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Exploring the Wide Variety of Structural Foam Products

Exploring the Wide Variety of Structural Foam Products

Due to the nature of the plastics used and the manufacturing process itself, structural foam products have many benefits. The structural foam molding process is a popular manufacturing method used to create large-tonnage products because it is a low-pressure process. It puts far less stress on the product being produced and reduces the risk of warpage and damage from the manufacturing process.

Due to the many advantages of this process, structural foam molding is used to create a wide range of products. From garden and lawn equipment to construction products, structural foam products are found everywhere.

Common Types of Structural Foam Products

Large-Tonnage Products

Due to the low-pressure process, large molds can easily be made with aluminum rather than steel since they do not need to be durable enough to withstand the high-pressure process of injection molding. Additionally, this process allows for the large-tonnage product to be created in a single mold run while also preventing damage.

Complex Designs

Again, the low-pressure structural foam molding process is beneficial, allowing for complex products to be produced with ease. The structural foam can reach every corner of the mold while being manufactured, allowing you to design complex parts without the worry that they won’t have the right amount of detail.

Some of Port Erie’s Structural Foam Products

HDPE Trench Drain

A client came to our team at Port Erie with a project for the construction industry. They were using straight injection molding to create large trench drains. Unfortunately, the injection-molded trench drains had long cycle times and had issues with warp.

Our engineering team worked to redesign the product to be created through structural foam molding. This led to a 20% part weight reduction, 40% cycle time reduction, and less warpage. If you are interested in learning more about this project, read our case study

Garden Carts and Lawn Equipment

Our team worked to create a large lawn cart through structural foam molding. Since lawn and garden equipment need to be durable enough to withstand chemicals, the elements, temperature variations, and the sun, the properties of structural foam molding were necessary for this project.


Choosing to use structural foam in pallets creates a durable, water-resistant, impact-resistant product. We have created plastic pallets for a number of companies using this manufacturing method. These structural foam molded plastics are durable and can be used for repeated use, however, they are also affordable.

Port Erie is Your Partner For Structural Foam Products

If you are looking for a partner to create your high-quality structural foam products, Port Erie is here to help. We have the equipment and capabilities to create large-tonnage products for various industries. From warehousing needs to construction to lawn equipment, we have the experience and the high-quality materials needed to get the job done.

In addition to our structural foam molding capabilities, we also have the ability to perform custom injection molding and automated injection molding. To support our manufacturing processes, our team offers exceptional secondary operations including assembly, fabrication, and decoration. Once your project is complete, we can also warehouse it for you and aid in distribution.

Additionally, to help cut turnaround times, we offer tooling and mold building services. In doing so, we can make any necessary changes to your molds or tooling without having to send them off to a different manufacturer, saving you time and money.

Are you ready to get started? Contact our team today.

What Are the Most Common Structural Foam Plastics?

What Are the Most Common Structural Foam Plastics?

As a popular manufacturing process, structural foam molding has become increasingly popular for creating large-tonnage plastic products. Structural foam plastic offers many benefits including design flexibility, high moldability, and durability. 

There are two common types of structural foam plastic used in this manufacturing process, each of which exhibits its own properties and benefits. Typically, customers choose from structural foam polyethylene or structural foam polypropylene depending on what characteristics they desire and need in their products. In this blog, we will explore each of these plastics and what they are best used for. 

Structural Foam Polyethylene

Polyethylene is the most commonly produced plastic. It is a durable, lightweight, closed-cell material that is found in many everyday household items as well as demanding applications.

Properties of Polyethylene

As a commonly produced plastic, polyethylene has many beneficial properties. This polymer exhibits good chemical, wear, and water resistance, as well as electrical insulation, good load bearing, and shock absorption. 

If you are interested in learning more about structural foam polyethylene in detail, check out our blog. 

Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Versus High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

There are two common types of polyethylene, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Each has its own applications and advantages, however, HDPE is typically what is used in structural foam molding. 


