeing in the real world. 

Custom Blister Packaging for PharmaceuticalsThermoformed blister packaging

IMC is one company leading the way when it comes to smart packaging, specializing in pharmaceuticals. These kinds of specialized packages need to combine branding and functionality seamlessly. Custom blister packs meet the bill. 

Blister packs allow custom-fit cavities to adhere to a cardboard or other sturdy packing. It allows users to see the product while giving package designers some leeway with the hard backing. And this is what draws IMC to custom blister packs. While traditional pill bottles–even with smart bottle caps–the space to embed electronics or other elements necessary for smart packaging is limited or non-existent. With blister packaging, it’s easy to encase something in the backing. Whether it’s an electronic designed to monitor dosage or help users with the product, it offers a different kind of experience. 

One of the more practical reasons for this kind of smart packaging is that adherence to prescribed routines is a major issue for patients and doctors. HealthPrize Technologies estimated in 2016  that such non-adherence lead to $637 billion losses in treatment for chronic conditions. Adding functionality that can, for example, remind users when to take their medication could lead to a decrease in  major medical events. 

Custom Forming & Smart Packaging

Thermoforming in any incarnation–trays, blister packs, or clamshells–can work with the demands of smart packaging. Easy to customize for any product, all of them offer a high degree of branding and functionality. Contact a representative today to learn more!

Custom Thermoforming Packaging Options

When it comes to thermoforming packaging, there’s more than meets the eye. 

It’s the ultimate in custom packaging, as the pliable plastic is molded specifically for products. This perfect fit is part of what is driving the market for this specific type of packaging. In fact, PRNewswire estimates that the thermoformed plastics market will hit over $16 billion dollars by 2015. Demand will increase from industries as diverse as healthcare to automotive to construction, driven by this style’s unique properties. So what’s so special about this style of packaging?

Thermoforming Packaging Options

There are a few styles when it comes to thermoformed packaging.  Each one has different applications and advantages, and work differently for different products. Here’s a quick rundown: 

Custom Thermoformed Trays

Highly versatile as well as usable, thermoformed trays are precision-formed to provide the highest level of protection for products. They can even be created with a locking mechanism to ensure that nothing shifts or breaks in transit. These custom trays can be inserted and heat-sealed into boxes or binders to hold not only your products, but companion content as well. USB drives, discs, manuals, you name it. It’s important that your customers experience your products in an ideal setting, right? Custom thermoformed trays create that ideal setting, anywhere and everywhere. 

Thermoformed Blister Packaging

Originally used for packaging aspirin, blister packaging is a lightweight, easy-to-open option for custom thermoformed packaging. Blister packaging is comprised of clear plastic housing your product and adhered to a backing like cardboard or foil. While the idea of easy-to-open packaging might not be at the top of your list of considerations, it’s proving to be a main motivator for some shoppers. Driven by the aging baby boomer market, usability is an increasingly large concern, especially for healthcare and medical devices. 

Custom Thermoformed Clamshells

Clamshells are an increasingly popular option for items that customers want to see before buying. For obvious reasons, it’s not always in the best interests of retailers and producers to have customers opening their products, fidgeting with them, and then walking away. By encasing products in clear plastic, customers can see the exact product they’re looking to purchase. And by making the packaging securely tamper-proof, they know that it’s in perfect condition. We recommend adding a printed insert as well for your branding and more marketing real estate!

Learn More About Thermoformed Packaging Options

Minnesota’s Sunrise Packaging has years of experience in this market. Contact a representative today to find out what style can work for your product!

 

Thermoformed Blister Packaging

The unique needs of different industrial markets can be daunting. If it’s a product shipped overseas, there are international regulatory standards. Some might include considerations of sanitation, creating a completely sterile environment, and more. Luckily, we have something up our sleeve that can usually meet these needs: thermoformed blister packaging fits the bill. 

What is Thermoformed Blister Packaging?

Thermoformed Blister Packaging

The connection between thermoformed blister packaging and use in the medical industry goes back to 1947. Basically, when blister packs were created to house aspirin. While its usage has expanded past storing tablets, it is still a popular option in the healthcare industry. 

To create blister packs, plastic is heated and molded to form cavities and adhered to a stiff backing, like cardboard. The product is then encased and protected in this form-fitting, see-through environment. The surface adds a level of security as well as marketing opportunities. 

Due to its secure nature, thermoformed blister packaging is relatively tamper-proof (at least, it is very easy to tell when a product has been disturbed or ripped open). This takes on especial importance when it comes to healthcare packaging. 

