Custom boxes are made from different materials. Each element determines the strength of the box and its use. Depending on the depth of one's pocket and the purpose of acquiring a certain container, one can specify what material they want their boxes to be made of. However, it would be wise to do a quick research before getting on the phone (or laptop) to order a custom container.
Custom Box Materials
Corrugated Plastic: Also known as Corriboard, corrugated plastic is a wide-range of plastic-plastic-sheet products made from high-impact polypropylene resin. Lightweight but tough, this material is mainly used for making signs and containers (read: boxes). Boxes made of corrugated plastic come in different sizes are reusable, and carry heavier weights than paperboard boxes. Corrugated plastic has many trade names, including Coroplast, Correct, and Twinplast, and it also comes in many colors.
Corrugated Fiberboard: This is the brown material most boxes are made of. Corrugated fiberboard is a type of paperboard that is made up of three layers: two flat pieces of paper with a fluted (corrugated) layer in the middle. This layering gives the material its strength, as well as the boxes.
Paperboard: Paperboard is a thick material made of, yes, paper. The main difference between cardboard and paper is that the former is thicker than the latter. Paperboard has several types, depending on their use and the industry using them, such as kraft board, laminated board, et cetera. A kind of paperboard is what is used to make corrugated fiberboard.
Cardboard: This refers to any heavy-duty paper. As such, most people use the terms cardboard, paperboard, and corrugated fiberboard interchangeably. Technically they are not the same thing. Cardboard is the parent name for all other 'boards.'
Wood: A hard material gotten from trees, wood is used to make crates and boxes and cases. It would be nice if one decided not to use wooden crates, as this would help the afforestation movement, and make steps towards reducing global warming.
Plastic: light, durable material produced by chemical processes, it can be formed into different shapes when heated. Mostly used in making crates, the plastic containers are divided into compartments that hold bottles for transportation and storage.
Metal: Metal containers are made of iron, tin, gold, or other alloys like brass. Boxes made of metal are durable, though susceptible to rust, and very expensive.
These are the different types of materials that are used to make custom containers. The strength, durability, and cost of a custom box depends on the material a customer chooses, and one's choice matters greatly if they are getting custom boxes for delivering goods to their clients.
In vacuum forming or thermoforming fabrication, the material is just as important as the mold. If a lower-quality plastic sheet is used, the end product could be compromised. The color of the sheet could be uneven and inconsistent. Unpredictable melting could occur, causing irregular gauge thickness. Longer curing and drying could add operation time and cost to the fabrication process. In other words, having the best vacuum formable plastic sheet will always yield the best-finished product.
In short, vacuum forming is a stripped down, simpler adaptation of thermoforming. With vacuum forming, a heated, pliant plastic sheet is stretched on top or inside of a mold. The formable sheet then conforms to the shape of the mold with the application of a vacuum to ensure the plastic fills the mold, tightly and neatly. Once the sheet is formed, the vacuum is released, along with the now-formed plastic sheet.
Vacuum forming is ideal for prototyping and manufacturing parts with a shorter-run production output due to being an easy and economical operation. It is also an outstanding way to fabricate more shallow molds without the higher operational costs associated with thermoforming. Newer, technological advances have allowed vacuum forming with deeper molds, as long as the formable sheet is of higher quality and is mechanically stretched before application to the mold.
When selecting the material for your project, forming plastic is an ideal option. Vacuum formable plastic sheets, usually made of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) are designed especially for the vacuum forming or thermoforming process. They can withstand heat application without melting or breaking down. They are also highly regarded for their ease of processing and are inexpensive in comparison to other sheets. Be sure to choose a plastic or PVC sheet that meets your specific requirements, such as thickness, color, surface texture, and overall size. Look for a product that offers precise gauge control and consistent color with lot-to-lot traceability. This way, there will be no differences between manufacturing runs.
There are a variety of applications that benefit from both vacuum/thermoforming and formable plastic sheets. The production of kiosks and automated teller machines include external plastic structures that accommodate delicate, internal mechanisms securely and with branded aesthetics. Since the formable sheets are highly customizable, medical device housing and electronic equipment cases can be properly fitted for a precise fit and appropriate protection. On a smaller scale, electrical components are a perfect application because of the inherent flame retardance of the formable plastic sheet material.
If you are considering your options for a small run of manufactured molded parts or experimenting with a prototype, vacuum forming/thermoforming with vacuum formable plastic sheets is an excellent choice. While the manufacturing process itself is straightforward, the selection of an industry-proven formable sheet will provide high-performance durability without cutting into your bottom line. Be sure to choose a high-quality formable plastic sheet that will hold up to the demands of your next project; you will have a consistent, reliable end product every time.