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Four Ways To Enhance Efficiency With Thermoforming

May 17, 2018 03:21 PM

Manufacturers are increasingly under pressure to streamline efficiency, reduce operational costs and improve sustainability. Here, Martin Baldwin, TF Manager at ULMA Packaging, explains how to maximise savings using the latest in thermoform packaging technology by addressing the whole process - from start to finish.

When it comes to product packaging, the process of continuous improvement is often a difficult challenge for manufacturers of all types of goods to overcome. This, coupled with the need to impress eco-conscious consumers in a highly competitive marketplace, means manufacturers are constantly looking at how to achieve optimum efficiency throughout the packaging process.

Thermoforming is already widely considered to be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than many alternative methods, and there are several reasons why. By creating a process that is truly efficient from the top-down, organisations can reap the rewards in terms of increased productivity and savings; all of which helps to secure a competitive edge. Here are the top four ways thermoforming can help manufacturers truly achieve optimum efficiency.

1: Remove transportation

Starting at the top of the supply chain and considering the transportation of packaging material, there is a huge cost saving that can be made here. Due to the nature of thermoforming, the finished package is fully formed on the machine from a roll of stock material and created on demand. Unlike pre-formed tray lidding processes where the empty packages have to endure being transported to the manufacturing facility, the thermoform process creates an opportunity for processors to use lighter gauge materials to create the package. This reduces cost and complexity in the upstream logistics meaning organisations can focus their efforts on handling the final finished pack, which helps to dramatically reduce management costs, as well as having a positive impact on the environment too.

2: Address inefficiencies in the process

In order to remain competitive manufacturers must adapt and make significant changes where necessary. Some may prefer to queue the product in the process, however this is incredibly inefficient. Using a thermoforming method can offer manufacturers the opportunity to look at how the packing format can be integrated into the process and drive a positive change throughout the production line. This not only helps to improve precision but it also ensures every step is optimised.

3: Target waste at the processing stage

All packaging processors generate some degree of loss in raw material, but over a production period this could equate to a huge amount. It also costs money to remove this waste from the business’s premises. However, ULMA has developed a reduced scrap machine that helps manufacturers save, in terms of material waste and disposal costs. The reduced scrap feature on the TFS407R uses a narrower reel of film than those used by equivalent standard machines, which can reduce waste by up to 40 percent. Everything that is processed on the machine is automated, which helps improve productivity too.

4: Greater appeal for the end-user

With thermoformer machines, there is more opportunity to experiment with new materials and increase packaging recyclability. For example, organisations can use a paper based package with a liner, which can then be formed and sealed. This helps to make the recycling process much easier for the consumer. With public opinion driving the need to reduce single use plastics, especially in the case of product packaging, it will be simple touches like this that help give manufacturers a competitive edge. What’s more, if the whole process becomes leaner then businesses will ultimately become more cost efficient as a result, which can potentially lead to better price points for end-users.

Whether a manufacturer is looking to achieve cost savings or become more environmentally-friendly, thermoforming packaging could really transform the whole process.