Plastic processing technologies comparison

Manufacturing Process

tooling cost

piece prices

piece sizes

labor cost

lead times

production rate

cycle times


Snap-back Forming
Drape Forming
Pressure Forming
Twin-sheet Thermoforming
Vacuum Forming

low vary depending on machinery extremely large high

6-8 weeks


from 1 min

Profile Extrusion
Blown Film Extrusion
Foam Extrusion
Sheet Extrusion
low medium medium Medium 3-5 weeks high n/a
Blow Molding BM
Injection Blow Molding IBM
Stretch Blow Molding SBM
Extrusion Blow Molding EBM
Injection Stretch Blow Molding ISBM
moderately expensive higher than injection molded parts, but lower than rotationally molded moderate low 4-8 weeks low 3-10 min
Injection Molding IMGas Assist GAIM
Reaction RIM
Liquid LIM
2-Shot TSIM
generally the highest lowest available very large low 8 – 12 weeks High 10 to 100 seconds
Transfer Molding TM
Resin RTM
Vacuum Assisted VARTM
Low Pressure LPRTM
low low short rapid  40-45 min
Insert Molding IM
Multiple Insert Tooling
Film insert molding FIM
high low 2 to 6 weeks high 10 to 100 seconds
Rotational Molding RM Very low high small to large low 3-5 weeks moderate

40-45 min

Compression Molding CM moderate moderate large low 2 to 6 weeks medium Relatively slow
Dip molding fairly low fairly high 3-7 weeks 40-45 minutes
Structural Foam Molding moderate moderate large parts moderate to high
Large Part Structural Foam Molding fairly typically low large parts
Urethane Foam low generally high



Plastic Lumber low low
Cast Film high
Cold pressure molding rapid
EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) fairly high low