Molded fiber, also known as moulded pulp or molded pulp, is a collective term descriptive of the process for producing, strong and environmentally friendly protective material. Typically made from recycled paperboard and/or newsprint it is widely used for packaging solutions. Our industry has seen a growing use of waste non-wood products such as wheat and bagasse for pulp production.
Inherently flexible molded fiber offers substantial benefits to manufacturers of Food related, Horticultural, Industrial and Medical products:
- Clam shell and carryout food containers
- Cups, bowls, plates and serving trays
- Planter pots and seedling trays
- Egg, fruit, berry and mushroom containers and trays
- Vehicle Parts; gears, panels, headlights, wheels, etc.
- Household items; toasters, coffee makers, furniture, etc.
- Electronics, cell phones, TV, modems, DVD, etc.
- Single use medical bowls, kidney dishes, bedpans, etc.
Molded fiber is a renewable and recyclable resource that sustains the environment and is capable of providing the following benefits:
- Recycled pulp fiber
- Recycled material
- Safe for Incineration
Molded fiber’s innovative makeup delivers extensive packaging solutions including:
- Transportation cost efficiencies (up to 10x more than polystyrene) from superior nesting capabilities
- Completely usable with no assembly in comparison to cut and fold paper board products
- Exempt to packaging penalties as with polystyrene in many countries.
- Zero or negligible disposable costs, unlike it’s alternative non compostable products.
4 Basic Types of MFP
Molded fiber products, manufactured with wastepaper or other natural fibers (which are essentially cellulose) and are recyclable along with other wastepaper are biodegradable, and compostable where facilities are available. They can also be incinerated without damaging incinerators.
Both fiber & water are recycled and reused in manufacturing, resulting in almost zero waste. There are no toxic or hazardous waste materials expelled into the environment. The Four Basic Types of Molded Fiber Products:
- Type-1 Thick-Wall
- Type-2 Transfer
- Type-3 Thermoformed (Thin-wall)
- Type-4 Processed
Type-1 Molded Fiber Products – Thick Wall
Manufactured using a single mold with product wall thickness from about 3/16 to 3/8 inches (5mm to 10mm). One surface is relatively smooth, with one side rough. Primarily used for support packaging of non-fragile, heavier items (vehicle parts; furniture, motors, etc.). As well as, plant, floral, and nursery pots and containers. Oven-dried.
Type-2 Molded Fiber Products – Transfer Molded
Manufactured using one forming mold and one transfer mold with product wall thickness from about 1/8 to 3/16 inches (3mm to 5mm). Surfaces are relatively smooth on one side. The most common use is for egg cartons and trays. New designs are used for many types of electronic product packaging such as cell phones, DVD players, etc. Also, used for hospital disposables, electrical appliances, office equipment, tableware, and fruit and drink trays. Oven-dried.
Type-3 Molded Fiber Products – Thermoformed (Sometimes called “thin-wall”)
Manufactured using multiple heated molds with a product wall thickness of about 3/32 to 5/32 inches (2mm to 4mm). Surfaces are smooth and forms are well-detailed with minimal draft angles. Products are dried in the mold and no oven curing is needed. Due to the hot mold pressing process, the walls are somewhat denser. Type-3 thermoformed fiber, products closely resemble Thermoformed plastic material.
Type-4 Molded Fiber Products – Processed
This type refers to molded fiber products that require some type of secondary or special treatment other than simply being molded and cured.
Examples of Type-4 are:
- Hot or after pressed – Die-cut or perforated – Printed – Colored – Special mold
- Special slurry formulations – Embossments – Special design features – Special additives