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Plastic Fabrication Processes

Plastics are incredibly flexible materials that may be molded and sculpted in various forms. The material, the component geometry, the necessary tolerances, and the number of pieces to be produced are only a few of the variables that affect which manufacturing process is best for a specific plastic product or component.

Piedmont Plastics offers plastic materials suitable for almost any material and manufacturing need. We can assist you in choosing the best material and the production technique that best meets your needs based on your project.

What Are the Manufacturing Processes Used For Plastics?

Plastics serve numerous industries. Similarly, multiple processes are used to create different plastics for different purposes. Here is a rundown of the most commonly used methods.

Plastic Intrusion

During plastic extrusion, powder or pellets are fed into a hopper. Next, a screw pushes molten plastic through a metal die, which is subsequently cooled, to provide the plastic a fixed, continuous shape while being pushed and shaped and then cut. This common plastics manufacturing method works effectively for the high-volume production of pipes, construction goods, and seals.

Injection Molding

A hopper fills a heated barrel and screw with plastic polymer. The screw melts plastic and injects it into a temperature-controlled split mold to form the product. Injection molding is used for quick, high-volume manufacturing of various components, from small pieces to vehicle bumpers and bins.

Extrusion and Injection Blow Molding

This process is somewhat similar to plastic extrusion and injection molding. Air pressure drives hollow plastic to expand into the mold or extrusion shape, leaving the inside hollow. This procedure mass-produces bottles, cups, and other containers.

Plastic Rotational Molding

This is another process used for producing hollow plastic goods. Plastic polymer is heated in a mold, and those molds are rotated in a furnace to cover them with plastic polymer evenly. Heat melts the plastic into a single layer that conforms to the mold hole, leaving the inside hollow. The polymer solidifies as it’s cooled and is then removed from the mold. This process is ideal for large products featuring uniform wall thickness, such as water, chemical, and fuel storage tanks, crates, bins, and playground equipment.

Vacuum Casting

Vacuum Casting is a low-volume method for creating small functional plastic pieces, particularly prototypes. The process uses a vacuum to pull raw liquid material into a mold, such as polyurethane resins or cast nylon. The mold is removed, the casting is baked and then removed from the heat.


The method involves heating extruded plastic sheet to a malleable temperature, stretching it over a mold, and trimming it to form the product. Machines can quickly create thousands of parts for food, medical, and retail businesses that use disposable cups, containers, lids, trays, and blisters.

Compression Molding

Preheated raw material goes into an open mold which is then closed. Next, pressure is applied to drive material into all locations of the mold, where the substance hardens under heat and pressure. After curing, the generated product is removed. This type of plastic molding is used to make hoods, fenders, spoilers, and other car components.

What Are the Best Materials For Fabricating Plastic Parts?

The versatile nature of plastics makes them essential in various industries, from medical and computer sciences to automotive and consumer goods manufacturing. Here are some of the most popular materials out there and what they’re used for.

  • ABS Durable and lightweight, ABS is often used in electronics, phone hardware, pipes, consumer goods, and LEGO bricks.
  • Polyethylene This material is flexible, impact-resistant, moisture-resistant, and recyclable. It’s primarily used for food packaging, containers, and toys.
  • Polypropylene It is both flexible and leech resistant. It’s commonly used to make kiddie pools, toys, utensils, car batteries, and home food storage containers.
  • Polystyrene Is resistant to impact, warping, and shrinking, which makes it ideal for packaging, appliances, and CD cases.
  • Nylon This material is heat-resistant, water-resistant, and durable. It’s commonly found in high-wear parts, gears, and safety buckles
  • Acrylic Acrylic is known for its optical clarity and chemical resistance. It’s a popular material for lab equipment, medical products, sports equipment, and construction.
  • Polycarbonate This material is popular for its optical clarity and impact resistance. It’s often found in automobile headlights, bulletproof glass, eyeglasses, greenhouses, DVDs, and mobile phones.
  • Acetal/POM Is rigid and resistant to both wear and chemical exposure. It’s used in high-wear parts and gears and can be used to replace metal parts.

How to Get Plastic Parts Made

Piedmont Plastics has been supplying plastic and metal fabricators worldwide since 1968. We offer basic off-the-shelf materials and value-added services such as cut-to-size, run-to-size, and slit to your desired width. Our enormous inventory and over 50 North American locations allow us to serve the plastic and metal fabrication industries. In addition, we recognize that your product and consumer base are diverse, so we can provide whatever materials you need.

Our knowledgeable staff can help you find a suitable material solution, regardless of application. Reach out to your local branch today to find the best material for your next project.