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Thermoformed Trays

Elsepack is your reliable thermoformed tray manufacturer and partner. Every salesperson is an engineer. They will give you the general packaging solution of thermoformed trays within 24 hours. Low volume is in available to support your test market. Furthermore, the embossed logo is free to enhance your brand.

Your Reliable Thermoformed Trays Manufacturer

Elsepack Custom Thermoformed Trays Supplier

Elsepack thermoformed trays is a kind of simple thermoformed packaging, they are also known as vacuum formed trays. Elsepack thermoformed trays are designed with a flat bottom, or easy open plastic blister tray, or specific shapes for placing individual components as dunnage trays, in-process trays, and thermoformed parts trays.

Elsepack thermoformed trays are commonly made of black PVC, Clear PET, PPT, CPET, APET, RPET, HIPS based on various industry requirements.

hermoformed plastic tray material

Elsepack thermoformed trays’ material tolerances are +/-.025(base on the raw material) on thermoforming features, and the perimeter trimming is +/-.040 of the perimeter trimming.

Based on the kinds of material of thermoformed trays, you have various choices as listed below:

  • re-usable, against impact or abrasion
  • Flame retardant grades

Elsepack has over 10 years of experience in manufacturing plastic thermoforming trays, to help you find the pretty fit material for your application.

thermoformed tray suppliers

Elsepack can order with low MOQ: 500 pieces to support you testing your market or assembly lines. But we do not own stock or have off-the-shelf thermoformed trays, blister packaging trays, even disposable thermoformed food trays.

Elsepack always honestly quote on your custom clear plastic trays. Our thermoformed trays across a variety of applications, including Medical, Industrial, Fruit, Produce, consumer products, POP display tray.

For Industrial packaging, Elsepack thermoformed trays are defined as to place or ship industry parts to support your assembly line.


You can choose custom sizes plastic trays, such as automotive shipping trays, clamshell trays, and part handling trays. Custom thermoformed trays can be used in cartons or boxes as plastic insert trays.

tthermoformed plastic tray

Regarding electronic packaging, there are two options for you. ESD trays include anti-static trays and conductive trays. These plastic shipping trays are used to contain electronic parts, HDD, PCB, and other electronic components.

All shipping trays will be designed at a  low cost from small cavity plastic trays to plastic insert trays. Elsepack thermoformed trays can fully protect sensitive material components during the manufacturing process.

thermoformed tray china

Besides industrial and electronic thermoformed trays, there are many industry types include:

  • Thermoformed food trays
  • ESD Shipping Trays
  • Plastic insert trays
  • Clamshell trays
  • Thermoformed Dunnage Trays
  • Thermoformed POP display Trays
  • Work in process trays
  • Clear Bakery Tray
  • Retail Packaging Trays
  • Readymade plastic trays

Elsepack thermoformed trays can be both stack and nestable. Low-cost plastic trays protect expensive components to avoid damage during shipping and handling.

Whether you run orders with low volume or high volume, please contact Elsepack now to customize your idea freely.

Why Elsepack Thermoformed Trays
Is Trusted

  • A leader in manufacturing thermoformed trays over 10 years
  • Different divisions operate orders to ensure punctual delivery
  • Strength construct and durable materials
Item NameThermoformed Trays
MaterialPP, PVC, RPET, PET, PS, etc.
FeaturedShipping Trays
Plastic Insert Trays
Anti-Static Tray
Dunnage Trays
Sample ChargeFree
Production Time 7-15 days
Payment Term T/T ,L/C, etc.

Thermoformed Trays: The Helpful Guide for Importers

In this particular article, you will learn the following about thermoformed trays.

What Is A Thermoformed Tray?

The thermoformed tray is the packaging type where a plastic sheet is exposed to varying degrees of heat to create molds.

When looking for product packaging, one packaging that you may come across your mind is the thermoformed tray.

thermoformed handling tray

Thermoformed Trays Material And Thickness

The main material that is used in making thermoformed trays is plastic which can be easily molded into the desired shapes on exposure to heat.

When choosing materials you should consider detail requirements as below:

  • Cost
  • ESD Requirements
  • Impact/UV/ Chemical Resistance
  • Coating applied to material for silver/gold color
  • Coating applied to material for de-nesting
  • Heat Deflection
  • Durability
  • Heat Deflection

When getting your thermoformed trays right, one thing that you can focus on so as to get the right tray is the thickness.

The thickness of the tray is dependent on what you want to package. And the wanted resiliency when it comes to the packaging.

