High Impact Polystyrene Thermoforming and Injection Molding
At Advanced Plastiform, Inc. we work hard to provide our customers with durable, long-lasting plastics that offer the qualities they need while keeping lead times fast and prices low. In order to achieve the best results, we take care to match the most suitable thermoplastic to the project. One of those plastics we offer is high impact polystyrene, also known as HIPS.
What Is High Impact Polystyrene?
While general-purpose polystyrene is lightweight, clear, and brittle, HIPS benefits from rubber additives to make it much more is much more flexible and improve its impact strength. Though it has an opaque appearance, it can be painted, labeled, and designed with ease.
HIPS offers the following qualities:
- Low cost
- Easy to manufacture
- High impact resistance
- High melting point
- Highly customizable
- Easy to recycle
- Food-grade compliant
High Impact Polystyrene Thermoforming
Once heated, HIPS is highly malleable, meaning high-impact polystyrene thermoforming is an excellent way to manufacture the plastics our customers need. To do this, large sheets of HIPS are heated and fitted over a custom tool. Then, to achieve the ideal shape and design, we use one of three methods to complete the thermoforming process.
Vacuum forming is used for large plastic pieces that don’t need high levels of detail or sharp corners or edges. While it is the most basic method of thermoforming, it’s also quick and affordable. Once the plastic is heated and fitted to the tool, a powerful vacuum is fitted between the tool and the plastic, suctioning out all air from between the two and pulling the thermoplastic firmly against the tool, creating an accurate shape. HIPS vacuum forming is often used to produce refrigerator liners and boat hulls.
When defined edges, corners, and detailing is necessary, we use pressure forming. Like vacuum forming, we fit heated HIPS around a tool, but then, we use highly pressurized air to blast the plastic, pressing it firmly against the tool. Using air pressure uses three times the force of vacuum forming, creating a high level of detail. Pressure forming with HIPS is so precise, it can often be used in place of injection molding and is often used in creating automobile parts, including instrument panels and electronic equipment.
Twin sheet forming is the most complex high impact polystyrene thermoforming method. We heat two sheets of HIPS simultaneously, then fit and fuse them together. While it sounds simple, great care must be taken to make sure the two pieces are able to fuse together at the pressed points. This method is used to create hollow and double-walled industrial products. Gas cans and air ducts can be made by twin sheet forming HIPS.
High Impact Polystyrene Injection Molding
HIPS injection molding is ideal for small plastic parts and products, especially those needed in large quantities, or parts that need high levels of detail or variable thickness. While the tooling cost is higher with injection molding than thermoforming, we strive to deliver affordable tooling designs that, once created, can be used for additional orders in the future. This means that for high unit requirements, the per-unit cost is very low.
Injection molding works by melting the high impact polystyrene into a liquid, then injecting it into the double-sided mold with extremely high pressure. Once it’s cooled and solid, the product is painted, labeled, or coated as needed.
What Is HIPS Used For?
Because it’s inexpensive, durable, and easy to customize, HIPS is a reliable plastic used in a huge amount of goods, including:
- Food packaging, including disposable trays, coffee cups, and yogurt cups
- Bicycle components
- Television and computer houses
- Automotive instrument panels and gas tanks
To learn more about HIPs, please visit our frequently asked questions about High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS.)
Contact Us for High Impact Polystyrene Manufacturing
High impact polystyrene is affordable, versatile, and makes an excellent choice for many of the products we manufacture. With the best materials and innovative equipment and technology, we’re a leading plastics manufacturer, serving businesses across North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia.