Thermoforming Materials

We create with plastics that customize the properties of your product

Each plastic resin has physical characteristics that make it suitable for certain applications. Joslyn Manufacturing has worked with nearly every type of thermoformable plastic, so our engineering team can help you find the best base material for your project.

When selecting a resin, we consider:

  • Thickness. How thin or thick should different areas of the finished piece be? Some materials come in sheets as thin as 0.010". Others come as thick as 0.600”. Most standard-size thermoformed parts use plastic stock with gauges from 0.030" to 0.375".
  • Finish. Will the product require painting? Could a colored resin be used instead? How important is its finish, texture and appearance?
  • Durability. Will the product need to withstand a harsh environment? Will it be exposed to humidity, chemicals, solvents or detergents?
  • Load. Will the part be required to bear weight?
  • Heat deflection. Will the product be used under high operating temperatures or be exposed to heat from another source?
  • Rigidity. Should the finished part be stiff or flexible?
  • Location. Will the thermoformed component be used on the interior or exterior of a product?
  • Secondary operations. Will the product be screen printed or hot stamped? Will hardware or other components be attached? Will it need EMI/RFI shielding?

Common thermoforming materials

There are a multitude of thermoforming resins—and even more combinations to provide just the right properties for your plastic formed product. Some of the plastic materials we use most often are:

Materials 

Characteristics

Sample Applications

HIPS (high-impact polystyrene)


Easy to process, low cost, low strength, impact resistance, dimensional stability, FDA compliant

Prototypes, food containers, housings, covers

ASA (acrylonitrile styrene acrylate)

Strength, rigidity, chemical resistance, thermal stability, weather resistance, high gloss

Automotive components, outdoor products, housings, appliances

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and ABS blends


Strength, impact resistance, 
can customize rigidity, heat deflection and other characteristics

Cases, control panels, automotive components

Acrylic


High resistance to impact, chemicals and stains

Covers of medical equipment, enclosures

PC (polycarbonate)

Extremely resistant to impact, clear, good insulation, not as resistant to chemicals, higher cost

Transparent items, instrument panels, appliance interiors, skylights

HDPE (high-density polyethylene)


High resistance to chemicals, impact and electrical conduction; economical; not ideal for high tolerances or cosmetic appearance

Truck bed liners, pallets, tanks, bins

HMWPE (high molecular weight polyethylene)

High chemical resistance, durable

Automotive components, electronic components, building materials

TPO (thermoplastic olefin)

Strong, rigid, high resistance to chemicals, dimensional stability

Automotive components, gear covers

PVC alloys (flame-rated polyvinyl chloride)

High resistance to chemicals and stains, strong, rigid, flame retardant  

Molding, panels, display cases

PETG (polyethylene terephthalate glycol)

Clear, easy to process, chemical resistant, FDA compliant, not UV stable

Industrial and automotive components, POP displays, packaging

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