FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Plastiform can typically provide a CAD design for review in a week or less. Add another week to prototype physical samples of that design. This time may be longer depending on first, customer design review cycle, and second, on the material(s) needed for prototype evaluation. Machining production molds and bringing in material required for production runs can add up to three weeks; possibly more for exotic materials. Give us another week to get it run and on its way to you.
This varies from project to project, but since we provide custom packaging, we must create a custom mold before manufacturing the packaging component. Plastiform is unique in its ability to handle short runs: we have a plant specially configured to run as few as 500 pieces. We work to keep total costs down my using a lower cost mold material that is adequate for small run requirements. As volume increases, we shift production to our long run plant with bigger, faster, more automated equipment necessitating the use of aluminum molds. The higher investment in molds is offset by the lower unit cost of production.
All tooling remaining in Plastiform possession will receive normal maintenance at no charge for the production of parts unless:
- A tool has produced more than 500,000 parts per mold or cavity, or
- A tool which has no production activity for more than one year.
In either event, it may be necessary to refurbish or rebuild the tool at Buyer’s expense before additional parts can be produced. If 2 years have passed without an order from the customer, tooling will be considered abandoned.
All of our materials are what’s call “thermoplastic” resins. Their advantage is that they can be reheated and molded with very little degradation in their structural properties. This makes them ideal candidates for recycling. The exact thermoplastic used, all depends on the application. Interior cushion packaging for electronics or other sensitive equipment is typically 100% Post-consumer recycled polyethylene (PE). Food related containers are often polystyrene (PS). But if you want to microwave the contents, you probably need polypropylene (PP). Clamshells and blisters have historically been made mostly with polyvinylchloride (PVC), but are moving to recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET, PET, or PETE), the same material as a 1.5 liter soda bottles. Following are some definitions:
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) is a clear, tough plastic with good gas and moisture barrier properties. Commonly used in soft drink bottles and many injection molded consumer product containers. Other applications include strapping and both food and non-food containers. Cleaned, recycled PET flakes and pellets are in great demand for spinning fiber for carpet yarns, producing fiberfill and geo-textiles.
Polyethylene (PE) is a thermoplastic polymer with an extremely large range of applications. It is the most widely produced/used plastic with 80 million tons produced worldwide annually. Rigid packaging most often uses High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) a strong, high density plastic with moderately stiff plastic structure. It has a relatively low melting point so best used when heat is not a factor. It is frequently used as a plastic for milk cartons, laundry detergent, garbage bins, and cutting boards. Other types of PE get used in everything from plastic grocery bags to bullet proof vests.
Polystyrene (PS) is a versatile plastic that can be rigid or foamed. General purpose polystyrene is naturally clear, hard and brittle. It has a relatively low melting point and can be colored. Typical applications include protective packaging, containers, lids, cups, bottles and trays. Think Styrofoam coffee cups, red Solo Cups, or the clear, lidded container of berries at the store.
Polypropylene (PP) is a plastic with good chemical resistance, is strong, and has a high melting point making it good for hot-fill liquids. Polypropylene is found in flexible and rigid packaging to fibers and large molded parts for automotive and consumer products.
Plastiform specializes in custom solutions. We have a limited selection of stock molds available for customer use but do not warehouse stock designs of rigid packaging.
Plastiform has over 60,000 square feet of production and warehouse space enabling us to craft run & release, packing, drop shipping, and other fulfillment services based on customer need. We are your supply chain partner providing solutions for part delivery when and where you need it.
Issues of security and opening ease need to be addressed in the packaging design phase. Clamshells are designed with a variety of snap closures including button and perimeter which provide easy consumer access. But if security/anti-pilfering issues are primary, sealing methods have to be appropriate to the material used. Here are some common options.
Low Volume Applications – Start by restricting yourself to PVC only since there are two inexpensive means of sealing this material. In this case, Plastiform recommends a handheld clamshell sealer or special adhesive for low volume applications. A dual heat, electric powered handheld clamshell sealer creates a 1/2″ x 1/4″ spot seal and works with. The sealer is ideal for sealing clamshells to prevent pilferage or product damage and is supplied with a high and low temperature control switch with power light and proportional temperature control system. Alternatively, a drop of PVC adhesive in a button snap can accomplish the same result.
High Volume Applications – For higher volume applications and materials other than PVC, you need to consider utilizing RF sonic welding equipment or UV cured adhesive systems. These solutions vary in automation levels from completely manual to robotic automation. We can refer you to appropriate sources for these systems.
Specifying a Clamshell – The first step in specifying a clamshell is to determine if a clamshell package is the best package for your application. If your product needs more exposure, that’s the benefit of clear clamshells. As a general rule, they provide excellent product display attributes and theft resistance qualities. Another benefit is they don’t require any special equipment to pack and seal them. They typically hold much heavier items than blister packs and don’t require extensive, complex graphics like folding cartons or flexible packaging (pouches).
