Businesses prefer many thermoplastic processing methods. When heated, this polymer is soft enough to form into useable parts. After it cools it retains its shape. Thermoplastics can be reheated and reshaped as needed.
Extrusion is a common thermoplastic processing method and is used frequently by Thermoprene to make plastic extrusions, aluminum extrusions and rubber extrusions.
Other popular thermoplastic processing methods include:
Injection Molding: A fast processing method, injection molding generally involves the use of powdered or pelletized plastic material. Using a hopper, the material is fed into a heated chamber. The heat softens the material. A long screw extruder then forces the material into the mold. A large variety of molded plastic components use this method.
Blow Molding: Many hollow plastic containers are made using the blow molding process. A parison, more commonly referred to as a plastic tube, is placed inside a mold and heated. It is then expanded using pressurized air. When the plastic tube makes contact with the internal wall of the mold, it will expand and cool.
Thermoforming: This is the process used to make large plastic parts and other manufactured items such as blister packs. It works by forming thermoplastic sheets into three dimensional shapes, which are then clamped into a frame and heated. The heat makes the shapes soft and bendable. Pressure is used to form the plastic onto a die.
Rotational Molding: This process is best for polymers with a sharp melting point to make large, hollow parts. It begins by placing and closing a measured amount of powdered plastic into a mold. Under heat, the mold is rotated to evenly distribute it against the heated mold walls. It is then cooled and removed.
Coating: By dissolving the polymer in a solvent, it is turned into a liquid. The liquid state can also be achieved by heating or by manufacturing the material in an emulsion form. The liquid can then be sprayed, rolled, brushed or dipped onto another surface. When the water or solvent evaporates, the surface will have a coating of the plastic material.
There are other thermoplastic processing methods besides the ones listed above. A few of these other thermoplastic processing methods are: calendaring, film blowing, pultrusion and casting.