Could an Alternative to Thermoforming Differentiate While Reducing Costs?

There’s more than one way to bake a cake. In today’s world where companies are continuously looking for ways to enhance their brand, differentiate product, and do it all at a lower cost, that saying couldn’t be more true. Considering structural foam as an alternative to thermoforming could yield all three benefits and more. Areas to consider include:
  • Alternative Design
  • Light Weighting
  • Materials

Alternative Design

The design stage provides the initial entry point for ‘getting it right the first time.’ Careful consideration and emphasis is placed upon maximizing production efficiencies, size, shape, and tooling components. Leveraging these attributes early in the process helps ensure a continuous payback from the initial production run. With structural foam, savings can include multiple part integration (inserts, brackets, fasteners, etc.) equating to an elimination of costly secondary operations. You can also mold in louvers, holes, and grills, further driving your cost savings. Integrating the existing structure into a molded structural foam component can provide a quick ROI.

Light Weighting

Light Weighting is as it sounds: taking an existing product or concept and finding ways to minimize the product weight without jeopardizing performance or ergonomics. It can be as simple as minimizing the wall thickness or as challenging as a total redesign. Payback can be swift, with specific consideration given to resin usage savings, tooling modification costs, and annual volumes. The structural foam process is inherent to light-weighting with a typical 20% reduction in part weight while increasing the strength-to-weight ratio versus thermoforming.


Changing the resin to an alternative material with comparable performance characteristics provides the fastest route to a more sustainable product. Structural foam can be used with a wide range of thermoplastics, including thermoplastic rubbers for additional strength and sustainability gains. In fact, in comparison to thermoforming, you should see a cosmetic improvement (less sink and minimized warpage) and a lower-cost material than sheet formed product.

Do you have an application you would like to explore as a structural foam process? Contact us and we will send you a sample kit that displays many of the attributes discussed above.

View the ROI Chart below for a direct comparison to your current molding operation.