  • .015″ to .030″ starting thicknesses for disposable shipping trays
  • .030” to .065” starting thickness for reusable plastic industrial trays but not for a long term.
  • .065″ to .375” starting thickness for long-term reusable handling

The plastic that is fed into the thermoforming machines can either thin or thick gauges.

Thin gauges are preferred for small materials such as plants, retail goods or foodstuff.

Thick gauges, on the other hand, are preferred for industrial or bulky goods such as spare parts and tools.

This is due to the hardy profile that makes them resilient to holding such heavy goods.

i. Among the plastic material that is used in thermoforming are as seen below:

Thermoformed Tray Made of PVC

Polyvinyl chloride also is known in short as PVC is one of the commonly used plastic material. It can be used for both thin gauge and thick gauge uses.

Pvc has a hardy structure which translates to resilience and longevity. It is also easily recyclable in addition to being affordable.

PVC Clear is cost-effective, can also be applied to ESD options. Also, have good chemical resistance.

If you have special requirements, you can ask your suppliers to provide related certificated PVC as well.

PET Plastic Tray

PET plastic is another plastic material that is highly resistance hence assures you of the utmost safety of the products packaged.

Additionally, they are easily recyclable making them a good option when it comes to environmental conservation.

Common application includes the food industry, medical, produce and so on.

High Impact Polystyrene Tray

You can simply call it as HIPS. The key advantage is low cost, commonly be used for shipping and reusable trays. Such HIPS trays always in black and white. Available for both thin and heavy gauge.

PP Tray

PP (Pol ypropylene) is known for its softer nature and heat resistance. It often used for medical application due to get through sterilization processes. PP is also chemical resistant making it a good option in handling chemical products.

 Polycarbonate Tray

The Polycarbonate film is transparent with great tensile strength. It is also easy to mold which reduces production costs.

Higher heat deflection temperature is the key advantage. Range from 180 to 270 degrees Fahrenheit.

The high adhesion to ink makes it a good branding material. You can easily etch your logo onto the surface of this material.


HDPE has its own key advantage including softer nature, excellent impact strength and chemical resistance.

It also has good performance in low -temperature applications. But this HDPE tray cannot be used for automotive applications.

ABS Tray

ABS is a terpolymer that is used in the thermoforming process to make lightweight trays. It has high impact resistance and very tough.

It is mostly used to make as drip trays and automation trays. Black is the most common color.

Its price is a little higher than PVC, HIPS.

Foam Material Tray

Foam trays are available in Anti Static and Conductive materials to ship electric parts.

If you need to ship fairly heavy parts, Foam trays must be made of Polyethylene because it’s a stiffer material.

If you need to ship sensitive parts, Foam trays must be made of Polyurethane because it’s a soft material. To protect your parts from scratch.

These are common use materials that you can apply to the production of thermoformed trays.

On the other hand, you may also need an ESD material Tray for specific requirements.

ii. ESD materials for thin gauge options:

Anti-static PVC

Base on your short term shipping applications, because it’s coating materials. The effective will slowly disappear over time. Generally, you can choose .030 starting thickness and material’s surface resistivity 10e^9.

Anti static tray

Conductive Styrene Black

It’s different from coated materials, can be made of semi-reusable and reusable trays. Because the ESD properties are set in material.

Generally, you can choose thin gauge .030 starting thickness and material’s surface resistivity 10e^4 to 10e^7.

PETG Anti-Static Material

Similar to PVC, it’s also a coating material to be used for shipping applications but not for long-term use. Generally, you can choose .030 starting thickness and material’s surface resistivity 10e^9.

iii. ESD materials for heavy gauge options:

Heavy gauge materials are often made of handling trays. Including:

HDPE Blue Ant-Static Material

Key note for this material requires a relative humidity of 15% or better. It can be used in clean environment because it can keep conductive particles well.

HDPE Black Conductive

It’s always made of conductive containers. So you see all conductive containers or trays are black because the carbon black allows trays to conduct.

It often comes with permanent conductivity. You can make the surface test to get the detail dates.

Conductive ABS 

When you need long-term ESD applications, it can be a perfect material.

Inherently Static Dissipative PETG

Similar to conductive ABS, for long-term ESD applications, it’s fairly expensive.

How Thermoformed Trays Are Made

Thermoformed trays are made is such an intricate process to ensure that the outcome is what is wanted in the right designs.

i. Designing And Material Selection

To begin the process of making these trays, you need to first provide the design or your initial idea about the trays.

The design factors in a lot of things such as the shape and size that you want to package.

