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Texture and In-Mold Design with Plastic Thermoforming

Fascia with In Mold Design and Texture

Surface texturing and in mold design features can be an integral component of your project and offer potential enhancements in design, branding, aesthetics, and functionality.

The thermoforming process, through pressure and vacuum forming techniques, has a wide range of surface texture and in mold design capabilities. Reference the table below for brief overview of some the options, features, and benefits available.

Options Features Benefits
Forming parts with in mold textured surface
  • Texture can be etched into the mold in defined patterns and areas
  • A shot peen or grit blast mold surface finish provides a more cost effective in mold option
  • Greater texture detail and depth than rotational or FRP molding
  • Contrasting surface finishes
  • Best results obtained with pressure forming
  • Texture formed directly into finished part
  • Non slip surface
  • Styling with surface variation
  • Enhanced product cosmetic and aesthetic detail
  • High level of detail capable
  • Multiple texture options are available
Forming parts with pre textured plastic sheet
  • Pre textured plastic material is available from many thermoplastic suppliers
  • Less detail than in mold texturing
  • Minimal texture pattern options
  • Depending on the draw depth there can be “texture wash” and a texture depth variation over the part surface
  • Lower tooling cost than in mold texturing
  • Similar benefits to in mold texturing
Multiple texture choices
  • Increased styling opportunities
  • Custom branding
Forming parts with in mold cosmetic or functional features
  • Design features such as vents and louvers
  • Embossed logos, style lines, or custom brand patterns
  • Greater design flexibility
  • Results comparable with injection molding
  • Enhanced product branding

How Can Texture Enhance My Product’s Design, Look, and Brand?

Textures and tactile responses are the feel or appearance of a surface. The use of physical and visual textures in a product’s design can convey a variety of messages and emotional responses. Just as people react in an emotional way to colors, tints, and shades, they also react equally to textures in a psychological or emotional way.

Physical and visual textures may stimulate feelings of elegance and class with smooth, high gloss finishes, or strength and industrial responses from rough or hard finishes. Visual textures can also give the illusion of having a real, physical texture, such as wood grain, sand, canvas, metal, glass, and leather.

Every texture has its corresponding personality trait and must be taken into consideration before considering it for your brand. Whatever message your Brand is looking to express, textures allow you the opportunity to further reinforce the “feel” of your brand.

Check out this video from one of our thermoplastic sheet suppliers – SEKISUI-KYDEX (formerly KYDEX) Thermoplastics: Texture Is The New Colour

Looking for more technical information?

Download the Thermoforming Design Guide, Process Comparisons, Conversion Guides, and other useful thermoforming information from our technical resource library.

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