Trays

Application
Trays
 
The numerous packing options don't have to be used just for packing and protection. Conveying of information, sales-promoting design and environmentally sound disposal are likewise important factors. Pack presentation is growing more and more important and good taste is to be conveyed by attractive design. Subsequent to vacuum packing in soft foils a trend has developed that currently can be observed where food is packed in trays or deep-drawn containers. Smaller households and changing job conditions no longer allow time-consuming cooking. The demand for menu trays which has been increasing during the past few years is about to develop into different directions. Different thermoforming methods must be applied subject to specific applications during destacking, filling, sealing. This also applies to desired features of the sealed pack such as transparency, barrier characteristics, load capacity and shelf life. Finally, required amounts call for different solutions to ensure the most economical solution can be picked. Menu trays meet several requirements. They can be sterilized and deep-frozen but the content of the pack can also be heated up, e.g. convenience food, fresh ready meals. The menu trays must be microwave and oven safe (grilled, curried sausage). The fact that the pack can be reclosed is important for customers. To meet this demand seal or slip lids are used. For cheese and sausages hinged packs are used with closing studs. Lids for food products meet the demand for product protection and use friendliness combined with excellent optical effect. Low pack weight, high impact absorption, great variety of shapes but also the use of multi-layer materials with barrier properties make thermoforming especially attractive for the production of containers. They must be stable and resistant to cold temperatures. The trend reversal away from soft packs is based on the demand for higher load resistance of packs since stackability and stability of the pack are major requirements for transport and storage. In order to take advantage of the increasing environmental awareness of food industry and consumers foil packs are offered based on degradable materials (corn starch). The packs posses a good flavor barrier and they are suitable for use at a temperature range of 0 - 40 °C. Different applications for packs and consumer goods call for different plastic materials which can be dyed according to customers' requirements. Thermoformed containers can be offered in most colors. Materials such as A-PET or OPS are frequently used for thermoforming applications requiring high transparency, required by customers e.g. in the drinking cup sector or for food packaging such as salads or vegetables. Lately also black trays have been offered for packing fruits and vegetables to provide a high-contrast background for the goods packed. A new trend favors identification by color, e.g. black for pork, yellow for poultry. Functions of the containers, such as several compartments for different types of meat, but also bridges to place e.g. shashlik are more and more in demand by the market. The quality aspect of the meat tray with regard to stability and bearing pressure is also met by thermoforming. Absolutely exact and plane sealing rims throughout the whole sealing area are a pre-requisite for the content's shelf life. This is achieved by cooled downholders in the tool. A further important element is the extension of the shelf life by using modified gas atmospheres which makes the content look appetizing. In pack production you don't just have to think about the characteristics of the desired material, disposal costs must also be considered. By using A-PLA it is possible to reduce disposal costs wherever waste is collected separately. Other raw materials are ground in-line and can be re-used in a sorted way. Menu containers and trays can be produced on most different thermoforming lines. In all of these lines the material is used from roll stock. In this way it is possible to use vacuum, pressure air/vacuum or only pressure forming. For decades ILLIG has been offering various machine concepts for all conventional packaging solutions, both for separate forming and punching and also for forming/punching operation.