Thermoforming & Injection Molding for Furniture Parts
Advanced Plastiform, Inc. works with furniture manufacturers to produce plastic components commonly used in office and home furnishings. Plastics provide the durability and strength needed to withstand even the toughest environments at a lower price than other materials.
Using thermoforming and injection molding technologies, we are able to create the precise, accurate pieces necessary for our clients’ designs. These methods also allow us to keep our prices competitive and offer fast lead times from design to delivery.
Custom Furniture Thermoforming
Used for larger frames and furniture components, thermoforming occurs when a large sheet of plastic is heated until pliable and pressed into a mold or around a tool. Once it is fitted firmly against the tool, it is then more precisely formed using one of three specific techniques:
- Vacuum forming: A vacuum removes all the air to pull the plastic sheet tight against the tool or mold. This method is fast and cost-effective and is best suited for large pieces that don’t require intricate details or sharp angles.
- Pressure forming: By combining vacuum forming to remove any interior air with blasts of high pressurized air to push it more firmly against the tool, pressure forming creates clearly defined edges and angles efficiently.
- Twin-sheet forming: Two adjacent sheets of plastic are formed around a tool or mold and are then fused together to create double-walled or hollow pieces. Twin-sheet forming is the most advanced thermoforming technique due to the precise alignment necessary to fuse pieces together accurately.
While thermoforming is most often used to create the components of furniture to add structure and function, whole pieces can be made with this technique. Many mid-century modern pieces were created using a thermoforming technique due to the seamless look with customized curves and angles.
Commonly thermoformed furniture parts include:
- Office chair arms, seats, and backs
- Desk drawers
- Coffee tables
Benefits of Furniture Thermoforming
Thermoforming offers two benefits to furniture manufacturers and sellers – time and cost.
- Time: To improve efficiency, our design and engineering team are creating the prototype and fashioning the 3D mold while our manufacturing team is creating the plastic sheeting. Both sides are ready, we begin the tooling process of molding and forming the products, trimming them, then adding any additional customization such as paint or coating. From the beginning of design to sending it out for delivery only takes around 14 weeks.
- Cost: Due to the low cost of tooling, thermoforming furniture is one of the most cost-effective methods of production. In the furniture industry, where styles are always changing, thermoforming is especially advantageous.
Custom Furniture Injection Molding
Injection molding is another method of creating plastic furniture or furniture pieces. It requires heating plastic pellets to a liquid state and forcing the liquid into a double-sided, 3D mold using a high-pressure injection tool. Unlike thermoforming, this method is optimal for smaller pieces or ones that require more intricate detailing or varied thickness because this type of mold is easier to customize. The end result is highly accurate, even across thousands of individual pieces.
Commonly injection molded furniture parts include:
- Drawer handles and knobs
- Table and chair legs
- Chair headrests
Benefits of Furniture Injection Molding
The main benefits of injection molding are the low cost and intricate detailing.
- Cost: Thermoforming is inexpensive for smaller orders under 3,000, but injection molding is cost-effective for large or repeating orders. Much of the cost lies in designing and developing a mold or tool, for injection molding, it’s a one-time fee, so once we have them, we don’t have to recreate them.
- Precision: Injection molding allows us to create the exact shape needed for furniture components. Whether you need a drawer pull with variable thickness or knobs with raised patterns, this method allows us to create the most precise piece and recreate it identically thousands of times over as needed.
While thermoforming is faster, injection molding does offer a short lead time, typically only 16 to 20 weeks from the beginning of the design process to shipping it to our customers.
Your Furniture Thermoforming & Injection Molding Experts
If you are seeking a plastics manufacturer who is experienced in thermoforming and injection molding for custom furniture parts, reach out to Advanced Plastiform, Inc. Our team of highly skilled, on-site engineers can help you create the perfect pieces for your needs.