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Category: Thermoforming

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!

Category: Thermoforming

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.


Category: Thermoforming

With the ability to combine multiple custom components into a single, seamless product, along with incredible cost-effective processing and the ability to replace fiberglass and steel, large part thermoforming opens up new vistas for manufacturing in volumes ranging from hundreds to thousands. No matter what the industry—transportation and mass transit, farming and agriculture, green energy, waste and water management, medical devices, or more—large part thermoforming can redefine what is possible for your business.

#1 – Large Part Thermoforming is Significantly More Cost-effective than Steel or Fiberglass Fabrication

The technology behind large part thermoforming has grown so efficient in recent years that many materials that once necessitated either fiberglass, steel, or a combination of multiple parts can now be streamlined into one cost-effective thermoformed plastic part. Let us pass on this savings to you. Large part thermoforming allows for tremendous efficiency as it transforms many high-dollar parts into one large, single, rigid and lightweight thermoformed plastic part.

#2 – You Have the Same Freedom of Material Choice with Large Part Thermoforming

Just as you might do with other smaller-scale thermoformed parts, large part thermoforming likewise allows you to choose the material type (any thermoplastic) color, thickness, and finish of your plastic material. Your project is only limited by your imagination, and a 10’ x 18’ forming area! The possibilities are essentially endless as you explore the same freedom of choice in large part thermoforming, particularly as the needs of your custom plastic project grow and become more complex. As your business grows, part-to-part repeatability will become more and more important, as well.

#3 – Large Part Thermoforming Yields Superior Molded Detail and Offers Seamless Part Repeatability

Large part thermoforming is synonymous with repeatability and superior molded detail, which is what your industry demands. You care about aesthetics, reliability and repeatability, which is why large part thermoforming could be ideal for your next project. When upgrading to large part thermoforming from fiberglass or steel, better aesthetics are often the natural result, largely because the material colors and finishes deliver a large seamless part.


We haven’t even mentioned the significance of light-weight options that large part thermoforming offers your business. Whether you need to thermoform 10-feet by 18-feet or smaller, large part thermoforming can transform the possibilities for custom parts manufacturing.

Category: Thermoforming

Every year, Plastics News conducts a survey of North American thermoformers and ranks them by annual sales.  This year, for the first time, Ray Products made the top 100.

In fact, we received special recognition in the introduction to the report for moving “up 32 spaces”.  That took us from 122nd last year to a respectable 90th this year.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “What’s the big deal?” Is celebrating 90th place really worth celebrating at all?

Yes, and here’s why:


Category: Thermoforming

The truth is, we get excited about every plastics manufacturing project that comes into our California-based facility. Still, there are plastic pressure forming projects that stand out for our whole team.

Let us tell you about one of those.

Recently, a leading biotechnology company came to us for help creating the housing of an advanced digital pathology slide scanner.

The project demanded impressive aesthetics, incredible levels of precision, and high-performance materials. In short, it was precisely the type of pressure forming project we love.


Category: Thermoforming

On October 9 and 10, 2019, Ray Products will be exhibiting at D2P, Design 2 Part, Southern California conference, located at the Pasadena Convention Center.  Home to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena has built a reputation as a hotbed for technological innovation, providing a great backdrop for showcasing our advanced plastic manufacturing techniques.

As an exhibitor, we’ll be showcasing and discussing an assortment of plastic parts that we’ve manufactured via our specialized vacuum forming, pressure forming and trimming technologies. We’re looking forward to sharing the benefits of thermoformed plastic solutions with attendees from Southern California and beyond. Here are a few of the processes we’ll be discussing:


Category: Thermoforming

If you pay close attention to manufacturing trends, you may have already seen it happening: manufacturers are discovering the benefits of pressure forming, and realizing that they can’t help but switch.

Why are they switching, and is it the right choice for you?

At Ray Products, we’ve been pressure forming plastic parts for over 70 years, and have a keen sense of the types of projects that can greatly benefit from this process. Below are the most commonly noted reasons to opt for pressure forming for your next project.


Category: Thermoforming

We’re thrilled to announce that Ray Products has been awarded the Gold prize at this year’s SPE Thermoforming Conference for our work on the Stratasys F370 Industrial-grade 3-D printer!

The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE)’s annual thermoforming conference is the leading exposition where thermoformers, suppliers and clients assemble to attend workshops, discussions, and networking sessions on all things thermoforming. One of the most exciting aspects of the conference is its contest, which considers submissions from thermoformers all over the country across several manufacturing categories.


Category: Thermoforming

On April 1, 1949, Allen Ray and his wife, Peggy, opened the doors of Ray Products in Alhambra. At the time, Ray Products was a 1,000 sq. ft. custom fabrication shop that produced plastic baby bassinets. Why plastic baby bassinets? Allen had posited—correctly, as it turns out—that clear plastic bassinets would make it easier for hospital staff to monitor many newborn babies at once.

If Allen and Peggy came back today, they might be surprised by what Ray Products has become over the last seven decades. Almost 50 of their original workshops could fit in our current 48,000 sq. ft. manufacturing space in Ontario. I can’t imagine what they’d think of our 6-axis robotic trimmers, but I know they’d appreciate our state-of-the-art thermoforming equipment that enables us to produce high-quality, customized plastic parts used worldwide in industries like medical devices, transportation, green energy, automotive, building and construction, and recreational equipment.

I’m also confident they’d recognize the qualities that earned them success all those decades ago: innovation, perseverance, and a fierce commitment to doing things the right way. They’d see and deeply appreciate employees who give us their best—staying with us for 10, 20 and sometimes even 50 years. They’d be delighted to discover how many of our customers and suppliers know the value of a handshake, know quality when they see it, and make a point to invest in our country by seeking out domestic manufacturing partners like us.

I’m also pretty certain they’d be unspeakably proud. After all, 70 years for a small, family-owned business is no small feat. And while good old-fashioned luck certainly played a role, I genuinely believe our success is no accident. We owe this milestone to:

  • Allen and Peggy Ray, who founded this company with the values that still propel us today.
  • Their son Bruce, who led the company through 20 years of incredible growth with determination and gumption.
  • The dedicated employees who have given us their time, talent and hard work.
  • The customers and partners who have given us the opportunity to earn—and keep—their trust and support.
  • A commitment to innovation and a near-pathological obsession with getting it right (or so I’m told).

Here’s to the next 70.

Brian Ray

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