Six Benefits of Thermoformed Plastic Parts for Industry Use

thermoformed plastic parts are used in industry

Heavy-gauge thermoformed plastic parts are used in nearly every industry. You will find them used in machine housings and other enclosures. Many of those are custom designed to meet a specific need.

More and more, medical device manufacturers are using plastic thermoformed skins or outside covers to make their medical devices look clean and attractive. They can be painted to match metal frames and enclosures as well as silk screened with designs and logos. You can check out our design guidelines for more information.

You also will find thermoformed plastic parts used in aerospace, robotics, autonomous vehicles, automotive, marine and other manufacturing processes.

At PD+M, we have worked with a wide variety of industrial areas, including: high tech, medical, aeronautical, industrial and commercial industries.

Thick-gauge thermoformed plastic parts are superior in a number of ways:

  1. The plastic sheets used for thermoforming are often made from material that is much higher in quality and durability. Those materials include acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer (ABS), high impact polystyrene (HIPS), high density polyethylene (HDPE), high molecular weight polyethylene (HMWPE), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polyethylene terephthalate modified (PETG). Many other available materials allow for U/V exposure, UL flammability, high temperature, anti-static and anti-microbial properties.
  2. Thermoforming plastic parts can be lower in cost and higher in efficiency. This is especially true when creating tests for design, product and market acceptance. In addition, you only need to create one mold, not two, as is done in other plastic parts manufacturing. Finally, the plastic parts–which can be quite large–are lighter in weight and can cost less to ship.
  3. There is faster turnaround time in making thermoformed plastic parts. You will have shorter lead times for tooling and production than other processes. This means less time is needed to get the products to market, often just 4-6 weeks.
  4. The thermoforming process provides greater flexibility to meet customer design needs. Happily, as a customer, you can come closer to your ideal standard because it is cheaper and faster to make prototypes.
  5. Thermoforming provides a wider design scope because it is easier to make larger parts. You can add style and functionality that just can’t be achieved with sheet metal. Thermoforming also beats the high tooling costs of other molding processes such as injection moulding where tooling can be 3-4X.
  6. Thermoformed plastic parts offer a wide choice of colored or paintable surfaces. You will find many choices for finishing, patterns and textures. The plastic used in thermoforming also can have chemical resistance, heat deflection and can be environmentally sustainable.

You can check out our design guidelines for more information. And we would be happy to talk with you to see if thermoforming plastic is right for your industry!