Why Is Some Packaging Difficult To Open?

Clamshell PackagingWe’ve all been there. You need something like a cell phone charger or memory card in an emergency, so you buy one, but when you try to open the package, it’s virtually impossible! So you have to search for scissors or a utility knife to get into the package.

It can be frustrating and annoying to the consumer, but clamshell packaging actually does have an important purpose. And surprisingly, in the end, it benefits not just the manufacturer but also the consumer.

Why Is Clamshell Packaging Necessary?

Electronics are among the most common products that come in clamshell packaging. The reason is…well, clear. Manufacturers want consumers to be able to see the product firsthand, so they display it in clear plastic. But since electronics are the most commonly stolen products on the market, some retailers will only agree to carry products that are in clamshell packaging.

Here are some ways clamshell packaging deters theft:

  • Thieves are likelier to steal a product that they can easily hide in a pocket. A clamshell package is usually bigger than the actual product, so it is harder to conceal.
  • Sealing methods, like RF (radio frequency) sealing, require the package to be opened with a knife or scissors. Meaning a thief cannot easily open the package in the store and slip the smaller item into their pocket.
  • Security devices can be added to the inside of the packaging.

Other Benefits Of Clamshell Packaging

Another major benefit to packaging a product in clamshell packaging is to protect it from damage. Because most clamshells are made to mold to the product’s shape, it is less likely to be damaged in shipping or if dropped in the store. This protects both the manufacturer and retailer from damaging items from their inventory.

What’s great about clamshell packaging is that it is 100% customizable. You choose the overall closed clamshell size, the method of sealing, whether it will have a hang hole or a ‘foot’ to sit on a shelf, and the graphic insert card to explain your product’s features and instructions. The result is packaging that helps sell your product while at the same time protecting it.

clamshell packaging toolClamshell packaging is also an excellent option for tool packaging because it can be designed to hold heavier products. The PVC can be designed to provide appropriate support for these larger items with support rails or can be made with a thicker gauge plastic to support the weight of power tools. Clamshells are also useful for concealing the sharp edges of items like saw blades or knives. By concealing and protecting the sharp edges, the packaging makes the product safe for consumers to handle.

Another benefit of using a clamshell is that they can be perimeter sealed. This is not only useful for consumer safety but also adds extra security for the item. And as already mentioned, RF sealing is recommended for sealing a theft-proof package.

UV (ultraviolet) sealing is another option, but there are detractors for this sealing option that complain of flow marks of the adhesive in the flange area taking away some of its intended lusters.

High-end power tools such as power screwdrivers, drills, screwdriver sets, saws, jigsaws, and more can afford the more expensive clamshell alternative due to the higher price point. A transparent, glossy, and rigid outer shell conveys quality to a consumer. Clamshells can also be custom molded for tools and can be designed to hang on a hook or stand independently on a shelf by incorporating a ‘sombrero’ hang hole in the top flange or a ‘tri-fold” design in the base, respectively.

What Is The Best Way To Open Clamshell Packaging?

Clamshell packaging methods are great for manufacturers since they protect the contents, prevent theft and provide great visibility. However, they can be a nightmare to open — ask the approximately 6,000 Americans who end up in emergency rooms each year as a result of trying to open clamshell packaging with a sharp implement.

Use A Can Opener

This handy tool is found in nearly every home, and it is the perfect instrument for opening clamshell packaging. The hard cutting edge of most manual rotary can openers can easily cut the straight edges of clamshell packaging. Once an edge is opened with the can opener, one of the following methods can be used to finish the process.

Simplify With Scissors

A pair of large, sturdy scissors can often do the job or finish off the corners left in the can opener method. Cut along the edges and around the corners to gain access to your purchase. The advantages of using scissors include saving the clamshell packaging for future product storage by leaving one edge intact.

Knives & Box Cutters

These tools, while effective, are risky to use. All too often, one slip is all it takes to find yourself headed to the hospital. When using a knife or box cutter, insert the tip between the two layers and twist gently, ensuring you do not break off the blade tip. One of the easiest ways to avoid injury when using box cutters or a knife, in any situation, is to always cut away from yourself rather than toward you.

How Do Clamshells Benefit The Consumer?

It may seem like clamshell packaging is only beneficial to protecting the bottom line of the retailer or manufacturer. But it actually benefits the consumer too. If stores experience less shrinkage, they can keep costs low. But if thefts go up on a specific item, then the retail cost may go up accordingly.

Protective packaging also means that the consumer gets a product that hasn’t been damaged, along with the assurance that the product is new and unopened.

If you have a new or existing product that needs contract packaging solutions, using a clamshell method could be a viable option for your project. Please reach out by completing the request for quote form or calling us directly — a packaging specialist will be in touch to discuss your packaging needs.

Posted in Blister & Clamshell Packaging | 2 Comments »

Discussion (2)

  1. Luanne Scholten

    Still dislike having to use a box cutter to open many products

  2. Misha Parel

    Yes, clamshell packaging is hard to open. But it’s worth it…if not, well, goodbye items. Thieves can easily steal it now.

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