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Softgel capsule manufacturers and suppliers in the USA need drying tray solutions they can rely on. Many are using plastic trays — cheap solutions that may not be up to the job. In this article, we’re going to explore the limitations of these trays and look at some real alternatives. Read on to learn more about why plastic trays are popular and why savvy suppliers and manufacturers are looking for better options.

Why Plastic Softgel Trays Have Become So Popular

Plastic trays are not exactly an ideal softgel technology, and these solutions achieve only suboptimal results for manufacturers, suppliers, and other entities within the production and distribution chain. And yet, they remain popular among softgel manufacturers and other organizations, both here in the USA and abroad. Why is this? Let’s take a look at why these trays are still in use.

A Cheaper Option

Plastic softgel trays tend to be the cheapest option on the market. For softgel capsule suppliers and manufacturers with tight budgets to contend with, this can make them very attractive indeed. If, or when, the trays become damaged, they can be replaced without too much expense. However, costs begin to add up when trays need to be replaced frequently.

Resistant to Some Forms of Corrosion

Steel trays can be susceptible to rust and other forms of corrosion, particularly when they have been in use for a long time. Plastic trays do not rust, so this is not a problem, although the plastic material may be at risk of other forms of corrosion, including some type of oxidation reaction.

Dent-Proof Material

Another issue with steel trays is that they dent. A knock or impact can cause the surface of the tray to become malformed, and this is difficult to reverse. Plastic trays do not dent, although they do exhibit other structural issues.

Easy to Source

Softgel capsule suppliers and manufacturers need solutions that are easy and quick to source on the US market. Plastic trays certainly fit this bill.

Understanding the Key Issues of Plastic Softgel Trays

So plastic trays are still widely used for all the reasons mentioned above. But what exactly is the problem with this? Why do manufacturers and suppliers need a better option in the softgel technologies and solutions market? Learn more about some of the key problems with this type of softgel tray.

Plastic Trays Can Warp and Become Misshapen

Warping of plastic trays over time can be a serious issue. If plastic trays become misshapen in this way, they may not lie flush upon a flat surface or within a stacking trolley. This can make storage and transportation difficult. In addition, warped trays may become incompatible with softgel encapsulation technologies and other solutions, rendering them essentially useless.

Funneling Is a Common Problem with Plastic Softgel Trays

Even if the tray is not visibly warped and still appears to lie flat without any significant problems, there may be issues within the tray’s structure. Funneling is one such issue — this occurs when the center of the tray becomes slightly lower than the outside edges, creating a gradient that slopes inward toward the middle. Even if this is not perceptible to the naked eye, it may cause softgels to roll slightly toward this central point. In turn, this can impact the gel drying process, leading to inconsistency in batch quality.

Plastic Trays May Be Difficult to Stack Properly

Plastic trays tend to be relatively lightweight, especially when compared to steel and aluminum solutions. While this can be useful in terms of logistics and tray portability, there are disadvantages to this. For instance, the flimsy nature of plastic trays may make them difficult to stack safely. Unstable stacking arrangements can result in health and safety hazards around the workplace, as well as ruined batches.

Plastic Trays Can Become Cracked and Damaged

Softgel manufacturers in the USA and elsewhere must be able to rely on the solutions they use. We’ve already looked at how metal trays can dent easily and how this is not an issue associated with plastic trays. However, plastic trays are still vulnerable to bumps and impact, both of which are common occurrences within a busy industrial environment. These impacts can cause these trays to crack and become seriously damaged.

Frequent Replacements Negate the Cost Savings

Plastic trays will typically need to be replaced every one or two years, either due to cracks, warping, funneling, or just general wear and tear. While plastic trays are fairly cheap and easy to source, constantly having to replace them is a logistical headache and can quickly become expensive.

A Viable Solution: Fiberglass Composite Softgel Trays

Up to now, we’ve discussed plastic trays in depth, examining both the advantages and the limitations of this cheaper softgel solution. We’ve also looked briefly at steel and aluminum trays. However, there is another option for softgel suppliers and manufacturers in search of more viable technologies: the fiberglass composite tray.

These fiberglass composite softgel drying trays are designed to provide a number of advantages for manufacturers and suppliers. These include the following:

  • Fiberglass trays are cheaper than aluminum trays.
  • While they may be more expensive than plastic trays, they need to be replaced with less frequency, leading to cost savings.
  • This material is resistant to corrosion.
  • It’s also resistant to denting and cracking and is more robust and hardwearing than plastic.
  • As there is little-to-no funneling and malforming, fiberglass composite trays achieve easy stacking and uniform drying.
  • Fiberglass trays retain some of the lightweight properties of plastic trays without the flimsiness — this makes them highly portable as well as easy and safe to stack.

Find Fiberglass Composite Softgel Trays in Our Range

At Chemtech, we are always on the lookout for ways to support our customers and users. This includes providing softgel capsule suppliers and manufacturers with the technologies they need to achieve unparalleled results in the healthcare and well-being supplements markets. Check out our range of fiberglass composite softgel technologies and explore the product spec sheets to learn more. If you have any questions about this range, reach out to our team directly.