Thermoforming vs. Injection Molding

Friday, November 20, 2020

Trying to decide between injection molding and thermoforming? Industrial Custom Products is here to help you choose the method that best suits your project needs. Becoming familiar with the pros and cons of thermoforming and injection molding can help you make a clear and guided decision that will lead toward speedy project completion and a successful product launch!

Volume

Injection molding is well suited for small to medium-sized parts with large-volume production. Because of the nature of the molding process, items that are injection molded are usually complete as soon as they are removed from the molding process. This means that large-volume parts can be made easily for frequent orders.

Thermoforming is somewhat more limited in terms of high-volume runs, but it is great for parts that are larger in size or parts that have lower volumes up to 5,000-10,000 on an annual basis. Simpler items with larger tolerances are well suited for thermoforming as well as items that may require secondary processes or additional assembly to meet the customer’s needs and specifications.

Detail Work and Adaptability

Injection molding is capable of producing highly detailed, small parts in large volumes. This is due to the high-pressure molding environment. Intricate parts with complex geometries are a great fit for this production model, especially in higher volumes.

Thermoforming allows for colors, textures, and patterns that other production models cannot support as it allows for aesthetically pleasing unpainted parts.  A wide variety of textures, custom colors, and laminates can be applied to thermoformed parts.

Costs

The tooling for injection molding parts is much higher than thermoformed tooling, but it generally results in a lower piece price and is perfect for larger volume runs or for more complex designs.  Thermoform tooling is less expensive than injection molding tooling; however, processing time is longer, which results in a higher piece price.  If you are looking at larger parts or volumes that are up to 5,000-10,000, then thermoforming may be the right option for you!

Connect with an Engineer at Industrial Custom Products

If you’re not sure which production method works best for your needs, the experts with Industrial Custom Products are available to lend their expertise. We will be honest and upfront about the process that will work best for your application. Call us today at (612) 781-2255 or request a quote online. We are here to help guide you in the right direction!