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Top 3 Reasons Why Your Thermoformed Plastics Supplier Should Have a Brown Machine

Many factors influence which vendor a company chooses to supply their formed or molded plastics.  At the top of that list of factors should be the type of thermoforming equipment their vendor uses.

Advantages of Thermoforming

Thermoforming is a manufacturing process used for creating things out of plastic. Sheets of plastic are heated to a pliable state and then molded into the desired shape through vacuum forming or pressure forming. Finally, the formed plastic is trimmed to deliver the exact size and shape needed to create packaging, tools, and parts for various consumer goods from toys to automobiles.

There are many benefits to thermoforming over alternative plastic technologies such as injection molding. For example, thermoforming provides faster time-to-market, increased economies of scale, cheaper tooling, and reduced initial investment. Design options are practically limitless. Consumer goods suppliers can increase their brand recognition through the creative use of color, shapes, textures, and text. Sizes range from pill packaging measured in centimeters to automotive parts a meter in length or more. Another advantage is durability. Thermoformed packages are tamper-resistant and resilient, which offers a range of benefits from product protection during shipping to multiple sealing options that increase product shelf life. Thermoforming is a cost-effective technology. Not only do thermoformed plastics cost 15-20% less than injection molding, but thermoforming is also a less labor-intensive technology that saves human resource costs. Finally, environmental sustainability is an advantage. Thermoforming lends itself well to using recycled materials, while less plastic material can be used to achieve the same product integrity or strength. This results in lighter weight, more environmentally friendly parts.

Thermoforming has been around as a technology since the first half of the 20th century. Since then, various materials have been optimized for a variety of use cases. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) has a high strength-to-density ratio and is used for cutting boards, piping, and building materials. PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) is ideal for medical device packaging because it holds up well to heat sealing, radio frequency sealing, chemical sterilization, UV light, and other techniques required to keep products sterile and ready for medical use.

Like plastic materials themselves, plastics suppliers have continued to optimize their processes and equipment.  One of the most important considerations when choosing a supplier of thermoformed plastics is the type of thermoforming machine they use. In the world of thermoforming, no piece of manufacturing equipment can compare to a Brown Machine.

The Brown Machine and Modern Thermoforming

All thermoforming machines are not the same. The type of machine affects the value a thermoforming supplier brings to its customers. According to the Plastics Engineering article, The Dawn of Commercial Thermoforming, in 1965 Brown Machine developed an inexpensive, roll-fed pressure former, which ushered in the modern thermoforming era. That machine was the first to produce thermoformed parts that emerged from the machine already trimmed and ready to be shipped. Since that time, Brown Machine has consistently set the bar for high-performance thermoforming machines.

Fast forward to 2020, and in the world of thermoformed plastics for automotive, aeronautics, electronics, and more, the Brown Machine continues to outperform and provide tangible competitive advantages for plastics manufacturers and their customers.

Among these advantages, three stand out as clear benefits for anyone who needs thermoformed plastics as part of their supply chain.

Time-to-Market

Thermoforming is well-known for fast-turn prototype and production tooling. Compared to tooling for injection molding, thermoforming tools are quicker and simpler to produce. Replaceable inserts can add new styling features, logos, openings, or other variations. However, prototyping, ramp, and production times vary across thermoforming machines, and the Brown Machine is the fastest. Advanced quick-change equipment allows product-to-product changeover in two hours or less. The Brown Machine enables manufacturers to increase the throughput and efficiency of thermoforming operations dramatically. This high-speed manufacturing is advantageous for customers with a JIT (just-in-time) production strategy and short lead times to get products to market in as little as a few weeks.

Scale

Because of the low tooling costs, thermoforming lends itself well to low volume and prototyping through mass-market volume manufacturing. Design changes and product enhancements at the early stages of a product’s lifecycle can happen quickly without pushing a project over budget. That flexibility also means it’s simple to modify tooling when it’s time to redesign or update your thermoformed products. Once a product becomes successful and demand increases, it is easy to ramp to high volume output. Thermoformed plastics suppliers using a high throughput Brown Machine have a greater capacity for more significant volumes with consistent quality and accuracy. The Brown Machine enables products to scale from 1000s to 10s of millions of parts and is designed to accommodate heavy-duty, high-speed, high-volume forming of virtually all commonly thermoformed raw materials.

