Did You Know This About Thermoforming?

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Koko Smart TrainerDid you realize that thermoforming is a crucial industry for many different types of companies from medical device companies to aerospace companies and more?  Here’s why.

Thermoformers produce plastic products that are either created through thin-gauge or thick-gauge thermoforming.  Thermoforming is a process that essentially uses a sheet of heated plastic which then becomes pliable and can be placed in a mold, trimmed, and cooled.   Continue Reading

Why Designers Love Thermoforming

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thermoformingThe process of molding and manufacturing plastic products through thermoforming allows for quite a few advantages over other possible techniques for shaping plastic parts. This form of producing plastics entails advantages that those working at all stages of the production process can appreciate, but in particular designers love thermoforming thanks to the flexibility, speed, and cost-effectiveness of the process.

In thermoforming, heat is used to render a sheet of plastic more pliable so that it can be placed into a mold and acquire a desired form. The process is typically discussed in comparison to injection molding, another possible method of molding plastic parts that involves injecting molten plastic into a mold. Both techniques for molding plastics became prominent manufacturing processes throughout the course of the 20th century as plastic products became increasingly ubiquitous. Yet thermoforming has made particularly notable advancements in recent years thanks to the attention it has received from its frequent application to new engineering technologies. Continue Reading

Fresh Set of Eyes on Your Injection Molding or Thermoforming Project

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Manytimes when you are working on a project hour after hour you tend to start to stop paying attention to detail and the project starts to seem overwhelming.

Engineers are classically trained to learn about injection molding during their years in college or technical school which is great.. but Thermoforming is different from injection molding in many ways.  Some are obvious and some are not so obvious so it’s important to get a technical engineer that works with thermoforming on a daily basis to review your files and project specs to make sure you are moving in the right direction for your project.

It always makes sense to have your project reviewed by experts in their field. Most engineers today handle a multitude of specialties and disciplines making it impossible to be a “master” of a niche process such as Plastics and molding and thermoforming.

Take some time and receive input from a thermoforming company for your next project. You may be able to:

  • Save a considerable sum on tooling
  • Bring your project to market faster
  • Produce smaller quantities economically
  • Form larger parts
Whatever your project, consider reviewing your drawings with a thermoforming manufacturer who has helped hundreds of OEM’s produce high quality parts and bring them to market faster with lower minimums.

Some Simple Truths About Forming Plastic You Might Not Know

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When the Academy Award winning move, The Graduate¸ helped launch Dustin Hoffman into fame, it helped the word  “Plastic”  move to the top of everyone’s mind.

In the movie, Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) told Mr. McGuire (Walter Brooke) that he was worried about his future and that he wanted to be different, he received this response

Mr. McGuire said, “I just want to say one word to you.  Just one word.”

 Benjamin replied, “Yes, sir.”

 Mr. McGuire said, “Are you listening”?

 Benjamin replied, “Yes I am.”

 Mr. McGuire said, “Plastics”.

 From that moment forward, Plastics assumed a prominent place in everyone’s mind and foreshadowed Plastic as the materials choice for so many products we use today.

Plastic can be formed into almost any size or shape imaginable through different plastic forming methods.  Injection molding and thermoforming account for most of the plastic parts manufactured today.

 Here’s the simple truth about them.

 

  • If you plan to have a short production run (under 2000) of a new part you have designed, Thermoforming should be considered.  Thermoforming molds are much less expensive that injection molding molds and offer a distinct advantage in low production run projects.
  • For long production runs, molds that are used in Injection Molding, while much more expensive than Thermoforming molds, truly offer lower part prices.
  • Often a company that anticipates long production runs in the future, but not immediately, will choose thermoforming because the molds are less expensive even though the part price can be higher.  Then, when they see that the product has really taken off and will require very large production runs, they convert to injection molding.
  • Designers often feel that the cosmetic appeal of an injected molded part is far superior to parts that are thermoformed.  This is not true because thermoformed molds can be designed to produce really elegant finishes.  Don’t confuse your need for beautiful finishes based on thinking that injection molded parts offer the only solution.  Once again, do use injection molding for large production run parts, and thermoforming for shorter production runs.  Both can produce beautiful finishes.
  • Thermoforming is a method in which huge plastic sheets can be molded into huge objects.  All other methods are used for making small objects.
  • Superior quality products using more plastic are formed by thermoforming.  As a result, thermoformed parts are more durable than those created by other methods.
  • Injection molding incurs extremely high start-up costs and requires a great deal of engineering time.  Since there are long time frames necessary to fabricate tooling, the time-to-market is a major drawback.

While the use of plastic has increased since Mr. McGuire gave Benjamin the tip of a lifetime, astute designers and mechanical engineers who design their plastic products for the right forming process will produce parts most cost efficiently.

 

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