Thermoforming has a wide range of applications in many different industries, but it is rapidly becoming the best process for construction equipment, producing high quality plastic parts that last longer and look great.
The thermoforming process is used to create durable parts that can cope with a range of stresses imposed on them by the demands of the construction industry. In particular, it is commonly used to create larger parts for use in vehicles like backhoe loaders, wheeled & tracked loaders and telehandlers. Some of the type of parts used are:
- Engine Hood / Bonnet Enclosures
- Cab roofs
- Cab Interior Trim Panels
- Exterior Body Panels
- Mudguards / Fenders
So what makes it so good for applications in construction equipment?
A wide range of plastics are suitable for use with thermoforming, such as HDPE, Polycarbonate or ABS, making it an effective way of producing parts perfectly suited for their use.
Whether the part is designed for internal fixtures or large external panels, the process makes it easier to match the materials with the needs of the design specification.
This process uses strong and durable modern materials, such as Thermoplastic Olefin , that can withstand the stresses imposed on construction equipment during day to day use.
Typical applications would include:
- Cab roofs mouldings integrated in to structures capable of withstanding roll over roof tests
- Engine casings resistant to heat and chemical attack.
- Flexible external panels to resist impact.
- Chemically resistant fenders and body panels to reduce corrosion and eliminate rust.
These materials provide an excellent alternative to steel & fibreglass applications, particularly on external panels of vehicles.
Attractive and lasting finishes
Whilst most construction equipment traditionally focuses on functionality, there is a growing demand for it to look impressive, especially when carrying the company logo and branding.
Thermoforming can use self-coloured plastics that are highly resistant to UV light and colour fading, with matt, gloss, smooth or embossed finishes available. This allows for the easy application of a range of colours and maintains a professional and attractive finish for longer.
The vacuum forming process means that it is quicker and simpler to produce larger components, such as cab roofs and body panels for larger construction equipment.
This ensures parts can be created to cover large surfaces with a more consistent finish and more robust single-piece components. It also helps to reduce manufacturing cycle times and costs.
Moderate annual volumes
Using efficient production machinery and mostly automated processes, it is cost effective to produce small to moderate annual volumes of large construction parts. However, it is still perfectly suited to delivering annual volumes in excess of 10,000 units.
Rapid product development
Reduced tooling costs and a more streamlined product development process cycle means product development programmes can be as much as half the time compared with injection moulding, without compromising quality.
With fast prototype development, adjustments to the initial designs are simple, meaning that any further developments or enhancements to the product can be made at a relatively low cost.
Economic tooling costs
When compared with other processes, the relatively simple process of thermoforming means the costs of tooling to create high quality moulds are generally cheaper. In particular, this is the case when producing large parts for construction equipment like external panels, where injection moulding would be more expensive.
At Bridgewood, we have over 30 years manufacturing plastic products so we can give you specialist advice about the right plastics, processes and surfaces to create for your project.
So if you would like to find out more information about how we can help you design and manufacture high quality plastic parts for your construction equipment, please call 01482 646464.