The Anatomy of the Perfect Plastic Tray For Packaging Delicate Parts

When you’re packaging and transporting delicate parts, it usually requires you to get into the weeds. You have to think about not just the shape of the tray and its pockets, but how exactly the objects will interact with their surroundings. The more granular you are, the less likely you are to run into trouble. 

Plastic tray packaging is more than just finding a container that roughly fits the size and shape of your product. If unexpected movements or impacts during transport are damaging a portion of your supply, it’s time to rethink your packaging and storage strategy. We’ll look at the anatomy basics of a plastic tray and why it’s so important to keep your items safe. 

Most important features:

  • Impact-Resistant
  • Proper Shapes 
  • Industry-Specific 
  • Color 
  • Environmentally-Friendly

Select Impact-Resistant Plastic Packaging Trays

Mishaps and damage in shipping are always a possibility, so it pays to anticipate the worst and package your components in a durable plastic packaging tray. Even if you’re transporting them with the utmost of care, accidents can still happen. Should there be any unexpected impacts, crashes, or crushing forces in transit, a tray with the proper protection and impact absorption can ensure your parts make it out unscathed. Make sure to request sample trays to test them and see for yourself whether they’ll be sufficient for protecting your parts.

There are a variety of plastics available, all of which come with their pros and cons. Some may be more impact-resistant, but they're also more expensive. With delicate parts, though, it makes less sense to take any chances. At Ready-Made, our staff favors High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) for most trays because it’s sturdy, cost-effective, and well-suited to the thermoforming process.

Thermoformed Packaging Trays Should Be Properly Shaped 

Your plastic trays must neatly fit your product, of course, but the exact shape of the tray can provide additional benefits and convenient features, such as making them easily stackable or including finger grooves for simpler product removal. A wide range of round, rectangular, and square stock trays are available to match precise measurements. For instance, our rectangular trays come in three standard dimensions: 

  • 10-5/8" x 10-5/8"
  • 11” x 7-½” 14 x 7 ¼
  • 20” x 10 ½, 

Meanwhile, standard round trays can be purchased with the following specifications: 

  • 10-5/8" x 10-5/8"
  • 11” x 7-½” 
  • 20” x 10 ½”

Each of those dimension categories includes a large selection of pocket sizes and feature combinations to suit small and complex parts. If you don’t see stock trays listed in the exact shape or size you need, custom trays are also available. Our CNC shop is always ready to work closely with customers on developing the perfect tray for your unique specifications. 

Industry-Specific Tray Packaging Features

When you’re considering the anatomy of a tray for delicate parts, industry regulations must be carefully considered. For instance, trays in the food industry may need to meet strict food-grade specifications or put your organization at risk of non-compliance. If you’re at all hesitant about compliance, particularly if the tray will be shipped outside the US, it’s important to work with a company who understands the legal ramifications of the wrong tray. Ready-Made manufactures trays for many industries, including medical, food and beverage, and automotive.

Opt For Packaging Trays In Brand Colors

White plastic trays are typically the standard for part transport, and they’re entirely functional. However, consider how color — or even transparency — could be leveraged to help with the organization of components stored in trays or in communicating a brand identity. A custom-made clear plastic tray for packaging, for example, can make it easier to see the product inside. This in turn can eliminate potential errors during packing, storage, and assembly. Recipients can also easily see and verify the integrity of the product upon arrival. 

It’s a simple matter of using colored feedstock in the thermoforming process to custom-select virtually any color for your trays. A vivid brand-relevant color can set your components apart from your competitors and make your products more noticeable and memorable to buyers. Shipping parts in color-coded trays by product line or component type can also aid your customers in quickly identifying the parts they need on the shelf, once they’ve arrived.


Environmentally-friendly materials are important, and this doesn’t always mean opting for cardboard boxes or crates. If you’re looking for a tray that looks out for the planet as much as it does your products, Ready-Made is known for our commitment to recycling and sustainability. 

Whether you're interested in custom-made trays or standard plastic packaging trays, Ready-Made Plastic Trays is here to help! Let us help you find the perfect choice for you! 

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