Survey Shows Thermoforming Accounts for 25 Percent of U.S. Plastic Manufacturing

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Industry Survey Conducted by Ray Products Indicates Strong Trend Toward Reshoring

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Survey results released today by Ray Products show that thermoforming accounts for approximately 25 percent of plastics manufacturing in the United States. The results also indicate that 64 percent of plastics manufacturing contracted by U.S.-based companies or divisions occurs in this country.

The survey was distributed to over 2,000 representatives from a range of companies, including medical, electronic, and scientific device manufacturers, vehicle and recreational vehicle manufacturers, energy device manufacturers and product design firms. The representatives were asked questions about their current, past and planned future plastics manufacturing operations.

On average, respondents indicated that 25 percent of the plastics manufacturing projects they commissioned in the last 12 months used thermoforming, and that they expected that number to grow slightly over the coming 12 months.

“It is exciting to see the survey results validate what we’re seeing in aerospace, green energy, medical and other emerging markets,” said Jason Middleton, vice president of sales and development at Ray Products. “As our industry experiences ongoing technological innovations and potential customers become more educated about the process, I expect the growth to continue year after year.”

Many respondents indicated that cost and turnaround times are key factors that encourage them to choose thermoforming over other plastics manufacturing processes. Others more specifically cited lower tooling costs that increase the ability to make changes to a thermoformed part’s design, as well as the significant cost- and weight-saving advantages of thermoforming large parts.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents also indicated that they see 100 percent recyclability, a unique aspect of thermoforming, as an important feature of the process.

The survey also asked respondents what percentage of their company’s plastic manufacturing occurs in the United States. On average, the respondents indicated that 64 percent of plastics manufacturing occurs domestically, and 33 percent of respondents indicated that all of their company’s plastic manufacturing occurs domestically.

Only 13 percent of respondents indicated that they were completely happy with offshore plastics manufacturing. Of the respondents who use offshore manufacturing, or had used offshore manufacturing in the past, 75 percent have already reshored their plastics manufacturing or are considering it for the future.

“As a third-generation company based in California, we obviously support domestic manufacturing,” said Middleton. “The survey shows that the technology, quality, expertise, and time-to-market associated with domestic manufacturing hold substantial value for our customers.”

He concluded, “As Warren Buffet once said, ‘Price is what you pay for, value is what you get.’”

Additional survey results are available on the company’s blog at

About Ray Products: Ray Products is a custom plastics manufacturer based in Ontario, California. Founded in 1949, the company is currently under its third generation of family ownership. Ray Products operates a 48,000-square-foot ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturing facility that offers the largest thermoforming capabilities on the West Coast, fully robotic 6-axis trimming and 3D coordinate measurement accurate to within a ten-thousandth of an inch.

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Jason Middleton
Ray Products
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