Methods of Plastic Fabrication

October 5, 2021 8:19 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

We use plastics every day, from single-use water bottles to the plastics on our electronics and in our vehicles. The one thing that every plastic item has in common is that it was fabricated. There are a number of plastic fabrication methods available. They all take advantage of plastic’s ability to be molded and shaped into virtually any form. The right one for your next project depends on what you want to accomplish, and how.

Plastic fabrication methods

Here’s a closer look at some of the methods of plastic fabrication that can be used for different types of projects:

  • Plastic welding: Plastic welding is similar to metal welding in that heat is used to join two pieces of plastic together. They may be fused with a filler material between them. There are several different methods of plastic welding, including contact welding, spinning, high-frequency vibrations and hot gas emissions. Plastic welding is not suitable for some thermoplastics.
  • Plastic lamination: This fabrication method applies a thin plastic barrier on another surface, like paper, metal sheeting, flexible foam and fabric. It’s used to add durability, aesthetic quality, style and color to a product. This can be done via film or resin lamination. Film lamination is used to form a plastic barrier. Resin lamination can create an adhesive layer between other materials.
  • Plastic molding: Plastic molding takes soft, malleable plastic and applies it to molds. The plastic is heated, then cooled around or inside the mold. Blow molding, injection molding and rotational molding are three of the most popular methods. This can create anything from hollow bottles, toys and automotive parts to dishware.
  • Plastic foaming: Plastic can also be used to create foam products. Polymer composites are shaped through physical or chemical blowing. The configurations include film, sheet, round, solid plank, bun stock and rod. They may include fire retardants, antioxidants and pigments to create a custom effect.
  • Plastic extrusion: Extrusion is used to create sheeting, tubing or pipe components. It’s also a precursor to the plastic lamination process. Plastic extrusion involves melting plastic pellets, then forcing them through machinery or against calibration dies. This creates a sturdy sheet of plastic or hollow tube, depending on what’s required.
  • Compound techniques: Plastic fabrication can also use compound techniques. Two or more of the above fabrication techniques can be combined to create a product. This can help make the processing easier, or alter its final performance.

Which type of plastic fabrication method should you use?

This overview may have given you an idea of which plastic fabrication methods are suitable for your project. When you’re deciding which method to use, you’ll need to keep in mind which materials you’ll be using. You should also consider what role the plastics play: are they the single component in the end product, like a plastic canoe, or are they used to enhance other materials? The dimensions and final use of the product will also weigh into your final choice.

Of course, if you’re not sure which plastic fabrication method is right for you, the experts at D&D Plastics can help. When you work with us, we’ll make sure your fabrication method is perfect for the end product. Call today to get started.

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