Different Manufacturing Processes For Plastics

Different Manufacturing Processes For Plastics

Among the best materials in delivering a variety of products is plastic. It has different types and is used for a wide range of applications. Therefore, knowing how plastics are made is necessary to better understand such a durable element in almost everything in the industry. 

Choosing The Right Manufacturing Process For Plastics 

There are many ways to produce plastic parts depending on the certain application. Here are some factors to consider when choosing one:


Plastic parts may come in different forms thus it is important to identify which procedure to use. Some features can be more complicated that require a particular manufacturing option. In other words, it really depends on the overall design you want to achieve. 


Processes For Plastics

Second is the volume of parts which also have an impact on the cost. That simply means a lower volume will demand a low initial cost as well. The drawback would be it slows down the cycle because of less labor and automation that results in a constant cost per part. 

Processing time 

This is also called the lead time. It refers to the amount of time in delivering finished goods that could last for a day or may even take months, depending on the volume of the production. 

Types of materials 

Selecting quality materials is crucial for the rest of the manufacturing process. A lot of factors must be inspected, such as cost and its specific function. With all the possible options, opt for the material that is ideal for the industry. 

Which Plastic Type Should You Pick?

Plastics are made of different elements to be more functional. It includes a variety of derivatives, additives, and other formulas and properties making the material suitable for different uses. 

Below are the two main plastic types to look for:


This is the most common type of plastic for manufacturing processes. It can withstand higher temperatures compared to the other type due to the small pellets making it more durable. 

Thermoplastics also have no chemical properties thus often used for food packaging and are safe for heating so the material does not melt. 

To name a few examples of thermoplastics include acrylic, polyamide, polyethylene, and polycarbonate. 

Thermosetting Plastics 

This type is the total opposite of thermoplastics that decompose after heating and cannot be recycled. It is used for the curing process with its irreversible chemical bond that helps to sustain its shape while curing. 

Some common kinds of thermosetting plastics are epoxy, silicone, polyester, and polyurethane. 

Some Types Of Manufacturing Processes For Plastics 

  1. 3D Printing
Manufacturing Processes For Plastics

CAD models can help in creating 3D plastic parts. The market offers printing technologies for 3D printing suitable for a particular plastic-type. For instance, is the fused deposition modeling (FDM) for thermoplastics. 

It only demands a minimal setup and is ideal for small to mid-volume production. No extra tools will be needed and it is less expensive than those made for mass production. Its lead time won’t exceed 24-hours depending on the volume. 

  1. CNC Machining 

Such a special tool is perfect to work with hard plastics that require more complex features. It is also difficult to set up but can be used for higher volume productions with lesser lead time. Extra tools are necessary for the best possible results. 

  1. Polymer Casting

Polymer casting is versatile for the low-volume production of specific plastic types. It has a lengthier manufacturing process from molding to trimming the parts wherein hands-on labor is vital. 

  1. Rotational molding

For medium-volume production, rotational molding is a good choice. Some products that undergo this process include helmets, containers, and toys. The lead time will last for days or weeks depending on the volume of parts. 

The procedure begins with loading the mold, heating, cooling, and removing the parts from the mold cavity. 

  1. Vacuum Forming 

This method requires using a mold to heat and form a plastic. Manufacturers can choose between desktop devices or commercial-grade. It works for any volume with a faster lead time of thermoforming. 

Get a plastic sheet and clamp in a frame subject to heating and molding through vacuum-forming machines. It is commonly used for the packaging of goods. It also demands a lower tooling cost than the other molding processes. 

  1. Injection Molding 

IM is for mass plastic production with a longer lead time of up to 4-months. It suits thermoplastics that are more complex to mold thus needs higher tooling costs. 

Its cycle time could be done in seconds to produce a high volume of quality parts. However, new molds will take months to make. 

  1. Extrusion 

Extrusion is limited to creating parts that require a continuous process, like simple shapes. It is also less expensive and easy to use with weeks of lead time. This applies to mid to high-volume thermoplastics. 

  1. Blow Molding

 Hollow plastic parts have to be made through the blow molding process. It can be fully automated to produce parts constantly and still consumes lower costs. It best works with less complex applications at a higher volume. 

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, 3D printing is the most economical choice when it comes to manufacturing plastic parts. It can cater to a wide range of applications like the other options but with reduced lead times and cost. Each procedure is constantly improving to meet every consumer’s needs that also benefit the marketplace for plastic parts. 

With Australia’s leading plastic bottle manufacturers, you will discover more techniques in creating plastic parts. Get in touch to select the right method that best suits your needs and budget.