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As humans, we like the familiar. The comfortable. And often, the answer to “why do you do it that way” is “because we’ve always done it that way.” That’s a fine answer when it comes to which section of the newspaper we read first (sports, followed by business and a cursory glance at the international news section, obviously) but more of an issue when it comes to choosing a manufacturing process.

If you’re currently manufacturing using sheet metal, it’s worth taking a look at switching to thermoformed plastic. It’s very possible that by making the switch you could end up with a better, more durable and more attractive product that costs less to manufacture.

Here are 11 reasons to consider the switch.

Reason 11:  Eliminate Corrosion

Unlike sheet metal, thermoformed plastic will never corrode. You can leave it out in the elements without ever having to deal with rust and oxidation.

Reason 10: Easy Recyclability

You may have been hesitant to switch to a plastic process because of concerns about recyclability. With some plastic manufacturing processes, you’d be right to worry. Not with thermoforming. From scraps generated during manufacturing to the final product, our pressure- and vacuum-formed materials are 100% recyclable.

Reason 9: Eliminate Scratches & Denting

Sheet metal is only as scratchproof as its external coating, and if you’ve ever had your car bumped by a shopping cart, you know about its susceptibility to dents.  Thermoformed plastic is much less susceptible to scratches and dents than sheet metal.

Reason 8: Skip The Paint

With our thermoforming process, we can manufacture plastic in just about any color you can imagine. That gives you the option of skipping the cost and time of painting altogether. Of course, if you do decide that painting is right for you, we have a dedicated in-house painting facility to get the job done.

Reason 7: Impact Absorption

We talked about shopping carts hitting cars earlier. One of the key reasons many auto manufacturers have added plastic cladding to cars is the impact-absorbing properties of thermoformed plastic. Run a shopping cart into a car’s sheet-metal side panel and you’ll get a permanent dent. Run the same shopping cart into thermoformed cladding, and the plastic will absorb the impact and immediately return to its original shape.

Reason 6: Noise Reduction

Imagine a metal dumpster lid slamming closed in the middle of the night. It would make enough noise to wake an entire apartment complex. Now imagine the same dumpster lid made out of thermoformed plastic. Slam it closed, and everyone continues to sleep soundly in their beds.

Reason 5: Improved Aesthetics

Between its material options, available colors and finishing options, a well-designed thermoformed part can offer significant aesthetic improvements to your product.

Reason 4: More Complex Shapes

Sheet metal can be quite limiting in regard to custom shapes and curves. Thermoforming, on the other hand, makes curves, slots, recesses, undercuts and corners of any angle easy, giving your engineers and designers the freedom they need to make beautiful products.

Reason 3: A More Durable Material

We’ve talked about dent and scratch resistance and impact absorption already. The big payoff is that in many applications, thermoformed plastic can be a more durable material. It sounds counterintuitive that plastic can be more durable than metal, but in many applications, it’s absolutely true.

Reason 2: Lighter Weight

Now we’re getting down to the biggest reasons many manufacturers switch from sheet metal to thermoformed plastic. We’ve got it at No. 2, but weight savings could easily be the No. 1 reason to make the switch.

The weight of a product impacts so many facets of its performance, from its usability to portability and transportation costs. Saving weight nearly always improves the final product. Thermoforming gives you the ability to save weight in addition to many other benefits.

Reason 1: Cost Savings

Thermoforming is a very cost-effective process. In the right quantities, it can save significant amounts when compared to either sheet metal or other plastic manufacturing processes.

Even if you aren’t convinced by the other advantages of switching to thermoformed plastic, you owe it to yourself to see how much you can save by switching today.

We’ll Make it Easy

If you’re curious about what switching from sheet metal to thermoformed plastic could do for your products, we’d be more than happy to help. Just give us a bit of info about what you make, and we’ll take care of the rest.

How Can Ray Products Help You Today?