How to Specify a Clamshell

Specifying a Clamshell - The first step in specifying a clamshell is to determine if a clamshell package is the best package for your application. As a general rule, clamshells are specified for their excellent product display attributes and theft resistance qualities. Another huge benefit is that clamshells do not require any special equipment to pack and seal them. They typically hold much heavier items than blister packs and don't require extensive graphics like corrugated packaging.

If a clamshell package is a good fit for your product and retail environment, here are some guidelines that may help you.


Determine the Size of Cavity You Will Need to House Your Product

This is the easiest place to start as many other decisions will evolve from what size package you need for your product.  You should also consider whether or not this package will be used for a single product or if it needs to be designed to hold a variety of different sized items.  Ultimately, you will need to determine:

  • Length
  • Width
  • Height

Evaluate Material Thickness
  • Consider weight of the item being packed.
    • Thicker walls are often needed to package heavier items.
    • Thinner walls can often be used to package light weight items.
  • Consider shipping configuration and how items will be packed in shipping containers.
    • Thicker wall are often specified as they provide more protection and resist damage better, but increase the cost.
    • One can sometimes use thinner walled packaging by adding corrugated or foam inserts to the shipping containers.

Evaluate Merchandising Issues

Many companies choose clear clamshells because consumers can see the product inside of them, but there are often still needs for graphics and some merchandising.

  • Test display options for clamshell hanging on wall or sitting on shelf.
  • Determine how much “header card” space you will need to adequately describe your product, show your logo, product features, etc...

Evaluate Clamshell Sealing Options

Some stores like clamshells because they can open the product and not destroy the package, while others prefer sealed packages to minimize theft. Determine what your customers prefer and then evaluate your options.

Sealing options include:

  • Handheld sealers ideal for small volume runs or flexibility (PVC only)
  • Automated sealers for higher volumes of standardized packages
  • Shrink bands and other mechanical sealing options can also be considered

Evaluate Packing and Shipping Issues
  • Determine how many packages you will put in each shipping cartons
  • Consider that many stores like to order in smaller quantities
  • Consider standard skid sizes to maximize number that will fit on skid
  • Test to ensure that packages can be shipped with minimal damage

Evaluate Costs and Trade Offs

Once you have identified your preferences for each characteristic, you will have to evaluate the costs (both one time and ongoing) involved to determine whether or not the price of your product can support the use of the clamshell package you have specified.  Given the many options available, it is often helpful to work with a VisiPak specialist to aid you in this process.

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