Thermoforming Packaging Outlook

When it comes to custom packaging, thermoforming is about as literal as you can get. 

Design and personalization appear in all of our projects. But when it comes to truly crafting packaging around a product, thermoforming provides the best amount of customization. This style of personalized packaging takes a sheet of plastic that is heated until pliable, and then molded to the desired shape. You've experienced a variety of thermoformed packaging, and maybe not even realized it. For example, any time you have opened medicine in a plastic container with a foil back... That's blister packaging. If you've slid a plastic tray out of a box... That's a thermoformed tray. 

The incredible array of possibilities for thermoforming is part of what makes it such a dynamic industry. Digital Journal projects that the market for thermoformed trays, blister packs, and more will see steady growth through at least 2026. Plastic trays and custom plastic packaging have become an important aspect of packaging. As more and more people turn to shopping online, the need for packaging stability and protection increase. Not to mention the ability to capture freshness and keep products firmly sealed. 

 

How Industries are Personalizing Thermoforming

When it comes to specific industries, thermoforming allows them to not only package with integrity, but also with precision and intentionality. 

Take a look at the image to the side. These cosmetics are packed in safely and securely, but also with an element of presentation. All users who purchase this product will be able to have a consistent experience, from any part of the country.  Not to mention that these containers, otherwise fragile and full of precious substance, are protected from the potential pitfalls of transit and retail shoppers. 

Healthcare packaging is another industry which often uses thermoforming. We discussed pill packaging above, but this style of single-servings also helps with compliance packaging. Compliance packaging ensures that users are taking the correct dosage/amount at the right time. Adding features to the packaging design, like a clock or other graphics, along with the individual blisters, assists users in being responsible and understanding how their medication works. 

Thermoforming Market Growth

These two industries are hardly the only ones out there using thermoformed trays, blister packs, etc. The food industry, horticulture, electronics/technology, and more have adopted thermoformed products as part of their packaging lineup. Learn more about the options we can provide to you to keep products safe and sound through our thermoforming options!

Healthcare Marketing Packaging Strategies

2017 has been a volatile year when it comes to healthcare, and that has repercussions on healthcare marketing as well. Just as the customer experience, or CX, has become a major factor for other businesses, healthcare has proven to be no exception. Consumers are empowered to shop for the best care and service, and they aren’t shy about letting others know when they’ve had a negative experience. Additionally, the healthcare model in the US is transitioning to one based on transparency, quality and patient satisfaction.

Every change brings challenges and opportunities. DMN3 has identified some of the key marketing trends that could affect custom packaging decisions for the medical industry.

Healthcare Marketing Trendshealthcare marketing

One of the key factors influencing these shifts is the focus on the consumer. In previous years, doctors acted as the key decision-makers. They prescribed treatments or medications, made referrals and acted as the end-all, be-all when it came to health. 

While doctors still serve in that role to a degree, there’s been a shift of power when it comes to decision-making. Here’s what’s happening: 

  • Hospitals are buying up individual physician practices and forming bigger systems. While this allows them to coordinate care more efficiently for patients, it turns doctors into employees. They become part of an integrated system that has to work through channels and people. Doctors can still advocate for things, of course, but they may not make the final purchasing decision.
  • While WebMD might convince you that you have a terrible, terminal illness every time you look up symptoms, it’s a gamechanger for healthcare marketing. Consumers can do a ton of research prior to even setting foot in a doctor’s office. They see a visit as something more akin to a collaboration than a consultation.  This gives both parties responsibility for treatment. 

These factors support the shift originally noted in the MM&M /Ogilvy CommonHealth Healthcare Marketers Trend Report 2016.  While doctors are still the primary audience for healthcare marketing, payers and consumers are increasingly targeted. These are the new decision-makers.  Additionally, digital marketing and digital content is becoming more important than traditional channels.

Effects on Healthcare Marketing Packaginghealthcare packaging

Medical device packaging and healthcare packaging is subject to a lot of requirements. Not the least of which are the requirements of a changing market. As the audience for healthcare marketing changes, so do their expectations. As consumers take increased control over their health and making purchasing decisions, the desire for better packaging is sure to follow. 

