Blister packaging is very convenient to use, inexpensive and reliable, so the demand for it is invariably high. It can consist of a plastic window with a flange, to which a suitable substrate is attached using glue, staples or by a welded method. As a rule, the blister is connected to the cardboard with the product information printed on it, or foil using a thermal press. In addition, containers that are molded from a polymer film are called blisters. The blister can be of the simplest form (round or rectangular) or it can be given contours of various objects - the contents of the package. They can have several compartments - separate cavities, which is very convenient when packing products consisting of separate parts or sets. Such packaging can be of different shapes, colors, transparency, it usually repeats the volumetric shape of the product and product, without creating an extra volume (such as a cardboard box) and thus saving on transportation.
Blister packaging is very popular both in Russia and abroad for packaging consumer goods, as it gives the consumer the opportunity to see the goods from almost all sides, and the manufacturer, in turn, can place all the necessary information on the substrate without extra costs. There are several types of blister packs: double-sided blister packs, blister packs with folds at the edges, welded blister packs. The first type of packaging consists of two halves, which are separated by grooves for folding the shape in half. At the same time, each half has the so-called flaps - extruded cavities on which the locking locks are located and which provide the packaging with additional rigidity. To apply information to consumers, either paper stickers or cardboard inserts are used. Such packaging is suitable for laying overall and heavy products, it is convenient and reliable due to the presence of locking locks, but costs more than other types of blisters. A blister pack with a bend at the edges consists of one half, the edges of which are bent inward from the left, right and bottom sides to maintain a cardboard insert on which all the necessary information about the product is applied. Such packaging is easy to manufacture, therefore, it is inexpensive. However, it is not suitable for laying heavy and large products, and its design is already somewhat outdated. A blister pack for welding also consists of one half, but differs from the previous type of blister in that it has fields for welding. The welding varnish is applied directly to the cardboard substrate, on which all the necessary information is indicated. This type of packaging is more technological, convenient, can be used for heavy and large items, reliably preserves contents.
In addition to this classification, others are used. For example, according to one of them, blisters are divided into packaging of welded, folding, sliding and sealed types. The welded-on packaging is a plastic shell that is attached to the base by heat sealing, protecting the product from unwanted opening. Folding-type packaging consists of two parts with a fold line, which are closed like a box or case. Sliding packaging is called a blister with curved edges, in which a card is inserted as a pencil case. In a sealed package, the blister is closed with a label - this option is most suitable for group packaging of small products.
So, the advantages of blister packaging in comparison with other types: beautiful appearance and design, the ability to give the film any shape using thermoforming technology, protection of goods from shock and damage, protection against counterfeiting (the production of blisters with the company logo or contour cutting requires expensive presses forms, therefore, faking such packaging in small volumes is unprofitable), mobility (through the use of semi-automatic equipment, it is possible to produce small runs of packaging in quantities dozens of units). Blisters are also convenient for customers who can use them to store goods even after opening the package. Blister packaging is used for packaging all types of goods - from food to medicines. Moreover, the latter can be packaged in blisters made of multilayer materials using aluminum foil, polyvinyl chloride, paper, polyamides, polypropylene, etc. Blister packaging is recyclable, therefore it is considered more environmentally friendly. Even its relatively high cost (compared to paper packaging) is not a hindrance. According to the experience of domestic entrepreneurs, consumers prefer to buy goods in a blister rather than in a closed cardboard box. Therefore, even taking into account the fact that the cost of the former is on average 5% higher, blister packaging is more advantageous.
The blister manufacturing process consists of three parts: matrix manufacturing, preparation of thermoplastic material and molding itself.
The first part is considered the most important. The quality of the finished product directly depends on how well the matrix is made. Plastic completely repeats all the features of the matrix used - from engraving and letters to scratches and other defects on its surface. In order for the matrix to be perfectly smooth, duralumin is used as a material for its manufacture, which is then polished. True, the cost of such a matrix will not be low. If the manufacturer does not have sufficient funds or a small circulation of packaging is expected, the matrix can be made of composite materials (wood is used less often). This form is cheaper than duralumin, but its service life will be very limited. For example, a dural form can last faithfully for several years, and a matrix made of wood can withstand only from 1000 to 15000 moldings, which is quite a bit.
