How to Choose Pocket Shapes For Plastic Shipping Trays

A perfect fit in the plastic shipping tray protects your products from common shipping risks such as vibrations, impacts, and accidental tipping of boxes. Put the right foot forward with an optimized tray pocket shape. 

There are multiple standard pocket designs, but you may have to think outside the box if you're shipping an object that's unusual or irregular. Here’s a closer look at the details of different standard pocket shapes as well as when to opt for custom designs.

Deciding on Pocket Shapes and Sizes

Sizes and configurations for pockets are easily customizable, but stock options also come in a range of precision measurements. In order to choose a pocket shape and size for your shipping trays, you’ll first need to consider your product's general shape and consistency. 

If the dimensions vary from product to product, either because of handmade touches or the manufacturing process, it’s important not to take chances. Err on the side of caution for inconsistently sized products and be slightly generous with pocket size. On highly consistent products, you’ll want a more precise fit. The standard pocket shapes are square, round, and rectangular:

  • Square: If your product is a perfectly square shape, the next step is determining how many pockets you need. So, whether you need to ship 25 in a tray or 125, look for packaging tray manufacturers who can accommodate your square items. The most common sizes of square trays are 10-5/8" x 10-5/8 or 11” x 7-½”.
  • Round: The pockets of round plastic shipping trays need to provide enough protection during movement to ensure there’s no damage during transit. Ready-Made makes plastic shipping trays that can accommodate up to 200 items during the process. Available in 10-5/8" x 10-5/8", 11” x 7-½”, and 20” x 10 ½”, many manufacturers find they can adapt their ordering needs to the standard plastic tray packaging.
  • Rectangle: By far the most popular type of tray available, rectangular pockets are ideal for items that are long or narrow, such as small boxes, syringes, tools, and utensils. If you’re looking for a plastic packaging tray that can fit an odd-shaped item, you may not have to order a custom tray once you see just how many options there are in the rectangular category. Available in 10-5/8" x 10-5/8", 11” x 7-½” 14 x 7 ¼, and 20” x 10 ½.

Utensils, pharmaceutical vials, and standard gaskets are all perfect examples of items you might ship in a standard shipping tray.

When to Use Custom Trays

Stock trays can go a long way, but they’re not always enough. Custom trays with non-standard pocket sizes or shapes are typically reserved for niche applications or ones that require very specific shipping tray functionality. For instance, perhaps you need your items to snap into the tray. This would make sense for shipping syringes in the medical industry because you can stabilize them within the pocket to protect them from depression. 

Custom trays can also help irregularly shaped or extremely delicate objects get a more precise fit than would be possible with a stock tray. A snug fit in the pocket protects the object from jostling and impacts in transit. At Ready-Made, we offer 4 standard tray sizes, 3 thicknesses, and virtually any color for all of our stock models, but it’s easy for us to customize the tray to your precise specifications.

Select a Specialized Supplier of Plastic Shipping Trays

Beyond tray size and shape, the manufacturer you choose will be the next most impactful factor. Look for a manufacturer with optimized solutions for your industry, whether it’s automotive, medical, food & beverage, electronics, or other businesses that ship small or complex parts. Experience working with businesses in your industry makes it more likely the manufacturer can solve common shipping scenarios and pain points. 

For instance, certain products may benefit from perforations that allow ventilation into the tray, while other product types may need small lips built into the edge of the pockets to allow snap-in, snap-out functionality. A specialized tray manufacturer for your industry is likely to have the unique solutions you need readily available.

Ship Your Products Safely With Ready-Made Plastic Trays

Get in touch with the team at Ready-Made Plastic Trays for more guidance and insights into the types of shipping trays you’ll need for the best results. Our tray pocket experts are happy to answer your questions and offer advice or recommend customizations that will keep your products safe while providing a more convenient experience.

Once you know what you need, we’re ready to get you started with a fast quote and prompt delivery. Make your purchase with confidence by testing out free samples before placing a large order.

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