The Tru-Form Mission Statement

The Tru-Form Mission StatementLike most companies, Tru-Form Plastics operates under guiding principles, which we take very seriously. Our mission statement was crafted carefully and reflects our values as we work to provide our customers with excellent customer service and great products. Here are our five guiding principles:

  • Devoted customer service
  • Excellent manufacturing
  • Highest quality standards
  • On-time delivery of products
  • Building strong relationships

Is your current plastics manufacturer meeting all of these standards for you? If they aren’t giving you fantastic customer service, shipping high quality parts to you on time, and always seeking to make your job easier, then it might be time to start looking for a new vendor!

We invite you to put us to the test. We would be happy to compete for your business and to prove that our mission statement isn’t just words. Contact us today and let us know more about your plastic manufacturing needs. We look forward to hearing from you.

Ultrasonic Welding: What Is It, and How Is It Used?

When you think of welding, you might imagine a burly man lowering a huge, metal welding mask over his face, putting on thick gloves, and then sparking his welder so that he can melt two chunks of metal together. This works perfectly when it comes to joining metal pieces, but what if you need to join small plastic pieces together? You can’t exactly use a traditional welder for that, but you also don’t really want to just glue or nail your plastic pieces together!

In the plastic industry, we have our own form of welding, called ultra-sonic welding. It’s actually very cool. Using the power of high-frequency ultrasonic acoustic vibration, we can create enough pressure between two pieces of plastic to actually weld them together. If you think about all of the complicated devices you own that incorporate plastic, like your phone, your refrigerator, and your computer, it is likely that ultrasonic welding was used to fit at least some of those plastic parts together.

At Tru-Form Plastics, we can perform ultrasonic welding to help create the plastic pieces that you need!

You Might Not Even Realize How Much Plastic is in Your Life

You Might Not Even Realize How Much Plastic is in Your LifeIn the western world, plastic is a part of every person’s life, but many of us don’t realize just how much plastic is all around us. Gradually, as the technologies surrounding the creation of plastics (such as thermoforming) have become more sophisticated, plastics have infiltrated almost every nook and cranny of the modern human experience.

The Worldwatch Institute noted that in 2015, the average person in North America consumed over 200 pounds of plastics a year. Most of us recognize the most common plastics in our lives, including plastic grocery bags, plastic water bottles, and the plastic packaging on new purchases. However, there is far more unseen plastic all around us. How about the plastic parts in your cell phone, your printer, and your tablet? What about the plastic pieces in your car, your laundry machine, and your Halloween decorations?

It truly is amazing!

Some of those plastics are made by us, Tru-Form Plastics. We don’t make the plastic grocery bags or water bottles, but we do make the important parts that help your car, washing machine, and other necessary equipment work! Check out our plastic product portfolio to see just a few of the everyday things we make that you might be using right now!

CNC Trimming of Thermoformed Parts

CNC Trimming of Thermoformed PartsFive-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

Part size Up to 5’x10′ with up to 28″ depth
Trim equipment All CNC’s are Five-axis with integral tool changers for economical trim cycles and enhanced safety.

Thin-Gauge Thermoforming vs. Thick-Gauge Thermoforming

Thin-Gauge Thermoforming vs. Thick-Gauge ThermoformingThermoforming is a highly efficient method of turning big sheets of plastic into the things that we have come to rely in everyday life, from the lids on our soft drinks to the dashboard panels in our cars. When you start looking a little more deeply into thermoforming, the first major distinction to recognize is thin-gauge thermoforming versus thick-gauge thermoforming.

As you might imagine, thin-gauge thermoforming focuses on creating very thin, usually disposal plastic items. These can include things like throwaway plastic cups and those annoying plastic claim shells that no one can open. If you want to get technical, thin-gauge thermoforming usually deals with materials that are less than .060” thickness. Anything thicker than that, and we move into thick-gauge thermoforming.

Thick-gauge thermoforming is used to make all sorts of different plastic components. Take any major machine, like your refrigerator, a jumbo jet, or a piece of industrial equipment and in all likelihood you’ll find multiple plastic parts inside that were made using thick-gauge thermoforming.

Here at Tru-Form Plastics, we specialize in making the thick-gauge thermoforming parts that businesses and people need!

Engineering & Quality

Engineering & QualityTFP’s engineers can provide advice and technical support to fit your every need by helping create and execute solutions to solve problems of form, fit and manufacturability. Our engineering and quality staff work closely with our clients and the entire TFP team to ensure that the end product meets the needs of the user and the marketplace.

Engineering: Our engineers have built an atmosphere of “out of the box” thinking to provide technical and quality suggestions to meet or exceed our clients’ needs for dependability, cost and manufacturability. This results in a partnership with each of our customers, which starts at the pre-production phase. We work with you to analyze your projects to identify cost-savings opportunities as we integrate quality and confirm manufacturability.

Quality: TFP’s extremely skilled and experienced QA department fully reviews the quality requirements that we document and monitor throughout the process. Utilizing a full range of measurement equipment including FARO Arm®, color measurement, digital calipers, tint meters and many other state-of-the-art equipment we promote uniform dimensional accuracy, structural integrity and cosmetic consistency throughout all in-process and finished parts and assemblies.

Capabilities:

  • Understanding customers’ design requests and assisting from conception to completion.
  • Complete reviews of customers’ projects and designing outlines for tolerances, material requirements, drafts, undercuts and detailed features.
  • Experts in material selection and function.
  • Modern quality equipment i.e.: Ultrasonic thickness gauges, OHM Meters, Gloss & Tint Meters and a FARO Arm®

New Additions:

TFP is investing in and will soon have 3-D rapid prototyping helping create true-to-life parts of any kind with superb accuracy. This addition will show the smallest details for functional, fit and form testing, allowing for your design verification.