Low-density polyethylene exhibits low-temperature flexibility, toughness, and corrosion resistance. However, due to its low melting point, LDPE is not suitable for applications where temperature resistance and strength are required. LDPE is not suitable for structural foam molding due to its lack of strength. 


High-density polyethylene has a high melting point, high strength, good chemical resistance, and good crack resistance. Since this polymer exhibits such good physical properties, HDPE is ideal for applications where strength and durability are required, thus making it suitable for use in structural foam molding. 

Structural Foam Polypropylene

Polypropylene is a rigid, lightweight, closed-cell polymer that is commonly used in various industries, including consumer goods, automotive, medical, and more. This polymer is commonly used in structural foam molding because of its numerous beneficial properties. These benefits include toughness, flexibility, fatigue resistance, chemical resistance, high-temperature resistance, good electrical insulation, compression resistance, impact resistance, and moisture resistance.  

These properties allow for structural foam molded products made from polypropylene to be used in critical and demanding applications. These include applications that are primarily outside, under UV light, exposed to chemicals and weather, or in varying temperatures. 

If You Are Looking for Structural Foam Plastics, Turn to Port Erie

Since 1953 Port Erie has been creating high-quality structural foam plastics. We primarily work with HDPE and polypropylene to manufacture durable, cost-effective structural foam molded products. Our team has created structural foam molded products for lawn and garden applications, the construction industry, and many more. 

Not only do we have the ability to create structural foam molded products, but we also can create products through automated injection molding. We have automated robots that we use to create quality injection-molded products with minimal errors in an efficient timeline. Our team also has the ability to engineer and create tools and molds for both structural foam molding and injection molding products, so if changes need to be made, we can do that in-house. 

We also offer secondary operations including finishing and assembly, and warehousing and distribution. That way, your products can be stored and shipped directly from our manufacturing facility to ensure quick turnaround and delivery times. 

If you are ready to get started on your structural foam plastics project, contact our team today.

Structural Foam Polyethylene: Properties and Products

Structural Foam Polyethylene: Properties and Products

Polyethylene is a polymer commonly used in structural foam molding due to its various beneficial properties. Due to its affordability, easy availability, and numerous beneficial properties, this polymer is the most common type of consumer plastic and is used in everyday materials and products.

Properties of Structural Foam Polyethylene

Chemical Resistance

Polyethylene is resistant to many different chemical solvents, making it good for use in chemical, medical, automotive, and many other applications. This polymer is not affected by aqueous solutions of salts, acids, or alkalis.

Wear Resistance

Structural foam polyethylene is an extremely durable, high strength polymer, giving it the ability to be used in many applications in harsh environments. It is able to withstand harsh temperatures or applications in which the product may be subjected to physical stress.

Water Resistance

Since its molecules are so close together, polyethylene is very resistant to water. The material hardly absorbs any water, making it good for use in the food and beverage industry.

Electrical Insulation

Structural foam polyethylene does not conduct electricity well, making it a good insulator. So, if a durable plastic is needed for an application where conductivity is not required nor needed, polyethylene is a great option.

Good Physical Properties

In addition to all of its other great properties, polyethylene also has good load-bearing and shock absorption. These properties eliminate the impacts of friction and vibration on your product.

High-Density Polyethylene Also Offers Many Benefits

In addition to traditional polyethylene, you can also opt for High-Density Polyethylene, or HDPE. When compared to traditional polyethylene, HDPE is more flexible, but offers many of the same benefits, including:

  • Weatherproof
  • Affordable
  • Chemical resistance
  • Low moisture absorption
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Easy to fabricate and machine

Products That Are Created Using Structural Foam Polyethylene

Automotive Applications

With its corrosion resistance, wear resistance, shock absorption, and good load-bearing, polyethylene and HDPE are commonly used in the automotive industry. Common applications include bumpers and instrument panels.

Drain Pipes and Trench Drains

Drain pipes are responsible for facilitating the transfer of water from one place to another. This includes disposing of wastewater from buildings. Trench drains function in a similar way, however, they are responsible for the removal of excess surface water. Both drain pipes and trench drains can be created from HDPE and polyethylene.