Blisters are made from a thermoplastic material, which becomes “fluid” when heated. In this state, he tightens the matrix, taking its shape after solidification. And he accepts it so well that even dust particles or villi remain on the plastic, which were left unattended on the matrix. Thermoplastic material gets into production in the form of a tape of polystyrene, PET, PVC, polyethylene, polypropylene (the most common) or rarer cellulose acetate, oriented polystyrene and ethylene terephthalate copolymers. Due to various additives, the color and degree of transparency of the film can vary. Moreover, there is even a blister pack of metallic color or with a color pattern applied to it by the printing method. The thickness of the package can also vary from 0.15 mm (for welding to a cardboard base) to several millimeters.
For the manufacture of blisters from PET, polystyrene and PVC, the hot molding method (vacuum and pneumoforming) is used.
The very process of manufacturing the mold and material is called vacuum molding. It is carried out on a special table with a matrix installed on it - a frame in which the material for molding is clamped, and with a heater that heats the material. The new equipment is equipped with devices for monitoring and adjusting the molding cycle, as well as a vacuum pump. When the material takes the given shape, the vacuum is turned off, and the operator picks up the sheets with the finished forms. Depending on the size of the desktop and the form itself, you can produce from one to several dozen products at a time. Forming is a fast process that takes from 40 to 120 seconds (the exact time depends on the complexity of the molded blister and the thickness of the tape).
Blisters, as a rule, are formed into forms into several nests, followed by separation using a longitudinal knife with a transverse guillotine or a roller press. The most widespread are blisters that are welded to a cardboard base - substrate. For their manufacture, a special hot glue is used, which is applied to the cardboard. The packaging is sealed using a heated press.
The Russian market has a wide selection of equipment for the manufacture of blisters - from manual to automated machines. The latter, of course, are much more expensive, and their use is justified only with large volumes of packaging production.
The so-called packaging and molding machines that use two films of films are popular. In this case, the main layer is molded into blisters, and after filling, the package is closed with a heat-sealable top layer. Such packaging is most often used for the packaging of solid medicines and instruments - from tablets to syringes, for portioned packaging of liquids, pastes, products, etc. Unplasticized PVC is used as the material for the main layer of such a blister (sometimes coated with polyvinylidene chloride, which increases double packaging cost), unplasticized PVC with PE, with aclar or PE and PVDC. And the blister closes with a layer of aluminum foil coated with vinyl varnish from the inside.
When choosing equipment, the necessary degree of automation and productivity must be taken into account. For example, a fully automatic line carries out all operations on its own, including even loading blisters and the contents of future packaging (though, if we are talking about products of complex shape, then even such a line can not do without the help of operators). The cheapest equipment involves a lot of manual labor, up to packing blisters in a mandrel with manual layout of substrates and sealing on a small welded installation. The automatic line itself unwinds a roll of plastic sheet, forms the blisters, directs them to a sealing mandrel, loads the blisters, unfolds the substrates, welds them with the blisters and unloads the finished packages. The equipment of the latter type allows the manufacture and packaging of up to 25 blisters per minute, thus, the productivity of one such machine is about 2 million units per year.
Of course, a small company does not make sense to acquire powerful and expensive equipment. It is worth considering the option of buying a relatively simple and inexpensive thermoforming machine with a maximum number of operations 1000-1200 per hour. Its cost, depending on the manufacturer and technical characteristics, will be about 1 million rubles. In addition, you will need a compressor (about 50 thousand rubles), an installation for cutting the tape (from 10 to 100 thousand rubles, depending on the characteristics), a receiver for pneumatic equipment (15 thousand rubles), auxiliary equipment (transportation devices, pneumatic highways, electric distributors, etc.) will cost another 25 thousand rubles.
In addition, you will need raw materials (hard thermoformable films of PVC, PS, PET, etc.). Raw materials of domestic production will cost 50-80 rubles per kilogram. Imported film will cost more - about 70-100 rubles per kilogram, depending on the thickness. Large manufacturers of blister packaging, purchasing raw materials in large batches of over 20 tons, purchase film from Chinese manufacturers (delivery in this case will not be as expensive as when buying small lots abroad).
Consider the income of the enterprise for the production of blister packaging with an initial investment of about 1.5 million rubles (equipment, rental of premises, purchase of material). From one kilogram of PVC film 0.3 mm thick and a density of 1.4 grams per cubic meter. see about 16 blisters with a size of 350 by 450 mm. The cost of 1 kg of film is 75 rubles, and the wholesale price for a blister reaches 9-10 rubles. Thus, with a monthly production of 100 thousand packages (half of the maximum productivity of a thermoforming machine with 8 hours of work per day), the company's revenue can be 800 thousand rubles, and net profit - about 90 thousand rubles. The payback period of such a business is two years. At 100% load of equipment, these terms will be half as much, but only on condition that you can arrange sales of your products.
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