What is blister packaging used for?
Blister packaging is employed for packaging products such as medication, hardware, toys, etc. Blister packaging is usually plastic based and consists of a backing card with some form of artwork. It also consists of a plastic pocket that is clear,this is the part that’s known as a blister. Blister packaging includes two primary elements viz, a cavity made from either aluminum foil or plastic, and a lid made from aluminum, plastic, paper, or paperboard. The cavity’s function is to hold the product, while that of the lid is to seal the product to safeguard it from external impurities.
Blister packaging is used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry to package lozenges, granules, capsules, pills, and tablets, among others. Blister packaging is also employed for products such as pencils, pens, and other stationery. The name of blister packaging is derived from the fact that the products are packed in a small plastic blister or bubble. This packaging is also commonly known as push-through or bubble packaging.
Common Applications of Blister Packaging
Unit-dose packaging of pharmaceuticalsBlister packaging provides barrier protection for products and tamper protection, enabling them to have a high shelf-life. Hence, they are employed in unit-dose packaging of pharmaceuticals.
Consumer goodsConsumer goods is another area wherein blister packs are used. Goods such as electrical items, hardware, and toys are packed by containing them between clear pre-formed plastic and a paperboard card.
ClamshellA blister that is hinged is called a clamshell. This is used extensively for the packaging of an array of products. It can be utilized as a secure packaging for small and high-value items, for instance, consumer electronics. This kind of packaging consists of one sheet folded onto the product, which is also fused at times.
Medical blister traysMedical blister trays aren’t push-through packs. Hence, they are hence slightly different as compared to blister packs. The base web of medical blister trays is made up of thick sheets of plastic. Their thickness lies in the range of 500 to 1000 µg.
Blister Packaging Process
Blister packaging via thermoforming includes a sheet of plastic film that is unwound from its reel and sent to a pre-heating chamber. The temperature of the pre-heating chamber and its plates is such that it makes the plastic soft and pliable. This warm and soft plastic is then sent to the forming station under a pressure of 4 to 8 bar, where the blister cavities are formed.
Blister packaging via cold-forming is made by pressing a laminate film which is aluminum-based into a mold. The pressure on this laminate is applied using a stamp. This process elongates the aluminum-based laminate film and helps it retain its shape. Blisters formed by this process are known as cold form foil (CFF) blisters. The main benefit of CFF blister is that the aluminum-based laminate film offers a strong barrier to oxygen and water, which thus extends the shelf-life of the product.
Blister Packaging Materials
The most common material employed for blister packaging is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The main benefits of PVC are ease of thermoforming and low cost.
Polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), when employed via a coat on a PVC film, assists in attaining high oxygen and moisture barrier. The level of protection can differ as per the amount of PVDC used in the coating.
Polychlorotrifluoroethylene (PCTFE) is another material that can be coated onto a PVC film to obtain an excellent moisture barrier. PCTFE coated blister packages are employed widely in the pharmaceutical industry.
Blister packaging via cyclic olefin copolymers (COC) or polymers (COP) can provide a high moisture barrier to blister packages. COC is usually employed in multilayered combinations with or glycol-modified polyethylene terephthalate (PETg), polyethylene (PE), or polypropylene (PP).
What is Strip Packaging?
The distinction between a blister pack and a strip pack is that a strip pack does not have cold-formed or thermoformed cavities. When lowered into the sealing area between sealing molds, the strip pack is built around the tablet or capsule. Strip packaging has the same properties as that of the blister packaging formed via cold forming or thermoforming. It offers protection to products from oxygen, light, and moisture.
Blister packaging is used widely in many industries, such as pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, and electronics. The perfect choice of blister packaging for you depends entirely on your company’s requirements and the products you are offering. It is advisable to conduct thorough research before choosing a particular packaging so that you get the best possible returns.