A well-known critical specification for companies working in the plastic sheet extrusion and thermoforming industries is gauge control. Not only is this specification essential to recovering maximum process yield on a per pound basis, there are also financial consequences that can result from purchasing over-gauge material. One way to make sure that your company does not fall victim to this is to work with a plastic sheet extrusion supplier that maintains a tight tolerance on the thickness of the sheet for your thermoforming operations.
Whether your company works with inline extrusion-thermoforming equipment, or purchases extruded sheet from an outside vendor, using material with uniform thickness will ensure that you are not paying for more material than is necessary. When the plastic sheet is too thick, more material is being used than is necessary resulting in extra pounds of material while producing the same amount (or less) formed parts. Since sheet is typically priced on a per pound basis, purchasing or producing material that is over-spec can result in a significant financial burden.
For example, say a customer purchases 2,000,000 lbs. of plastic sheet per year for an application with a target gauge of .040” Mil. Assuming a price of $1.50 / lb., this equates to an expense of $3,000,000 annually. If the thickness of this material varies as little as +.001” Mil, or 2.5% of .040” Mil, this means that you are paying for an additional 50,000 lbs., or $75,000, of material annually. Based on this example, it is safe to say that improper gauge control can certainty have drastic financial implications.
Despite these staggering numbers, variance in gauge control it is a problem that is not uncommon in the plastic sheet extrusion industry. If the example used in this post tells you anything, it should be that poor gauge control can cost you, and working with the right plastic sheet extrusion company can put more money back to your bottom line.
At Impact Plastics, we have invested in advanced quality monitoring systems that monitor variances in gauge as the material is running, to ensure a high level of consistency throughout the production run, and from lot to lot of material produced.