In the example on this page, Minnesota’s Sunrise Packaging used conventional techniques to design custom boxes that are unique and user-friendly. Magnetic closure is easy for hands of all strength to use while keeping contents secure. The decorations are also kept to a minimum, not detracting from the product but adding to it. Additionally, the custom foam insert keeps the product safe and padded. 

Users want packaging that meets their needs and expectations. The best way to do that is creating a style that is recognizable while innovative. We’ve got the tools to make this happen for you!

Human Factors in Healthcare Packaging

Human factors is the study of how humans behave and interact with objects or services within an environment. It’s existed under many different names over time, but human factors seems to be the one that has stuck. While the field has expanded widely in the digital age–understanding how humans interact with parts of a system essentially defines a great web user experience–it has chiefly been the domain of medical devices.  For obvious reasons, it’s necessary to know how a device that regulates a heart rhythm or helps someone hear needs to work well with the human body. But just as the study has taken on new life in other formats, so can human factors inform another key medical area: healthcare packaging. 

Healthcare Packaging Defined by Human Factors

The ultimate goal of human factors applied to a product is to ensure that it’s safe and easy to use in the real world. It’s a good guideline for any product, but especially when we’re talking about medical device packaging or healthcare packaging in general. In fact, it was made a regulatory requirement by the FDA in 1990 for healthcare. healthcare packaging

Human factors sets out to study and answer three distinct questions at the outset: 

  • Who is the user?
  • What are they trying to do?
  • What is the environment of use?

HealthcarePackaging.com frames some of the scenarios for how these questions might be answered. This line of questioning is known as contextual inquiry. It reveals the key points needed to determine packaging requirements. For example, a hearing aid will need different medical packaging than a set of surgical instruments. Human factors studies, and contextual inquiries, are best conducted with actual users and customers…AKA outside of your boardroom and employee pool. It’s impossible for those close to a product to have an actual consumer mindset. And chances are that the intended use of a product will vary from how it’s actually used.

Integrating the Findings

The study detailed in the article linked above focused on finding ways to make sure the packaging reduces stress for users and simplifies things. In their study, they timed things like how long it took users to open the custom package. They also created graphics based on their findings, like the actual environment where the product is used, and how it fits in, as well as storyboards detailing how the task completion played out for various test subjects. 

Armed with this research, organizations can start to refine their healthcare packaging model. Find ways to reduce complexity and increase understanding for how users should actually be using the product.  

The bottom line? You might think you know how customers engage with healthcare packaging, but you have no idea.

Healthcare Packaging Through 2026

The healthcare packaging market outlook through 2026 was released earlier today (October 20, 2016). This research, conducted and produced by Commodity Inside, attempts to predict the future of the market. It helps producers and manufacturers alike know what to expect in terms of medical packaging trends and requirements. The report also provides a commentary on both existing and emerging markets, particularly where organizations may want to focus attention going forward.

Elements Affecting Healthcare PackagingCustom box for medical market

On average, countries spend 10% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (or GDP) in the health sector every year. Populations are growing in nearly every corner of the globe. This leads to increased urbanization, increased aging population, and an overall increase in healthcare spending from consumers as well. The increase in demand is expected to continue to rise into the future.

Asia is driving much of the growth in healthcare packaging. Globally, the demand grew in 2015 by 5.6%. This equates to $65.8 billion worldwide. It’s a sizeable market, to say the least, and one still expected to grow by at least that amount in the next decade (another source predicts hitting $82 billion by 2021).  The 2026 outlook includes chapters focusing specifically on:

  • Asia (China and Japan, specifically)
  • Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom)
  • North America (Canada and USA)
  • Latin America (Brazil)
  • Australia
  • Middle East/Africa (Egypt and South Africa)

Each section includes a market review and a market outlook.  An appendix provides further macroeconomic information.

Medical developments are driving the demand as well. As devices become more lightweight and efficient, packaging needs to reflect those updates. Additionally, medical device packaging needs to meet the needs of consumers. That might mean using magnetic closures on boxes to aid in opening. It might mean integrating carrying components, like handles built into containers, so devices are more mobile. And, like phones and laptops, healthcare developers are always looking to make devices lighter. This means that packages need to take on more protective roles. Look for more rigid setup boxes, thermoformed protective cavities and other custom features.

About Commodity Inside

In addition to healthcare packaging, Commodity Inside also produces reports on corrugated packaging, flexible paper packaging, folding cartons, and more.

