Our INTERACTIVE DESIGN GUIDE below highlights Custom Tray Applications, Design Features, Material Options & Advantages of Custom Trays & Inserts. This custom trays design guide was created to assist packaging engineers, and others, tasked with custom thermoform tray design and sourcing. Click on box below to open content. One box opens at a time.
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Design Guide Outline
Section 1: Tray Design Features Best Practices
Section 2: Material Considerations For Custom Trays
Section 3: Cavity Options For Custom Trays
Section 4: Advantages Of Custom Trays
Spray silicone molds and divide the mixture into the molds till they are about ¾ full. Cover the silicone tray with the silicone cover or with some foil tightly wrapped around the edges to avoid condensation seeping into the pancake bites. Add 1.5 cups of water to the Instant Pot insert followed by the trivet. Add the silicone molds on the trivet.
Section 5: Applications For Custom Trays
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Tray Design Features Best PracticesCommon Design Features reduce packaging cost, and reduce labor time.
Stacking features can be designed to allow tray stacking with no load/ no contact to parts. This is different than nesting (see video above). Stacking features and nesting features can be designed into the same tray for shipment when trays empty; and for part protection. Lids are not required with proper stack features reducing packaging cost.
EASY PART HANDLING WITH FINGER GROOVES
Trays can be designed with finger clearance or tweezer clearance for easy placement and removal of parts. These form features or grooves can be molded in at locations where part contact is preferred.
EASY COUNTING WITH NUMBERED CAVITIES
Cavities can be in even numbers like 50 or 100 to facilitate counting. Numbers can be molded in for each cavity for inspection or other applications. Embossing of numbers adds no cost to piece price and slight cost to tooling.
KITTING TRAYS FOR STAGING PARTS
Kitting trays can be made for assembly operations. This can be a tray with a specific number of cavities or with cavities sized to fit part. The tray color can contrast the parts allowing easy identification if missing a part needed for a assembly. These kits can be prepared for assembly stations in lean manufacturing environments and help insure there ar no items left out when assembled. An example is a medical device tray.
LIDS OFFER EXTRA PROTECTION AND FEATURES
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Lids can be designed to fit a custom or stock tray. Lid can be clear for visibility or can include form features which fit into cavities and prevent movement and cavity jumping in very small part packaging. Tray can be opaque (black or white) with a clear look for part visibility. Embossing of logo or website also possible on lid.
Locating features can be added to assist with optical or mechanical robotic part placement. Form features in tray are the best places to locate for robotic cavity placement vs. the perimeter cut. Accuracy and consistency is controlled by the tool with form features.
Nesting, when built into the tray design, keeps space requirements low for transport of empty trays. Nesting is different then stacking. Nesting is when a tray fits inside another tray when empty; like plastic cups. Stacking is when features are built in tray to stack at a specific dimensional height where no weight is on the packaged part.
Friction fit, indentations and undercuts can be used to hold part or to fasten cover or tray lid. Button snaps, perimeter snaps or slight undercut areas are the most common methods.
Company name, company website, and part numbers can be molded into tray with no additional part cost. Numbered cavities can be molded on tray. Special notes can be molded into tray. Notes such as “Return to ….”.
Some materials stick when nested. This design feature allows for easier separation of trays; and handling of trays by operators.
This is a feature in plastic clamshells which attaches the cover to the tray. Often snap features are included with clam-shell packaging or clam-shell can be heat sealed. This is usually used with retail packaging. There is added design cost compared to a unhinged tray and cover, or a stacking tray.
Printing and contour printing on packaging for higher volume applications. This process creates a Vivid 3D image directly on the formed thin gauge plastic. Main area for this is retail and food. Not typically used for industrial packaging.
Material Considerations For Custom Trays
Material Selection is a key decision when specifying a tray. Key variables when choosing a material include, ESD requirements, impact resistance, budgetary constraints, operating temperature, chemical resistance, cleanliness with regard to applied coatings, clarity (clear vs. opaque), color, and sealing technique if applicable. Common materials are described below in this section.
- Chemical Resistance
- ESD Requirements
- UV Resistance
- Coatings applied to materials for ESD protection or de-nesting. (medical)
- Heat Deflection
Custom Trays Material Thickness
- Plastic Material Thickness(Notes intended as a guide dependent on depth of tray and many other factors)
1) .015″ to .030″ starting thickness is common for disposable shipping trays for small parts.
