Plastic molding services produce components by using techniques such as thermoplastic or thermoset injection molding, blow molding, rotational molding, thermoforming, structural foam molding, compression molding, and resin transfer molding (RTM). They also provide services such as mold prototyping, low-volume production, high-volume production, insert molding, micro-molding, large-part molding, two-shot injection molding, reel-to-reel molding, machining, hot stamping, assembly, bonding, packaging and shipping. Most low-volume production runs have a run time of less than one week. High-volume production runs require more time. Machining involves the removal of material through milling, drilling, turning, or other processes. Micro-molding services use special, miniaturized molding machines to produce very small parts that typically weight less than two grams. Two-shot injection molding services produce part from two different raw materials or colors in a single operation. Plastic molding services that perform assembly operations can perform ultrasonic and heat welding, printing, painting, bonding, and machining operations.
There are many different types of plastic molding services. Examples include blow molding services, compression molding services, dip molding services, film injection molding services (FIM), and gas assist molding services. Plastic molding services may also perform reaction injection molding (RIM), resin transfer molding (RTM), rotational molding, structural foam molding, thermoplastic injection molding, thermoset casting, thermoset injection molding, and thermoforming. Vacuum assist resin transfer molding (VARTM), vacuum bag molding, and vacuum forming services are also available. In terms of material capabilities, plastic molding services address considerations such as impact strength, high and low temperature characteristics, warpage, and resistance to ultraviolet (UV) light. Commodity grade resins are more widely used than other graded resins and include polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Engineering grade resins are more difficult to process than other graded resins, but have characteristics that make them desirable for specialized use. Widely used engineering grade thermoplastics include acetal, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), nylon, noryl and polycarbonate.