TFP continues to add state-of-the-art equipment to help us provide the best services available to you, our customer.

We will soon have a thermoforming simulator which provides a detailed and accurate prediction of what will happen during the forming process before you cut the tool or scrap expensive material.

Adding these capabilities will help you reduce design time as well as reduce possible expensive trial and error processes.

TFP Excels In:

  • Operating with integrity as we pursue the best interests of our customers.
  • Production start up through first article.
  • Immediate attention from engineering and quality involving any non-conformance.
  • Providing in-process and final inspections to customers for ease of mind.
  • Quality and engineering departments are committed to total quality management from production to final inspection.

Mold, Fixture & Tool Building

Mold, Fixture & Tool BuildingIn-house tool making capabilities

Producing a satisfactory and successful part always starts with the design and construction of an excellent tool. This is true in thermoforming as well as many other processes.

At Tru-Form Plastics, we consider the initial information exchange with the customer to be a critical phase in the project. Our engineers will want to know the part end use parameters to assist in determining the best tooling design and material selection for the application. These factors will go beyond expected volume, to include stressful environments such as chemicals, impact and temperature. We will want to know the part(s) relationship with mating parts, so features can be designed in to reduce assembly costs and improve product functionality.

The thermal efficiency and durability of aluminum make it the material of choice for production thermoforming tools. The nature of thermoforming combined with the longevity of the aluminum tool can yield an unlimited number of production parts. Aluminum tools with adequate temperature control will produce parts efficiently, with dimensional stability, and repeatable appearance from run to run.

Tru-Form Plastics constructs their machined aluminum thermoforming tools in-house based on customer supplied 3-D CAD part files. This capability provides economic advantages along with reduced lead times to tool completion. Also important, in-house tool making provides control during this crucial stage of the product development cycle.

In some instances, such as early market evaluations, considering a temporary or prototype tool may be advisable. Tru-Form Plastics engineers will be able to explain the tradeoffs of temporary tooling compared to going directly to a production tool for your application.

Assembly & Fabrication

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Tru-Form Plastics, Inc. is a “Turn-Key” manufacturing facility with many plastic molding processes, trimming, metal machining and finishing of individual components as well as providing fabrication, bonding and assembly of multiple parts. The TFP team has years of valuable experience in providing finished parts that require delicate, complicated and precise fabrication and assembly.

Our goal is to provide the most complete part possible at a competitive cost and speed to market. From your initial design, TFP will be able to take your idea, mold or machine it, paint, assemble custom pack and ship it.

We use our experience to offer an entire compliment of assembly and packaging services including bar coding that strategically align with your business objectives. TFP project experts have the knowledge and capability starting from your initial design to the final production stage, ensuring complete fit, form and aesthetics of each assembled product, all under one roof.

TFP Excels In:

  • Multi-Part Assembly
  • Die Cutting
  • Hardware Installation Gluing/Solvent Bonding
  • Heat Welding
  • Sonic Welding
  • Painting – one of the few on the West Coast
  • Silk Screening – Easy Secondary Operations
  • Customized Packaging to Prevent Damage

Painting & Printing

page-printing-largeTFP’s in-house painting department provides a variety of applications using state-of-the-art equipment. Our painting experts use the latest techniques to apply the coating per your specifications. Special templates and fixtures are designed to cover parts over the areas that do not require paint. These detailed forms contour the required surfaces thus streamlining the prep and masking process.

Because of our commitment to EPA and AQMD regulations, TFP is one of the few painting houses permitted by the State of California to perform shielding applications with nickel and copper. In fact, TFP is UL approved and certified for application of said materials on certain substrates. While adhering to AQMD permissible standards for higher VOC’s, we encourage application of 1.0 VOC paints across all materials to promote GREEN.

TFP has developed and maintains a very close relationship with major paint suppliers. Due to these relationships, we are able to obtain immediate responses for color matching and a quick delivery of paint. We also have the ability to test in-house for color, gloss and surface resistivity to meet all your requirements.

TFP Excels In:

  • Application of various types of paint including water bourne & polyurethanes
  • Smooth Finishes
  • Surface Texturing
  • EMI Shielding
  • Specialty Masking and Fixturing
  • Peel off Protective Coating
  • Multi Color Silk Screening
  • Pad Printing
  • Sand Blasting

Thermoforming Process (step-by-step)

thermoforming-thumb-200Vacuum Forming Plastic Process (step-by-step)

  • A material blank which has a length and width greater than the finished part is loaded into a clamp frame to be carried through the process.
  • The blank in the clamp frame moves into an oven where it is heated to the forming temperature. At the forming temperature, the material is softened and pliable, but remains in a sheet configuration and is not melted.
  • The material is then moved from the oven to the forming station. The softened blank is then sealed on the deck of the tool. In some instances, low pressure air will prestretch the material to enhance wall thickness uniformity on the finished part.
  • A vacuum is drawn between the blank and tool to form the softened material against the tool surface. In pressure forming, while the vacuum is drawn to avoid air entrapment, positive air pressure is applied on the non tool side of the material to force the material against the tool surface.
  • An option for the process when using female tools is to use a ‘pusher’ or ‘plug assist’ on the non tool side of the blank to control and improve material distribution in the finished part.
  • The (now) formed part, while still in the clamp frame, is removed from the forming tool.
  • The clamp frame releases (opens) for part removal.
  • The formed part is now ready for the next step – trimming.