2) .030” to .060” starting thickness for use for a number of cycles but not long term.
3) .060″ to .375” starting thickness for long term reusable trays.
- Molded Pulp Material Thickness (2 options)
1) .⅛” standard gauge molded pulp. This is typically used for shipping and lighter items.
2) .250” heavy gauge molded pulp is very durable used for skids, trays, and heavier parts.
Common Materials For Shipping Reusable Trays (Non ESD)
- High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS Tray Material used for shipping and reusable trays)
Thin and heavy gauge options. Low cost material for shipping or reusable trays comparable in price to PVC Clear. Styrene is readily available in black and white. Styrene is more rigid than PVC with the possibility of cracking on corners with reuse. ESD options below.
- HDPE Tray Material(used for shipping trays in special applications and for automotive trays)
Thin and Heavy Gauge options. Material is softer, has good impact strength, and excellent chemical resistance. It is also good for low temperature applications.Disadvantages include tendency to warp which make it difficult to use for trays that need to be flat for automation applications. Also very difficult to bond to HDPE.
- PVC (used primarily for small parts shipping trays)
Advantages: 1. Low cost 2. Durable (longer lasting than styrene in comparable thickness) 3. Clear 4. Good chemical resistance(see chart) 5. Available in ESD with a anti-static non silicone coating (see ESD Options)
Disadvantages: 1. Generally has a denesting agent allowing trays to be separated when nested. This is an applied coating which often includes silicone 2. Due to silicone coating, may not be good option for medical applications depending on sensitivity of application
- PETG Material(used for shipping trays and reusable trays)
Thin and Thick gauge options. PETG is a Clear Polyester. It has excellent strength for use in packaging trays and is a low outgasing material. Common applications include medical and optics. It may have a de-nesting agent similar to PVC which can be silicone. Also available with an Anti-Static Coating, Inherently Anti-Static, or Un-Coated.
- Polypropylene(often used in medical trays for shipping or storage)
Polypropylene has unique chemical resistance properties, and resists heat allowing it to go through some sterilization processes like autoclave. Often used in medical applications. PP is a softer material and also can be difficult to maintain flatness.
- Polycarbonate(used in high heat applications and for lab trays)
Polycarbonate is more expensive by a factor of 5 compared to the low cost packaging items. Key advantage to using polycarbonate is the higher heat deflection temperature (see below). Recommend testing in specific application.
Heat Deflection Temperature: 270 degrees Fahrenheit
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Continuous Use Temperature (= 24/7): 180 degrees Fahrenheit
Intermittent Use Temperature: 257 degrees Fahrenheit
- ABS Material (primarily for reusable trays)
Thin and heavy gauge options. Material has good impact resistance. It is often used with drip trays or automation trays as material stays flat. Most common color is black. Fairly low price but more expensive than Styrene, PVC, and PETG.
- Foam Material (rigid)
Foam trays are available in Polyethylene and Polyurethane in multiple densities and in Anti Static and Conductive materials. Polyethylene is a stiffer material better if parts have weight. Polyurethane is a softer material potentially better if parts scratch easily.
ESD Tray Materials (Shipping & Reusable Trays)
- Anti-Static PVC(thin gauge)
For shipping applications and not for long term use. Coating will become less effective with time and use. Surface Resistivity see data page BVDC-H1X. This is generally a thin gauge option in .030 starting thickness. Surface Resistivity of material 10e^9.
- Conductive Styrene Black(thin gauge)
Stryene is Description: The material can be used for semi-reusable and reusable trays as ESD properties are set in the material. It is not a coated material. Surface resistivity 10e^4 to 10e^7. Black Conductive Styrene is generally a thin gauge option stocked in .030” starting thickness.
- PETG Anti-Static Material (thin gauge)
Description: For shipping applications and not for long term use. Coating will become less effective with time and use. Surface Resistivity see data page SC-E773. This is generally a thin gauge option in .030 starting thickness. Surface Resistivity of material 10e^9.
- ESD Material (heavy gauge for reusable material handling trays)
- HDPE Blue Ant-Static Material (heavy gauge)
Anti-static, generally blue, do not hold a charge for very long. A charge of 5000 volts is fully decayed in less than 2 seconds. This material requires a relative humidity of 15% or greater, so it won’t do the job in very dry atmospheres. The advantage of this material is that it does not slough conductive particles and is therefore usable in clean room situations. Trays meet minimum specifications per MILB-81705B. The base material, high density polyethylene, has high impact strength. Tested to less than 1012 ohms per square inch.