Permavue™ Formed Album with Turned Edge

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Our customizable Permavue albums are an extremely versatile packaging item that offers the best of thermoforming and turned edge manufacturing! A custom formed album adhered to rigid turned edge gives our clients the opportunity to apply their design to the exterior of the album. With a lamination of either gloss or matte finish, this piece gives a high end, professional feel for an otherwise simple or mundane item. We like to be able to combine our manufacturing processes and the Permavue album does just that! We manufacture both the turned edge flats and the thermoformed interior here in house! With a large sealing department, we heat seal the two main pieces together to create a compact album that can hold up to 30 disc pages. We offer a few different plastic materials to choose from, choose from white or black in order to coordinate with your artwork. The best part about using thermoforming in this album is that the specifications of the tooling are so specific that it creates a way to firmly shut the album without any extra closure needs. The album, when shut fits perfectly snug and protects all of the discs inside!

Thermoformed Clamshell: Accessible and Secure

thermoformed clamshellWhat may look like your average plastic clamshell package, is a actually a revolution in plastic thermoformed packaging solutions. The clamshell for Allegra Allergy, was a trial packed that launched in October and the unique design has packaging manufacturers talking. The shape of the clamshell is an A, just like the logo, and the printed insert has a bold color scheme that stands out in the retail environment. The custom shape of the clamshell is new for the company, before they were using standard rectangular shaped packaging. Also, security features for the package include child resistance, tamper evidence, and an easy-to-open structure. For savers out there, the plastic clamshell can also function and a reusable case with a reclosable feature perfect for traveling.

Blog source: packworld.com

Medical Market Benefits from Plastics Packaging

thermoformed packagingThermoformed plastic packaging offers flexibility, which is a vital characteristic in most markets and a huge selling point for manufacturers.  Plastic offers the ability to provide packaging and products that few other materials can over a wide range of market segments.Plastic packaging can improve overall quality of a medical product’s life. By thermoforming a custom package, you offer a superior ability to protect products against contamination, and ultimately, patients against infection. The chemical resistance, transparency, and durability of plastics enhance safety and efficiency in lab, hospital and home use. Plastics conform to nearly any shape and guard against most impurities and are the ideal solutions for shipping, protecting, and storing intricate and expensive medical device instruments.

Study of Arm Amputees Finds that Improvements are Needed in Medical/Healthcare Packaging

The opportunities are endless for healthcare companies to differentiate themselves in a competitive market by making the product to use with one hand. By being convenient for one-handed use, this convenience packaging could be a top competitor in the healthcare packaging industry. Convenience is the killer app, according to a unique new “One Handed World” study.

The study found that that the convenience of using one-hand creates delight and loyalty in consumers. A product that is easy to use with a single hand has strong competitive advantage in the marketplace, which can lead to an increase in profits and loyalty from customers. With about 79 million Baby Boomers in our midst, this is not an opportunity that can be easily ignored.

The “One Handed World” study was inspired by the increase in smartphones and aims to reveal insights about future healthcare packaging needs since this extreme user group provides a glimpse into the changing ways that humans interact with a wide variety of products, including packaging.

Multitasking is nothing new, we do it all the time, but the dramatic increase in smartphone usage is creating a permanent change in human behavior and is something that designers and manufacturers simply can’t ignore.

While reading the title, you may have asked yourself, “Why arm amputees?”

Well, the study investigated how one-arm amputees interacted with, and how they were challenged by, nearly 250 everyday products, including the packaging, across 18 different categories. Then, two-handed consumers were surveyed to understand how they spent their days and how they fared with the same items.

In all, 25 percent of the amputee respondents reported that everyday items were difficult to operate with one hand, with the degree of difficulty increasing with the complexity of the task. Even two-handed consumers reported that they had difficulty opening or using some products, even when both hands were fully available. In some cases, two-handed respondents reported more difficulty than the amputees.

Results found that the two-handed consumers spent about 40% of their day with having one hand occupied. As a result of this occupation, the two-handed consumers attempt to interact with products and packages by using a single hand or finger.

One-arm amputees provide the research with a preview of this shift in overall consumer behavior and how consumers are using products and how often they struggle. With the results of the study, marketers and designers can better understand what the future consumer may need, and create a new design to meet those needs.

Source: Healthcare Packaging