At Port Erie, we helped one of our customers improve the manufacturing process for their trench drains. While they were previously using straight injection molding, they realized the process was taking too long and was yielding products with significant warp. When they brought their project to use, we decided to use structural foam HDPE to create a high-quality product that met all of their needs. Read more in our case study.


Certain flooring options can be created using structural foam polyethylene or HDPE, including the DuraTrac Floors. These temporary outdoor flooring solutions need to be durable, weatherproof, and have good wear resistance.

Lawn and Garden Carts and Equipment

Garden and lawn carts and equipment need to be durable, able to withstand the elements, and be resistant to certain chemicals found in plant food, weed killer, or pesticides. Luckily, polyethylene and HDPE are able to withstand the outdoor environment.

Pallets and Large Totes

Many pallets and large totes are created from plastic in order to be durable, easy to clean, and able to be reused. Polyethylene and HDPE are common choices here since these materials are so durable, water resistant, chemical resistant, and have good physical properties.

At Port Erie, we have created durable plastic pallets that are able to be used repeatedly. Our pallets weigh less than 16 lbs, are 9 legged, and can handle up to 2,000 lbs.

Create High-Quality Structural Foam Polyethylene Products with Port Erie

For more than 70 years, Port Erie Plastics has been creating high-quality structural foam and injection molded products for various industries. We have a combined 615,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehousing space to create and store your plastic projects.

We can create structural foam molded polyethylene products up to 7.5 feet in length and with a wall thickness from 0.200 inches to 0.500 inches. We can also create plastic products with our custom injection molding and automated injection molding processes.

We also have an in-house team of engineers to make sure that your design is optimized for manufacturability. Our in-house mold and tool building can help make your production more efficient. Once your project is complete, we can store it in our warehouse until you need it shipped.

Contact us today to get started!

Advantages of Structural Foam Molding You Should Consider

Advantages of Structural Foam Molding You Should Consider

Structural foam molding is a plastic manufacturing method that is used to create cost-effective, large-tonnage plastic products. During this process, nitrogen gas or a chemical blowing agent is mixed in with a melting polymer. This polymer mixture is then injected into a mold under low pressure. As the plastic touches the walls of the mold, it cools and solidifies, creating a product with a solid outer layer and a honeycomb-like interior.

The process of structural foam molding yields many benefits to both the manufacturer and the customer, including saving time and money on the process. Read on to explore many of the benefits this manufacturing process can offer if you need a large-tonnage plastic product.

What are the Advantages of Structural Foam Molding?

Easily Create Large Parts

If you have a large-tonnage plastic part or product that needs to be manufactured, the structural foam molding process may be the best option for you. Since the process is a low-pressure process, it requires less clamping force, allowing you to create tooling and molds from more cost-effective materials, such as aluminum. Additionally, the low-pressure process leads to less damage, meaning you don’t have to spend more time or money on rerunning machines.

Design Flexibility and Less Warpage

The low-pressure characteristic of the process makes the structural foam very easy to mold. Structural foam molding puts less stress on the product during its production, so it experiences significantly less damage than parts created through straight injection molding. With the reduced risk of damage, you can easily design and create a more complex mold that will maintain the desired shape of the finished product.

The low-pressure process also prevents warpage. There is less stress on the product during the production process, so it is less likely to warp or become damaged while being manufactured.

Multiple Molds Can Run at the Same Time

In addition to its ability to produce very large parts with ease, it is also possible to run multiple molds at the same time on the same machine with structural foam molding. Since it is a low-pressure process, these molds can run simultaneously without putting too much stress on the machines or the molds. Being able to run multiple molds at one time can save you both time and money on your manufacturing process.

Advantageous Physical Properties

Structural foam molded products have many desirable physical properties that make them ideal for use in many industries. These products have a high-strength-to-weight ratio, meaning they are lighter weight than straight injection molded, solid plastic products while still maintaining their strength and durability. They also exhibit good thermal stability and are able to withstand thermal expansion so they will not warp or lose their properties when exposed to extreme temperatures, making them ideal for hot and cold environments.