Thermoformed Packaging Uses in Different Industries

While thermoformed blister packaging was originally designed to hold aspirin tablets, it is also used for medical devices themselves. As we mentioned above, housing devices in a sterile environment is of paramount importance in healthcare.  Professionals need to have confidence that their tools are ready for use in any emergency…and if there is any evidence of tampering, they can make a quick decision to use a different one. Blister packaging allows for those evaluations without intense scrutiny. 

Additionally, blister packaging can be extremely lightweight. This means that products can move easily into depressed regions from acts of nature, war, or any other disaster. Moving quickly in an emergency means that any packaging needs to be quickly identifiable and removable as well. The clear product display aids the former; a variety of easy-to-open backings make the latter possible. 

Other Blister Packaging Opportunities

It’s a popular choice for all the above reasons, but we also love that it provides a surface for enhancing the product itself. Customers and users cannot only see the product (and without messing with the packaging), but companies can call attention to certain features or interesting aspects of the product. Like the specific features that set yours apart from the competition. 

Whatever your industry, thermoformed blister packaging provides a great platform to consider for your product. Contact us today to get started!

 

Wrap Rage is a Thing

VaporTrail-225It’s pretty common knowledge that thermoformed packaging is tough to open. Especially if the edges are factory sealed, or there aren’t easy-to-understand opening instructions. I thought it was just one of those things. You know, like ‘dogs chase cars’ or ‘bees sting.’ But now I know it’s not just a thing, it’s a Thing.

Wikipedia defines Wrap Rage as “the common name for heightened levels of anger and frustration resulting from the inability to open hard-to-open packaging.” It’s further defined as any packaging that claims to be easy-open but is, in actuality, nearly impossible. Such was the case of a vacuum-packed sausage for columnist Lori Borgman. She had to go through two sets of shears to get at her dinner.

Speaking of shears, products are even banking on wrap rage for their marketing plan. A cursory examination of one wrapragecure.com will eventually reveal itself as an advertisement for a product called the Open It™, a fancy-schmancy scissors for opening blister packaging. However, the irony is not lost on me that the Open It™ itself is encased in one of the tightest thermoformed plastic bubbles I’ve ever seen. A chicken-or-the-egg scenario if I ever saw one.

Open It_the wrap rage cure

Image: Bed Bath and Beyond

But even Borgman, sausage sufferer extraordinaire, admits that blister packaging is a necessary evil. Why? Because it’s still one of the top theft deterrents on the market. Or rather, in it. Blister packs and retail go together like peanut butter and jelly. Gold standard. As much as we may dread the eternal struggle that comes from purchasing a blister-packed product, we know that the reason the product was even there to purchase is because that plastic bubble protected it.

Products in stores aren’t supposed to be easy to open! Hello! It’s a sad fact that folks will steal anything not nailed down. I knew someone back in high school that stole display frames from eyeglass stores. For Display Only printed on the plastic lenses and all! But much the way animals know to avoid electrified fences, we humans know not to bother with stealing blister packaged items. The battle too exhausting, the sound too loud, and the risk too great. Therein lay the beauty of custom blister packaging.

Not too mention the reasonably low cost of thermoformed plastic packages means that virtually any product can enjoy the protection. Because people steal low ticket items too, let’s be honest.

So even though wrap rage is a thing, we all accept it. And there are options to making even hard-to-open packaging into easy-open. (Clear instructions being a biggie.) So next time you nick your thumb trying to open that pair of headphones, replace that expletive with a hearty Thanks, Blister Packaging! You’re just doing your job! I get it!

Custom Thermoforming for Point of Purchase

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Custom thermoforming is incredibly effective for point of purchase display, beauty, cosmetic, medical, pharmaceutical blister packaging, clamshell, electronic, and other manufacturing industries. Custom thermoforming is very cost effective for high volume orders and repetitive runs. Once your custom tooling is complete for custom plastic packaging, following orders are trouble-free to setup and speedy to turn.

EarSkinz Custom Thermoformed Packaging

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This vibrant custom thermoformed packaging for EarSkinz highlight a wonderful product. The tray assists to tell the story of what the product is, silicone ear bud covers in this case. This design utilizes the smooth and boundless potential of thermoformed plastic trays. An enormous advantage of this custom thermoformed package for EarSkinz is the elimination of extra exterior wraps, boxes or sleeves which diminishes waste, helping the bottom line for EarSkinz. The custom designed tray is covered in front by a clear co-polymer film which is easy to open for the purchaser. Finishing out the packaging is a back label which offers instructions which helps the front to stay clean and stylish.

Blister Packaging Benefits

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Custom blister packaging offers excellent display advantages and tamper evidence in retail.  Branded artwork is considerably easily done with blister packaging, since the concept of the item involves a blister card, it makes sense for you to print with dazzling graphic design! The thermoformed cavity is then heat sealed onto each card holding the product in place.

