Thermoforming and Fiberglass the Same?

September 8, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Plastic thermoforming and fiberglass molding are two methods used to make items. Each method has specific advantages and disadvantages you should consider when planning your projects. This quick guide will give you some basic information on which process is best for your particular situation. Let’s learn more about these two processes.

Plastic Thermoforming

This method involved the heating of two-dimensional rigid thermoplastic sheets. A vacuum is used or pressure is used to form the sheets into a three-dimensional shape. This method is usually implemented for large productions of 250 to 3000 annually. This method offers lower tooling costs. It also offers rapid development cycles. You can also use this method with parts with color and textures.

Fiberglass Molding

Fiberglass molding is a method that uses fiberglass reinforced resin to create useful shapes. Resin is applied in layers. This increases the strength of the objects being created. You have more control when attaining desired thickness. This method is best used to make large structures. It works well for structures that need to be very strong. This method does carry with it a higher tooling cost and often a slower production rate.  

Things To Consider When Choosing A Method

If you are trying to decide between whether to use plastic thermoforming or fiberglass molding, here are few factors you should consider.

Volume – If you are in need of high-volume productions, you will want to consider using plastic thermoforming.

Lead Time — Fiberglass molding can sometimes be a labor-intensive process. This means that for projects that will require quick turnaround times, you may want to steer clear of this option.

Strength — For projects that will need a high level of durability, you will want to consider using fiberglass molding. This type of material will provide strength and durability to last for years.

Tooling — If you need to keep your tooling and production simple, you will want to consider using a method that will have simple tooling requirements. Plastic thermoforming is usually very automated and will need less labor. Most applications will only need a single tool for each section.

Weight — If weight considerations will be important for your project, you should consider using plastic thermoforming as it is lighter.

There are many differences between plastic thermoforming and fiberglass molding. Deciding which method to use will depend heavily upon your particular needs, budget, and labor force. 

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