Size

When it comes to plastics suppliers, size matters. Thermoforming allows both small and larger sized products to use less plastic material, which provides advantages in product weight, materials costs, and environmental sustainability without sacrificing product quality or durability. Thermoforming can work for large plastic products, unlike most other plastic molding processes limited to smaller items. With the Brown Machine, manufacturers can achieve a larger forming area, up to 78 inches long, with high and consistent accuracy, meeting the most challenging customer specifications. There is always a cost associated with every individual supplier a company needs to bring into its supply chain. Not every manufacturer can deliver both large and small size medical-grade plastics. Working with a plastic manufacturer that uses a Brown Machine allows customers to work with one supplier for the broadest possible range of sizes and shapes, textures and colors for the widest variety of products.

Tru-Form Plastics’ Offers Thermoforming with Our Brown Machine

Now that you know why it matters choose a thermoformed plastics vendor with the best machines available. Tru-Form is one of a handful of U.S. suppliers with a Brown Machine, providing you with superior products and service to meet all your thermoforming needs across sectors including consumer, automotive, aerospace and defense, medical, and more. With manufacturing based 100% in the United States, the Tru-Form Plastics team prides itself on the ability to deliver value, efficiency, and quality for our customers. Our high-throughput Brown Machine enables us to achieve the fastest delivery worldwide, whether you are launching a niche product or need millions per month.

Reach out to us today with your thermoformed plastics needs.

The Role of QA in Thermoforming Perfection

A thermoformer’s engineering team can provide a range of advice and technical support to create solutions that meet your needs and those of the marketplace. One of the most important stages where the engineering team’s involvement can be vital is quality assurance.

With their guidance, some activities a QA team can conduct to promote uniform dimensional accuracy, structural integrity, and cosmetic consistency throughout all in-process and finished parts and assemblies include:

  • Documentation: A skilled and experienced QA department should fully review, monitor, and document pre-defined quality requirements throughout the thermoforming process.
  • Measurement: The quality assurance department should have at its disposal a full range of measurement equipment, including FARO Arm, color measurement, digital calipers, tint meters and more state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Inspections: A quality assurance department should be leveraged to provide in-process and final inspections to customers for ease of mind.

As you investigate thermoformers, ask about their engineering capabilities in quality assurance, their commitment to total quality management, and how they address any non-conformance.

Please contact us at our Southern California headquarters today at 714-894-5566 or info@Tru-FormPlastics.com to learn more about our manufacturing solutions and how they can meet your needs.

Thermoforming Process Compared to other Processes

Thermoforming ProcessIn its simplest form, a small tabletop or lab size machine can be used to heat small cut sections of plastic sheet and stretch it over a mold using vacuum. This method is often used for sample and prototype parts. In complex and high-volume applications, very large production machines are utilized to heat and form the plastic sheet and trim the formed parts from the sheet in a continuous high-speed process, and can produce many thousands of finished parts per hour depending on the machine and mold size and the size of the parts being formed.

Thermoforming differs from injection molding, blow molding, rotational molding and other forms of processing plastics. Thin-gauge thermoforming is primarily the manufacture of disposable cups, containers, lids, trays, blisters, clamshells, and other products for the food, medical, and general retail industries. Thick-gauge thermoforming includes parts as diverse as vehicle door and dash panels, refrigerator liners, utility vehicle beds, and plastic pallets.  Per Wikipedia.

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.

How Technology Has Changed Thermoforming

 

How Technology Has Changed ThermoformingThermoforming of plastic has been around for many years, but, as with almost every other industry, technology has made some big changes in how thermoforming works. Specialized computer programs now allow us to be even more precise during the thermoforming process, which greatly increases the efficiency of each job as well as the overall quality of the parts. Specifically, computers have increased the consistency of the parts, so that each part is almost an exact replica of the other. This means that parts fit seamlessly into a product, giving the end client a problem-free experience.

The efficiency gains we’ve made with technology means that our thermoforming process runs faster and smoother. For example, we can repeat same-job setups, which saves lots of processing and heating time. This translates into lower prices for our clients and a faster turnaround of their orders.

At Tru-Form Plastics, we embrace technology that allows us to provide better products for our clients with a faster turnaround and lower costs. Contact us today to learn how we can help you save on your plastic parts needs.

Do You Need EMI Shielding with Nickle or Copper?

