Advanced Thermoforming Solutions

Webinar: 9 Lies You’ve Been Told About Thermoforming, and 4 Truths That Will Transform Your Next Project – November 9

Design | Plastics Manufacturing | Pressure Forming | Thermoforming

A Red Thermoformed Device Enclosure

Chances are, you’ve been lied to about the capabilities of thermoforming. Those lies probably weren’t intentional. They may have come from sources with an outdated or incomplete understanding of pressure forming and vacuum forming as a process.

Wherever those lies came from, it’s time to learn the truth. And there’s no better place than the webinar we’ll be hosting in partnership with Design World on November 9 at 4 p.m. EST / 1 p.m. PST.

We’ll address the most commonly told lies about thermoforming, and share truths that you can use to cut costs, improve aesthetics and performance, and slash your manufacturing timetables with thermoforming.

9 Lies You’ve Been Told About Thermoforming
& 4 Truths That Will Transform Your Next Project

Online Webinar
Speakers: Brian Ray and Jason Middleton, with moderator Leslie Langnau
Host: Design World
Thursday, November 9, 2017
4 p.m. EST / 1 p.m. PST

Register Now

Finishing: From the Design Guide Chapter 7

Thermoforming

Designing for Thermoforming Guide: Chapter 7

This is the seventh post in our series from our Thermoforming Handbook, a guide that, until now, was only available to our customers and partners. We’re releasing the whole thing in a series of posts right here on our blog.

We’ve previously released:

If you’re someone who uses custom plastic manufacturing professionally and you’re interested in getting your own copy, just send us a message and we’ll be happy to send you one. As always, these are general guidelines. Any project or design needs to be reviewed by a qualified thermoforming professional before it goes into production, and the sooner you get one of those qualified professionals involved in the process, the smoother things tend to go.  If you’re looking for a qualified professional, we know a few who would be happy to help.


The last part of the thermoforming process is finishing.  This term can encompass anything that happens after the final part is trimmed, including painting, silk-screening, the attachment of fasteners and in some cases even assembly and logistics.

Painting

Sure, you can thermoform in color, but there are a few reasons you still might want to consider painting.

Painting Options

  • Standard paints
  • Custom colored paints
  • Master batching with other suppliers
  • Metallic paints
  • Multi-color parts
  • Small lot customization

Silk Screening

Silk-screened text, images and logos can be used to brand, label and improve the aesthetics of thermoformed parts.

Specialty Finishes

EMI/RF Shielding – Special copper paint, used to block interference from electronic devices.

Hot Stamping – A process where metal foil text or graphics are permanently affixed to the thermoformed plastic.

Plating – Plated plastic is plastic that has been covered in a metal coating for the purposes of EMI/RF shielding, ESD prevention, wear resistance or a thermal or chemical barrier.

Embossing/Debossing – A process where heat is used to make a 3D impression/depression on the plastic, for a detailed feature like a logo  or graphic.

Attached Fasteners

Bosses, inserts and other fasteners are attached with adhesive during the finishing process. They offer significant design flexibility, but can also increase costs.

Pressure forming allows for molded attachment points like tabs, counter- bores or counter sinks.

Tech Tip: 

Fastening is one of the most important issues to address in the design ofplasticparts.Inthermoforming,itisnotpossibletomoldina boss or insert without it being visible on both surfaces of the part. Many types of fasteners and attachment options are available, and we are ready to work with you to meet the fastening requirements of your parts.

Molded-In Features

Molded-in features like snap-fits, tabs and receiving slots are affordable fastening options, and don’t generally add significantly to the total project cost.

Molded In Thermoforming Features

Molded In Counter-Bore Fasteners Thermoforming

Bonded Bosses With Inserts

Bonded bosses with inserts can help to form a secure attachment between two parts, but they do add some costs to building the part.

Bonded Bosses With Inserts

Bonded Bosses With Sheet Metal Attachments

Tech Tip

Unlike injection molding or other processes, our bosses can be added, subtracted or moved without any impact to tooling.

We’re Ready to Help

Have questions about finishing on your next thermoforming project? We’d be happy to help.  Get in touch today.

Trimming: From the Design Guide Chapter 6

Thermoforming

Thermoforming Design Guide Handbook Chapter 6

This is the sixth post in our series from our Thermoforming Handbook, a guide that, until now, was only available to our customers and partners. We’re releasing the whole thing in a series of posts right here on our blog.

