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Author: Vive Marketing

The world of thermoforming is undergoing a significant transformation, influenced by technological advances, evolving industry needs, and a growing emphasis on sustainability. As thermoforming continues to evolve, it’s important to stay informed about the trends and innovations shaping its future. Let’s delve into these developments, offering insights into what they mean for businesses and industries reliant on thermoforming – and how Ray Products is actively leading and adapting to these changes.

Advancements in Thermoforming Techniques

Advancements in thermoforming techniques are driving significant change in the manufacturing sector, shaping a future where precision and efficiency are not just desired but expected. At the heart of this transformation is the meticulous balance between custom solutions – qualities that Ray Products has made central to its operations. By harnessing both vacuum forming for straightforward parts and pressure forming for complex, detailed parts, we’re responding to the growing need for custom parts that blend form and function seamlessly. Pressure forming, with its ability to apply between 80-100 psi, pushes plastic sheet into the mold with greater force, resulting in sharper definition and finer detail reminiscent of injection molding but with the tooling cost-effectiveness and speed to market vs. other plastic processes. This approach meets the rising demand for complex designs and streamlines production by minimizing lead times and reducing the need for secondary processes.

Efficiency Gains and Robotic Automation

The world of heavy-gauge thermoforming is witnessing a surge in efficiency and precision, driven by innovative practices at companies like Ray Products. By incorporating color matched material, our molded-in color solutions eliminate the need for post-molding finishes such as sanding, masking, and painting, thereby accelerating production and enhancing aesthetic options. Complementing this with advanced 6-axis robotic trimming and precise scanning technologies allows us to exceed the stringent demands of today’s fast-paced markets. These technologies enable the execution of complex, multi-dimensional trimming and routing with accuracy, ensuring high-quality finishes and rapid turnarounds – meaning rapid production does not have to sacrifice detail or design.

Material Innovation

The recent shift toward new materials is revolutionizing how products are made in heavy-gauge thermoforming. At the heart of this change is Ray Products’ commitment to innovative thermoplastics that not only look good but allow for recycled content to be added back into the raw material. These materials comply with rigorous standards and allow us to create parts with standout finishes – high gloss, metallic, you name the finish requirement, and we are pretty confident we can achieve it – all without extra finishing steps. Materials are also flame-resistant and can stand up to sunlight, making them tough enough for almost any application. Plus, they can be recycled, which means less waste. By focusing on these smarter materials, Ray Products is ensuring that thermoforming is about making things that last in a way that’s good for our planet.

New Applications and the Future of Thermoforming

Thermoforming is paving the way for a revolution in sectors that demand high precision and innovation, such as the medical, high-tech, point-of-sale, and electric vehicle (EV) industries. Pressure Forming is producing custom plastic parts with unparalleled complexity and precision, offering solutions that meld function, aesthetics, and durability into seamless designs. The advancements in pressure forming have catapulted thermoforming to the forefront, allowing the creation of intricate designs once thought exclusive to injection molding, sheet metal and RIM. This transformative method is now providing robust parts that integrate flawlessly with modern, sleek EV designs and are resilient enough to endure extreme environments. The scope of thermoforming has broadened, not only enhancing the intricacy and ease of assembly of the parts but also supporting the growth of industries as they navigate the frontiers of technology. With a keen eye on the future, Ray Products is steering the thermoforming industry towards a landscape where superior quality, speed of production, and ecological considerations are harmoniously balanced, showcasing a commitment to innovation that’s cleaner and smarter for a changing global market.


The transformative power of thermoforming is propelling industries forward, combining functionality with aesthetic beauty and sustainability. Ray Products remains at the forefront of this evolution, responding to advanced sectors with precision and innovation, ensuring that every part produced stands up to the highest standards. With a focus on technology, materials and processes, manufacturers like Ray Products are forming a future that combines both the technological demands of our time and the health of our planet. The advancements we’ve embraced in thermoforming are not just shaping products; they’re shaping the very fabric of manufacturing for a smarter, more efficient tomorrow.

If you’re looking to integrate this cutting-edge process into your products, contact Ray Products for a quote today and join the manufacturing revolution.