Experience the Advantages of Structural Foam Molding with Port Erie

At Port Erie Plastics, we have been manufacturing high-quality plastic products and parts for various industries for more than 70 years. With our combined 615,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehousing space, we have the ability to take on any of your plastic manufacturing projects.

Our structural foam molding capabilities allow us to produce polyethylene or polypropylene parts up to 7.5 feet in length and with a wall thickness from 0.200 inches to 0.500 inches. In addition to our structural foam molding capabilities, we also have the equipment needed to complete custom injection molding and automated injection molding, allowing us to take on all of your plastic manufacturing needs.

We don’t stop there, either. Our in-house team of engineers can help you make sure that your design is optimized for manufacturability. We also offer in-house mold and tool building so you can easily alter your design to make your production more efficient. Once your project is complete, we can warehouse your finished product if needed.

If you are ready to get started creating your structural foam molded product, contact us today!

Structural Foam Molding vs Injection Molding: Which is Right for You?

Structural Foam Molding vs Injection Molding: Which is Right for You?

When designing your plastic project, it is important to choose the right manufacturing process. Ensuring you take your product’s application, size, and material into consideration before starting the manufacturing process will save you time and money while yielding a higher-quality product. Deciding on what process is best for your application can be tricky, so if you are wondering which is better for you — structural foam molding vs injection molding — we have outlined each below.

Structural Foam Molding

Structural foam molding is done by mixing a melted polymer with nitrogen gas and/or a chemical blowing agent. This mixture is then injected into a mold under low pressure and, as the polymer mixture touches the walls of the mold, it cools, forming a solid outer layer with a honeycomb interior.

The Benefits of Structural Foam Molding

Cost-Effective for Large Parts and Products

Since structural foam molding is a low-pressure process the materials used to create the tooling and molds do not need to be as durable as those for injection molding. This lowers the cost of your tooling production. Additionally, less raw materials are used in the process since the product isn’t entirely solid resin.

Highly Moldable

The low-pressure process of structural foam molding puts significantly less stress on the parts during the molding process. This leads to less warping and damage during manufacturing, which saves you time and money.

Weight Reduction

The honeycomb-like interior of structural foam molded products reduces their weight when compared to their injection-molded counterparts, allowing them to be used in a wide range of industries and applications.

What is Structural Foam Molding Used For 

Large Tonnage Parts and Products

Structural foam molding is the ideal manufacturing process for creating large, thick-walled parts and products. The low-pressure process allows these large parts to be created in a single cycle and prevents damage and warpage during the process.

Durable Parts and Products

The solid exterior of the product gives it durability and strength while the honeycomb interior makes these products more lightweight than their injection molded counterparts. This is especially advantageous for large parts.

Injection Molding

During the injection molding process, a polymer is melted inside the injection molding machine’s heated barrel. The machine is then closed and the mold halves close together and are held together under high clamp pressure. The screw in the barrel then pushes the molten polymer under very high pressure into the mold. Once all material is in the mold, the screw pulls back and starts cooling. When it is cooled entirely, the product is released from the mold.

Benefits of Injection Molding

Efficient Production

Injection molding is one of the fastest plastic manufacturing processes available. It is possible to create many parts in a short period of time through the injection molding process, allowing the manufacturing process to be completed faster.

Strength and Durability

Because injection molded parts are completely solid they are very durable. This also gives them uniform strength throughout the product.

Little Post-Injection Molding Processing 

Many times parts come out of the injection mold with good aesthetics and will require little to no finishing. Since you won’t need hardly any finishing services, you will save money on your manufacturing costs.

What is Injection Molding Used For? 

Complex Parts and Products

The injection molding process is high-pressure which allows the molten polymer to get into all of the nooks of the mold. This pressure allows for the creation of products with highly detailed and complex designs.

Port Erie is Here for Your Structural Foam or Injection Molding Needs

With over 70 years of experience, Port Erie Plastics has the expertise needed to create high-quality, large parts through both low-pressure structural foam molding and high-pressure injection molding. Our structural foam molding machines go up to 500 tons and our injection molding machines can go up to 1650 tons.

