Thermoformed Plastic–Polyvinyl Chloride Manufacturing

custom plastic parts, injection molding solutions

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is a thermoformed plastic that is one of the most produced and commonly used plastics in the world. PVC is known for its exceptional properties, including high strength, chemical resistance, electrical insulation and flame retardancy. The processing of PVC is usually carried out through two methods: injection molding and thermoforming to manufacture various plastic parts. First, let’s take a closer look at where these two molding methods are applicable. PVC injection molding is suitable for manufacturing high-strength, high-precision and high-volume production plastic parts. PVC thermoforming is more suitable for manufacturing flexible, low-volume production and rapid prototyping parts projects. In this article, we will introduce in detail the characteristics and application areas of each of these two molding methods.

thermoformed plastic

What Is Polyvinyl Chloride(PVC)?

Polyvinyl chloride(PVC) is a versatile thermoformed plastic renowned for its ability to undergo heating and shaping processes, rendering it suitable for a wide range of applications. In its pure form, PVC is inherently rigid and brittle, but it exhibits remarkable adaptability. By incorporating plasticizers or phthalates into its composition, PVC can be effectively softened, making it a viable alternative to rubber. Additionally, it can be combined with materials such as cotton to produce durable canvas.

PVC boasts exceptional durability, making it highly resistant to chemical damage, water, moisture, and abrasion. Its inherent versatility allows it to be blended with various additives, enabling the modification of its properties. This versatility spans the entire spectrum from extreme rigidity to soft and flexible textures. Consequently, PVC finds extensive use in thermoforming processes, where it can be molded into desired shapes under the influence of heat. Furthermore, its dimensional stability and low melting point render it ideal for injection molding, a technique widely employed in the manufacturing industry.

Polyvinyl Chloride Thermoforming

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) thermoforming is a vital process for crafting large plastic products and components. It involves heating PVC to a pliable state, allowing it to be molded around custom tools to achieve the desired shape and design. Committed to affordability and efficiency, we use three different methods of thermoforming PVC. These methods not only yield optimal results but also offer cost savings and quicker turnaround times for our valued customers.

Remarkably, whether it’s the simplicity of vacuum forming, the precision of pressure forming, or the complexity of twin-sheet forming, our commitment to quality ensures that each method is utilized to its fullest potential, meeting the unique needs of our customers.

Vacuum Forming:

Vacuum forming represents the fundamental technique in the realm of PVC thermoforming. In this method, PVC is heated until it reaches a malleable state and is then conformed to a customized tool. Subsequently, a high-powered vacuum is applied between the tool and the plastic, extracting all air from the gap and tightly shaping the PVC around the tool. Vacuum forming is particularly well-suited for larger products where intricate details or sharply defined edges are not a primary concern. For instance, it is commonly used in the manufacturing of bathtubs and shower trays.

Pressure Forming:

Pressure forming is our go-to approach for achieving intricate detailing in products and offering a cost-effective alternative to PVC injection molding. Similar to vacuum forming, heated PVC is draped over a tool. However, in this method, highly pressurized air is employed to forcefully mold the plastic against the tool. This results in the creation of sharp edges, precise corners, and intricate details, making it suitable for the production of construction materials and various other products.

Twin-Sheet Forming:

PVC is widely recognized for its use in the construction of rigid PVC pipes, commonly employed in plumbing and water infrastructure systems. For the fabrication of pipes and other hollow structures, such as air ducts, we employ twin-sheet forming. This method stands as the most intricate PVC thermoforming technique as it necessitates the simultaneous heating and shaping of two PVC sheets, followed by their precise alignment and fusion. Error tolerance is minimal, as the plastic must align perfectly at pressure points to ensure proper joining.

Polyvinyl Chloride Injection Molding

When it comes to crafting smaller plastic parts and components, or when the demand for high levels of detail and varying thickness arises, our choice is polyvinyl chloride (PVC) injection molding. This method, while more complex, offers unparalleled precision in plastic manufacturing. The high-pressure injection process ensures that every nook and cranny of the mold is filled precisely, resulting in a finished product that exhibits exceptional detail and consistency. This level of precision is especially crucial for parts that demand intricate features or varying thicknesses.

Polyvinyl chloride injection molding involves a meticulous and multi-step process. First, we start with the mold design and fabrication of a double-sided mold, often crafted from robust materials like steel, aluminum, or copper alloy. This mold serves as the blueprint for the final product. Next, PVC, in its solid state, undergoes a transformation. It is meticulously melted down to a liquid state, ensuring uniformity in its composition and temperature. The molten PVC is then precisely injected into the prepared mold, creating a detailed, high-precision finished shape. The final product of PVC injection molding can be painted, coated or given additional surface treatments to meet specific design requirements.

Applications of PVC in Various Industries

PVC injection molding and PVC thermoforming are two different processing methods that are suitable for a variety of different types of products and applications due to their different characteristics. Sungplastic’s team of engineers will select the appropriate molding method based on your product’s design requirements, material characteristics and required performance.

The following are the main applications of PVC injection molding and PVC thermoforming in different industries:

Applications of PVC Injection Molding:

    • Construction Industry: PVC injection molding is commonly used to manufacture pipes, door frames, siding and roofing materials in the construction industry. Its corrosion resistance and long life make it ideal for plumbing and drainage systems.
    • Automobile Industry: PVC injection molding is used in automobile manufacturing to manufacture interior parts such as instrument panels, door panels and protective covers.
    • Medical: PVC pipes and fittings are used in medical gas delivery systems, while soft PVC materials are used in the manufacture of medical equipment, such as infusion bags and surgical supplies.
    • Electrical Industry: PVC injection molding is used to make wire and cable insulation, as well as electronic housings and connectors.
    • Consumer Goods: PVC injection molding is widely used to produce a variety of consumer goods such as toys, plastic containers and household products.

Applications of PVC Thermoforming:

    • Packaging: PVC thermoforming is used to manufacture packaging materials, such as various plastic packaging containers, boxes, trays and bubble packaging.
    • Advertising and Display: PVC thermoforming is widely used to make advertising signs, display stands and advertising devices.
    • Aerospace: PVC thermoforming can be used to manufacture parts in the aerospace sector, such as aircraft interiors and instrument panels.

Custom PVC Plastic Parts Service–Sungplastic

When you are worried about choosing PVC injection molding or PVC thermoforming, you can contact Sungplastic. We are an experienced plastic parts manufacturer who can provide you with professional and high-quality solutions. Our custom PVC plastic parts services include the following:

    • Engineering Design Support: We have a dedicated team of engineers and designs that can work with you to provide comprehensive support from part design to manufacturing. We can help you optimize your design to ensure optimal performance and manufacturability.
    • Material Selection: We offer a variety of PVC material options to meet the requirements of different projects. Whether you need rigid PVC, flexible PVC or another specific type of PVC, we can meet your needs.
    • Custom Manufacturing: Our manufacturing process uses advanced technology and equipment to ensure the production of high-quality, precise PVC plastic parts. Whether you need small batch production or large-scale production, we can meet your needs.
    • On-time Delivery: We are committed to delivering your custom PVC plastic parts on time. We understand that time is of the essence for your project, so we work hard to ensure on-time delivery.

No matter what kind of plastic parts you need, Sungplastic has the experience and ability to provide you with professional solutions. Please contact us and tell us your needs, we will serve you wholeheartedly.

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