Advantages of Thermoforming Over Injection Molding for Supply Chain Efficiency
With rising fuel and material costs, manufacturers across the globe look for ways to make their supply chains more efficient. “Smart Packaging” is a new catch phrase often used to describe material handling containers that incorporate a number of positive features such as ergonomics, recyclability, protection, reusability, and load density, among others. Packaging density is the feature used to help reduce logistics costs as it involves increasing the quantity of parts that can be safely packaged, transported, and stored across destinations, while also lowering the costs and time associated with those logistical efforts.
One way to accomplish smart material handling solutions is with durable shipping and packaging containers. Thermoforming is an ideal solution. In this article, we look at how and why thermoformed packaging helps manufacturers improve the efficiency of their supply chains by reducing costs and time while improving sustainability.
General Advantages of Thermoforming Over Injection Molding
Before we discuss supply chain advantages, it is worth outlining the general advantages thermoforming has over injection molding:
- Lower tooling costs compared to injection molding
- Faster, less expensive prototyping and product development
- More color and texture options for products that are public-facing
- Can handle complex part geometry and large sizes with minimal impact on lead time and cost
With these advantages in mind, let’s look at how thermoformed packaging helps companies improve their supply chains.
Cost: Thermoformed Packaging is Less Expensive Than Injection Molding
In the tooling phase of thermoforming, a single 3D form is created out of aluminum, wood, polyurethane, or a 3D printer. In injection molding, a double-sided 3D mold is made from aluminum, steel, or beryllium-copper alloy. There is an advantage in timing and price with thermoforming since prototype samples can be made from CNC-cut wood tooling. Tooling costs for large product tooling are substantially less with thermoforming.
The cost of tooling in thermoforming is much cheaper than the cost of injection molding. However, the cost of production per piece in injection molding can be less expensive than thermoforming. Typically, plastic injection molding is used for large, high-volume production runs and thermoforming is used for smaller production quantities as well as large production runs.
Time: Turnaround Time Is Faster with Thermoforming vs. Injection Molding
With the combination of tooling and production, it can give an accurate measurement of the amount of time it takes to manufacture your products. In thermoforming, the average time for tooling is 0-8 weeks. Following tooling, production usually occurs within 1-2 weeks after the tool is approved. With injection molding, tooling takes 12-16 weeks and can be up to 4-5 weeks after when production starts.
Sustainability: Thermoformed Plastics Are More Sustainable Compared to Injection Molding
Thermoformed plastics have a light structure that makes them an ideal material for packaging, storage, and transportation. They can be custom-made to meet various shock absorption requirements for specific products, like Lithium-ion Batteries. When compared to other materials, thermoformed plastics are better for nesting, which saves costs in handling and logistics. Thermoformed plastics are also more recyclable than many other plastics.
Thermoformed solutions are produced from polymer resins that soften when heated and harden when cooled during thermoforming or vacuum-forming technology. This means that they can be easily molded, customized, and engineered not once, but multiple times.
Products made by Vantage Plastics are not only reusable typically over multiple years but the materials in the products are recyclable for reuse in new products. To encourage sustainability, Vantage Plastics has a guaranteed buyback program. We also have a sister company, Edge Materials Management, that specializes in recycling plastics.
If sustainability is important to you, Vantage Plastics is the choice.
Thermoformed Containers from Vantage Plastics Will Improve Your Supply Chain. Discover How.
Discover how thermoformed containers from Vantage Plastics can improve your supply chain. Contact a Vantage Plastics thermoforming expert today.