The term “plastic” is actually a shortened version of the word “thermoplastic” which refers to substances mostly made of synthetic resins that can be heated and reshaped. Some of the most popular ways to manufacture and/or package common products include this process of heating and shaping plastics.

To choose the right plastic manufacturing process for your business, you’ll need to understand the differences between the different manufacturing methods. The four most common plastic manufacturing methods are injection molding, extrusion molding, blow molding, and rotational molding.

Injection Molding

Injection molding is the most common method for manufacturing plastics and it’s a process that many people are familiar with. Companies like take your product design and make it come to life through melting thermoplastics into a metal mold, letting it cool down, and then removing the cooled plastic from the mold. This process works well for products with specific and intricate details, as it can produce exact design replicas over and over.

Extrusion Molding

The process of extrusion molding is very similar to injection molding, but the melted resins are shaped through a dye rather than a mold. Unlike the plastics used in injection molding, extrusion molding can typically only be heated once due to the tolerance of the material used. Extrusion is used mostly for parts such as pipes, fences, and weather strippings.

Blow Molding

There are different variations to blow molding, but essentially, the process involves a hollow piece of thermoplastic (commonly referred to as a parison or preform), that is heated and expanded into a specific mold. This method is popular for products such as bottles, containers, and medical supplies.

Rotational Molding

Rotational molding is an alternative form of creating hollow products to blow molding. This system uses a very different method compared to the other molding types. Powdered plastic polymers are placed into a mold which then rotates inside a hot furnace. This process distributes the plastic into a hollowed form that takes the shape of the mold, typically auto-parts and toys.

Which manufacturing process you choose for your product depends on its design and how many products your reproducing. The initial startup cost of manufacturing thermoplastic can be pricey, but the materials used are fairly cheap when producing on a large scale. If you plan on mass producing, then injection molding is a good direction to go.  Injection molding is one of the most resourceful due to the fact that the thermoplastics used can typically be reheated.

For a broad range of products, rotational molding is a great option. Many parts and components in products require hollow pieces, such as kayaks and traffic cones. Despite their vast differences in uses, their production process is the same. Whether it’s injection molding, extrusion molding, blow molding, or rotational molding, it’s important to discover the best process for your newly designed product. You might consider researching further on the different types of thermoplastics used throughout each process.