Plastic Forming Methods: Injection Molding vs. Vacuum Forming

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In the plastic manufacturing industry, there are different ways to manufacture plastic parts. However, we have two popular methods of forming plastic parts. The two methods are injection molding and vacuum forming methods.

Are there things that are similar or different from these methods? Does one method have an advantage over the other? We will know these and more at the end of this article.

Let’s dive straight into the two plastic forming methods to know more about them.

What is vacuum forming?

Vacuum forming is a form of thermoforming that requires the placing of tinny plastic sheeting in an oven of industrial size. They are exposed to a high temperature to cause the material to soften and stretch.

There is pulling off the melted sheet against the mold by the air in the vacuum. The mold shapes the plastic. There is a cooling of the plastic to harden for release from the mold.

What are the Advantages of Vacuum Forming?

There are various advantages of the vacuum forming method. Some of them are:

  • The time of plastic production is short.
  • There are lower tooling costs when placed side by side with injection molding.
  • There is high design flexibility.
  • It provides the opportunity to produce prototypes accurately and quickly.

Servo 260 Ton Injection Molding Machine NPC260

What is Injection Molding?

Injection molding is a form that requires the feeding of plastic pellets in the hopper. The pellets are heated to melt into a liquid form. Under high pressure, the materials are injected into the mold on the double side where it cools and solidified.

When the cooling is complete, the two molds are opened simultaneously to release the parts.

What are the advantages of Injection Forming?

Some of the advantages of Injection forming are:

  • High precision and efficiency in producing small parts
  • Good for multi-cavity and highly detailed molding
  • Post-production scrap is less because of the efficient use of material
  • The use of automation saves time and general production costs.

Injection Molding vs. Vacuum Forming: Similarities

Some of the similarities are:

  • Both molded parts require trimming and may need secondary operations like smoothing and sanding.
  • Both are effective methods of creating lightweight plastic materials with expected fixed shapes.

Injection Molding vs. Vacuum Forming: Which is Better?

Both are good for the production of plastic. However, we consider the part and specific requirements. Thus, the parts and requirements determine the best method to use.

Most Suitable Parts for Vacuum Forming Method

Some of the best parts one can use vacuum forming method are:

  • Pallets and industrial containers such as railroad containers, trays, and airline tubes.
  • Cleaning agents, beauty supplies, and hygienic products.
  • Case exterior for printers, machines, and computers.
  • Aerospace equipment and plastic parts.
  • Dashboard of the automobile, air ducts, bumpers, and interior panels.

Most Suitable Parts for Injection Forming Method

Some of the best parts one can use injection forming method are:

  • Production of disposable supplies for healthcare such as visors, diagnostic kits, syringes, and surgical equipment.
  • Construction materials like vents, flooring material, and deck panels.
  • Production of electronic parts such as interior components and exterior housing.

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