Plastics provide strength and versatility across a wide range of industries and applications. Each application requires unique manufacturing processes to make plastic molds. The main techniques include thermoforming and injection molding.
Both injection molding and thermoforming techniques offer unique benefits and features depending on the specific application. Here is a guide to help you understand both methods and why thermoforming is the better option.
What is Injection Molding?
Injection molding involves injecting split-die molds with liquid polymers into a mold under extreme pressure and temperature. The molds are then cooled to form plastic parts. This technique requires highly extensive engineering and upfront design to develop an excellent and detailed mold. It is ideal for mass production and small intricate parts.
What is Thermoforming?
Thermoforming is the process of heating flat sheets of plastic to form a mold’s surface using vacuum forming and pressure. It is used to create three-dimensional shapes and products. This technique is ideal for shorter production runs and large-scale designs.
Reasons Why Thermoforming Is Better Than Injection Plastic Molding
Both injection and thermoforming plastic molding offer various benefits depending on the application, but here are some of the reasons why we believe that Thermoforming is the better option:
- Quick Product Prototyping and Development
The thermoforming process is faster than injection molding. Typically, Thermoforming tooling can be production ready in as little as one week, compared to months before an injection mold is complete.
- More Cost-Effective
While thermoforming requires a one-sided production part, injection molding requires a two-part female and male mold, which is quite expensive. In addition, molds for thermoforming are mostly made of inexpensive aluminum, while injection molds require steel, heavier alloys, or thicker aluminum to withstand the high pressure and temperature. Also, unlike injection molding, the larger the part or component, the more cost-effective thermoforming becomes due to less tooling costs.
- Extreme Adaptability
Since the thermoforming process uses a one-sided mold, it is easier to adjust products at very minimal costs. On the contrary, injection molding requires dual molds plus heavier materials which are more expensive and time-consuming.
- Versatile Texture and Color Options
Thermoforming plastic molding offers a variety of branding and product design benefits. You can incorporate bright colors into thermoforming plastics, resulting in durable and bright coloring in the materials.
Also, thermoforming materials accept silk screening, coatings, printing, and painting, providing unique textures, finishes, and designs. This helps in enhancing the longevity and appearance of the product. This also means that you can use the thermoforming products as soon as the process is finished. As for injection molding, you may require painting or applying a special coating to make it presentable.
- Size Capabilities
Thermoforming plastic molding can produce larger products, unlike injection molding, which may only produce smaller products. This makes it ideal for large-scale projects.
Contact Grand Canyon Plastics Today!
For any questions about how to apply the plastic thermoforming process to your project, please feel free to contact Grand Canyon Plastics today! We have been in the thermoforming industry for over 40 years.
We have the equipment and a team of experienced and competent engineers to handle your project from conception to completion. Our prices are very competitive, and our quality is top-notch. More so, we can make design changes and modifications at a very minimal cost and time. Please feel free to visit our website for more information.