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How Do I Choose the Best Blister Packaging?

Alex Newth
Alex Newth

Many manufacturers use blister packaging to protect their products from thieves, to allow consumers to see the product and to separate the product from itself, as with pills that come in blister packs. There are regulations on how moisture-, oxygen- and light-resistant blister packaging must be, but some products may require extra resistance. While many different materials can be used to make blister packs, they can be separated into two categories: cold-formable and thermoformable; the manufacturer should choose a material that best works with the product. How the blister holds its contents also is important, because this will determine how the product’s packaging will look. The inclusion of a foot might be required, depending on retailers and the product involved.

According to regulations in much of the world, all blister packaging must be light-, oxygen- and moisture-resistant to ensure the product inside is safe and the consumer does not get sick if the product is ingested. Some products, especially unstable medications, may require resistance that goes beyond regulations. If this is true, then the manufacturer should choose a blister pack that meets these higher standards, so the consumer can use it properly.

Pills in blister packaging.
Pills in blister packaging.

There are many different types of materials used create blister packaging, but the materials can be separated into two categories. Cold-formable material is commonly pressed aluminum that is laminated with plastic. The aluminum is resistant to many outside forces and has high mechanical resistance; aluminum has a tendency to leech into other materials and to crack, but the plastic inclusion corrects these issues. Thermoformable materials are plastics that can be easily molded into any shape, but they are not as resistant to outside forces — especially light — because the plastic is transparent. If the product is a simple shape that needs high resistance, then cold-formable materials are likely best; if the product has a unique shape and the manufacturer wants a transparent blister pack to show off the product, then thermoformable materials are better.

The blister packaging type, or how it holds the product, is important for marketing and safety purposes. A few types of packaging are: Face seal blisters that are affixed to the front of cardboard cards; clamshell packs that snap closed and are more theft-resistant because they are difficult to pry open inconspicuously; and blister cards that come with small pockets to separate and hold a number of pills or items. Manufacturers should choose a packaging type that best protects and displays the product while allowing adequate room for advertising designs.

A foot is a section of plastic that is added to the bottom of some blister packaging to act as a base. If a product needs to be able to stand upright, then blister packaging with a foot might be the best option, because it allows the product to do just that. Some retailers actually require a foot, so this addition may be mandatory if the manufacturer wants to sell the product in particular stores.

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    • Pills in blister packaging.
      By: Nikolai Sorokin
      Pills in blister packaging.