- HDPE Black Conductive (heavy gauge)
Conductive containers are always black because the material contains carbon black. The carbon black allows the containers to conduct, and therefore if grounded, they will not create an ESD moment. The conductivity of the containers is a permanent part of the high density polyethylene material used to manufacture the containers.There is, however, a tendency for minute particles of the carbon black to slough. This trait may make the containers unacceptable in certain clean rooms. Surface tested to make sure that it is 105 or less ohms per square inch.
- Conductive ABS (heavy gauge)
Used for long term ESD applications. Storage trays, etc. Expensive compared to conductive HIPS(above) and compared to standard ABS. See R63 Data Page.
- Inherently Static Disipative PETG
Used for long term ESD Trays. Storage and Handling trays. Expensive compared to conductive HIPS(above) or compared to standard PETG. This material has a blueish tint.
Cavity Options For Custom Trays
Custom Tray Cavities formed to exactly match part or made to contact part only in certain areas building in clearance(areas of no contact) Clearance can be for fragile components or for areas requiring optical clarity.
Custom Geometric Cavities can be formed in more standard geometric shapes to hold to part or act as a universal cavity tray for use with multiple part sizes. Simpler cavities in standard geometric shapes generally have lower tooling cost.
Prototype cavities (mini trays) can be made inexpensively or as a step in the design process. A small 3- 5 cavity tray can be made to insure tray function before the final tool is built. This step usually costs less then $ 250 and validates the cavity. Full size prototypes can also be made for low cost allowing for design and fit issues to be used prior to tray production
Advantages of Custom Trays
➔ Low Tooling Cost: Starting at $600 for basic designs in low volume applications.
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➔ Labor Savings: Eliminating bags or special packaging materials can streamline the packaging process saving significant time while properly protecting parts.
➔ Economical Packaging Cost: Low part cost and cost per component. Trays are also low in weight reducing shipping costs.
➔ Part Counts & Inspection: Trays can be made to a specific even number like 50 or 100 cavities per tray facilitating counting. Cavities can be numbered if needed for inspection.
➔ Cleaner Than Corrugated: No corrugated dust with plastic trays. The plastic can be used in clean-rooms or for medical applications depending on material choice. See material information below.
➔ Reusable Packaging: Trays can be made for internal plant handling and for shipping applications. Re-usability reduces packaging cost per component vs. disposable custom trays.
➔ Custom Tray Cavities: Formed to exactly match part or made to contact part only in certain areas building in clearance(areas of no contact) for fragile or areas requiring optical clarity. More information below.
➔ Material Options: Depending on part and application. For instance several ESD materials are available for electronic components. PETG is often used for optics and lenses sensitive to out-gasing (see material section below).
➔ Used With Automation: Able to be used in Automation Processes. See custom design features below.
➔ Overall Tray Size: Tray to fit current box configuration, or standard off the shelf boxes.
➔ Recyclable: Plastics used for trays are 100% recyclable, and trays are often reusable.
Applications For Custom Trays
- Shipping Trays
- Material Handling Trays
- ESD protection Trays
- Medical Trays
- Drip Trays
- Automation Trays
- Packaging Trays
- Automotive Style Dunnage Trays
- Food & Bakery Trays
- Retail Trays
Click on the following link(s) for relevant document. Contact customer service for additional information, data pages, or msds sheets.
For HDPE Plastic Bins: Anti Static Material Guideline
Silicone baking molds come in many shapes and sizes which makes the whole process of baking a lot more interesting and fun. Although they appeared quite recently, people found a lot of creative ways to put them to good use. They are great because they are made of a nonstick silicone material and can be washed and reused as many times as you want. They’re usually of bright colors and interesting shapes, while available at affordable prices!
If you’re tired of constantly washing greasy pans, using silicone molds instead can be the solution you’ve been looking for! You might be a master chef or someone who simply loves to cook, either way, silicone molds should find a way into your kitchen. Forget about old-fashioned metal pans and read through our 7 great tips on how to use silicone cupcake molds!