Our engineers will work with you and your design to decide which process is best for your application — structural foam molding or injection molding. Since both processes happen under the same roof, there is no difference in start time regardless of what process is chosen for your part.

Ready to see what process is right for you? Contact our team today to get started on your structural foam or injection molding process.

Exploring Structural Foam Properties

Exploring Structural Foam Properties

Structural foam molding is a great plastic manufacturing method for large objects and the inherent structural foam properties are beneficial to both the manufacturer and the customer. This allows manufacturers to easily create large plastic parts and products that are durable.

Structural foam molding begins when nitrogen gas or a chemical blowing agent is mixed with a melting polymer. This polymer mixture is then injected into a mold under low pressure. As the plastic touches the walls of the mold, it cools and solidifies, creating a solid outer layer with a honeycomb interior.

Structural Foam Properties You Should Consider

Weight Reduction

There is a considerable weight reduction between large injection molded products and large structural foam molded products. Due to the honeycomb interior, structural foam products are lighter than if the same part was made with straight injection molding. This allows these products to be used in a wide range of industries and in applications where injection-molded parts are simply too heavy.

Strong and Durable

The plastics that are used for the structural foam molding process have a higher rigidity than the plastics that are used in injection molding. This structural foam property results in a strong and durable plastic product.

Highly Moldable

Since the process is low-pressure, structural foam is highly moldable. It experiences less stress during the low-pressure molding process which reduces the risk of warping or deformities. This reduces the amount of products that are damaged during the manufacturing process, keeping it moving smoothly and saving you valuable time and money.

Reduced Resource Use and Waste

The process of structural foam molding uses fewer raw materials and less energy during production. Additionally, post-industrial scrap plastic is often used as a primary feedstock. This allows products to be manufactured in a more sustainable manner which is becoming increasingly important to consumers.

Cost-Effective Manufacturing Solution for Very Large Parts

Structural foam molding is a cost-effective manufacturing process for creating very large, thick parts, and very specific parts. This is because it is a low-pressure process, requiring less clamping force during the injection and curing processes. Because the clamping force is lesser, tooling and molds can be made from less expensive materials, such as aluminum. Producing very large parts and products can be costly, so saving money with structural foam molding can increase your profit margins.

Talk to the Experts at Port Erie to Learn How Structural Foam Properties Could Work for Your Project

At Port Erie, we have over 70 years of experience in plastic manufacturing and structural foam molding. We can produce parts up to 150 pounds, 7.5 feet in length, and with a wall thickness ranging from 0.200 to 0.500 inches with our structural foam molding machines. You can choose from polyethylene or polypropylene for this process depending on the structural foam properties you desire.

Not only are we expert structural foam molders, but we also specialize in injection molding and engineering. Our trained engineers will help you determine which process is best for the production of your products and what polymer may be the best fit for you.

If you are looking for a trusted structural foam molder, turn to Port Erie. Contact our team to get started today!

Secondary Operations: Plastic Injection Molding Assembly and Finishing

Secondary Operations: Plastic Injection Molding Assembly and Finishing

Secondary operations are the processes of plastic injection molding assembly and finishing that occur after a part has been molded. These processes complete the production of plastic parts and add value to your products.


At Port Erie Plastics, we have extensive experience with assembly, including having the ability to tackle complex assemblies. This includes multiple molded parts being assembled using purchased components such as latches, springs, rods, aluminum extrusions, and more.

In-Line and Off-Line Assembly

In-line assembly occurs during the production process. Workers are assigned a specific task and complete it before sending the product further down the assembly line.  On the other hand, off-line assembly occurs after the production of the individual parts has been completed.

Off-line assembly does have constraints and can be difficult work.  At Port Erie, we combine engineering and automation in order to complete as many processes as possible at the injection molding machine—saving time by consolidating and streamlining the production process.


Pad Printing

This decorating technique transfers a 2D image onto a 3D plastic part using an etched plate. Pad printing allows for the printing of multiple colors on complex surfaces, such as concave or convex parts.

