Welcome to Dordan's blog

New Packaging Digest Article: Cleanyst, the intersection of sustainability and ecommerce optimization

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Apr 18, 2018 2:44:56 PM

Hello, my sustainable packaging friends!

Learn how reusable packaging platform Cleanyst intends to revolutionize the health and cleaning products industries in my new article for Packaging Digest. Titled "Cleanyst: The Intersection of Sustainability and Ecommerce," this article describes how consumers can make anything from surface cleaner to shampoo at home via concentrates and a mixing appliance, reducing water weight and packaging materials throughout the supply chain.

Cleanyst Co-Founder & CEO Nick Gunia is presenting on his product development journey next week in San Francisco at the Sustainable Packaging Coalition's SPC Impact conference. Hope to see you there!

Cleanyst Appliance 16inch  3-2018.78

Above: Cleanyst rendering 

Topics: Sustainable packaging, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, SPC Impact, Reusable packaging

New Packaging Digest Article: Regenerative Packaging Puts the Cherry on Top of Sustainability

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Apr 4, 2018 3:25:11 PM

Hello, my sustainable packaging friends!

Check out my latest article for Packaging Digest, "Regenerative Packaging Puts the Cherry on Top of Sustainability"; this describes the concept of regenerative products, which James Connelly, VP of Products and Strategy at the International Living Future Institute, describes as those products that result in a net-zero or net-positive environmental impact over their life-cycle. Connelly is to keynote sustainable packaging conference SPC Impact in San Francisco later this month, and plans to educate attendees on what's possible with sustainable packaging when viewed through the regenerative products paradigm.

regenerative packaging


Topics: Sustainable packaging, sustainable design, SPC Impact, regenerative packaging

ISO 9001:2015 Certification Improves Dordan's Quality Management System with Risk-Based Thinking

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Mar 22, 2018 9:13:31 AM


Media Contact:
Chandler Slavin

ISO 9001:2015 Certification Improves Dordan's Quality Management System with Risk-Based Thinking

Dordan Manufacturing is an engineering-based thermoformer of custom packaging solutions.

Woodstock, IL—March 2018—Dordan Manufacturing, a custom thermoformer of plastic packaging, is ISO 9001:2015 certified for the design, manufacture, and distribution of thermoformed products and packaging. Building on the Quality Management System of the ISO 9001:2008 Standards, which emphasize continued process improvement through monitoring, measuring, and analyzing Dordan’s ability to satisfy its customers, the 2015 Standards incorporate risk-based thinking as a means to continuously improve the value of it’s products and services.

Dordan Manufacturing originally achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification in 2013 in union with its 50th anniversary. Re-certified months before it’s 55th anniversary, today Dordan has five years experience maintaining, and improving, it’s Quality Management System. As Dordan’s QMS continues to be analyzed and refined to ensure continuous process improvements per the 9001:2008 Standards, the 2015 Standards act as a refined lens through which the existing processes can be viewed, and improved.

Daniel Haavig, Dordan’s Quality Manager, explains: “To conform to the updated requirements of the 2015 Standards, Dordan needed to plan and implement actions to address risk and opportunities. By addressing both the risks and opportunities that exist within every process at Dordan—be it sales, engineering, tooling, or production—a basis for increasing the effectiveness of the QMS is realized. Thus, the 2015 Standards are an avenue through which continuous improvement is strategically implemented.”

While risk-based thinking has been implicit in the 2008 Standards, the 2015 Standards require each process be revised to include a risk-opportunity assessment. For instance, an inherent risk of thermoforming is producing non-conforming parts; that is, thermoformed items that don’t meet the specifications required for its quality and performance i.e. snap fit, die-cut, etc. The related opportunity to this risk is routine QC inspections with an understanding of these requirements, while recognizing potential production challenges. As a custom thermoformer, each job comes with its own set of form and function requirements; therefore, each job has its own QC inspection methods, tests, or protocols to prevent the generation of defective parts and minimize the incidence of producing non-conforming parts.

Dordan President and CEO Daniel Slavin comments, “Our commitment to the ISO 9001:2015 Standards is evidence to our customers, prospects, suppliers and employees that maintaining high levels of measurable quality in our products and services is a cornerstone of Dordan’s management philosophy.”

