Plastic covers are vacuum formed plastics designed to secure, contain, and protect objects from environmental conditions, such as weather, lighting, dust, water, or other debris. Covers such as these come in a number of different types and styles. Lids, for example, are made to attach to a specific type or size of container like a drum, barrel, storage, bin, or pail. Caps are similar in purpose but often rest atop a surface rather than adhering to it.
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Applications of Plastic Covers
Plastic covers are found in electronics, manufacturing, food processing, packaging, storage, and shipping industrial settings, where they may cover such items as bins, keyboards, and large equipment. These covers reduce contamination and prolong the working life of machinery as well as the shelf life of certain food items. Domestic covers are also popular as furniture covers as well as in storage and packaging.
Plastic Cover Design and Customization
To suit these varied applications, plastic covers may be rigid or semi-flexible and may be clear, translucent, or opaque. Colored covers are popular as well, as they allow for easy organization and identification. A wide range of sizes and dimensions are also available.
Manufacturing Process of Plastic Covers
While several manufacturing processes can be used in the production of plastic covers, vacuum forming is ideal, as it allows for the inexpensive production of lightweight elements that fit exactly to an object, product, machine, or container. This thermoforming technique begins with extruded or rolled plastic sheets of the desired thickness, which are fed into a pre-heating machine. Electric, infrared, or natural gas heaters warm the materials to the temperature, at which they become soft and pliable but not fluid.
Next, the still warm sheets are carefully guided into a form station that holds a pre-made mold. Presses, stamps, or air pressure force the material to adhere and conform to the shape of the mold, often the inverse of the intended cover. A vacuum is employed to suction all excess air from the confined space, further pulling the plastic material into the mold.
While in place the plastic is cooled until it reaches the desired rigidity. The final cover is ejected with reverse airflow before being trimmed or otherwise finished. Plastics such as polycarbonate, noryl, PVC, royalite, polyurethane, and vinyl are commonly formed into covers, but they may require additional protective coatings for special properties, such as UV blocking and moisture resistance.