Packaging Industry Terms

Like many industries, the packaging industry has a language all of its own. Not sure what  “Blister Packaging” means? Use the following glossary to help guide you to all things packaging.

Custom Thermoforming

ID pet tag


Face Seal:
single blister sealed to a heat seal coated card

Full Face Seal :Single blister covering entire card sealed to above, primarily for strength- hang hole, better quality look

Trapped Blister– Front and back card sandwiching a blister so the flange is not visible. Front card has cutout shape of blister cavity. Strength, recycleability (if blister not sealed to either card)

Mock Clamshell: Single blister with a frame formed normally about ¼” depth to allow heat seal card to be sealed inside blister. Looks like a clamshell for about 1/3 less cost.

Clamshell: 1 piece hinged or 2 piece formed plastic package either snapped together or bonded together trapping the card and product. Highest protection for product. Seals are as follows: perimeter snap, corner snap, crush button, RF sealed, Ultrasonic sealed, hot/ cold seal (fusion) or UV glue.

Pharmaceutical “Wallet Packages”

  • Similar to trapped blister above, except using a presealed pill strip, (usually done on a high cost form/ fill and seal machine)
  • This package normally has panels, which when folded cover the pill strips, hence the name Wallet pack.
  • We can normally feed the preassembled pill strip, if it will stack by itself. (oval pills or 2 rows, etc.)

Medical Tray/ lid packages

  • Normally a medical device, surgery prep kit, etc.
  • Components normally a heavy formed Tray (blister) with a one way membrane call Tyvek
  • High pressure is required to seal, to allow full seal of coating from lid to tray.

Blister Packaging: A packaging technique which involves the heat seal of a rigid, thermoformed outer shell which houses a product, to a coated back card. A method commonly used for retail items.

Value Added: A reference to an additional operation or service that is done by a supplier to a product or products that provides a customer with a more complete solution

Hang Hole: Most every blister card has a die cut hang hole. This is required by most retailers. This allows the package to hang on a hook or peg at the store.

Foot: This is a protrusion of plastic specifically designed at the base of the rigid blister that would allow the final blister package to stand vertical on a store shelf. Blisters designed with a foot would still have a blister card.

Gauge: The thickness of a film. Film is measured in mils, 80 mil or .08 inches.

Bio-Degradable: Capable of being decomposed of by biological means

Die-Cutting: The process of cutting shapes from sheets of plastic by pressing a shaped knife edge into one layer of sheeting. The dies are often called steel rule dies, and pressure is applied by hydraulic or mechanical presses.

Drop Test: The purpose of this test is not only to test the actual package but also to see how well the intended content is protected by the package. The test simulates actual shocks by dropping the package and its intended content freely against a rigid plane surface from a predetermined height. The package is set up to hit the surface at a particular angle and on a particular attitude, face, edge or corner, of the package.

Returnable Packaging: “Returnable Packaging are packaging designed to be reused in open and closed loops” A more deep definition could be as follows; A shipping and storage container which is designed for reuse without impairment of its protective function and which can be repaired and/or refitted to prolong its life or to adapt it for shipment of items other than that for which it was originally employed.

Vacuum forming: Vacuum forming is a method for thermally shaping a flat plastic sheet in to a three-dimensional shape by heating the sheet and withdrawing the air between the sheet and mold. This process is usually used with male forms. 

Pressure forming: Similar to vacuum forming. In addition to vacuum withdrawing the air between the sheet and mold, air pressure is applied to the opposite side of the sheet to assist the plastic into or over the mold. The use of a pressure plate is utilized which traps the sheet between itself and the mold, creating a seal where the pressure and vacuum are contained. This process can be used with both male and female forms. 

Male form: A type of thermoforming where shapes are mounted to a plate. The plastic is then formed over these shapes, creating the package which is usually a blister. 

Female form: A type of thermoforming where shapes are cut into a plate. The plastic is then formed into these shapes, creating the packaging which is usually a clamshell or tray.

Ring Assist: Usually used in vacuum forming, is a simple plate with contours cut to parallel around the male molds to assist the material forming process 

Plug Assist: Usually used in pressure forming, are shapes cut to parallel the female mold cavities to assist the material forming process. 

 

Contrack Packaging

Contract-Packaging

Contract Assembly: A term referring to a service that specializes in the assembly of a product through the use of manual labor, fixturing or automation.

Contract Packaging: A general term referring to a service that is performed on a product utilizing various assembly and / or packaging techniques intended for the enhancement of a product.

Contract Supplier: A source that performs a manufacturing service for a customer.

Contract Warehousing: A term referring to a service that specializes in material handling, storage, inventory control and distribution of a companies’ product or products.

Fulfillment: The overall logistics associated with a product or products including but not limited to material handling, collation, incoming inspection, order processing & tracking, inventory control, warehousing, assembly and/or transportation.

Hand Assembly: Tasks that are completed by human hands or manual labor.

