Universal Plastics specializes in manufacturing a wide range of custom thermoformed plastic trays for a variety of applications. Thermoformed custom plastic trays have a multitude of uses, and can range from something as simple as a flat, one cavity part for holding a particular product, to a multi-cavity design for several pieces which go together, or a precisely organized thermoformed shape which can be used to house and protect expensive and fragile items. Friction fits, indentations, snaps and undercuts can be used to custom fit the product.

Plastic trays are one of the oldest uses for thermoformed polyethylene — and for good reason. Experienced users know their toughness and cost effectiveness. With thermoforming, custom material handling and plastic drip trays are more affordable than ever. Low volumes are not a problem and shouldn’t deter you from considering a custom plastic tray. To discuss how Universal Plastics can meet your needs, please contact us.

Universal does not stock any standard plastic trays and we do not sell products “off the shelf”. All of our plastic trays are custom manufactured to your exact specifications. We welcome the opportunity to quote on your custom plastic trays so that you can see if this is an appropriate option for you.

Some commonly used custom thermoformed plastic trays are as follows:

  • Custom dunnage trays are used to ship multiple parts in an organized manner. They are easy to load & unload, nestable, re-usable and an efficient packaging option
  • Heavy gauge trays are used to handle sensitive materials and components. Anti-static and ESD protection can be used to protect expensive electronic equipment or can be used for transporting manufactured components within a facility and can be designed to optimize size and stacking capabilities
  • Thermoformed material handling trays offer a low-cost solution for containing and protecting sensitive materials used during the manufacturing process within a plant
  • Trays can be used in conjunction with other packaging material including cartons, boxes or corrugated packaging to protect against expensive shipping and handling damage


Universal Plastics has made thermoformed plastic trays across a variety of industries such as aerospace, medical, industrial, electronics, and military. Applications we have manufactured include the following:

  • Shipping Trays: used to transport all types of products; custom designs & materials are used to optimally ship the product based on specific requirements and can protect expensive electronic, medical, or precision machined components. They can be both stackable and nestable, and we can even add ESD protection
  • Material Handling Trays: used for a variety of end-use applications to transport and contain materials with specific properties
  • Pick & Place Trays: manufacturing aid used to organize parts during the manufacturing process
  • Part Protection Trays: delicate, expensive or unstable parts can be easily stored and transported in custom thermoformed trays
  • ESD protection Trays: dissipate static to protect sensitive electronic components
  • Automation Trays: used as an in-house manufacturing aid for various high technology processes, including but not limited to high volume injection molding
  • Medical Trays: used in a variety of medical applications requiring highly custom properties, design & quality
  • Drip Trays: often used in scientific or medical test equipment to contain fluids & avoid dripping or leaching of chemicals in the process of using equipment. Low cost thermoformed HDPE or Polypropylene trays can capture caustic chemicals and prevent corrosion to expensive equipment


Some of the benefits of using a thermoformed custom plastic tray are as follows:

    • Easy to clean and reuse
    • Survive well in tough environments
    • Low cost


For assistance with your design, just let us know. Our world-class engineering team will be happy to work with you to design a thermoformed plastic tray for your specific application. To discuss how Universal Plastics can meet your custom thermoforming needs, please contact us.

Materials used in Thermoformed Plastic Trays:

Thermoformed custom plastic trays can be made in a variety of materials which have a range of properties. The most frequently used materials for thermoformed trays are PVC, HDPE, PE, PETG, HIPS and RPET. Other properties, based on the material selected, are as follows:

  • Durability, resistance to impact or abrasion
  • Ability to withstand harsh chemicals
  • Formable in a variety of colors and textures
  • Resistance to hot or cold temperatures
  • Flame retardant grades (UL94-V0)

Universal Plastics will share our expertise in thermoplastics to help you to find the right material for your part. Click here for more information on thermoplastic materials.

Thermoformed Plastic Trays Expertise at Universal Plastics:

Universal Plastics has a long history of expertise in manufacturing thermoformed plastic trays. Whether you need a custom plastic tray in low volume or high volume, contact us today to discuss your ideas.

Universal Plastics is the largest precision heavy gauge custom thermoformer in the Northeastern US with an asset base of 22 pressure formers, 14 vacuum formers and 26 5-axis trimming machines, supplying our customers with vacuum forming, pressure forming, including twin sheet forming and complex assemblies, with part sizes up to 12’ x 9’. In addition, we offer in-house tooling, an experienced engineering staff, and a full complement of secondary/finishing services, including our new state of the art paint booths which can produce automotive quality finishes. With a range of rotary formers, rapid manufacturing processes, and a global supply chain, we can produce thermoformed parts at the most competitive prices.

In addition to custom thermoforming, Universal Plastics also offers injection molding (including gas assist and structural foam molding) and custom blow molding. We would be glad to talk with you about the optimal process for your needs.