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For security, the blister pack keeps products secured from their exterior environment. However, since they are easier to open than clamshells, there is still a chance of tampering. Although blister packaging does not safeguard the product itself, it does protect the consumer; therefore any evidence of tampering is obvious to the consumer. Custom designed blister packaging is an extremely popular choice for general consumer goods packaging.

Combination: Turned Edge Blister Packaging

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This is a turned edge product that carefully and strategically utilizes custom thermoformed blister packaging in order to create a unique and comprehensive packaging solution. An informative piece that covers the benefits and uses of crops from Minnesota Grain in Eagan, this packaging solution is not only a great marketing piece, but it provides the recipient with real time samples of each item in order to recognize and truly learn about what they have to offer. They say in order to make money you have to spend money, and in this case, Minnesota Grain has done that by making a solid investment in educating their clientele and potential buyers. The thermoformed plastic acts as a blister with the turned edge flat, making it possible to show a variety of grain samples. The placement of each blister is in line with the accompanying descriptive text. As both a turned edge manufacturer and custom thermoformer, we love projects like this that use our strengths!

Blister Packs and Clamshells Everywhere!

 

Start Seeing Blister Packs

When you go into just about any department store or pharmacy, you can often find a wall or two–and an aisle or three–that are covered wall-to-wall in product merchandise. Product, product everywhere, encased in individual blister packs or plastic clamshells. Why? For starters, blister packs are a simple solution to both protecting and displaying retail merchandise. A retail ready solution that has withstood the test of time.


Theft-Deterrent and Marketing Strategy in One

thermoformed plastic blister packs for electronics retailThe most common types of packaging are made of thermoformed thin-gauge plastic. This particular gauge is used for packaging cosmetics, electronics, as well as items vital to the pharmaceutical industry. The main benefits of this packaging category prove the value of blister backs. Thermoformed packaging is tamper-evident–and often tamper proof! This is a great deterrent of theft, and makes for a highly-noticeable attempt. The clear plastic packaging gives the consumer the opportunity to actually see the product in its entirety. A product a consumer can see is a product that they will believe. Finally, high volume markets–such as with electronics–require speedy manufacturing and fulfillment to keep up with consumer demand. Blister Packs and clamshells are a fairly standard design, decreasing the turnaround time on orders


 

A Time-Honored Process

With in-line thermoforming processes, packaging manufacturers are able to produce both blister pack cavities and full two-sided clamshells in an efficient and streamlined way. Roll-fed into the thermoformer, thin gauge plastic travels through an aluminum mold that, when applied with heat and a vacuum, will conform the material to that exact shape and size.

Thermoforming is an old process, only fairly changed since its inception, but it is a proven solution for churning out reliable, protective retail packaging.

Learn More about Blister Packaging

Thermformed Plastic Trays

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Custom thermoforming offers the manufacturer the ability to create a unique packaging solution for anything. That’s right- anything. While thermoformed blister packaging and custom clamshells are generally geared toward the electronic and cosmetic markets, thermoformed plastic trays are applicable to any packaging purpose. The plastic forming process is simple, quick, and economical for production runs large and small, and with custom aluminum tooling, products fit snug into their respective place. Here are some markets that currently use or could greatly benefit from their own custom thermoformed plastic trays:

mechanical/automotive: plastic trays can be formed to hold parts large and small alike. Great for mechanical maintenance or as a presentation for the buyer! Present  a kite with the car manual, title, keys, and throw in a tire gauge for the new car owner!

art/design: perfect tool hold any kind of utensil- keep paintbrushes, pencils, and other tools in a compact and accessible kit. Plastic trays are durable and washable for the messier artist as well…I mean, did Da Vinci worry about paint drips on the ground? I don’t think so.

jewelry/accessories: for an affordable set of jewelry or an organized accessory kit, a plastic tray is perfect for separating by color or style.

wine and spirits: limited edition liquors and wines are a great way to promote high-end alcoholic beverages, new and old. Plastic trays can hold bottles, bottle openers, martini shakers, and more in a comprehensive little kit that true patrons would love to take home!

electronics: in our growing global economy and interweb we’ve got gadgets and gizmos a plenty! Many come with small parts and extra accessories that are valuable to the end use of the product– which is most likely pretty spendy. Keep track of each component with custom plastic trays.

financial/banking: whether it is to hold currency, poker chips, or a banking welcome packet, thermoformed plastic trays can play an integral part in a marketing kit that adds value to the service you provide.

Can you think of any markets that wouldn’t benefit from using plastic trays? Try and stump me by emailing marys@sunpack.com, I’m up for a challenge!