Author: Vive Marketing

As a third-generation, family-owned manufacturer offering advanced thermoforming solutions, Ray Products is committed to staying at the forefront of industry knowledge and trends. We attended this year’s SPE Thermoforming Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, October 24-26, to learn about the latest innovations in thermoforming machinery, materials, and equipment. President Brian Ray reflects on this year’s conference and discusses the impact it is poised to have on the company’s future endeavors and the evolving landscape of thermoforming as a whole.

Q: What was your biggest takeaway from attending the 2023 SPE Thermoforming Conference?

A: “I’m always amazed at the advances made in our industry. The shared focus on elevating the process and the willingness to discuss best practices is refreshing.”

Q: What significant advancements in thermoforming were discussed at the conference?

A: “I was really impressed with the amount of high-level assembly being done within our industry. It’s not just custom molding of plastic parts anymore – it’s high-level, complex assemblies incorporating various processes coming together to provide a finished part solution for customers.”

Q: What current challenges facing the thermoforming industry were discussed, and how does Ray Products plan to address them to maintain its competitive edge?

A: “The cost of manufacturing – regardless of industry – is a constant challenge. We’re based in California, so we’re no stranger to manufacturing challenges; that’s why we focus so much on automation, employee training, and early customer involvement. With so many manufacturing choices, we need to make sure we listen to our customers, understand what they want, and determine if our process is the best fit to satisfy those customer requirements.”

Q: What were the key discussions and impressions during your interactions with industry professionals at the conference?

A: “We spent a lot of time with various tooling manufacturers, discussing more automated solutions for formed-in features like undercuts, better surface finishes for molded-in texture and reduced lead times. We were also impressed with the prototype services offered by various vendors at the show. From a materials standpoint, the number of thermoplastics being offered that can solve many issues other processes face is remarkable. There are numerous solutions for high-impact, chemical-resistant, fire-rated, recyclable, high-heat materials that won’t scratch or dent, can be bonded and color-matched, have low surface energy, and meet UL V-0 and 746C regulations. The possibilities are endless.”

Q:  Did anything catch your eye at the conference as a potential asset for enhancing Ray Products’ current capabilities?

A: “Anything that can reduce set-up or cycle times has my attention. Quick change systems for tooling and clamp frame systems that easily adjust were a talking point. Automation was a huge topic, not just for material handling and secondary operations, but the impact AI and machine learning will have on our industry.”

Q: This year’s conference theme was “The Business of Thermoforming.” What key strategies do you foresee implementing to ensure Ray Products remains at the forefront of the thermoforming industry?

A: “A continued push to measure and improve. Sometimes we get stuck in the weeds of our day-to-day operations, and this conference provides so much additional perspective that I always leave with fresh insights and actionable strategies that can be implemented to improve our business.

Additionally, industry and processing knowledge are critical to success. Therefore, we need to be better at documenting what we have and elevating our employees to become the next generation of leaders within our industry.”

Q: Are there any final thoughts you’d like to share about the conference?

A: “With so many ways to communicate and access information, we can easily forget how important a face-to-face conversation can be, as well firsthand experiences like holding a sample part, touching a prototype tool, or seeing oven heating technology up close and in person. This year’s conference was an amazing experience, and I especially enjoyed the panel discussions, which are a great way to share and exchange best practices.”

President Brian Ray’s insights from the 2023 SPE Thermoforming Conference illuminate our commitment to industry leadership. Armed with a fresh perspective and newfound knowledge, Ray Products is geared to navigate challenges, embrace innovation, and shape the future of thermoforming. If you’re ready to start your thermoforming journey with us, contact us today!

Author: Vive Marketing

For more than 70 years, Ray Products has built a reputation as a premier provider of pressure formed plastic parts. With a commitment to constantly upgrade our facilities with the highest quality equipment and latest technology, today we can manufacture custom plastic parts using our advanced, heavy-gauge pressure forming process, delivering the highest quality in the business while reducing tooling costs and turnaround times. With our experience, Ray Products will help guide what pressure forming is, the advantages of pressure forming, and what makes Ray Products a complete partner for your next project.


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