Danny Haavig.pngAbove: Dordan's Quality Manager, Daniel Haavig, inspects a thermoformed part during routine QC inspection

ISO 9001:2015 certification


Dordan is an engineering-based designer and manufacturer of custom thermoformed packaging solutions like plastic clamshells, blisters, trays, and thermoformed components. Dordan is based in Woodstock, IL, and offers all design, tooling, and thermoforming in-house. Dordan specializes in producing high-quality thermoformed products and packaging that fulfill the expectations of its customers.

Perry Johnson Registrars, Inc. is a full service registrar that carries multiple international accreditations. This means PJR has the authority to register organizations, recognizing them for their quality management system’s integrity.

Topics: custom thermoformed packaging, thermoformed packaging solutions, custom thermoformer, plastics thermoformer, ISO 9001:2015 Certification, Quality Control, Quality Management System

Three Generations Later, Innovation & Sustainability Drive Dordan Manufacturing

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Mar 9, 2018 9:15:18 AM

Hey guys!

Dordan was featured in the Real Woodstock, a campaign dedicated to promoting Woodstock, IL, as the ideal place to visit, relocate, live, and start a business.

One avenue for the Real Woodstock to promote the City is through telling the stories of our local businesses. Dordan has been designing and manufacturing custom thermoformed packaging in Woodstock since the early 1990s. As such, the Real Woodstock wanted to highlight our contribution to the local economy, community, and environment.

Check out our feature, Three Generations Later, Innovation and Sustainability Drive Dordan Manufacturing.

Real Woodstock.png

Above: My bro and I looking all business in Dordan's tool shop

Topics: custom plastic packaging, Sustainability, Thermoforming, family company, midwest manufacturing

New Packaging Digest Article: How Brands can Capitalize on Cleaning the Planet

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Mar 5, 2018 9:20:22 AM

Hello my sustainable packaging friends!

Check out my new article for Packaging Digest on Litterati, a crowdsource clean-up model, titled, "How Brands can Capitalize on Cleaning the Planet." Litterati Founder & CEO Jeff Kirschner to keynote sustainable packaging conference SPC Impact (San Fran, April 24-26), where yours truly will be reporting, on behalf of Packaging Digest. I hope to see you there!

Follow @Litterati and download the ap to join the global clean-up movement!

Jeff Kirschner_headshot-1.jpg

Above: Jeff Kirschner

Topics: Sustainable packaging, SPC Impact

Pricing Structure for Custom Thermoformed Packaging

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Feb 5, 2018 1:44:26 PM

We want to make it easy for interested parties to determine if a custom thermoformed packaging solution from Dordan works within their budget. While preparing a quote for a thermoform part usually requires a lot of information gathering on the side of the supplier, and thus a one-size-fits-all approach to pricing doesn't really apply, there are common pricing indicators shared among all thermoform quotes: These are material, run quantity, part size, and tooling.


There are many types of materials that lend themselves to plastics thermoforming. While the resin market is always fluctuating, recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) is an affordable material that is used often for thermoformed packaging. It is a recycled or reprocessed material, therefore having sustainability implications, while maintaining good clarity and performance. For non-visual packaging like thermoformed dunnage or work in process trays, high impact polystyrene (HIPS) can be a suitable selection. The more exotic the material requirement, like color matching or flocked, generally the more expensive the part from which it’s formed.

Run Quantity

As custom thermoformers, we buy the majority of material custom for each order. This allows us to maintain our own rigid standards for material acceptability, while facilitating a lean warehouse. Each material has its own minimum buy requirements, which means if the thermoform part order quantity does not consume the minimum buy, then the cost of the scrap is applied towards the part price. Thus, too small of orders may not make economical sense. In most cases, standard materials--like RPET and HIPS--have lower minimum buy requirements than more exotic materials.

Part Size

The part price is also based on the size of the thermoformed part. The more material consumed in its production, the more expensive the part. If the part has a deep draw, a thicker starting gauge material is necessary to allow adequate material distribution throughout the form. Selecting the appropriate material thickness for a thermoformed part needs to balance performance requirements with cost considerations as too thin of a starting gauge will often times render the part unfunctionable.


Dordan has two machining formats: small and large; small machine tooling is cheaper than large machine tooling. Our small machining formats have a press that can form parts up to 20 x 20; our large machining formats have a press that can form parts up to 36 x 30. The decision to use a small vs. large machine depends on the part form/performance requirements, run quantity, and material thickness. The cost of tooling includes complete thermoform part design and development, prototyping, and the machining and assembly of production tooling.

