Plastics are extremely versatile materials, which are capable of being formed and shaped in many different ways. The most suitable manufacturing process for a particular plastic part depends on a number of different factors including the material, the part geometry, the required tolerances, and the quantity of parts to be produced. It is also important to consider the requirement for design flexibility since tooling for certain processes such as extrusion and injection molding can be expensive and design changes can be costly.
We supply plastic parts made from a wide range of materials, using many different manufacturing processes. Based on your application, we can help you determine which manufacturing process best aligns with your requirements.
Typical manufacturing processes for many plastic materials include:
CNC routers and CNC mills can quickly and efficiently cut complex shapes from plastic sheet, rod, and tube stock. CNC lathes are used for manufacturing parts that are round in cross section. Sometimes, when components need to maintain and achieve special geometries not possible by using conventional machining techniques, they are manufactured via specialized processes such as gun drilling or centerless grinding.
Die cutting is an efficient way to cut plastic film and thin plastic sheet into finished parts. Some common plastic materials made into die cut parts include polyester film, polycarbonate film, and HDPE sheet.
Thermoforming consists of softening thermoplastic sheet material using heat and then reshaping it into finished parts. There are many types of thermoforming including bending plastic sheet on a strip heater and molding complex parts via vacuum forming. Tooling costs tend to be low for thermoformed parts since thermoforming tools generally do not have to operate at the high temperatures and pressures associated with injection molding.
Fabrication & Assembly
Plastic components can be assembled in many different ways including adhesive bonding, solvent welding, hot gas welding, and joining via mechanical fasteners. We have experience supplying many different types of fabricated assemblies. Examples include welded polyolefin tanks, subassemblies for machinery, and laminated electrical insulators made from plastic films and tapes.
Molding & Extrusion Processes
Extrusion involves squeezing plastic through a die to make continuous lengths of sheet, rod, tube, or a custom profile. Injection molding involves squeezing plastic into a mold, and then removing the formed part when it has cooled. Curbell partners with leading plastic extruders and injection molders so that we can supply our customers with custom parts when molding or extrusion are required.