A traditional blister pack has a card back and a plastic protective bubble stuck to the front of the card. This bubble can be in any shape including a uniform shape to protect tablets for example, or an unusual shape to protect a less uniform product, like the football figures shown in the image below.
Clam packaging is actually a type of blister packaging. In the industry it is called a clam shell blister pack. A clam shell does not have a cardboard back, it has as plastic back which is hinged to the front of the packaging. It can be hinged at the side or the base of the pack.
The bubble can be evenly sized on the back and front or can be a different size and shape depending on the product inside it.
A trapped blister is almost the same as a traditional blister pack but the plastic part that sticks to the cardboard has another piece of cardboard in front of it that is fitted around the shape of the bubble. The plastic then is trapped between two pieces of cardboard.
This makes it more tamper proof as its obvious if the front cardboard has been ripped and it can offer greater aesthetic appeal by covering the plastic.
Blister packaging is all about protecting the product. If a product is shaped in a way which might make certain parts of it vulnerable, for example the arm of the football figurines picture above, then blister packaging offers a level of protection that a bag or box can’t.
Blisters also keep products clean and uncontaminated, which is why tablets are almost always packed in this way.
They are also tamper-proof, in that, if a tablet package had been tampered with i.e. a pill had been taken out and replaced, you’d be able to see that clearly from a break in the packaging.
Clam packaging offers the same kind of protection as blister packaging but works best for products that won’t really fit in a blister package or sets that have lots of different parts. Things like small tool sets, bulb sets, gift sets and cosmetic sets are often packed in clam packaging.
There are five main reasons to use blister packaging:
PET or PVC can be used. Generally PET is used as it is very clear, strong and holds its shape well. PVC is slightly less transparent and can sometimes appear a little yellow.
You can watch the process below:
Blister packing is not a low cost option!
A traditional blister pack has high set up costs compared to a single carton, but if the numbers of units to be packed are high, then these costs can be spread across many products.
A clam shell blister, however, can often be sourced as an “off the shelf” product. There are many companies who have a selection of moulds, and a range of standard sizes from their stocks. This saves set up costs, and if utilised well, can be a very competitive option.
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