If a clamshell package is a good fit for your product and retail environment, here are some guidelines that may help you.
Determine the Size of Cavity You Will Need to House Your Product
This is the easiest place to start as many other decisions will evolve from what size package you need for your product. You should also consider whether or not this package will be used for a single product or if it needs to be designed to hold a variety of different sized items. Ultimately, you will need to determine:
Evaluate Material Thickness
- Consider weight of the item being packed.
- Consider shipping configuration and how items will be packed in shipping containers.
- Thinner walls can often be used to package light weight items or where risk of damage is low.
- Thicker walls are specified when you have heavier objects, need to provide more protection and resist damage better. Thicker material will increase the cost.
- One can sometimes use thinner walled clamshells by adding additional protective inserts to the shipping containers.
Evaluate Merchandising Issues
Many companies choose clear clamshells because of the benefits of full product visibility, but there are usually needs for some graphics for point-of-sale purposes.
- Test display options for clamshell hanging on wall or sitting on shelf.
- Determine how much “header card” space you will need to adequately describe your product, show your logo, product features, etc…
Evaluate Clamshell Sealing Options
Some stores like clamshells because they can open the product and not destroy the package, while others prefer sealed packages to minimize theft. Determine what your customers prefer and then evaluate your options.
Sealing options include:
- Handheld sealers ideal for small volume runs or flexibility (PVC only).
- Automated sealers for higher volumes of standardized packages.
- Shrink bands and other mechanical sealing options can also be considered.
Evaluate Packing and Shipping Issues
- Determine how many packages you will put in each shipping cartons
- Consider the order quantities that retail outlets will probably order in.
- Consider standard skid sizes to maximize number that will fit on skid.
- Test to ensure that packages can be shipped with minimal damage.
Evaluate Costs and Trade Offs
Once you have identified your preferences for each characteristic, you can evaluate the costs (both one time and ongoing) involved to determine whether or not the price of your product can support the use of the clamshell package you have specified. Given the many options available, it is often productive to work with a Plastiform specialist to help you in this process.
Looking for graphics, header cards, inserts or blister cards for your new package? Plastiform is proud to work with trusted, highly experienced, local partners in the DFW area to offer you a complete packaging solution. This enables us to make sure you get the quality outcome you expect in the graphics that complete your clear rigid packaging. We can manage the entire project for you or direct you to appropriate outsource partners.
As a custom manufacturer and due to the limitations of the process, Seller reserves the right to ship and bill up to 10% over or below the quantity ordered and order will be considered complete.
In lieu of all other warranties, express or implied, seller warrants to the original customer that all products shall be free from defects in material or workmanship at the time of shipment. Customer’s sole and exclusive remedy is limited to either (a) repair or replacement of the defective part or product or at seller’s option, (b) return of the product and refund of the purchase price. Seller shall have no obligation or liability under this warranty unless it shall have received prompt written notice specifying such defect no later than one (1) year from the date of shipment.
SELLER MAKES NO OTHER WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY AND WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, EACH OF WHICH IS EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED HEREIN.
To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, (1) IN NO EVENT SHALL SELLER BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, EXEMPLARY, PUNITIVE, OR SIMILAR DAMAGES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY DAMAGES MEASURED BY, OR PREMISED ON, LOST PROFITS, REVENUES, SAVINGS OR LOST BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY, LOSS OF USE OF ANY PRODUCT, EQUIPMENT OR OTHER PROPERTY OR ASSET, COST OF CAPITAL, COST OF ANY SUBSTITUTED EQUIPMENT, PRODUCT OR SERVICE, DOWNTIME, INJURY TO PROPERTY, REPUTATION OR RELATIONSHIPS WITH EXISTING OR PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS, ARISING OUT OF OR RELATED TO THIS ORDER OR THE PRODUCTS, EVEN IF SELLER HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, AND WHETHER BASED UPON CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE, STRICT TORT, STATUTE, OR ANY OTHER LEGAL THEORY AND (2) THE TOTAL CUMULATIVE LIABILITY OF SELLER ARISING OUT OF OR RELATED TO THIS ORDER AND THE PRODUCTS, SHALL NOT EXCEED THE TOTAL PRICE PAID BY THE CUSTOMER IN RESPECT OF THE PRODUCTS GIVING RISE TO THE CLAIM, REGARDLESS OF THE FORM OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT, OR OTHERWISE, AND EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. THE EXISTENCE OF MORE THAN ONE CLAIMS OR SUITS SHALL NOT EXPAND THIS LIMITATION.