Download Pricing Structure

custom thermoformed clamshell

Above: Custom thermoformed clamshell

To Attend SPC Impact as Contributing Writer/Reporter for Packaging Digest

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Jan 18, 2018 2:54:51 PM

Hello my sustainable packaging friends!

The last few years I have had the pleasure of attending sustainable packaging conference SustPack as a writer and reporter for Packaging Digest. Check out some of my video interviews here. This year, SustPack has evolved into two different sustainable packaging conferences: SPC Impact (San Francisco), produced by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, and Sustainability in Packaging (Chicago), produced by Smithers Pira. Packaging Digest has partnered exclusively with the SPC for their spring conference, SPC Impact; so, I get to go to San Fran to report from the front lines of sustainable packaging!!!

SPC Impact promises to offer an impressive assortment of sustainable packaging expertise as it relates to "the big picture" of sustainability. The conference website reads,

Industry efforts to improve packaging are widespread and a common understanding has been developed, allowing more advanced conversations throughout the entire supply chain. It’s time to ensure that our actions are aligned with the bigger picture. Meaningful progress needs to be made towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and packaging improvements and innovations have the power to contribute. SPC Impact brings together the leading packaging decision-makers and influencers to focus on contextualizing opportunities for packaging, expanding the possibilities while bringing perspective of our planetary boundaries.

Having participated in sustainable packaging conferences for almost 10 years, I am excited by the contextualized, action-oriented approach SPC Impact is taking. As noted above, the rhetoric on sustainable packaging has become rather sophisticated; what matters now, therefore, is using the industry's elevated knowledge to facilitate measurable progress on environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

To learn more about SPC Impact, click here.

I hope to see you in San Fran April 24-26 for SPC Impact!

Sustainable Packaging CoalitionPackaging Digest


Topics: Sustainable packaging, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, SPC Impact

Dordan's Year in Review: Most popular content of 2017

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Dec 27, 2017 3:03:22 PM


I hope everyone had a very Happy Holiday!

As we approach 2018, it's time to look back on our most popular content of 2017, as demonstrated through views, clicks, likes, shares, and downloads. Thank you for your interest in Dordan this year; we look forward to continuing to engage you with content in of 2017.png

Top Three Blog Posts:

The third most-viewed blog post of 2017 was, "How Dordan Designs Packaging for Thermoforming in 6 Steps." This post is based on an interview with Dordan's Engineering Manager on the package developmental process at Dordan, which is a multi-departmental collaboration between Engineering, Production, and Quality Control.

The second most-viewed blog post of 2017 was, "Christmas Clearing House Delivers Joy Saturday." Published last week, this post describes Woodstock's annual gift giving operation, which brings toys and meals to over 1,000 families in Woodstock and Wonder Lake.

Most Popular Blog Post:

The most-viewed blog post in 2017 was, "Woodstock Mural Nears Completion: Photos of Dordan's Slavin with Mural Artist and Designer."

Published in August, it begins,

In May I wrote about Dordan's donation to the Woodstock Mural Project, a community-wide art project dedicated to celebrating Woodstock's cultural legends. Dordan is in Woodstock, IL, (where Bill Murray's Groundhog Day was filmed!) and as such, maintains a deep commitment to the betterment of the Woodstock community. We work here, we live here, and we are invested in the sustainment of the local economy and social fabric that makes Woodstock a great place to thermoform custom packaging solutions.

Last week I had the opportunity to meet the mural artist, Mark Adamany, for a photo, along with mural designer, Michael Stanard. Stanard is owner of Woodstock's prominent graphic design studio, OneZeroCharlie, and Adamany is Chicago land's premier artist for large format murals out of Rockford, IL. The mural is nearing completion, and it really does look incredible. Here we are in front of a completed portion of it:

Woodstock Mural photo 1.png

Click here to keep reading.

Most Popular eBlast:

The most read eblast of 2017 advertised an article I wrote for Packaging Digest titled, "How to Change Plastic's 'Waste' Reputation." The eblast reads:

Hi friend,

Check out Dordan's new Packaging Digest article, "How to Change Plastic's 'Waste' Reputation," and join the conversation on the perspective of plastics. Let's #changetheconversation together.

Click here for the new article.


Chandler Slavin, Sustainability @DordanMfg

Dordan Manufacturing Co. Inc.

Custom Thermoformers Since 1962

Most Downloaded Content:

The most downloaded content from in 2017 was our Company Fact Sheet, a 2-page overview of our products, services, and capabilities. Click here to download the Fact Sheet.

