We all know how important it is to select the right plastics manufacturing process for our projects. With so many options out there, from injection molding to vacuum forming and extrusion, deciding which one best fits your needs can be daunting. So let’s start by taking a closer look at each option!
In this guide, we’ll dig into the benefits and drawbacks of the main plastic product manufacturing processes, giving you the information you need to make an informed decision.
By understanding these processes better, you’ll be able to confidently select the method that will give you reliable results with minimal downtime — allowing you to get back on track as quickly as possible!
How to Choose the Right Plastic Manufacturing Process
There are many different types of plastic manufacturing processes out there, and it can take time to decide which is right for your project. Here are some tips on how to choose the proper process for your project:
Types of Plastics
You should first consider the type of plastic for your project. Before choosing the manufacturing process, you must know which plastic you are going to work on. Here is a list from us:
Thermoplastics are a type of plastic that is made from a hot gas and liquid mixture. The plastic is then extruded through a die to create the desired shape.
Thermoplastics are often used in products that will be subjected to high temperatures, such as food containers and thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs).
TPEs are a type of thermoplastic that can be heat-sealed and have high levels of flexibility. They are often used in products that need to stretch, such as athletic gear and condoms.
There are several types of thermoset plastics, including phenolic, urea-formaldehyde, melamine, and epoxy. These types of plastics are more difficult to process than thermoplastics but have better properties for some applications.
Thermoset plastics must be heated to a specific temperature before they can be formed into objects. This limits their use in products that need to be rushed or handled quickly, such as clothing.
Thermoplastics offer many advantages over other types of plastic. They’re lighter and stronger than most other plastics, making them easier to transport and use in products subjected to high temperatures.
They also tend to last longer than other types of plastic when exposed to UV radiation or chemicals.
Here are some mostly used thermoplastic materials:
- Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
- Acrylic (PMMA)
- Polylactic acid (PLA)
- Polyamide (PA)
- Polyether ether ketone (PEEK)
- Polycarbonate (PC)
- Polyethylene (PE)
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
- Polypropylene (PP)
Thermosetting plastics are a type of plastic that is not only durable but also resistant to heat and other forms of damage. This type of plastic is often used in products that require a level of durability and performance that cannot be achieved with other types of plastics.
They are often used in manufacturing processes with a high demand for stability and resistance to wear and tear.
One example of a thermosetting plastics product is the bodywork on cars. These materials are often chosen because they resist heat and impact, which makes them perfect for areas such as the dashboard and doors.
Additionally, these materials can be injection-molded or cast, making them ideal for creating intricate designs and shapes.
If you’re looking for a plastic material that will meet your specific needs, thermosetting plastics are a great option to consider. They offer durability, resistance to heat, and an intricate level of detail that simply cannot be achieved with other types of plastics.
Mostly used thermosetting plastics are:
- Cyanate ester
- Vulcanized rubber
Types of Manufacturing Processes
3D printing technology is growing in popularity, and with good reason. It has the ability to create products from scratch using a digital model, which can save time and money.
3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional object from a digital file. This technology has many applications, but it is most commonly used to create objects from plastic and other materials.
You can use 3D printing for prototypes, parts for products, and even entire products.
There are several types of 3D printers, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common type of printer is the FDM printer. This printer uses a layer-by-layer approach to print objects. It is easy to use and relatively affordable but can produce low-quality prints.
The SLA (selective laser sintering) printer is another type of printer that is popular among hobbyists and small businesses. This printer uses lasers to heat up small pieces of plastic until they fuse together into an object.
SLA printers can produce high-quality prints, but they are more expensive than FDM printers and require more maintenance.
PDMS (polymer dental material system) printers are the latest type of 3D printer to hit the market. These printers use biodegradable plastics instead of traditional filaments to produce objects.
PDMS printers are in the development stage right now, but they could have major implications for the future of plastic product manufacturing
CNC machining is a process that uses computers to control the motion of tools in order to create parts. This technology has been used in manufacturing for years and has become increasingly popular.
Manufacturers strive to reduce production time and costs. In fact, according to Gartner, CNC machining will be responsible for more than 50% of global industrial machine sales by 2020.
There are many benefits associated with using CNC machining technology in plastics production.
For starters, it can produce parts quickly and accurately. It also allows for greater flexibility and customization when it comes to the design of products, which can lead to increased efficiency and decreased manufacturing costs.
Finally, CNC machining is based on computer-controlled movements, so it is safe and compatible with many different materials.
So whether you’re looking for a high-quality part made from a hard material like metal or plastic, or something that’s more flexible like rubber, CNC machining can help you get there quickly and efficiently.
Polymer casting is a process of making objects from polymers by using molten plastic to form the object. The polymer is put into a mold and then heated until it liquefies.
The liquid polymer is forced out of the mold and cools to form the object. Polymer casting is used to make products such as toys, cups, and even cars.
One of the benefits of polymer casting is the flexibility it offers. You can create Objects with this method that can be shaped in ways that would be difficult or impossible with other manufacturing methods. This makes polymer casting an excellent choice for products that need to be flexible, such as prosthetic limbs or medical implants.
Another advantage of polymer casting is its ability to create very detailed objects.
In some cases, even minor details can be reproduced perfectly with this process. This makes polymer Casting an ideal choice for products that need high levels of accuracy, such as medical devices or automobile parts.
Last but not least, one of the most important reasons to consider using polymer casting is its low cost. Compared to other manufacturing methods, it tends to be less expensive and faster to use. Businesses can quickly create custom products without investing a lot of money upfront.
