Plastic thermoforming is a manufacturing process used to create plastic parts and products. The process involves heating a plastic sheet until it becomes pliable, and then forming it into a desired shape using a mold, or tool.

Basic steps of the plastic thermoforming process:

Material selection: The first step is to choose the appropriate plastic material for the intended application. The material needs to be able to withstand the thermoforming process and provide the desired properties, such as strength, flexibility, or clarity. The material will be sourced in the form of plastic sheet. We are more than happy to help you choose your material or suggest substitute materials if needed.

Heat: The plastic sheet is then heated until it reaches a pliable state. This can be done using an oven or a specialized heating system.

Form: Once the plastic sheet is heated, it is placed over a mold or tool, which is designed to create the desired shape of the final product. The plastic sheet is then pulled down onto the mold using a vacuum, which forces the plastic to form to the mold’s shape.

Cool: After the plastic has been formed, it is cooled to set the shape and lock in the desired properties.

Trim: Finally, the excess plastic around the edges of the part is trimmed off, and any finishing touches are added.

Upfront tooling, or mold, costs for thermoforming are less expensive with shorter lead times than other types of plastic forming, making thermoforming a great option for low to medium volume production runs, or when considering time to first production.

Plastic thermoforming is a versatile and cost-effective process that can be used to create a wide range of products, from simple trays and packaging to complex automotive parts and medical devices.

Blow Molding

In 2011, STM Plastics acquired Heartland Plastics, a blow molding company specializing in small to medium sized production runs of polyethylene and polypropylene plastic bottles for health & beauty, food & drug, sports drinks, and more. STM continues to produce the high quality products that were associated with Heartland Plastics and has expanded the product line.

Bottles can range in size from 8oz. to 32oz. and other custom items with part weights of under one pound, and while we maintain a stock FDA natural color, we have the ability to match any custom color.

Blow molding is a manufacturing process used to produce hollow plastic parts, such as bottles, containers, and other hollow objects. There are different types of blow molding, but the most common is called “extrusion blow molding.”

Basic steps involved in the extrusion blow molding process:

  1. Plastic pellets, usually made from polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP), are melted and formed into a long tube called a parison.
  2. The parison is then clamped into a mold in the shape of the final product.
  3. Compressed air is blown into the parison, causing it to expand and take the shape of the mold.
  4. The plastic cools and hardens, and the mold is opened to release the finished product.

Blow molding is an efficient and cost-effective way to produce high volumes of hollow plastic products with consistent quality.