The Methods of Plastic Fabrication

July 22, 2021 2:37 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Plastic fabrication is a term that refers to the process of designing, manufacturing and/or assembling products made with plastic through various methods. Plastics come with certain inherent advantages that make plastic design a better option than using other materials in certain settings and applications.

Here’s a quick look at some of the specific methods that are used to fabricate plastic:

  • Lamination: Plastic lamination involves the creation of a barrier on the surface of another material. This is done to improve the existing product’s durability and aesthetics. Usually this is performed on materials that are prone to deterioration so you can reduce the need for maintenance. Examples of materials that are most likely to serve as base materials for lamination include paper, metal sheets, certain types of foam and some fabrics. Both film and resin can be used in lamination processes.
  • Extrusion: Extrusion is frequently used for tubing and piping. It may be used on its own, or to enhance other plastic forming or processing methods. One type of extrusion, profile extrusion, involves the use of a screw extruder to melt plastic pellets and move that melted plastic through a pressurized mechanism, forcing it on to an annular die. The plastic then solidifies around a sleeve to create the pipe or tube component at a desired diameter. Sheet extrusion uses a similar tactic, but for creating thin plastic sheets.
  • Plastic welding: Plastic welding requires the use of heat to melt multiple pieces together. This is an ideal process for dealing with thermoplastics that are otherwise not suitable for adhesive binding. Welding can be accomplished via contact welding, spinning, hot gas emissions or vibration. It works similar to metal welding, just with nowhere near the degree of heat required to melt the materials.
  • Compounding: Compounding, occasionally referred to as blending, is a plastic fabrication process that combines multiple plastics into an amalgam that then gets formed into a single part. Multiple molten plastics are combined in a very specific recipe, and they then get formed with a die, mold or other type of shaping piece. The process is often used to make products stronger, because you are able to get the different benefits of multiple types of plastics.
  • Molding: In molding, plastic gets formed into a specific shape by heating up the work piece and then allowing it to cool and harden in or around a mold. Common methods of molding include blow molding, rotational molding and injection molding. Blow molding is used for creating containers, rotational molding is used for developing hollow products (car parts, canoes, toys) and injection molding is meant for products that have a higher melting point.
  • Foaming: Foam products can be developed into a variety of shapes. In this process, polymer composites get shaped via chemical or physical blowing. Additives may be put into the plastics in this process to add some specific desired characteristics, such as fire resistance.

For more information about the various methods of plastic fabrication, or for help with your next plastic design project, contact the team at D&D Plastics today.

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