Heat Transfer

The process of heat transferring bonds high-quality digitally printed or screen-printed images to the plastic part or product using heat and pressure. Heat transfer allows for full-color printing and requires no cure time, so it is ready to ship right away.

Hot Stamping

Hot stamping combines heat and pressure to transfer pre-dried ink or foil to a plastic part. The process yields a reflective or high gloss color to raised areas. It is a durable printing process and can be paired with all thermoplastics.

In-Mold Decorating

In-mold decorating allows for the high-precision machining of plastic parts with specific colors and a high-quality appearance. During the process, a premade applique is placed into the mold before the injection molding process begins. The molding then takes place around the applique.

Port Erie Plastics can decorate both at the injection molding machine and in a dedicated, climate-controlled room depending on the process you select.



Using a 6-axis robot, we are able to drill holes in plastic products for inserts or other hardware. This careful process creates clean holes and slots in the plastic without causing damage such as cracking or warping.


We are able to join two plastic pieces or parts together using ultrasonic welding techniques. Ultrasonic welding works by sending a high-frequency vibration through the pieces until they are held together.


The process of fastening joins plastic parts together with fastening elements such as hinges, latches, screws, rivets, pins, and more. Fastening does not require any heat or welding in order to join pieces together.

Heat Staking

Combining heat and pressure, heat staking is used to join plastic parts together. Localized heating and cooling of the plastics all the material to be reformed and joined.

CNC Trimming

CNC trimming utilizes a pre-programmed route to remove excess material from a plastic part. This brings the piece to its desired shape and size so it is ready for use.

Trust Port Erie with Your Plastic Injection Molding Assembly and Finishing

When you partner with Port Erie Plastics, we can help you with your plastic projects from start to finish. Our engineers will assess your designs and make suggestions to improve manufacturing, saving you time and money. We have extensive experience in custom and automated injection molding, structural foam molding, and extrusion services.

Once your product has been manufactured, our secondary operations will ensure your products are ready to hit the shelves. From assembly to decorating, we have you covered. Port Erie also offers distribution and warehousing services to our clients so you don’t have to worry about finding storage space or a distributor. We provide a single point of contact to take your product from a fledgling idea to its finished state.

Contact us today to see what we can do for your next plastic project.

The Benefits of a Manufacturer With Plastic Injection Mold Building Capabilities

The Benefits of a Manufacturer With Plastic Injection Mold Building Capabilities

Businesses are always looking for ways to lower manufacturing costs and shorten turnaround times. One way they can accomplish these savings is by partnering with a manufacturer that can perform plastic injection mold building.

There are many ways in which in-house plastic injection mold building can benefit customers. From reducing transit times to offering higher quality products, let’s explore each of these advantages.

Shortened Turnaround Times

When manufacturers do not have in-house tooling or mold building capabilities, they have to outsource these services, making turnaround times significantly longer. Between additional transit times, manufacturing, and the potential for errors, outsourcing is costly in many ways.

Manufacturers that invest in their in-house tooling and plastic injection mold building can offer their clients lower costs and shorter turnaround times. There are no extra transit costs and customers can work closely with their manufacturer to ensure the mold comes out just right.

Lower Costs

It can be tempting to outsource your tooling and mold builds to low-cost countries to save money on manufacturing costs. However, it can be more expensive in the long run than working with a trusted domestic manufacturer. You will be spending a significant amount of money on transit and you risk receiving a low-quality product. With so much distance between you and your manufacturer, it is easy for important details to be overlooked, and quality control simply is not as good.

Transportation isn’t the only hidden cost with offshore tooling. Molds that are created overseas can be extremely difficult to run, making the manufacturing process much more expensive. Repairs on these molds are also very challenging, making it very expensive.

A domestic manufacturer with in-house tooling and plastic injection mold building ensures that you have regular communication about the status of your product. And, without worrying about international shipping, you can rest assured that you will receive a quality product at a lower price.