Do You Need EMI Shielding with Nickle or Copper?Implementing effective EMI shielding can help prevent electromagnetic interference from disrupting your sensitive electronic equipment, but if you need nickel or copper shielding you are going to have to accommodate the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency and any local agencies, such as the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

At Tru-Form Plastics, we are one of the only facilities in Southern California that can provide nickel and copper shielding. We are fully certified by the UL on certain substrates, and we work within the regulations of the EPA and SCAQMD.

If you work with a plastics company that is unfamiliar with nickel and copper shielding, they will likely face many difficulties, which could delay your project. Instead, work with a company, like Tru-Form with the experience and expertise to meet all of your EMI shielding needs.

Contact us today to learn more about our EMI shielding services.

How Long Has Plastic Been Around?

PlasticsIn this day and age, it’s hard to imagine a life without plastic. We find plastic everywhere, from the chairs we sit in, to the cars we drive, and the bottle that holds our favorite soda. However, for the vast majority of human existence, our ancestors relied on natural materials like stone, wood, metals, leather, and clay as the building blocks of everything.

It was only thanks to the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s that chemistry started to take off and eventually led to Alexander Parkes patenting the very first plastic material, called Parkesine, which he unveiled at the 1862 Great International Exhibition in London. The first fully synthetic thermoset, (what we would consider a modern-day plastic), wasn’t created until the early 1900s, when Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland introduced his creation, Bakelite. Both World War I and World War II spurred development in the chemistry sector, and by the 1950s, plastic had come into its own.

That leads us to today, where plastic keeps us safe on the road, helps deliver astronauts to the International Space Station, and saves lives in hospitals every single day!

Do You Need Your Plastics to Survive the Might of Mother Nature?

Plastics ManufacturingMany plastic pieces get to enjoy the good life, living their days in temperature controlled environments. You would never leave your computer outside during a blizzard or let your precious cell phone bake on a sizzling summer day. However, some plastics are not so lucky. They need to be ready for everything that Mother Nature can throw at them, from frigid temperatures dipping below zero, to hurricane winds, sand storms, and heat that could fry an egg on the sidewalk.

All sorts of plastics need to spend a lot of time in harsh environments, including plastic pieces in cars, streetlamps, outdoor signs, grocery carts, dog houses, and so much more! If you are a manufacturer who needs plastic pieces that can stand up to just about anything, than Tru-Form Plastics is your answer. We can manufacture plastics that won’t crack, melt, or degrade in extreme conditions. These plastics will improve the life of your product and keep your customers happy!

Contact us today to tell us more about your specific plastic needs.

Need to Increase Speed to Market? Let Us Assemble Your Plastic Pieces

As the holidays approach, speed to market will be a critical component to your company’s success. The faster you can get your products manufactured and assembled, the faster you can get them onto store shelves or into your warehouses for shipping to customers.

One of the best ways to increase speed to market is to streamline your vendor processes and to cut unnecessary vendors from your manufacturing chain. The more vendors involved in your product’s creation and assembly, the greater the turnaround for the product and the increased chance of mistakes and surprise delays.

At Tru-Form Plastics, we want to help you increase your speed to market. That’s why we not only offer thermoplastic manufacturing services. We can also trim, machine, fabricate, bond, and even assemble your plastic parts in our warehouses. You’ll only have to deal with one project coordinator, instead of a dozen different vendors, which will make your job easier too.

Give your product a competitive edge! Call us to learn more about our plastic manufacturing and turn-key solutions today.

Questions to Consider When Deciding What Type of Plastic to Use for Your Parts

Questions to Consider When Deciding What Type of Plastic to Use for Your PartsIf you need to design plastic parts for your next product, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is what type of plastic to use. With all of the different resins and chemical combinations available, you have a lot of options. You can make plastics that are extremely hard, pliable, durable, or able to withstand extreme temperatures. How do you decide what type of plastic to use? Answering these questions might help:

  • What is the part’s function? For example, does it need to bend or does it need to be strong?
  • What is the expected size and volume of the part?
  • Will the part be exposed to extreme temperatures during its use, or even during storage?
  • Will the part need to stand up to heavy use?
  • Will the part be exposed to any chemicals, outdoor elements, or other damaging factors?

If you still aren’t sure what type of plastic to use, contact Tru-Form Plastics to schedule a Plastics Consultation with one of our experienced and knowledgeable representatives.

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