Outsourcing: The act of physically sending out a product to a contract supplier for assembly, packaging or manufacturing.

Pack Out: The method and quantity associated with the last step in handling a product that needs to be shipped out.

Pick & Pack: This is part of the order fulfillment process which includes the physical locating or “picking” of a part out of inventory, and then packing the part into a box for shipment.

Poly-bagging: The placement of a product or products into a poly-bag and then heat sealing the bag closed.

P.O.P. Display: An acronym for Point of Purchase, this is a merchandiser which holds multiple items in a free-standing display which can be found in an aisle or end cap in a retail establishment. These are typically designed and made out of corrugated material.

Relabeling : This is a task that may include either applying a label over an existing label on a product, removing an existing label prior to applying a new label, or just applying a label to an original product or box.

Reverse Logistics: The total processing involved with taking in returned goods from the field and reworking or repackaging them to conform to the standards of original goods.

Repackaging: Redoing or undoing an existing type of packaging to reflect new standards.

Rework: The act of undoing or redoing a task that was last completed incorrectly.

Secondary Operation: A manufacturing step that comes after the initial process because it cannot be done “in-line” or simultaneously.

Shrink Wrapping: Probably the most common of all packaging methods, shrink wrapping is accomplished by trimming a piece of shrinkable film around an object, and then sending it through a heat “tunnel” which “shrinks” the film to conform to the exact size of an outer box or product. This is a tamper resistant covering that is very common at the retail level on products such as gift sets, software, and games, to name a few. The gloss effect created by the film tends to give a product or box a richer appearance.

Skin Packaging: A packaging technique whereby a film is sucked down over a product and onto a preprinted “skin card”. As heat is introduced, the adhesive coating on the card and the Surlyn film adhere together. This is an attractive packaging option and is preferred for retail because the product is displayed clearly yet is protected by the transparent covering.

Sorting: The separation of good versus bad usually accomplished through visual inspection.

Value Added: A reference to an additional operation or service that is done by a supplier to a product or products that provides a customer with a more complete solution

Floor Loading: A technique used for packing a truck in which pallets and stretch film are not used. Hand carrying (conveyors are frequently used) a load on a truck and shipping the load by leaving it on the trailer floor unprotected.

CPS, Complete Packaging Solutions: CPS is not about selling one product. CPS is about selling a solution which will provide the customer with a total cost take out. The products and possible services that will be chosen will optimize the transport and logistics while fulfilling the requirements that the customer has on the packaging.

Inner Packaging: By blocking, bracing and cushioning the products, the inner packaging together with the outer packaging is protecting the product from transport and storage damages. The inner packaging surrounds the product and can also be designed to protect against abrasion, corrosion or electro static discharge (ESD).

Logistics: The process of planning, implementing and controlling the efficient and cost-effective flow and storage of raw materials, in-process stocks, finished goods and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption for customers. Put more simply, it is the science and art of ensuring that the right products reach the right place in the right quantity at the right time in order to satisfy consumer demand.

Over Packaging: Simply put, too much more raw materials are used, than actually needed for protecting the contents of the package.

Pick-and-Pack: The process by which goods are picked against customers’ orders and then packed for onward distribution.

Returnable Packaging: “Returnable Packaging are packaging designed to be reused in open and closed loops” A more deep definition could be as follows; A shipping and storage container which is designed for reuse without impairment of its protective function and which can be repaired and/or refitted to prolong its life or to adapt it for shipment of items other than that for which it was originally employed.

RFID: RFID is radio-frequency identification, a system that uses radio signals to locate and identify merchandise, batched products or transportation assets fitted with special electronic tags. The tags – also known as smart labels or intelligent tags – enable the automatic track-and-trace of merchandise/assets throughout the supply chain.

 

Heat Seal Machines and Tooling

Arthur first machine

RF Sealing: The permanent sealing of the edges of a clamshell package through the use of Radio Frequency. Special RF sealing equipment is required for this process and it is designed to make a clamshell package tamper proof. This sealing technique would be commonly found in expensive or heavy retail items.

Value Added: A reference to an additional operation or service that is done by a supplier to a product or products that provides a customer with a more complete solution

Cycle Time: Cycle time is the total time from the beginning to the end of your process, as defined by you and your customer. Cycle time includes process time, during which a unit is acted upon to bring it closer to an output, and delay time, during which a unit of work is spent waiting to take the next action. In a nutshell – Cycle Time is the total elapsed time to move a unit of work from the beginning to the end of a physical process. (Note, Cycle Time is not the same as Lead Time)

Die-Cutting: The process of cutting shapes from sheets of plastic by pressing a shaped knife edge into one layer of sheeting. The dies are often called steel rule dies, and pressure is applied by hydraulic or mechanical presses.

RFID: RFID is radio-frequency identification, a system that uses radio signals to locate and identify merchandise, batched products or transportation assets fitted with special electronic tags. The tags – also known as smart labels or intelligent tags – enable the automatic track-and-trace of merchandise/assets throughout the supply chain.