A Review of Applications of 3D printing technology and potential applications in the plastic thermoforming industry

  • Nkosilathi Zinti Nkomo National University of Science and Technology
  • Nqobizitha R Sibanda National University of Science and Technology
  • Jephias Gwamuri National University of Science and Technology
  • Josphat Mwasiagi Moi University

Abstract

  In this review article  applications and potential uses of 3D printing in the plastic thermoforming industry are reviewed.    3D printing also known as “Additive manufacturing” has revolutionized the modern manufacturing process and engineering design process. Thermoforming is widely used in  plastic  manufacturing industries to produce a range of polymer products such products are normally used in the packaging industry. Thermoforming moulds are mostly produced using conventional mould building technologies and are made of steel. These mould are robust but only suitable for mass production  and take some time to fabricate.  3D printers are mostlyused during the prototyping stage of design. They can be used for proof of concept and also are useful for customer presentations to allow the customer to see and feel exactly what their product will look like. 3D printing can find use in thermoforming industry in creating moulds to thermoform parts  this can produce the moulds quickly and  economically and  prototyping of packaging machine parts  as well as fabricating of the packaging material.  3D printing allows ease of production of personalised packaging. With 3D printing the structural design of the package could be customised on request.  As more sustainable bioplastic filaments are innovated, the adoption of 3D printing in packaging manufacturing may help save the environment.  3D printing works well with  Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and polypropylene.  This paper looks at the different applications of 3D printing in the plastics thermoforming industry and looks at the viability of t he use of this technology as well as the advantages in relation to conventional production technologies and materials.
Keywords  -  3D printing,  packaging, plastic  thermoforming, prototyping
Published
Sep 25, 2017
How to Cite
NKOMO, Nkosilathi Zinti et al. A Review of Applications of 3D printing technology and potential applications in the plastic thermoforming industry. Proceedings of Sustainable Research and Innovation Conference, [S.l.], p. 122-125, sep. 2017. ISSN 2079-6226. Available at: <http://sri.jkuat.ac.ke/ojs/index.php/proceedings/article/view/587>. Date accessed: 21 oct. 2018.