Custom thermoforming serves a variety of industries. Its versatility is due to the process, which can work with a variety of plastics. Focusing on molding heated plastic, thermoforming is a growing industry serving many other industries, from healthcare to technology. Packaging systems can communicate value to customers. Custom thermoforming is an ideal solution that protects and organizes materials, creating a great experience for users. The aeasthetics don’t stop there, with a variety of plastics used for thermoforming.
These plastic thermoforming materials each have their own qualities and benefits. Here’s a rundown of some of the materials with which we work at Sunrise Packaging (Blaine, Minnesota).
Custom Thermoforming Materials & Properties
PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
PET is a super-clear material, affording customers a great view of a product (we love it for custom vacuum-forming in retail packaging). Another reason why it’s popular? It’s easily recyclable.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
PVC is one of the strongest custom thermoforming materials, but just as malleable as any other. PVC is versatile in other ways as well. It can be translucent or colored, opaque or clear. It’s also recyclable, of course.
PETG (modified Polythylene Terephthalate)
PETG is a modified version of PET that turns it it into a cross between PET and PVC. It has a lower melting point than PET, and retains the strength and versatility of PVC.
RPET (Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate)
Noticing a trend? PET is a popular base for custom thermoforming. This version–RPET–is made from recycled PET. It’s slightly weaker than standard PET, though.
Polystyrene is among the hardest and stiffest custom thermoforming materials. It’s a popular option for anything that needs to be punched or cut (think CD cases, smoke detectors, etc).
Custom Thermoforming Applications
These different materials each have slightly different benefits and uses. Depending on what you need from your packaging, Sunrise can recommend the perfect solution. Contact us today to learn more!
AT&T is now using an eco-friendly thermoformed clamshell package for more than 300 SKUs of their wireless accessories. Dubbed TerraPET®, the new material used in thermoforming is composed of 30% renewable-resource content sourced from ethanol harvested from natural sugarcane. By using this TerraPET®, fossil fuel-based materials can be replaced without compromising quality and clarity.
The thermoformed clamshell previously used before TerraPET® was made from recycled PET (RPET) with 30-60% recycled pre-consumer content. But that wasn’t good enough for AT&T. This new initiative proves that the company will go the extra mile to make their packaging options more sustainable. “What can we do next?” is the attitude when it comes to minimizing environmental waste.
The transition to TerraPET® began on October 2, 2011. The sugarcane that makes the film will yield two to four harvests per plant making it a rapidly renewable agricultural crop. It permits the replacement of a third of the fossil fuels traditionally used in AT&T’s accessory packaging. AT&T is the first U.S. telecom company to use this plastic in its packaging.
The primary reason for using a thermoformed clamshell in their accessory packaging is so AT&Ts customers have access to the products. Consumers can easily open the clamshell while in the store and close it back up to test the product and see if it’s right for their device. The clamshell also gives consumers a 360-degree view of the products inside the package.
The European Association of Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organization (EPRO) has recently backed claims of the possibility that ALL plastic packaging could be recycled by 2020. That means no more plastic in landfills which is an incredibly ambitious hope. The number of plastic that ends up in landfills across the globe each day is astronomical.
Right now in Europe, approximately 66% of plastic packaging is recycled with one-third of plastic packaging still going to landfill.
EPRO said in a statement: “A recovery rate of 100 per cent in 2020 for both plastic packaging and all other plastic waste is still possible; it is all about willingness and working together across the plastics supply chain to set the scene and move the agenda forward.”
Could this initiative also help the economy? “A strategy of 100% recovery of plastic waste might also contribute to an economic recovery of Europe and thus more jobs.”
In EPRO’s report, the following 16 nations recycled more than 30% of its plastic packaging waste in 2010: Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Belgium, Austria, Norway, Netherlands, Slovakia, Switzerland, Italy, Latvia, Slovenia, Poland, UK and Lithuania.
At the other end of the list, countries recycling less than 22.5 per cent of their post-consumer plastic packaging were: Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Greece and Malta.
Coca-Cola has made their vision clear of making all of their plastic bottles from plant-based materials and recycled plastic by 2020. Their latest development is rolling out new packaging for their 500ml drinks. The new PlantBottle packaging is made from 22.5% renewable plant-based PET and 25% recycled plastic. The reason these new bottles are more eco-frlendly is that they’ll reduce the company’s dependency on fossil fuels. They are being released today in the UK and can be identified with a PlantBottle logo. More than 5 billion of Coke’s PlantBottles will be available in 20 countries by the end of 2011.
Coca-Cola is not new to the green movement. In fact, last year they won the Best Sponsor Activation award at the UK Festival Awards for their recycling program. Coke is committed to recover the equivalent of 100% of their packaging by 2020.