Advanced Thermoforming Solutions

Winner of the 2021 SPE Thermoforming Gold Award

The team at Ray Products is known for manufacturing custom plastic enclosures that are used around the world, in everything from medical carts and devices to alternative energy applications. Due to our passion for innovation, we have been able to extend our services beyond vacuum forming, leading us to receive the 2021 SPE Thermoforming Gold Award in pressure forming for our multi-part medical cart. From its original urethane-casted parts to a product made with thermoplastics, our new medical cart is a marvel of advanced pressure-forming techniques.

The Gold Project:

Initially, this medical cart was manufactured with cast urethane that required every part to be painted. In addition to the multiple steps to assemble and create each part, the cast urethane parts required a complete inspection that included a full assembly check fixture. This limited the production to just 25 parts at a time. Approved parts were then kitted and shipped together as a set. The kits were specific, as cross-part use was not possible. Ray set out to drastically improve part-to-part repeatability and create a more efficient process to refine both the time it took to manufacture the cart as well as its overall cost.

The team at Ray quickly recognized that pressure forming would allow for several design improvements, resulting in a final medical cart device that improved the detail, features, and tight tolerances required. The device’s high production cost and run times in urethane were significantly reduced thanks to our rotary pressure former and robotic trimming. Advanced pressure forming machinery allows Ray to take on production runs from the hundreds to thousands with the ability to manufacture large parts up to 10’ x 6’ with 40” of depth and sheet thickness up to .500”.

In the end, making the switch to pressure forming reduced the overall cost and production time of the medical cart, increased product durability, and guaranteed part-to-part repeatability. Molded-in features included several undercuts which allowed for consistent reveal lines between parts and helped reduce the total assembly time by reducing attachment points. By molding in color, the chipping and scratching of paint, which was a common issue with the urethane process, was eliminated.

Molding, trimming, assembly, and painting services are done in-house, which gives us the ability to create products to exact specifications. The materials used to reduce the painting process were color-matched Kydex T PVC Acrylic and Kydex 110 Metallic Color Matched PVC Acrylic with various thicknesses of .187” – .250”, allowing for material flexibility.

Overall, our redesigned medical cart provided a total return on investment within the first 50 units produced, all while meeting current and future demand. Thanks to pressure forming, we were able to save production time with part-to-part repeatability, molded-in color, and improved part design. We thank SPE for recognizing our team’s dedication to pressure forming and for recognizing the value the process has for the medical device community.

As Ray develops other innovative pressure-forming solutions, we will continue to share our journey along the way. Through collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking, Ray Products is bringing pressure-forming solutions to the table that inspire change.

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