We’ve previously released:

If you’re someone who uses custom plastic manufacturing professionally and you’re interested in getting your own copy, just send us a message and we’ll be happy to send you one. As always, these are general guidelines. Any project or design needs to be reviewed by a qualified thermoforming professional before it goes into production, and the sooner you get one of those qualified professionals involved in the process, the smoother things tend to go.  If you’re looking for a qualified professional, we know a few who would be happy to help.


Every part that comes out of a thermoforming machine must be trimmed. In 1949 when Ray Products was founded, this process was carried out with hand tools. Today, we use high-precision 6-axis trimming robots to carry out the process quickly, and cost-effectively.

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Thermoforming Tolerances: From the Design Guide Chapter 5

Thermoforming

Thermoforming Handbook Chapter 5

This is the fifth post in our series from our Thermoforming Handbook, a guide that, until now, was only available to our customers and partners. We’re releasing the whole thing in a series of posts right here on our blog.

We’ve previously released:

If you’re someone who uses custom plastic manufacturing professionally and you’re interested in getting your own copy, just send us a message and we’ll be happy to send you one. As always, these are general guidelines. Any project or design needs to be reviewed by a qualified thermoforming professional before it goes into production, and the sooner you get one of those qualified professionals involved in the process, the smoother things tend to go.  If you’re looking for a qualified professional, we know a few who would be happy to help.

 

Open up an engineering textbook, and it’ll likely define tolerances as the “permissible limit or limits of variation.” To put it more simply, how close to your exact specification can you expect the final product to be?

Every manufacturing process has unique tolerances, and thermoforming is no different. It’s important to note that what we’re listing here are industry standard thermoforming tolerances. If you have a project that demands tolerances tighter than what is standard in the industry, we’d be happy to hear from you. Our team loves a good challenge.

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Helping Sunkist Upgrade Its Citrus Sorters

Large Part Thermoforming

SunKist SunSort Citrus Sorter

For people in the citrus industry, it’s common knowledge that Sunkist’s SunSort line of citrus sorters are the top of the line. So when the company was ready to upgrade the enclosure on its latest model from in-house sheet metal to a modular thermoformed design, we were thrilled to help.

The new thermoformed designs were able to help Sunkist improve durability, cut manufacturing costs and time, and help the new units stand out from the competition. But don’t just take our word for it. Head over to Plastics News, where you can read the whole story.

If Ray Products Were a Country, We’d Be the Most Advanced Country

Thermoforming

Recently, Plastics News published an interesting article with an interesting chart. The chart showed the “number of multipurpose industrial robots per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry.

Essentially, it’s one measure of how advanced each country’s manufacturing sector is.

China, with just 49 robots per 10,000 manufacturing industry employees, is at the low end. South Korea, with 531 robots per 10,000 employees, is at the top of the chart. The United States, with 176, is somewhere in the middle.

So, we wondered how we stacked up.

It turns out that, if Ray Products were a country, we’d have the most advanced, most automated manufacturing sector in the world.

Robot Density Per Employee

If only…

Notes From the Road: D2P Santa Clara & D2P Minneapolis

Plastics Manufacturing

Design 2 Part Recap

After a busy couple weeks at trade shows, we’re back in the office and we’ve had a chance to think back on Design2Part Santa Clara, and Design2Part Minneapolis.

Both shows were great, and we’re hoping to be back next year.

Here are our personal highlights and takeaways from both shows:

Design2Part Santa Clara

  • There’s a reason housing prices set new records just about every year in the Bay Area. Spending 4 days there was a treat.
  • We had a chance to meet with several of our existing customers, get updated on their progress and get excited about their plans for future growth.
  • It was our first chance to show off a brand-new tradeshow booth, and the reviews were all positive.
  • We got to meet a few potential new customers, and it’s always exciting to be able to help people build new things.
  • It doesn’t get more Northern California than eating at a restaurant in the 49ers stadium, watching the Golden State Warriors play. It was, as the locals might say, “Hella Cool.”