Some few tweaks may be made to the design, so as to come up with a design compatible with the thermoforming machine.

Once done with the design, you need to select the material for the trays. Sometimes you have to be sure what material is suitable. Such cavity depth is connected to materials.

As earlier indicated, there are many plastic materials that you can pick from for the thermoform.

The materials come with different physical characteristics in resiliency, transparency, ease in molding, and also the possibility of recycling.

You need to choose the material with the best physical characteristics applicable to the product you intend to package.

The next process is tooling where molds, where the plastic is heated to, are formed.

thermoformed tray mold


Many materials are used to make, such as aluminum is the most common.

Also, copper molds are often used if you need affordable prices.

Anyway, there are many materials for your choice based on your specific demand.

With the design selected, the material picked, and tooling is done, the stage is now ready for the next process which is thermoforming.

ii. Exposure To Heat

The plastic sheet is fed into the thermoforming machine where it is exposed to the heat of varying degrees where it can be shaped.

Air pressure or vacuum pressure can be used to shape the plastic sheet into the mold for it to form.

Once it has formed on the mold, it is cooled and the mold removed. The plastic will now have the shape of the mold.

Trimming is done to have the perfect edges and dimensions, then other secondary finishing such as branding may be done.

Your thermoformed trays are now ready for use.

 Thermoformed Tray Types

Under thermoformed tray types, we have three types of packaging that you can pick depending on the intended use.

These are the clamshell trays, blister trays, tray & lid packaging.

i. The Clamshell Trays

The clamshell package is a one-piece storage package that consists of two halves that are joined by a hinge.

One of the halves of the packaging forms the lid. It has a shape that almost resembles a clam hence its name.

The clamshell tray is used in the packaging of items that are either large or have an indefinite shape.

They have a locking mechanism that ensures the whole package is sealed shut when packaged. To ensure the integrity of the packaged items.

It is good for display purposes in a shop setting if the package is transparent.

Its large surface area makes it also good for branding purposes.

ii. Blister Trays

Blister trays are other thermoformed tray types that have a sheet of plastic covering the plant, medical, kiwi and may be used at the edges.

This makes for one secure package that ensures your goods reach their destination in one piece.

Under the blister trays, either the plastic covering sheet or the bottom tray can be molded depending on your preference.

In situations where your products have a definite structure, the plastic covering sheet may be molded into a shape matching the items’ configuration.

Apart from being a great display, it ensures the goods are still during transportation, eliminating chances of breakage or even the spilling of its contents.

It is used in the packaging of tablets, toys, plants, and even consumables such as toothbrushes.

iii. Tray And Lid Packaging

It is also referred to as the tray lid box and consists of a base, which is the tray and a lid which is mostly transparent.

Just like blister trays, either the base or the lid can have molds.

The good thing with the tray lid box is that it can hold several items on its base which is divided into rows and columns with cavities for the items.

It is suitable for foodstuffs such as eggs, pastries, toys, produces, and even plants.

In a shop setting, it is good for display purposes same as branding as the lids have a large surface area where you may have your company’s logo put.

Various Thermoformed Tray Applications

Thermoformed trays have many applications that make them one of the best packaging materials in the market.

The various applications of thermoformed trays are as follows.

i. Thermoformed Trays as Food Packaging

Thermoformed trays can be used in the packaging of foodstuffs and ensure that they reach their intended recipients in one piece.

Some thermoformed tray types such as the clam boxes, with a good locking mechanism that prevents the entry of any substance.

Most of these thermoformed trays are made of PET, RPET, PP, and PS. The use of these materials for food packaging is subject to various certifications depending on the country of use.

Food safety certificates ensure the packaging material is up to set safety standards in the handling of food.

Additionally, the materials have varying degrees of transparency such as PP being translucent while PET is highly transparent.

You can pick any degree of transparency depending on how you want to showcase your products.

There are plastic seafood trays that are made of either PP or PS. They are designed in such a way to keep the contents perfectly and light during transportation.

The material used for seafood packaging is temperature resistant hence cold packaging temperatures or microwave heat cannot affect their structure.

In the same vein are poultry trays which are also designed of highly resistant material such as PP or PS.

The material is also heat resistant and can be subjected to microwave conditions without being denatured.

Plastic cookie trays are made of PET that matches the color of its box or with a color scheme that highlights it.

The plastic cookie trays have columns that match the size and shape of individual cookie pieces and provides stability to the contents while being transported or on display.

ii. Display Tray Of Retail Products

In the shop setting, thermoformed trays can help in marketing the product that you have in stock by acting as a display kit.

