Is Injection Moulding or Vacuum Forming the Best Approach When It Comes to Producing Plastic Products?

If you're planning to go to market with a new product that's revolutionary, you may need to explore a variety of different processes along the way to see how you can manufacture and produce your finished item. You know what you're trying to achieve with this gadget and are fairly sure what materials you will need in order to make it, but you may not be completely certain which manufacturing process to use. For example, when it comes to the plastic required, should you choose vacuum forming or injection moulding?

Working with Plastics

These two processes are the most popular approaches when it comes to making individual pieces from plastic. They're very different from each other and each one has its own benefits and disadvantages, so it pays to know what is involved from a high-level perspective in order for you to make your choice.

Comparing the Methods

For example, vacuum forming involves heat-treating plastic sheets in automated vacuum forming equipment so that it becomes soft enough for processing. It is then pulled into a mould and further pressure applied to create the unit. Upon cooling it may be trimmed using a CNC machine or a die cutter and additional air pressure may be used to produce the ultimate form required. 

Injection moulding, on the other hand, is a much more complicated technique that requires additional and more substantial equipment and a very different approach. Polymer granules are added to a hopper before they are put into a heated barrel, where the material is manipulated to form liquid plastic. From there, this liquid is injected into an aluminium or steel mould under high pressure and, once it has been allowed to cool, will create the finished product.

Benefits of Vacuum Forming

You have to look at your approach carefully to see which one of these techniques is best suited. Vacuum forming may be good if you want to simplify and get to market more quickly, or if you want to achieve high volume with a lower initial cost. Consequently, vacuum forming may be good for repetitive jobs on small to medium runs. Speak with a plastic vacuum mould manufacturer for more information.

Advantages of Injection Moulding

Injection moulding, though, is good for high production runs, and the finished product can be more substantial or intricate. This approach has a lower level of waste than the other and can be fully automated, so in the ultimate analysis, it may give you a lower cost per unit than vacuum forming.