Your Manufacturer Will Own the Process

When your manufacturer builds your molds, they own the entire process. This simplifies the debugging of a new project, allowing for any necessary modifications to the mold design and any necessary repairs.

Quality Products

Working with a manufacturer with in-house tooling capabilities allows you to work closely with their team to ensure your products meet all of your standards. For example, when partnering with Port Erie Plastics, you will work with one of our engineers for any project you may have. We can source alternative resins for you, or rework your designs to make them easier to manufacture. This way, you have the peace of mind that your product will be of the highest quality and produced in the most efficient way possible.


In-house plastic injection mold building allows consumers to work closely with engineers to make changes and improvements to their molds and tooling easily. These changes can take place immediately, without the need to wait for delayed communication to occur, transit times, or extra costs.

With Port Erie’s In-House Tool Room, We Can Serve You from Start to Finish

For 70 years, Port Erie Plastics has provided our customers with high-quality plastic products and unparalleled customer service. From plastic injection molding to structural foam molding, we have the ability to tackle your largest, most complex products.

We want to ensure our customers receive the highest quality product at the lowest possible cost. This is why we’ve invested in the expansion of our in-house tool room and plastic injection mold building capabilities. When you partner with us, there is no need to additionally outsource your mold building—helping you consolidate and streamline your operations. Our engineers will work with you to ensure your product meets all of your needs and your mold is built to allow for efficient manufacturing. We will work closely with you so you never have to worry about the quality of your product. Contact us today to learn more or to get started.

Managing the Plastic Injection Molding Supply Chain

Managing the Plastic Injection Molding Supply Chain

In recent years, supply chain shortages have affected nearly every industry, and the plastic injection molding industry is no exception. Manufacturers must understand the injection molding supply chain to keep their operations running smoothly and ensure their client’s shipments arrive on time.

The Supply Chain Process

Supply chains are a series of connected processes and individuals that are directly involved in the creation of a product and making sure it is delivered to the consumer in a timely manner. Careful logistical planning is needed throughout the entire process and manufacturers need to prioritize efficient production and scheduling to meet demand.

Sourcing Raw Materials

Resins are sourced based on their quality, availability, and cost. When there are issues within the supply chain, it may be necessary to find alternative resins based on cost and availability. Your manufacturer will be able to help with this process should the issue arise.

Packaging, Distribution, and Order Fulfillment

After the manufacturing process has been completed, the finished product is packaged for distribution. After packaging, the product is shipped to the consumer. During this process, it is important to understand how critical it is to get orders to their final destinations on time. Manufacturers with distribution and warehousing capabilities should be able to complete delivery to big-box retailers, provide just-in-time (JIT) delivery, and direct delivery to consumers.

How Port Erie Manages the Plastic Injection Molding Supply Chain

Risk Management

In order to properly understand what is needed, manufacturers need to identify risks to the injection molding supply chain. Such risks include natural disasters, pandemics, geopolitical instability, and supplier bankruptcy. As these risks are identified, contingency plans are put into place to minimize the disruptions they may cause. This includes finding backup suppliers and alternative resins.

Supplier Partnerships

The pandemic disrupted many supply chains, including plastics. Partnering with suppliers that have raw materials available and forging lasting partnerships with them gives manufacturers the ability to provide resins with little disruption.

With the disruptions from the pandemic, Port Erie was able to identify alternate suppliers and openly communicate issues and disruptions with our customers. Keeping their customers informed and updated was their top priority, and allowed Port Erie’s engineers to find qualified alternate resins even when their specs called for a single source.

Extensive Capabilities

Providing all necessary services in a single location will save time and money transporting your products from one manufacturing location to another. At Port Erie, we offer a wide range of manufacturing services, secondary operations, and warehousing:

Custom Injection Molding 

With custom injection molding, we can create your product by using high pressure to fill a mold with melted resin, leaving your product complete after cooling.

Structural Foam Molding

If you need to create large parts, structural foam molding uses low pressure to inject liquid resin and an inert gas or chemical blowing agent into a mold.

