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How to Tell if Your Thermoforming Company Is up to the task

cnc_milling_machineDo you face challenges with your current thermoforming company getting products delivered on time and on budget? Are you running into quality issues? Are you consistently dealing with other challenges your supplier is unable to resolve? 

Whatever the case, it may be time to look for a new partner. But where do you start? How do you know if the thermoforming company you’re looking for:

  • Will work closely with you to deliver a product that is specific to your goals? 
  • Can adapt to your evolving needs seamlessly without disrupting production?
  • Can offer creative solutions to maintain lead time, even when you have complex requests?

Finding the right thermoforming company for your projects can be simple if you know what to look for and which questions to ask. Each company has different specialties and unique processes, and their capabilities will vary. But which one is right for your current success and future growth? In this blog, we’ll discuss what you should consider before choosing a thermoforming company to make sure they’re up to the task.

Plastic Forming Equipment

Producing a quality plastic product requires sophisticated, industry-leading forming and trimming equipment. Look for a supplier that can help you meet your thermoforming needs with a full range of plastic forming equipment that can produce parts out of thin- to heavy-gauge materials.

  • Heavy-gauge forming: Rotary and single station thermoformers
  • Thin-gauge forming: In-line thermoformers, rotary and single station
  • CNC trimming: 3- and 5-axis CNC trim stations
  • Additional equipment: Die cutting presses and 3D printers for prototype parts or  low-volume prototype tooling

Tooling Capabilities

All thermoforming projects begin with the right tooling. Tooling is the most important factor in manufacturing a quality thermoformed product. The right thermoforming tooling can produce crisp lines, edges, texture and other details that stay consistent from piece to piece.

Find a thermoforming company with tooling knowledge to deliver the highest quality tooling at the best cost. Additionally, find a company whose experts will consider all the details of your product when designing tooling, including:

  • Draft angles: To remove parts smoothly
  • Corners: Including blending radii and preventing thinning of material

Material Selection

There is a wide range of thermoforming materials that provide just the right properties for your plastic product, and each material has physical characteristics that make it suitable for specific applications.

Your thermoforming company should have experience working with different types of thermoforming material so they can:

  • Enhance the properties of your product
  • Help you find the best base material for your project

Experience and Engineering Support

You don’t want your thermoforming company to be inexperienced, or worse yet, use your project as an experiment. You want them to have extensive experience and expertise to confidently produce your products using industry-leading technology, proven processes and skilled workers.

At the same time, they should be your support team. Select a company whose engineering team will work closely with you to deliver a part that is specific to your goals and timelines. You want subject matter experts to act as an extension of your internal engineers. They should be able to: 

  • Answer questions
  • Provide input and make recommendations without hesitation
  • Execute on the deliverables to turn your vision into real-life success

Flexibility and Creativity

Today's world is ever-changing, and that includes the technology and designs of the products you produce. Whether you're producing traditional items or something cutting-edge, your supplier should be up to the task. Partner with a thermoforming company that can adapt to your evolving needs seamlessly without disrupting production and offer creative solutions to maintain lead time – even when you have complex requests.

Consider companies that can reverse-engineer a plastic-formed product that is no longer meeting your needs and recommend ways to make it better. A good supplier will collaborate with you to refine your vision and bring it to life within your cost and time constraints. An ideal supplier will do so while giving your product detail and style.

Systematic Approaches to Production and Problem Solving

The thermoforming company you work with should have a documented approach to production and problem solving that:

  • Clearly defines how they’ll meet your requirements
  • Helps you avoid bottlenecks in production
  • Maintains lead time

An open line of collaboration and communication should be the cornerstone of any production approach. The company should first listen to and understand your needs, and then make informed recommendations and provide design options for review. Prototyping can help give visual representation of the final product before going into full production to ensure you're going to get what you expect. Every step of the process should adhere to high standards and your exact specifications.

Look for add-on or value-added services such as Just-in-Time (JIT) delivery, vendor managed inventory and ongoing deliveries (blanket orders).

Need a Custom Thermoformed Product?

Joslyn Manufacturing can create it, from tooling design to finishing to fulfillment. Our team brings a creative and collaborative approach to the production of thermoformed plastic parts for a wide range of industries. Using our proven methods and experience – along with your vision – we create the appropriate tooling and fixtures to bring your products to life on time and on budget. Contact us today to get started.

Topics: Thermoforming, plastic thermoforming, thermoforming company, plastic forming company

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