In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some basics on the similarities and differences between plastic injection molding and thermoforming. While both are popular processes within the plastic manufacturing world, they hold some varying qualities that make them ideal or non-ideal choices for various applications.
At EnviroTech Custom Injection Molders, we’re happy to provide a wide range of custom injection molding services, ranging from plastic molding design to produce engineering and development. We also regularly provide clients with expertise on how our processes compare to others in the plastic manufacturing field, including thermoforming. Today’s part two of our series will dig into some more detailed specs of each type in several of the main areas you’ll be prioritizing when choosing between these plastic manufacturing types.
Speed of Production
If turnaround time and speed of production are your top or only main considerations, this is one area where thermoforming may hold advantages. It’s known for fast prototyping and development, largely because it generally deals with simpler product types that don’t require major detail.
This is largely because thermoforming is a single-sided process on a plastic mold, while injection molding is double-sided. There are other effects that make up for this down the line, which we’ll go over, but some clients simply need speed above all else, and thermoforming is usually the right call for them.
Detail and Complexity
On the flip side, those who require parts with any significant level of detail or complexity will generally seek injection molding. Injection molding uses high pressure and other processes that allow for incredible detail, forcing material into even minuscule cavities to create as much nuance as possible. They also provide multi-cavity mold options to meet specific client needs. All of these are areas where thermoforming is either limited or simply can’t match this level of detail.
Precision and Efficiency
Injection molding is also more efficient, largely because it uses durable, reusable molds that can be repeatedly utilized for the same precise results. As we noted in part one, this makes injection molding ideal for smaller, more detailed projects – even those that require large production runs where you need the exact same product every single time. These same levels of efficiency are not really attainable with thermoforming.
We noted above that thermoforming is often a faster process – but that there’s a trickle-down to that. One such trickle-down is the fact that injection molding has lower scrap rates and is much more efficient when it comes to material usage. While it’s true that thermoforming has lower tooling costs than injection molding, the limited material waste from the latter process makes additional tooling rarely necessary.
For more on injection molding compared to thermoforming, or to learn about any of our custom plastic molding services, speak to the staff at EnviroTech Custom Injection Molders today.