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An expansive range of processing plants, industrial facilities, and commercial sites need plastic components that meet industry and safety standards. Emco Industrial Plastics has been fabricating precise, customized plastic components for use in a variety of industries for more than 30 years.

Emco's engineers provide design, material selection, and modification services to ensure that every design will produce highly functional parts free of defects or errors. In the spirit of continuous improvement, Emco is constantly adding new plastic materials, equipment, and techniques to our internal processes. We use a variety of fabrication and machining techniques to create exacting plastic components in production runs of all sizes.

cnc machining

Our Plastic Fabrication & Machining Services

There are two basic process categories for forming plastic parts: fabrication and machining.

  • Fabrication processes such as cutting, polishing, bending, laser cutting & welding are all done in house to make a finished part.
  • Machining processes include cnc machining, milling, turning, and routing to precision tolerances.

At Emco Industrial Plastics, we can handle a broad range of techniques based on the material, design, and product demand. Our plastic fabrication and machining and cutting services include:

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Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is a reductive process that removes material with a variety of mechanical tools such as bores and saws. Automated, electro-mechanical CNC equipment can machine a piece without direct human operation. Once a team finalizes a design, CNC machines can read and follow the programmed instructions to create a part.

Designers must convert Computer Aided Design (CAD) files into a Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) file that can be read by the CNC equipment. The machine uses that programming to precisely apply cutting tools to a block or sheet of substrate to form it into a final component. CNC machines automate the machining process. Not only does the production require less human labor and time, but the final pieces are far more accurate since the process creates exact replicas and isn’t subject to human error.

Emco machines high-volume production runs with ISO-certified HAAS CNC machining equipment. Our machines can handle the following processes:

  • Drilling
  • Forming
  • Grinding
  • Milling
  • Punching
  • Sanding
  • Tooling
  • Turning
  • Welding

Emco's design team can help create precise CAD/CAM designs that take advantage of each of these processes. Our equipment works with plastic sheets, round rods and tubes, and high-temperature or high-resistance plastics. 

laser cutting plastic 

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Lasers have multiple functions in machining and fabrication processes. They can be used to cut fragile plastics without stressing the edges of the cut material. Lasers use focused light to cut precise lines into the substrate. The cuts can have different depths and widths depending on the tool and the material being processed.

Primarily, laser cutters are used to cut and etch prototype pieces before a large production run. Lasers provide a high degree of accuracy for complex geometric designs. Many laser cutters are also CNC machines that can follow complex CAD/CAM designs without manual operation. 

Emco uses a Multicam 2000 to cut and polish parts from a substrate up to one inch thick. This machine can create accurate parts quickly, and it has a work area of 60 inches by 100 inches to process large parts or multiple parts in a single run. Emco has the capabilities for the following laser cutting applications:

  • Machining control panels and displays
  • Making etched nameplates and signs
  • Raster engraving
  • Shaping and polishing acrylic edges for a high-quality finish
  • Vector cutting

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While welding is commonly associated with metal, welding can also be used to machine thermoplastic parts. This process bonds two plastic substrates together by softening and uniting the edges, but it only holds if the plastics are the same type of material. Polyurethane can only be welded to polyurethane, for example, but not to polyethylene materials. 

Emco uses hot gas hand and extrusion welding to form small and large pieces, respectively. These are manual processes that use a filler agent to form a bond between two pieces of like plastic for a strong, homogenous finish. These processes can be used to join together the following distinct types of plastics:

  • Chlorinated polyvinylchloride
  • Polyethylene
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyvinylchloride
  • Polyvinyldenefluoride

Hot gas hand and extrusion welding methods are commonly used to create:

  • Ducts and fittings for exhaust and ventilation
  • Flexible drop-in liners
  • Fume hoods
  • One-piece construction of cabinets, wet benches, wafer stackers, polishers, spin dryers, and tanks, as well as Sematech approved wet benches
  • Rotationally molded tanks and thermoplastic tanks for plating, anodizing, cleaning, wastewater treatment, and chemical processing industries
  • Sinks

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Edge finishing, forming, and polishing processes transform raw and roughly cut plastic edges. Machining and cutting tools can leave behind burred edges and scratched surfaces. Polishing and buffing processes abrade the surface until it's left smooth. Edging also softens sharp or harsh edges so they are matte and smooth.

Emco's edging processes can create the following edge finishes:

  • Saw cut edges without chips
  • Milled edges that have a frosted finish
  • Flame-polished edges for a lustrous, decorative finish
  • Full-beveled and half-beveled softened edges
  • Roundover edges that have a shallow curve that reaches halfway down the edge
  • Bullnose edges that are rounded at the top and bottom

Emco also offers machine polishing and hand polishing for a fine finish.

Drape/oven forming

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Drape forming—or oven forming—uses heat to mold or press plastic into a specific form. When a thin, heated sheet of plastic material is draped over a mandrel or mold, it softens and takes on the shape of the mold. This process uses molds that are slightly below the desired dimensions so the heated, conforming layer of plastic will be slightly larger and feature the correct dimensions without the need for reductive processes. 

Benefits of this plastic fabrication method include:

  • Low production costs
  • Plastic retains a uniform thickness
  • Plastic maintains its pre-process surface finish
  • Versatility in plastic materials and sheet thicknesses
  • Works with sheets, rods, and tubing

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This process involves heating the plastic just enough to make it pliable before setting it on a molded surface, similar to drape or oven forming. A vacuum then forces plastic into all the precise crevices and shapes in the mold. The advantages of vacuum forming include:

  • Rapid development and production
  • Low tooling costs
  • Moderate annual volumes to keep up with demand
  • Usefulness in producing large or multi-component parts

injection molded plastics

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Injection molding is a fast production method that can be used to create plastic products. An injection machine heats powdered or granular plastic into a malleable molten plastic and then injects it into a mold. The plastic then cools and solidifies before it is ejected. This process can be used to create parts in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and is commonly used to create consumer goods. 

Emco offers turnkey injection molding services from design through fabrication and shipment. Our engineers can design, test, and modify plastic parts for optimal performance. We can also decorate, package, and ship orders to your warehouses or customers.  

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Emco's custom plastic fabrication services include every stage of the process from producing prototypes to handling large-scale production runs. Our custom plastic fabrication techniques include:

  • Die cutting
  • Drape forming
  • Edge finishing
  • Infrared heating
  • Oven bending
  • Sandblasting
  • Solvent welding
  • Thermoforming
  • Vacuum forming

Emco also uses high-quality, state-of-the-art machinery to precisely cut plastics into the correct shapes and dimensions. Our facility can produce tolerances within ±0.005 inches with close-tolerance plastics. We can machine plastic substrates as thin as 0.001inches thick. Cut-to-size pieces don't have dust or chipped edges. Not only do our techniques produce high-quality finished products, but no material is wasted.

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Different plastic products need different fabrication and machining processes. At Emco Industrial Plastics, our experienced engineers and technicians will design and fabricate high-quality plastic pieces with the processes and equipment that fit them best. Our facility handles a wide variety of plastic materials, sizes, and forms. 

 

Contact Emco Industrial Plastics today or request a quote to learn more about our capabilities and how we can support your next project.

 

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