For display purposes, thermoformed trays come with modifications in their features to match the product on display.

We can see many cosmetics products are always displayed by such thermoformed trays.

For food products, the display tray is modified in a way that keeps the food fresh and also allows for better visualization.

On visualization, most display trays are transparent so that the products can be seen properly and can serve for advertising purposes.

For plants’ display trays, air spaces are factored in same to pot columns for potted plants.

The display tray is mostly accessed by many potential clients, it needs to be strong enough not to fall down and damage the products.

And some parts or the entire display tray can be made of thick plastic material.

iii. Blister trays Of Medical Supplies

The thermoformed trays can also be used for the sterile packaging of medical supplies such as syringes and hypodermic needles.

The most used packaging, in this case, is the blister trays as they can be secured airtight.

These blister trays are normally manufactured in a sterile environment to prevent any form of contamination to the medical supplies.

Prevention of contamination guarantees that no form of clinical infection can happen.

iv. Plant Trays

Thermoformed trays are a good packaging option for plants that require a lot when getting the right packaging.

The molds are created in accordance with the plants’ configuration to ensure that the plant is stable and not prone to bending or breaking.

They also provide ample space for the plants’ pots in case of potted plants and ensure that the content does not spill at all during transportation.

Clamshell trays are preferable to most people with some special kinds such as the letterbox being thin in configuration and can fit inside a mailbox.

v. Custom ESD Trays For Electric Products

When it comes to the packaging of electronic products, some measures should be ensured.

One measure is the use of ESD trays. ESD trays come with antistatic and conductive properties that prevent the electrical interference of electric products.

vi. Industrial Plastic Trays For Shipping Parts

Thermoformed trays can also be used for shipping industrial parts.

The industrial plastic trays are mostly plastic crates that are designed to firmly hold parts and other industrial products.

The industrial plastic trays are made from high-impact polystyrene that is strong enough in handling the parts and also acts as shock absorbers in case of a fall.

They are mostly stackable and come with many slots. To make your parts avoid pressure and save your workshop place.

vii. Plastic Insert Trays

In the retail sector, you can come across plastic insert trays. The insert trays hold mostly toys or household products.

The plastic tray is then inserted in a storage box for display or packaging. So it’s easy for you to find a one-stop solution supplier for both box and trays.

The plastic insert trays mostly function as cushions due to the extended edges in case of a fall and are also good for display purposes.

More other applications include material Handling trays, Drip trays, Dunnage Trays, Bakery Trays, etc.

Specific applications always need custom thermoformed trays.

Why You Need Custom Thermoformed Trays

Custom thermoformed trays are trays that have been designed to meet your set specifications to suit your needs.

What To Consider When Getting Custom Thermoformed Trays

When getting a custom thermoformed tray, there are many factors that you need to put into consideration to avoid hitting a miss when it comes to the right package.

i. Cost Of The Customization

First of all, you need to look at the cost of the customization process and decide if it meets your budget.

Look for a customization process with affordable costs that will not eat into your profit margin if in a business setting.

ii. Material Choice And Certification

The material choice is a key consideration when getting custom thermoformed trays.

The material should be congruent to the properties of your packaged product in strength, resistance, and transparency.

If you are handling food or medicinal products, you need certification of the raw material and certificated suppliers. Such as LFGB, FDA.

iii. The Use Of The Thermoformed Trays

Depending on the intended use of the thermoformed trays, you will have to decide on the customizations to be made.

For packaging and transportation, the material needs to be hardy so that the packaged goods can reach their destination in one piece.

If the thermoformed tray is for display purposes, then it needs to be transparent for its clear visualization.

iv. The Item To Be Packaged

You also need to look at the item being packaged to know the bearing of the customization process.

For industrial goods such as spare parts and working tools, you need thick-gauge thermoforming for resiliency in holding the bulky product.

For plants, thin gauge thermoforming is employed for the plants’ integrity.

Also, some tweaks need to be made in the case of plants such as creating air spaces for aeration by the plants.

v. Your Brand’s Visibility

You may also want the customization process to be made in such a way that it speaks for your brand.

The molds may be customized with your logo in mind and it is significant as a marketing and advertisement tool.

vi. Choose Reliable and Certificated Manufacturer

You need to look for manufacturers who are both reliable in their craft with a guaranteed to provide the best packages.

The manufacturers also need to be ISO certified, approved to handle plastic packages.

Why Choose Thermoformed Trays Over Other Packaging Methods

Thermoformed trays are a preferred packaging method that comes with some advantages over the other packaging methods.

