When you need custom plastic parts or products, you have no room for error. Quality, durability, customization, accuracy, cost, and turnaround time – these factors are all necessary and you can’t sacrifice any one of them in order to meet the others. This means it’s essential to choose the right thermoforming company to trust with your product manufacturing, but how do you know you’re choosing the right one? To help you narrow down the field, we’re sharing eight questions you need to ask before you move forward.

How Long Has the Thermoforming Company Been Operating?

First, it’s important to know exactly how long the company has been operating. While a new company isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, an experienced company will be more likely to have established practices in place that can ensure a more consistent experience as well as offer more services.

If the company is fairly young, ask about the experience they bring to the table and get more information about the people in leadership positions.

Have You Worked on Products for My Industry?

While overall experience is important, so is industry experience. A thermoforming company that primarily specializes in automotive parts and components may not be as knowledgeable about medical thermoforming. Choose a company that either has a diverse portfolio from a variety of industries or a company that specializes in your unique niche, rather than a company that claims to work with different industries but doesn’t have the experience to back it up.

Do You Offer Engineering and Design Assistance?

Manufacturing experience is important, but you also want to determine if the company has the plastic engineering and design experience necessary to take your concept and bring it to reality while getting the best results. This means assisting with CAD drawings and troubleshooting during this process, choosing materials, and looking for ways to streamline assembly.

We would highly recommend working with a thermoforming company that has an internal engineering and design team to maintain communication, minimize delays, and keep costs down.

Can You Meet My Industry Regulations and Standards?

If you need plastics that have to meet industry standards and regulations, such as anti-static coatings or shatter-resistant materials, you need to make sure the company can meet these regulations. Most likely, if they have worked in your industry, they will be able to do so and also be knowledgeable of the regulations, but it’s important to double-check and verify.

Can You Describe Your Prototyping Process?

Prototyping is absolutely essential to making sure you get a successful product, saving ample time and money during the production process. Look for thermoforming companies that rely on 3D printing from CAD drawings to provide prototypes as this blends efficiency and accuracy so you can see if any adjustments need to be set in place in the design before expensive tooling is fabricated.

What Materials Do You Use for Tooling?

The material being used in thermoforming tooling makes a huge impact on the quality of the product. Some companies will choose a lower quality material because it is faster and cheaper for tooling, but it often leads to more problems than it solves. We use high-quality aluminum tooling because it is cost-effective, durable, and offers heat control opportunities. This minimizes any defects caused by overly heated plastic while keeping the work moving quickly.

Do You Offer Assembly or Other Services?

While it’s not a necessity for a thermoforming company to offer value-added services like assembly or direct shipping. Rather than receiving shipments of parts and having to assemble pieces separately, having a company that provides this or other services can save you time and money in getting the products in the hand of the consumer.

What Kind of Lead Time Can I Expect?

Knowing what kind of lead time allows you to plan your schedule, so it’s important to ask about the timeline as you learn more about the company. Though you may not receive the exact time frame you need, look for a more thorough explanation of what goes into the timing and how they avoid breaking a deadline to get a better idea of whether or not this company is worth working with.

Get a Free Quote on Thermoforming Today

Founded in 1988, Advanced Plastiform, Inc. is a leading thermoforming company in North Carolina. We work with a wide variety of industries, including healthcare and automotive, providing durable, high-quality plastics at low per-unit costs and fast lead times. Our company works with industries across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, including  North CarolinaSouth Carolina, Pennsylvania, MarylandTennessee, Georgia, and Virginia.

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