Most Shared Content on LinkedIn:

The most shared content on LinkedIn was an October blog post summarizing my experiences at International Pack Expo in Las Vegas. Titled "Interaction, Virtual Reality, and Automation Trend at PACK EXPO," the post describes my experiences at my favorite exhibits.

virtual reality.jpg

Above: I experiment with virtual reality @PACK EXPO

Click here for the post.

Most Liked Content on LinkedIn:

The most liked LinkedIn post of 2017 was, "Julian Slavin brings Dordan into 4th-generation" with a link to the associated press release. Dordan is a family owned and operated custom thermoformer, so when my nephew joined the company this past summer, we officially entered 4th-generation operation. Click here for the press release.

Most Twitter Retweets/Mentions:

@DordanMfg was mentioned in a popular Tweet by @TIPACorp that reads, Sustainable Packaging Insights Ignite Social #SustPack17 Sharing | @PackagingDigest summary @DordanMfg.

This is in reference to a Packaging Digest article I wrote following sustainable packaging conference SustPack17, which was a compilation of the most popular tweets from the event.

Thank you to all those that opened, clicked, liked, and shared Dordan's content in 2017. Wishing you all a very happy New Year!

Woodstock's Christmas Clearing House delivers joy Saturday

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Dec 14, 2017 9:10:29 AM

Hey guys!

Dordan has been in Woodstock, IL, since the early 90s, but just became aware of it's Christmas Clearing House this year. Produced by the Woodstock Rotary Club, Christmas Clearing House is an impressive operation that delivers toys and meals to over 1,000 families, children, and elders in Woodstock and Wonder Lake. Hundreds of volunteers donate their time to the organization and execution of Christmas Clearing House, which ensures that no family goes with out a Merry Christmas. 

Here's how it works: schools, volunteers and businesses collect and donate money and toys. All the toys are purchased and assembled in a warehouse, where volunteers unpack and segregate the toys by age group and gender. The segregated toys are then counted to determine how many gifts each family receives. Then volunteers are assigned to needy families, receiving corresponding demographics, and move through the warehouse collecting appropriate toys. The following day donated and purchased food is boxed up for the same families, to be delivered by more volunteers on "delivery day." This year delivery day is Saturday, December 16th. Here is a video of the whole operation:

This year I helped with the toy unpacking, segregation by age and gender, and counting. Here are some behind the scene photos:


Christmas clearing house.jpg

Above: Volunteers unpack and sort toys

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Above: Sorted toys are stacked for counting

Christmas clearing house 3.jpg

Above: Counted toys are placed in big gaylords for volunteers to collect for families

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Above: TOYS!

Rotary Club's motto is "service above self;" Christmas Clearing House is service above self manifested, to the delight of hundreds of families. It was truly wonderful to be able to participate in this incredible effort, made possible only through the selfless acts of hundreds of volunteers. While this is the first year that Dordan participated in Christmas Clearing House, it will not be the last. Dordan looks forward to making more of an impact next year as it continues to become more engaged with the local community. Thank you, Rotary Club, for allowing me to spread Christmas cheer this year! Learn more about Christmas Clearing House here.


Topics: Corporate sustainability, Woodstock, Volunteering, Christmas Clearing House

Photorealistic package design renderings portfolio

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Nov 30, 2017 10:59:20 AM

Hey guys!

Due to the interest in "How Dordan Designs Packaging for Thermoforming in 6 Steps," I put together a portfolio of some of our photorealistic package design renderings.

Photorealistic Rendering Portfolio

The generation of photorealistic renderings can be part of the package design process at Dordan, should the customer wish to see a fully-engineered, visually accurate representation of a package design before moving to prototype. These renderings are engineered 100%-to-spec, literally built around the physical products they are to house/display/protect.

Photorealistic renderings demonstrate our design for thermoforming process, which is when consideration for the thermoforming process is fundamental to the package engineering process itself. It is one thing to design an attractive package; it is another thing to design an attractive package that is easy to thermoform and functions as desired. This is where Dordan excells as a custom designer and manufacturer of thermoformed packaging for 55-years: at the intersection of design and manufacturing.

And here is a photorealistic rendering video just for fun:

Topics: package design, thermoform packaging, Thermoformed packaging, clamshell package design, Clamshell packaging, Thermoforming, design for thermoforming, thermoform design

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