Here are some of the reasons as why you should pick thermoformed trays over other packaging methods.

i. Assured Safety Of Packaged Goods

The packages ensure that the goods packed are secure.

In clamshell trays packaging, there is a secure locking mechanism that does not open easily, hence the packaged contents cannot spill out.

The same applies to the try and lid locking mechanism where the lid firmly attaches to the base.

ii. Convenient In Handling

These packages score an edge over the others when it comes to handling.

They can be conveniently handled without interfering with the packed contents. They are also good for shipping as they are stackable and save space when shipping.

Additionally, they are suitable for fully automated assembly lines to improve the efficiency of the assembly line operation.

iii. Versatility

The versatility of thermoformed packages comes in the many different settings it can be used.

It can be used for packaging various items from medical supplies, toys, spares, foodstuffs, and also plants.

It alternatively can be used in displaying the same stuff if they are in a shop.

iv. Durability

Thermoformed trays are also durable considering the quality of the plastic that is used in the making of the molds.

This ensures that the items that you have packaged will stay in pristine condition for long without the risk of getting damaged.

v. They Are Easily Customizable

When it comes to customization in terms of design, thermoformed trays are the best option.

The heat exposure makes the plastic easy to mold into the desired shapes and sizes.

With thermoformed trays, you can get any size or shape of packaging materials so long as they are compatible with the thermoforming machine.

Custom Thermoformed Tray Design Guide

  • Different Features Of Various Thermoformed Trays

When opting for a custom thermoformed tray, there are some features that you should not miss out as highlighted below.

i. The Locking Mechanism

Your custom thermoformed tray needs to have this feature to ensure that the packed item has minimal chances of falling off the package.

ii. Numbered Cavities

Numbered cavities in trays with cavities for your to-be-packed items help in getting right the number of items you have.

iii. Printing

The trays can come with prints on them for branding and advertising purposes.

You can have your company’s logo printed on the tray’s lid to make your brand more visible.

iv. Finger Grooves

The thermoformed trays can be designed with finger grooves added as part of the design.

The finger grooves allow you to easily place or remove the items packed in the trays.

v. Stackable

The thermoformed trays are mostly designed with a stackable feature to protect parts from pressure. And they will save the space to ship and your shipping cost.

  • Material Consideration For A Thermoformed Tray

Materials in the making of thermoformed trays are one factor that should not be overlooked.

When it comes to materials, you should focus on the following aspects.

  • Thickness: The thickness of the material is dependent on the item that you want to package. It is advisable that you go for thick materials when packaging bulky items.
  • Environmental friendliness: here you may go for cellulose or hemp plastic as they are biodegradable hence cannot pollute the environment.
  • Printability: The printability aspect of the material should also be focused on especially if you want to brand the package.
  • Durability: For shipping purpose, you will choose thick thermoformed trays to reuse seasons after seasons to save your cost.
  • Other factors include resiliency, wash-ability, and resistance to ultraviolet rays from the sun.
  • Certificates for specific industry

  • Cavities You Need For Custom Thermoformed Tray

Cavities in the thermoformed trays ensure that there is a proper fit and the items are in stable condition.

There are two cavity types that you can come across as seen below.

i. Custom Tray Cavities

These are cavities created to match partly or entirely the item being packaged.

This can be seen where the item has no definite shape so a custom cavity is created with the item in mind.

ii. Custom Geometric Cavities

Custom geometric cavities are created to meet the packaging needs of items with a definite geometric shape.

The cavities can fit in any item so long as the item fits the cavity’s configuration.

  • How Is A Custom Thermoformed Tray Made

The process used in the manufacturing of custom thermoformed trays is similar to the entire thermoforming process.

The difference is factored in during the tooling and designing stages where you incorporate the features that you want in the thermoformed tray.


Elsepack is a leader when it comes to the manufacturing of different packages to suit your packaging needs.

As you can see from this guide, there are so many considerations include material, design, manufacturing ability.

So, please feel free to contact us and well know with our great services as below:

  • Great reputation in producing thermoformed packaging with top-ranking clientele worldwide.
  • Low minimum order quantity makes it convenient to help you test your market.
  • Provision of a free design base by a team of 13 highly qualified engineers.
  • 100% inspection ensures that your packages are deformity-free.
  • Free hand-sample and design drawing within 2-5 days.
  • No tooling costs for existing thermoformed trays.
  • 24/7 online support.

Order or no order, we are here to serve you. Email us to get packaging solutions: sales@elsepack.com

Contact Elsepack

To Custom Your Thermoformed Packaging Now