There are a variety of ways to mold plastics into the many objects we use in our everyday lives. Some of these processing techniques include injection molding, blow molding, rotational molding, and thermoforming. At Tru-Form Plastics, we use the thermoforming method for several important reasons.
One of the biggest reasons we advocate for thermoforming, is because it is one of the least expensive ways to form plastics while still achieving a great outcome. Our clients are always looking for ways to cut costs, and this is an easy way to save without sacrificing quality.
Short Lead Time
Thermoforming is also a relatively fast process, which means we can turn around orders quickly for our clients. This is important for clients who need to stock shelves quickly or who use just-in-time inventory practices.
Easy to Make Changes
With other types of plastics processes, even small changes to your design can mean big upfront costs. These costs are much lower with thermoforming. That means you can feel a lot more confident in making updates and improvements to your product design without a huge price tag attached.
Interested in learning more about the thermoforming process? Contact Tru-From Plastics today.
The plastic pieces that we manufacture for our clients are usually components of a larger product. It can be a hassle for clients to ship these plastic parts to a second vendor who will perform assembly and bonding services. Rather than spend extra time and money on introducing a second vendor into the equation, why not let us perform bonding and assembly, too?
Yes, our team can adhere plastic pieces together according to your specifications or assemble multiple pieces together to create a finalized product or to prepare a multi-unit part for you. It just makes sense to let us perform these extra services. After all, since we manufactured the piece, we already have a deep understanding of your schematics and the overall goal on the project. Working with us for bonding and assembly also means your pieces stay in one place and that you can stay in communication with the same project coordinator. The fewer vendors involved, the easier your job is, and the smaller the chance of a late shipment or miscommunication between vendors.
Call us today to learn how we can mold, trim, bond, and assemble your plastic parts.
When you contract with a manufacturer to make a component part of your product, you will probably spend a good deal of time designing the part and determining the perfect plastic composite to use. Once the design and material are approved, the rest is a piece of cake, right? Actually, you’re over-looking a crucial part of the manufacturing process – the trimming of the completed part.
Once your plastic part is created, all of the excess plastic will need to be trimmed away. The trim is so important, because a poor trim will result in inconsistent parts that may not function correctly or even fit into their designated spot. A poor trim can also make your part look crude if it is a visible component of your product.
At Tru-Form Plastics, we use five-axis CNC trimming, which achieves optimal consistency and accuracy. When you entrust your plastic manufacturing to us, you can feel confident that every single part will be perfect every time!
CNC means Computer Numerical Control. This means a computer converts the design produced by Computer Aided Design software (CAD), into numbers.
The numbers can be considered to be the coordinates of a graph and they control the movement of the cutter. In this way the computer controls the cutting and shaping of the material
HOW THE COORDINATES WORK
The way coordinates are used can be seen opposite. The X, Y and Z axis control the movement of the cutter on a 3D CNC machine. This allows materials to be machined in three directions (3D manufacture).
The plastic block shown below has been shaped on a CNC machine. It started as a cube.
The design (produced on CAD, Computer Aided Design software) has been converted into coordinates. The cutter is instructed to go from one coordinate to another. A simple plastic block such as this may have a thousand coordinates.
Five-axis CNC trimming produces parts with repeatable, close tolerances. There are several ‘keys’ to achieving consistent and accurately trimmed parts, but first a description of the equipment and trimming process.
CNC trimming equipment has been described as a ‘Computer controlled router’. This simplistic description does not do justice to the extensive capabilities of this important element in creating precision thermoformed parts. In addition to routers, trimming tools include end mills, circular saws and drills. Countless subset variations of these tools are used to overcome the most complex challenges of part trimming.
Plastic part trimming can be done on Five-axis as well as Three-axis trimming centers. Tru-Form Plastics uses only Five-axis CNC’s to trim thermoformed parts. The Five-axis are identified as X-Y-Z (length-width-depth) with two additional degrees of freedom sometimes referenced as C & B.Tru-Form Plastics Five-axis trimming centers are 5’x10′ with 28″ of Z axis clearance. The table size is either 5’x10′ solid or two 5’x5′ tables that can act independently for load/unload, or ‘slaved’ to act as a solid table.
As previously mentioned, thermoformed parts can be produced on either male or female forming tools. It is critical that the CNC trim fixture always duplicates size/configuration of the part’s forming tool. In other words, the trim fixture will look identical to the forming tool. The next key is to hold the part securely and immobile while it is being trimmed. Tru-Form Plastics accomplishes this by use of a vacuum system to lock the part against the trim fixture. The vacuum lock down system is so positive that additional clamps or nests are rarely needed. This allows full freedom for trimming on the non-tool side of the part. Parts formed on female tools can utilize formed features that are then CNC trimmed open so the trimmed surface is not visible from the outside of the part.
Part design revisions involving trimming can be easily accomplished with a CNC program change. Similarly, multiple part configurations can be generated from a single formed part by different trim(s).
CNC trimming summary
||Up to 5’x10′ with up to 28″ depth
||All CNC’s are Five-axis with integral tool changers for economical trim cycles and enhanced safety.