Tips on Using Silicone Baking Molds
The great thing about these molds is they can be used for a variety of things – for storage, for containers and, most often, for baking. There are a few things to know about molds when used for baking so let’s look at some useful tips:
1. Use Smaller Molds
Baking with silicone molds is becoming more and more popular, with so many chefs including them in their cooking. Apart from being good for other things as well, smaller molds are more practical and affordable, thus easier to find and use. Equip yourself with some regular-shaped cupcake molds, as well as with some of the interesting shapes – like hearts or stars.
Once you’ve built a great collection, you’ll find that everything you’ve been baking in regularly-shaped pans so far, can be baked in the silicone molds and allow you to provide your family and friends with creatively made pieces of food. If you have kids, they’ll love everything that’s small enough for them to hold and of an interesting shape, so you’re in the lead here.
2. Mind the Temperature
Many people who buy silicone molds have the same question – Can you put silicone in the oven? While this is a completely justified question, we must tell you that you shouldn’t worry too much about it. Silicone molds are usually very heat-resistant and can be used even at very low or high temperatures. Of course, you want to be aware of the temperature ratings and avoid melting the pan and ruining your hard work.
Although many smaller silicone molds can withstand temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, you should check every piece of bakeware separately. Another question that people are interested in is the following: Do you put silicone bakeware directly on the oven rack? The answer is yes, but if you want to be sure, you can place it on top of a metal pan. This way you’ll know that baking and cooking with high temperatures will be safe and you’ll avoid spilling with bigger molds.
3. Choose Wisely
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The market has a lot to offer on silicone molds nowadays. Shapes and sizes are numerous, but the practicality varies, too. They are quite inexpensive as well, but again, that doesn’t mean they are practical enough. Many molds are very small and if you are preparing something for a larger group of people, you’ll have to do more than one batch, which can be a bit tiring and boring. Go for regularly-shaped molds of average sizes and avoid cute or tiny shapes. We know how tempting it can be, but be smart!
4. Greasing Can Help
Generally, good old greasing is not really necessary with silicone molds. However, using cooking sprays or even greasing before baking and cooking can make your life a lot easier when it comes to washing them later on. Think of this as a means of prevention – you’ll spend much less time doing the dishes afterward. Isn’t that something we’re all striving for?
Another option that can reduce the washing-up time is putting paper baking cups in the mold instead of greasing it and just use the mold as a structural form. Cleaning time will be minimal this way!
5. Check the Quality
Checking the quality of your silicone molds is a must if you’re interested in buying a quality product. Baking in silicone is really easy and great, but only if the pan or the mold are made of 100% silicone, without added fillers. You want to be sure you’re buying pure silicone so you need to check the way it was made.
How can you check your silicone mold is made of pure silicone? You should do the pinch test – pinch the silicone and twist it a bit. Once you do that and the color of it stays the same, you’re dealing with a 100% silicone mold. If it turns white, it was probably mixed with some other material and you should steer clear from that one. Be careful! If you want to bake in silicone, buy pure silicone first.
6. Find Good Recipes
A great thing about baking with silicone is the variety of recipes available online! You don’t have to be a master chef to be able to bake with silicone, you just have to find delicious recipes for silicone molds and start baking!
Of course, preparing anything is nothing without fresh, quality baking and powder supplies in Miami, and you can get those with us, at Medina Baking. Our diverse offer will equip you with everything and anything you might need for your baking and cooking endeavors! Don’t hesitate to contact us and get your supplies as soon as possible!
7. Recycle and Reuse
It’s possible you haven’t thought about it, but silicone molds can be used for many more things than baking. Since molds temperature goes from low to very high, they are freezer, fridge, oven, and microwave safe. Apart from that, they can be used and reused as many times as you want, but make sure to take good care of them by following the instructions. You want them to last a long time, so washing them regularly and storing them properly is very important.
If you have children, you can use them to freeze little pieces of food or meat for them and avoid throwing away meals. Of course, their creative shapes make them great for containers, lunch or snack trays and even homemade DIY products! It’s cute, it’s practical, it’s easy! Using silicone molds in your household is really great because they are easy to use, wash and stack. Make your pick!
Baking, baking, baking, isn’t it fun? Once you get used to using silicone molds for baking and cooking, you won’t even remember how it was before you had them. As you can see, they are very practical and easy to manage, while at the same time safe to use at different temperatures. Even if you haven’t been a fan of baking so far, these cute molds might make you change your mind and turn you into a state-of-the-art baker!