Plastic is one of the most commonly used materials in manufacturing today. A wide range of processes can be used to manipulate raw plastic into the desired form. Some of these processes include 3-D printing, polymer casting, injection molding, and vacuum forming.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each of these processes, so you must select the one that best meets your manufacturing needs. Here are three factors to consider as you decide on a plastics manufacturing process for your products.
The overall form of your finished product should play a role in determining which type of manufacturing process will be used to create the parts in bulk. Some key aspects of form to consider include the allowable tolerances and the complexity of the product's internal features.
Plastic items with a simple geometry can be manufactured using any process. Complex parts that must adhere to strict specifications may require a more intricate and optimized manufacturing approach.
The number of plastic products you intend to produce over time will also help you determine which manufacturing process will work best. Many plastics manufacturing processes can have high up-front costs for tooling and setup design. Once these initial costs are paid, the same manufacturing process can produce very inexpensive plastic items.
You should weigh the long-term cost of manufacturing against the volume you anticipate needing to determine if the higher up-front costs of certain processes will be worthwhile, or if you should opt for a process with lower start-up costs instead.
3. Material Specifications
Many different types of plastics are used throughout the manufacturing industry. Each of these plastics has unique characteristics and properties that can affect the way they perform during certain manufacturing processes.
You will need to identify the specific plastic variety that you intend to use before you can select a manufacturing process. The raw plastic will help you determine any restrictions in terms of heat exposure, chemical exposure, and impact resistance that must be accounted for during manufacturing. Matching the right manufacturing process with your unique plastic will provide you with products that are durable and high-quality.
Plastics manufacturing encompasses many processes that are designed to manipulate raw plastic. Using the right manufacturing process will ensure that your plastic products are affordable and easy to replicate on a large-scale basis. Work with a plastic part manufacturing company to identify the processes that are best suited to meet your needs over time.