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Plastic Cup Molding : Thermoforming VS Injection Molding

2022-03-04

There are many different kinds of plastic cups made from various materials by different molding processes. Disposable cups are produced by thermoforming machines, while reusable cups are usually produced by injection molding machines. In the food packaging industry, plastic thermoforming technology is used heavily as it is more inexpensive and more efficient than injection molding.



Thermoforming Steel Rule Die vs Matched Metal Die


Both thermoforming and injection molding are popular manufacturing processes for plastic cups. They offer different advantages depending on the particular applications.


Thermoforming Cup Injection Molding Cup
Capacity Usually at a rate of hundreds or thousands per hour Usually at the rate of hundreds per hour or more
Overall Cost Lower Higher
Product Deveopment Faster Slower
Mold Design and Adjsutment Flexible design of multi-cavity in a mold to meet different requirements of cup volumes Less flexibility


You may face the above two molding options for your plastic cups. Why pick thermoforming over injection molding? This article will review thermoforming plastic cup base on molds, materials, and manufacturing process. Therefore, you will have a better understanding of how plastic cup molding by thermoforming works and whether it is a good option for your projects.



In-Mold Cutting Mold for Thermoforming Cup


In-Mold Cutting mold is used for thermoforming cups. It is also known as Cut in place molds or trim in place molds.It integrates forming and cutting (or trimming) into a single station. Using cut in molds, you not only achieve accuracy in the cutting alignment, but also enhance stability for each cup weight.

Thermoforming Cup Mold


Further reading: How to Select Molds for Cup Thermoforming Machine?



Stacking Mold for Thermoforming Cup


Cup Catching plates are different for each plastic cup thermoforming machine. There are 3 common stacking solutions for thermoforming cups. The Tilt Mold is the one saving most space and bringing the highest production capacity.

  • Vertical collection: Vertically stacked, counted and placed.
  • Tilting/Reverse collection (Tilt Mold or Tilt Bed Tooling): Connects perfectly with cup-taking units for automatic cup stacking and counting.
  • Forward collection method.
Thermoforming Cup Mold - Vertical collectionThermoforming Cup Mold - Tilting/Reverse collection (Tilt Mold or Tilt Bed Tooling)Thermoforming Cup Mold - Tilting/Reverse collection (Tilt Mold or Tilt Bed Tooling)Thermoforming Cup Mold - Forward collection



Material Used for Thermoforming Cups


Many plastic sheet materials can be used for thermoforming cups. With the increasing amounts of plastic food packaging in the world, this type of packaging poses innumerable environmental and public health risks. We can see that more eco-friendly alternatives are on the rise. For example:

  • Bio-based materials: PLA, Natural fiber

  • PP

  • PET/PS



Manufacturing Process for Thermoforming Cups


First of all, thermoforming cup starts with film heating. The conveyor chains carry the sheet through the heater assembly to the forming table. Then, punch the heated sheet to form the shape of the plastic cup mold. Finally, stack the formed plastic cups.


Case Studies


With over 35 years of experience in plastic mold designs and manufacturing for cup thermoformers, HongZu molds can produce cups that are round or rectangular, with wrap round edges, sealing edges or rimmed edges. Here are two examples showing in-mold cutting for a plastic cup thermoforming machine.

  • Tilt Mold Thermoforming Machine

    Mold type: In-Mold Cutting
    Cup collection: Tilt Mold Technology



  • Thermoforming Machine with Vertical Stacking

    Mold type: In-Mold Cutting
    Cup collection: Vertical collection



Thermoforming Plastic Cup Mold from HongZu


HongZu started out as a small mold maker in 1987 and has evolved into a major player and expert in the thermoforming food packaging industry. We provide precision, high-quality molds to customers worldwide. Our tools are very adaptable and able to incorporate almost any of the thermoforming machines on the market. We understand our customer’s needs and develop the right molds from the beginning of the project to the end. The various kinds of Round Cups Molds designed and manufactured by us are :

  • Thermoforming Tools for Yogurt Cup

  • Thermoforming Tools for Dairy Cup

  • Thermoforming Tools for Juice Cup

  • Thermoforming Tools for Deli Cup

  • Thermoforming Tools for Tea Cup

  • Thermoforming Tools for Coffee Cup

  • Thermoforming Tools for Ice-cream Cup

Plastic Cup Molding - Dairy Cup Plastic Cup Molding - Juice Cup Plastic Cup Molding - Deli Cup Plastic Cup Molding - Yogurt Cup


For more Food Packaging Molds, please contact us today.

If you want to know more about these and our other products, please check the link below.Thermoforming Mold

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