The process of moulding material (plastic, aluminium, wood, and rubber) into a desired shape to create packaging containers is known as thermoforming. It is a low-cost process that allows for the moulding of large containers from sheets. Furthermore, thermoform packaging can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes. To make products more visually appealing, printing can be done after moulding.
Its low cost and ability to mass produce make it a popular choice in industries such as food and pharmaceutical. However, the environmental consequences of using plastic packaging pose a significant challenge to market growth. Furthermore, thermoformed material cannot withstand excess weight and cannot be used for heavy material packaging.
Skin packaging is gaining popularity due to properties such as high durability, toughness, improved aesthetics, and lower material use when compared to conventional blister packaging. Because of its wide availability and low material cost, plastic is widely used in the production of thermoform packaging. Consumer goods are packaged in clamshells. They are typically clear to allow the consumer to see the contents of the packaging. Blister cards, on the other hand, are used in the pharmaceutical industry and are made by heat sealing a sheet of foil. Because of its ability to customise to meet specific needs, the food and beverage industry is the largest end user of this market. Its durability ensures that the product is not damaged and that contamination is avoided.
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Because of their high disposable incomes, North America and Europe are the largest markets for thermoformed packaging. Furthermore, a preference for packaged food and disposable products is driving market growth.
Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market, with India and China having the world’s largest populations, which is increasing demand for food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and electronics. Because of their low labour and raw material costs, these countries are also becoming manufacturing hubs for pharmaceuticals and electronics. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Asia Pacific region accounted for 50% of global GDP and is expected to become a key consumer hub during the forecast period.
As an alternative to 3D printing, a new thermoforming technique known as ‘Computational Thermoforming’ has emerged. It was created in 2016 by Zurich-based Interactive Geometry Lab. This significantly reduces the time required to manufacture special purpose packaging. Adoption of this technology is expected to limit market growth over the forecast period.