Material Selection

Plastic Materials for Heavy Gauge Thermoforming

Plastech Corporation, a leading thermoformed plastic manufacturer, offers information on plastic materials for heavy gauge thermoforming. Note – The information provided on this page is basic/general - it is only intended to give an overview of some of the plastic material options available and provide preliminary help to identify possible appropriate plastic materials for a project. The content should be used as reference only. Please Contact Plastech for specific assistance with any of these plastic materials.

What Plastic Material is Right for An Application?

An important consideration when manufacturing a thermoformed plastic part is the selection of appropriate material. There are a multitude of different types of plastic materials, each with their own specific characteristics, properties, strengths, and weaknesses. Proper selection of the appropriate plastic material for a specific application is an essential component in creating a successful plastic part. Below is some basic information on the different types of plastic materials available for use in the thermoforming process and some considerations that will help determine the right plastic for the job.

Plastic Material Characteristics

Here are some general physical characteristics that are used to describe the unique properties of each plastic material grade. The material selected will depend on the project requirements.

Plastic Material Selection Considerations

Please Note - It should be observed that most plastic materials can be, to various degrees, custom produced with varying compositions of fundamental materials or alloyed with other plastic types, which results in variations of the plastic’s inherent characteristics. However, many physical properties of plastic are in direct conflict with at least one other property. So, maximizing a particular property of a plastic material often has the side effect of weakening another.

For example, if you wanted to maximize the impact strength property of ABS, the basic formula would be modified to include higher amounts of rubber. This would result in a higher desired impact strength, but would consequently make the material softer and less stiff, making it more susceptible to scratches and abrasions. This is especially true for those plastics categorized as engineered plastics, such as ABS.

When determining the right plastic for the job, consider some of the following questions:

2. What External and Environmental Factors Will the Product be Exposed To?

   a. Temperature Range vs. Cost

Amorphous Thermoplastics

Semicrystalline Thermoplastics

   b. High Traffic Areas (Impact Resistance)

Amorphous Thermoplastics

Semicrystalline Thermoplastics

   c. Chemical Resistance

Semicrystalline Thermoplastics

   d. FDA Compliance (FDA compliant formulations can be made available in the following materials)

Amorphous Thermoplastics

Semicrystalline Thermoplastics

3. What are the design tolerances for dimension and thickness?

4. What type of color, transparency, and finish are needed?

5. Does the product have flammability requirements?

6. Is the product a structural or cosmetic application? Is bending stiffness important?

Amorphous Thermoplastics

Semicrystalline Thermoplastics

7. Does the product need to be electrically insulated?

8. What are the cost considerations?

Please Contact Plastech for detailed information about any of the questions above or for assistance with any of the plastic materials.

Chart of Plastic Materials - Advantages, Disadvantages and Industry Examples

The following chart provides additional information about various plastic materials and their uses.

Contact Plastech for Plastic Material Selection in Heavy Gauge Plastic Thermoforming Applications

Please Contact Us for assistance or to get a quote for custom plastic thermoforming contract manufacturing using any of these plastic materials.