You generally know you have purchased a product encased in blister packaging when you are unable to open your purchase without the use of very heavy scissors or a very sharp knife. While this packaging may be the bane of consumers, it has become a favorite of manufacturers. It allows a product to be highly visible, leading to more point of purchase sales, and also lessens packaging costs.
As another benefit, blister packaging reduces store losses from shoplifting. It prevents small items, often consumer electronics, from being opened and slipped into a pocket by those who seek to cheat stores via a “five finger discount.” For both retailers and manufacturers, any method that reduces theft is a boon to bottom-line profits.
There are several different varieties of blister packaging, but all function on the same premise. The product is encased in a cavity of hard plastic and sealed shut, usually via an assembly line heating process. Blister packs can be very small or very large, depending on the product in question, and their uses are seemingly endless.
One of the most prevalent forms of blister packaging, and also the most user-friendly, is found in single-dose strips of both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription pharmaceuticals. The packs not only provide protection to the drugs themselves, but can be handy for the consumer in helping them make certain they have taken the correct dosage. These blister packs open quite easily, and do not require excessive ripping, tearing, cutting, or cursing.
This is not the case with many blister packaged consumer products, and the most detested form of packaging is referred to as the clamshell. One will often find clamshell packaging encasing products such as small electronic goods, children’s actions figures, and tools. A very hard, plastic shell is formed around a mold of the item to be sold. On the reverse side of the shell, a bright, product card is encased in a form-fitting, plastic sleeve. The shell is then heated, and an extremely strong adhesive bonds the two sides into a nearly impregnable package.
It is estimated that over 5,000 people injure themselves each year attempting to open blister packaging of the clamshell variety. In response to this fact, a device known at the Open X® was created. This product is designed to safely and efficiently open clamshell blister packaging and reduce injuries. However, there is but one problem with this otherwise fine idea. The Open X® is only displayed and sold in a clamshell blister pack.