Difference Between Vacuum Forming and Injection Moulding

Types of Plastic Moulding

Plastic moulding, by definition, is the process of manufacturing plastic parts by shaping liquid or pliable plastic material using a rigid frame commonly referred to as a mould or tool.

There are many different types of plastic moulding available to you, each with their own unique techniques and capabilities and the plastic moulding process you require will depend on your specific product requirements.

What types of plastic moulding are available?

As mentioned previously, there are a number of plastic moulding techniques and processes available with the most common including plastic vacuum forming, rotational moulding, injection moulding, blow moulding, compression moulding and extrusion moulding.

Vacuum forming: plastic vacuum forming is a plastic moulding process that pushes plastic over a mould before using a vacuum to form the product firmly over the mould to achieve greater detail.

Vacuum forming is ideal for production quantities of 250-8000 annually and has uses across the automotive and aerospace industry as well as many others.

Injection Moulding: the injection moulding process typically uses a plunger to force molten plastic material into a mould in order to create specific components.

Injection moulding is best used for larger quantities of plastic parts per year – up to 30000 – such as bottle caps, storage containers, toys and other forms of plastic packaging.

Rotational Moulding: Using a hollow tool, resins are added to the tool and then the tool is rotated to allow the material to line the tool internally to present a hollow product. A good example of this is wheelie bins.

Compression Moulding: During this process there is an upper and lower tool which comes together with the molten material in-between. Then a force is placed on both tools to compress the material into the shape of the tool. Example of this is buttons.

Extrusion Moulding: This is where material is driven down a tube, called a barrel while under heat. It is driven down the tube by a screw and at the end of the barrel it is driven through a die of the required shape to give you a finished length of part.  UPVC window frames are a prime example of what can be manufactured through this process.

Blow Moulding: The parts manufactured with this method may resemble the finished look of a rotational moulded part. This is due to the molten plastic being blown into a closed cavity tool and then pressure applied for it to line the side walls of the tool.

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