Rotational molding is a manufacturing process in which a rotating component, or tool, is used to create objects from plastic. The tool consists of a cylindrical barrel with several small, sharp blades turned by an electric motor. This process is often used to create medical parts and other small objects.
One of the benefits of rotational molding is that it allows for greater flexibility when creating objects. This is because the tool can be easily moved around the molded object, allowing for more accurate and uniform production.
Additionally, rotational molding is also faster than traditional methods such as injection molding and casting. As a result, products can be created more quickly and at lower costs.
Rotational molding is becoming increasingly popular due to its many advantages. It is versatile and efficient, so it can you can use this process to create a wide variety of products.
Furthermore, rotational Molding produces high-quality products quickly and cheaply, making it an attractive choice for businesses needing to meet deadlines.
Vacuum forming, also known as molding or thermoforming, is an industrial manufacturing process used to create plastic products.
The most common type of vacuum forming is sheet molding, in which a sheet of plastic is placed into a heated die that shapes it into the desired product.
Other types of vacuum forming include barrel and cavity molding, in which a series of small cups or cavities are created on a larger plastic piece’s surface. Finally, rotary die casting uses hot air and rotating dies to create a variety of products from metal alloys.
Injection Molding is a process of manufacturing plastic products by injecting molten plastic directly into the mold cavity, which then solidifies to create the desired product. Injection Molding has become an industry standard for making high-quality, durable plastics.
There are several types of injection molding machines, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Injection Molding Machines that use multi-displacement pumps can produce parts with complex shapes and intricate details.
However, they are typically more expensive than single-displacement machines and require more space to operate. On the other hand, single-displacement machines are cheaper and can produce parts with simpler geometry.
Injection Molding is a versatile manufacturing process that can be used to make a wide variety of products, including toys, car parts, medical devices, and even guns.
Because it is so versatile, Injection Molding is often used to create new types of plastic products that didn’t previously exist.
Extrusion is a type of plastic product manufacturing that uses a process to form objects or parts from a thermoplastic material by forcing the material through a nozzle.
The extrusion process works by heating the thermoplastic material until it liquefies and then forces the liquid through a nozzle at high pressure and temperature. This process forms objects or parts from thermoplastic material and can be used to create products such as bottles, containers, toys, and other items.
Blow molding is a type of plastic product manufacturing that uses hot air and pressure to create objects from a liquid or semi-solid material.
The process begins by heating the material to a temperature high enough to liquefy it, then forcing it into a mold cavity through a nozzle.
The molten plastic is then forced into the cavity and solidifies around the edges, creating the object you see in the final product. Blow molding is popular for making products like cups, toys, and figurines because it’s relatively fast and produces relatively small parts with uniform dimensions.
Factors to Consider When Manufacturing Plastic Parts
There are several factors to consider while manufacturing plastic parts. Here they are:
Selecting the right material is the most important thing when you are dealing with plastic parts manufacturing.
The material must be viable for the particular part application. For example, some materials are better suited for casting processes, while others are better suited for 3D printing.
Another important consideration is how the material will behave during manufacturing. Some materials are easier to work with than others and may produce better results using certain manufacturing methods.
If it’s going to be used in a high-volume production setting, then certain materials might be more suitable than others. However, if the part is only going to be used in a small number of cases, then a less reliable material might work just fine.
When considering which manufacturing processes to use for a plastic part, it is crucial to consider the specific features and geometry of that part. For example, a part with tight tolerance requirements or unique internal features may require a different manufacturing process than a part with a lower level of geometric complexity.
Depending on the specific requirements of the part, making a design for manufacturing (DFM) revisions may be necessary to optimize the cost-effectiveness of production. DFM is important in ensuring that a plastic part meets all its required specifications and customer expectations.
Companies can save money by revising the design for the manufacturing (DFM) process while still meeting customer requirements.
Depending on the type of part you’re making, lead time can range from a few days to a couple of weeks. This is especially important when it comes to custom parts or those that require special processing.
Plan for contingencies and ensure you have enough resources if things go wrong. Some plastics have short lead times, while others may require several weeks or more.
It is also important to keep in mind the potential for disruptions in production. If there are any unexpected problems with the machinery or materials, it can affect lead time significantly.
You want your customers to get their product immediately, and you also want to save time sourcing suitable materials or manufacturing the parts. By keeping lead time in mind, you’ll be able to get your products delivered on schedule and without any hitch.
Volume and Cost
Volume refers to the number of parts that can be manufactured in a given time, while cost refers to the amount of money needed to produce those parts.
When it comes to volume, there are a few factors that you should consider.
- How much space is available for the manufacturing process?
- How complex are the parts?
- How large are the parts? What type of plastics do you want to use?
- What types of tools and machines are available?
Each of these factors will affect the overall cost of producing a part. For example, less expensive materials may be used if space is limited and the part is relatively simple. Conversely, the overall cost may be higher if a more complicated part is manufactured using more expensive materials.
It would be best if you also considered some factors about the costs. The first thing that needs to be determined is the raw material costs. Next up is labor costs; will overtime need to be paid, or does skilled labor exist, which can reduce costs?
Then there are overhead costs such as utilities and insurance, which all add up over time. Finally, there are marketing and distribution costs which can also impact profitability.
Kemal: Getting your plastic parts order started
Getting your plastic parts order started is easy with Kemal. We have everything you need to get started, including CAD files and production templates.
We have dedicated professionals to assist you in selecting the right product and the right manufacturing process. Just send us a message, and an expert will be in touch with you soon.
Our customer support team is also available 24/7 to help you get your product to market fast. So whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, Kemal has the resources and support you need to get your products to market quickly and cost-effectively.