Industrial Packaging Spotlight: Clamshell Packaging

What’s clamshell packaging? If you’ve ever bought a package of nails from a hardware store or blueberries from the grocery store, you’ve probably encountered clamshell packaging. It’s the hard plastic casing that pops open like Pac-Man to serve up your goodies. But why do we package our goods in these little plastic shells, and what’s driving the evolution of this packaging type today?

Clamshell containers are made of polystyrene, polyester, PVC, and sometimes foam sheets, which are injection molded into the desired shape. These types of materials largely replaced the folding cartons made of molded pulp, paperboard, and fibers like rattan and straw – also made in the clamshell shape – because they were more durable for transport and more resistant to tampering.

What differentiates the clamshell packaging people love to the type people grumble over is actually in how it’s sealed. Most clamshell packaging designed for fruits and vegetables is created like the berry containers, and closes using self-locking tabs or snaps. Others, like the clamshell packages used to seal up electronics, are heat sealed, which makes them tamper resistant. Unfortunately, clamshell security packages like these are often difficult and frustrating for consumers to figure out, and usually can’t be opened without the application of very sharp scissors or even knives.

Here’s a video of a packing facility that uses clamshell packaging to pack up to sixty products per minute:

Whatever product you’re packaging up today, Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries can help. With a variety of packaging materials to choose from, you can be as merciful or tough on customers as you like with easy-open or heat sealed clamshell packaging, foam peanuts, plastic wrap, or whatever else your project requires. We’ve got you covered.