Agriculture is just one of many sectors that is recognising the benefits of using thermoformed plastic parts . The long-lasting, hard wearing properties of these components are ideal for this type of application, so it’s hardly surprising that they feature in so many agricultural environments.
Among the thermoformed parts used on farming equipment are:
- Engine hood and bonnet enclosures
- Cab roofs
- Cab interior panels
- Exterior body panels
- Mudguards and fenders
- Bailer side panels
A truly versatile material
One of the main advantages of thermoformed plastic parts is that they are extremely versatile. A number of different plastics can be moulded in this way, including the likes of polycarbonate, ABS and HDPE.
During the design process, it easy to determine which materials will be needed to create the component. Whether it’s an external or internal fixture or fitting, there’s sure to be a plastic that will fit the bill.
Standing up to even the toughest conditions
It’s not uncommon for farmers to experience difficult conditions – another reason why thermoformed plastics are the right material for the job. Modern materials such as thermoplastic olefins have been created to endure even the most testing conditions.
They provide a worthy alternative to steel and fibreglass, especially when used on the exterior of agricultural machinery. Typical applications include engine casings, cab roofs and body panels.
Creating the right aesthetic
Farming machinery might not be something that’s widely associated with strong aesthetics, but this is a welcome by-product of using thermoformed plastics. Many manufacturers are now focusing on form as well as function, especially in situations where machinery displays their company logo and other information.
Thermoforming can include the use of self-coloured plastics that are highly resistant to UV light and colour fading. Matt, gloss, smooth or embossed finishes are available to create the desired look. The durability of the material means very little maintenance is needed to keep it in top condition.
Size isn’t an issue
Large equipment typically comes as standard in the agricultural sector, which is another reason why thermoforming is fast becoming the production method of choice. When creating cab roofs, body panels and other components, there’s a need for a reliable material that can be moulded over even the largest of areas.
What’s more, it’s possible to create a consistent finish that will stand the test of time. Manufacturing time scales and costs can be kept to a minimum, thanks to the largely automated processes used during the production stages.
Keeping costs down
It’s possible to create prototypes in a very limited time frame, with the initial simple designs put forward for further development. Any changes or enhancements can be made at a relatively low cost, therefore making thermoforming a cost-effective solution.
The costs associated with tooling to create high quality moulds are generally lower than you will find with other production methods. This is particularly the case when it comes to producing large parts for agricultural equipment such as external panels, where injection moulding would be a much more expensive alternative.
Bridgewood has more than 30 years’ experience manufacturing plastic products. This means we can give you specialist advice about the right plastics, processes and surfaces for your project.
Need help? Ask the agricultural thermoforming experts…
If you’d like to find out more information about how we can help you design and manufacture high quality plastic parts for your agricultural equipment, please give us a call on 01482 646464.