What is Plastic Fabrication?
Plastic Fabrication is the design, manufacture, or assembly of plastic through various methods. These methods can include plastic welding, forming the plastic, cutting it, or shaping it to make it more useful for specific parts. Here at Affiliation Welding, we specialize in plastic fabrication in Denver.
In recent years, there has been major growth in plastic fabrication. Manufacturers are using the plastic process more than before and it’s because of several reasons.
Plastic fabrication can be very cost effective. It’s often cheaper than metal fabrication. Plastic is also very malleable and can be shaped more easily than other materials. More and more producers are starting to prefer working with plastic.
Fabrication of Plastics
Plastics can be fabricated for many different purposes and in many different ways. In fact, there are so many everyday items people enjoy that have been through a plastic fabrication process. Here at Affiliation Welding, we do mostly commercial production working on things like custom parts, tubs/tanks, shelving, clean room equipment/lab equipment, repairs of plastic parts for industrial equipment, environmental chambers, and replacement surfaces that are worn over time on boats, doors, or processing equipment.
Other examples of working with plastic not related to our specialties include such things as plastic tubing, food storage, toys, and other manufactured plastics. Plastic bottles are made through a blowing mold process that solidifies the bottle and is an example of the different plastic processes. In China, many factories utilize molds in order to melt plastic into the molded shape and create the plastic products, think of a large scale operation that molds plastic toys for children.
Working with plastic has come along way and there is a lot of different methods for its use. In addition, there are even new methods of plastic fabrication being created all the time. Our focus here is doing plastic fabrication in Denver, but there will be tons more growth in the plastic fabrication processes and craft.
Before Plastic Fabrication
Your choice of which method of plastic fabrication to use will most likely depend on what your desired material is. Different factors can go into deciding which method to use. You should consider the following:
- What physical properties the product needs to have
- Whether it will need to withstand severe weather
- If it will come in contact with other chemicals
- If the material is going to be under UV light
- Whether this material will come in contact with food
Plastic Fabrication Methods
Considering the factors above, you might choose one of the following methods of working with plastic:
- Plastic welding- the process of using heat to combine two separate pieces of the same material (the plastic will only weld together with another plastic material that is almost completely identical in composition). This involves melting the base materials and feeding in filler rod of the same material to create a homogeneous blend. This is called fusion or cohesion. In plastic welding it’s important to have good materials and a good welder.
- Cutting- the cutting of different pieces of plastic so that they can be shortened or later combined.
- Bending- heating up plastic and bending the pieces into shape. After the plastics are heated up and formed into the ideal shape, they are cooled and hardened.
- Machining- most often using a CNC router for helping in the machining, cutting, and forming of plastic parts.
- Molding processes- Molding is most commonly used in the mass production of goods. In molding, a mold is created. A mold is a specific shape or design that the melted plastic is placed into in order to shape and form the product. Molding is most commonly used in the shaping of plastic goods such as toys, medical equipment, and other plastic products.
- Plastic extrusion- is somewhat similar to molding, however there is no mold. The plastic is melted and pushed through a dye (hollow shape the plastic is pushed through) to create a specific shape. Examples of products created through plastic extrusion processes can include pipe/tubing, fencing, deck railings, window framing, thermoplastic coatings, and wire insulation.
- Plastic lamination- This plastic fabrication process involves using multiple layers in manufacturing. Plastic lamination is done to improve strength, stability, and durability of the item being produced. For example a layer of plastic film would form as a laminate on a sheet of glass, thus protecting the glass and making it more durable.
What You Can Do with Plastic Fabrication
As you can see here, so much goes into plastic fabrication. There are some parts of the process that are similar to metal fabrication, but a lot of it is different and requires another level of added expertise. It’s for these reasons that we highly recommend that you always use a skilled professional when producing products when working with plastic.
As the industry and use of plastic grows, so do the opportunities for creating new processes in plastic fabrication. Whether you need to create some new plastic parts for your manufacturing processes, make your machinery more proficient, delight retail customers with special shelving, or just to make the lives of others more useful, plastic fabrication will be there to assist.