In the competitive world of plastics, thermoforming vs injection molding is a comparison many buyers and engineers must make, especially as new products come into play. Investigating both will help you determine which process is best for your specific application.
Defining Injection Molding
The injection molding process involves thermoplastic pellets that are heated to a liquid state, then injected into a custom, 3-D mold at high pressure. This forces the melted plastic into every void in the double-sided mold, ensuring a highly accurate finished product.
Note: Plastics Unlimited does not perform injection molding.
Uses for Injection Molding
Injection molding is best suited to the creation of smaller components with variable thickness, intricate details or ridges, and sharp corners and angles. Also, injection molding lends itself to large production runs and extremely precise detail work with a low percentage of scrap.
Costs and Benefits
Tooling and upfront design are usually quite pricey, not to mention time-consuming. However, injection molding’s greater expense may be mitigated by undercutting, coring, simplifying, or modifying fine detailing of the mold.
Areas of application include aerospace, automotive, food & beverage, medical and point-of-purchase displays, dividers, hooks, and stops.
The thermoforming process heats a plastic sheet to a pliable temperature, applies that sheet to a specific shape on a mold, then trims it to create the desired product.
Note: Plastics Unlimited is a leading thermoformer.
Uses for Thermoforming
Versatility is one of thermoforming’s strengths, serving in the production of small, medium, and large parts.
Costs and Benefits
Our patented TEC® (Tooless Engineered Composites®) process combines the speed of thermoforming with the strength and durability of composites. TEC®offers quality, speed, accuracy, and cost-efficient parts production. The larger the part, the greater your cost efficiency can be.
Also, development and testing teams have found thermoforming mold concepts quick to design, fabricate, and modify.
Finally, TEC® has minimal VOC emissions.
Making the Right Choice for Your Business
If you need help choosing between injection molding or thermoforming for your business, our experienced team can help. Contact us today to learn more about our thermoforming capabilities.