Thermoforming Frequently Asked Questions


What is plastics thermoforming?

Thin gauge plastics thermoforming is a conversion process where roll fed plastic sheet is heated to a pliable temperature, formed to a specific shape in a thermoform tool via vacuum, air, and pressure; then, die cut to create rigid plastic packaging, like clamshells, blisters, and trays. The thermoformed packages are then stripped from the plastic web, stacked, checked for quality, and packed for shipment to the customer.

What is thermoformed packaging?


What types of materials are used?

100% post-consumer RPET (varying concentrations of post-consumer content available), post-industrial RPET, APET/PETE, PETG, RPETG, anti-stat/ESD materials, PVC, PS, ABS, PP, PE, HIPS, RHIPS, HDPE, RHDPE, LDPE, FDA certified materials, medical grade materials, bio-based and compostable materials, freezer proof materials, flocked materials (custom color matching available); and, color matched virgin and reprocessed materials. 

What is thermoform design?

Dordan develops thermoform designs in Solid Model NX; engineering is proficient with reverse engineering physical products and importing customer-provided model files. Dordan engineering also develops the NX CAM/CNC produced thermoform tooling, which allows for more intelligent quality control as there are no machining or software translation errors. As both a thermoform designer and manufacturer, Dordan develops packaging for manufacturing with 60-years of experience. Dordan develops smart packaging that can consistently be thermoformed in high quality, meeting our customers' expectations for performance. Dordan's thermoform design process is managed by its ISO 9001:2015 certification, which guarantees document control, rev# documentation, design retention, etc. Dordan provides engineering drawings, prototypes, and first production drawings that include the real-time production tolerances for incoming inspections.

What is thermoform tooling?

The same team of packaging engineers that develop the thermoform design also produce the NX/CAM CNC-produced aluminum prototype and production tooling. Dordan's tools are machined and assembled in house, as are the assist plugs, die build ups, headers, end of arm tooling, and other components. All tooling is maintained in continuous working condition in Dordan's temperature controlled warehouse, and tooling is proprietary and customer-owned.

What are Dordan's plastic thermoforming capabilities?

Dordan has 12 in-line thin gauge thermoforming machines. All machines in Dordan's standard production facility are of the same make, which allows for scheduling flexibility with limited down time as all tooling is interchangeable. Dordan utilizes robots to strip the thermoformed parts from the web after die cutting, where they are automatically stacked and then visually inspected for quality. Each production run has its own SOPs, including material verification, machine cleaning, continuous and custom quality control inspection, and quality and production documentation. Upon completion, each production run is analyzed for areas of improvement based on internal softwares and reporting capabilities.


What is cleanroom-certified packaging?

Dordan has an in house and complete hardwall, fully enclosed ISO class 8 cleanroom. Dordan's cleanroom manufactures medical packaging and thermoformed packaging that requires controlled levels of particulate. Cleanrooms are classified based on air changes per hour, and Dordan's cleanroom works to continuously monitor, manage, and minimize particulate. Dordan's cleanroom includes Keifel speedformers with best-in-class forming, cutting, and stripping, and stacking equipment. The thermoformer has advanced machine controls and programming capabilities, allowing for the production of consistently high-quality medical packaging for sterile and non sterile medical devices.


What is thermoform quality control?

Dordan is ISO 9001:2015 certified for the design, manufacture, and distribution of custom thermoformed products and packaging. Dordan's quality management system works to ensure the delivery on-time defect free products that meet our customers' expectations in short turn times at competitive pricing.

Where is Dordan located?

Dordan is located in Woodstock, IL. All packaging design, tooling, thermoforming, and cleanroom manufacturing is done in house. This integration allows for the production of consistently high quality thermoformed packaging in quick turnaround at competitive pricing.

How big is Dordan Manufacturing?

Dordan Manufacturing is a 50,000 square-foot facility equipped with 12 thermoforming machines that have the capacity to convert 80-million pounds of material annually; an ISO Class 8 cleanroom for manufacturing medical packaging; an in house tool and die shop with VF Series CNC machining centers; automated stripping and stacking robotics; and, warehousing for vendor managed inventory.

What is Dordan's history?

Dordan was founded in 1962 in Chicago, IL. Dordan transitioned from small scale and rudimentary skin vacuum forming to high-volume thermoforming when Daniel took over the company from his father, Edwin, in the mid-1970s. Daniel moved the company in a more progressive direction with the introduction of CAM/CNC produced tooling, early utilization of microprocessor based thermoformers, and a commitment to quality.

Dordan moved from Chicago to Woodstock, IL, in the early 1990s to meet the increased market demand. Daniel's children, Aric and Chandler, son-in-law, Danny, and grandson, Julian, currently work at the third-generation, family-owned thermoforming company.