Design2Part Minneapolis

  • We can confirm that “Minnesota Nice” is absolutely a real thing.
  • We combined the trade show with several visits to existing and potential customer facilities.
  • We had an annual business review where Ray Products scored in the top 4 total suppliers in quality, on-time delivery, engineering and purchasing support.
  • We hosted a lunch-n-learn for a group of industrial and mechanical engineers. We love the opportunity to show engineers what thermoforming can do, and hear them say, “I had no idea that was possible.”
  • We managed to hit Brit’s Pub for the opening day of lawn bowling.

It was a crazy few weeks, and it’s great to be home with a ton of good memories and a busy schedule of projects from familiar, and new customers.

We’re looking forward to doing it again next year.

Thermoforming Materials Selection: From the Design Guide Chapter 4

Thermoforming

Thermoforming Handbook Chapter 4

This is the fourth post in our series from our Thermoforming Handbook, a guide that, until now, was only available to our customers and partners. We’re releasing the whole thing in a series of posts right here on our blog.

We’ve previously released:

If you’re someone who uses custom plastic manufacturing professionally and you’re interested in getting your own copy, just send us a message and we’ll be happy to send you one. As always, these are general guidelines. Any project or design needs to be reviewed by a qualified thermoforming professional before it goes into production, and the sooner you get one of those qualified professionals involved in the process, the smoother things tend to go.  If you’re looking for a qualified professional, we know a few who would be happy to help.


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Tooling, The Foundation of Thermoforming: From the Design Guide Chapter 3

Design | Thermoforming

This is the third post in our series from our Thermoforming Handbook, a guide that, until now, was only available to our customers and partners. We’re releasing the whole thing in a series of posts right here on our blog.

We’ve previously released:

If you’re someone who uses custom plastic manufacturing professionally and you’re interested in getting your own copy, just send us a message and we’ll be happy to send you one. As always, these are general guidelines. Any project or design needs to be reviewed by a qualified thermoforming professional before it goes into production, and the sooner you get one of those qualified professionals involved in the process, the smoother things tend to go.  If you’re looking for a qualified professional, we know a few who would be happy to help.


READ MORE

6 Reasons We Can’t Wait for D2P Minneapolis

Plastics Manufacturing

Downtown Minneapolis

Later this week, we’re headed to Minnesota for Design-2-Part Minneapolis. It’s a chance for us to get together with product engineers, designers and manufacturers from that part of the country, and see if there are opportunities for us to work together. The show takes place on June 7 and June 8 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and we’ll be in Booth #245.

We enjoy all the shows we attend throughout the year, but there are few unique qualities that make D2P Minneapolis one of our favorite weeks on the calendar.

  • Minnesota Nice. It’s a real thing. How do we know? Because we’ve experienced it ourselves, and it has its own Wikipedia entry. People in Minnesota really are noticeably, consistently and incredibly nice. As a family-owned company that’s been doing this for nearly 70 years, “nice” means a lot to us.
  • Health Care Innovation. Thermoforming is a great process for health care manufacturing, and Minnesota is a hotbed for health care innovation. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester is, of course, world famous as a health care leader, and Minnesota is home to a host of leading medical device manufacturers like Medtronic,   Jude Medical (now part of Abbott), Boston Scientific,  Starkey and, of course, 3M.
  • Manufacturing Hotbed. In 2012, manufacturing accounted for $40.4 billion worth of Minnesota’s economic output. That makes manufacturing a significant part of Minnesota’s culture, and it gives us the chance to interact with lots of designers, contract manufacturers and other people involved in our industry.
  • Pressure Forming Opportunity. Traditionally, most of Minnesota’s local thermoforming operations have focused on vacuum forming. That means that, while there’s plenty of local awareness of the general process, there’s also a significant opportunity to introduce the benefits of pressure forming, like tighter tolerances, enhanced detail and a more highly cosmetic appearance.
  • Regional Draw. In our experience, Design-2-Part Minneapolis isn’t limited to strictly Minnesota attendees. It’s also a chance to meet up with representatives from regional companies that understand the benefits of thermoforming, like GE Healthcare, Thermo Fisher Scientific, John Deere, Caterpillar and others.
  • Pancakes. A visit to Minneapolis wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Al’s Breakfast. The James Beard Award-winning classic is Minneapolis’ narrowest dining space, and it’s home to legendary service and even more legendary pancakes. You can bet we’ll be eating there every chance we get.

We’re definitely looking forward to visiting the Twin Cities this week, and we hope we’ll see you there.

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