Mold Design and Tooling Transfer

Our in-house tool room allows us to create and repair molds for your product, so we can get right to work. We can also improve existing tooling for your production.


With on-site engineers, we are able to help you source alternative resins if there are kinks in the supply chain. They can also help make your design more manufacturable, saving time in the manufacturing process.

Secondary Operations

After manufacturing, your project will need to be packaged, assembled, or even decorated. Our team has extensive experience providing the services needed to get your product ready for the shelves, including pad printing, heat transfer, and packaging.


Supply chain issues don’t just happen with materials. Recently, there have been labor shortages that have affected nearly every industry in the country, including plastic injection molding. Implementing automation into the manufacturing process can alleviate the strain these labor shortages place on the supply chain by providing continuous manufacturing.


Time and money are both lost on shipping products around the country just to be put in a storage facility. Port Erie has warehousing capabilities, allowing for our customers to store their products long- or short-term, saving them on transportation costs.

Logistics, Quality Control, and Distribution

Coordinating all portions of the supply chain is crucial to reducing delivery time and costs. Plastic injection molders who provide logistical support can help create plans, reduce lead times, minimize cost, and ensure on-time delivery.

These manufacturers also make sure that the products leaving their facility are of the highest quality. Monitoring processes to identify and address concerns before they cause delivery delays makes your customers happier and saves you money.

Distribution services provide order fulfillment, drop-shipping, and just-in-time (JIT) deliveries so your customers are always getting their product on time.

Partner With Port Erie for High-Quality Plastic Products and Quick Turnaround Times

For over seven decades, Port Erie has been the chosen injection molding partner. This is not just because of our extensive capabilities, but because we understand the plastic injection molding supply chain. Our experience allows us to identify risks and address them head-on before they become a problem for you.

Contact our team today to see what we can do for your project.

Large Tonnage Injection Molding: Low- and High-Pressure Processes

Large Tonnage Injection Molding: Low- and High-Pressure Processes

Large plastic products can be produced in two ways, large-tonnage injection molding and large-tonnage structural foam molding. Both can produce products that can replace metal, wood, concrete, or fiberglass. Each process, however, has its benefits and specific applications, so it is important to understand the processes and their benefits.

Injection molding can be used to produce large plastic products with thinner walls. These products tend to be lighter than those produced by structural foam molding, usually weighing less than 20 pounds.

Structural foam molding also allows for the production of very large plastic products with thicker walls. These products are generally heavier than injection molded products, weighing 50 pounds or more. However, structural foam molded products are still more lightweight than solid plastic parts.

Low-Pressure Structural Foam Molding

Low-pressure structural foam molding requires nitrogen gas and/or a chemical blowing agent to be mixed with the melted resin. This mixture is then injected into a mold under significantly lower pressure than traditional injection molding techniques. Structural foam molding produces very large parts with thicker walls, making them very durable.


The most common resins used in structural foam molding are polyethylene and polypropylene. Both resins possess advantageous properties that make them ideal for this process.

Polyethylene is a durable and lightweight resin that offers excellent load-bearing, shock absorption, vibration-dampening properties, and resistance to chemicals, grease, and moisture. Polypropylene is a rigid and lightweight resin offering excellent compression and impact resistance, as well as chemical, temperature, and moisture resistance.

Structural foam molding and these two resins are great for creating large industrial totes and grilles for lawn and garden tractors due to their durability and resistance to heat, chemicals, and moisture.


Highly Moldable

Low-pressure structural foam molding can create parts with variable wall thicknesses. However, cycle time will be determined by the thickest part.  Uniform wall thickness is always best.  Also, due to the low pressure used in the process, there is a reduced risk of warping and deformation during the manufacturing process.

High Strength-to-Weight Ratio

These products are lighter weight than solid plastic products, however, they maintain their strength and durability.

High Thermal Stability

Structural foam’s ability to withstand thermal expansion makes it ideal for products that will be exposed to a wide range of temperatures. Whether it is heat or cold, these products will not warp or lose their properties if exposed to extreme temperatures.


Due to the lower pressure used in this molding process, the tooling used does not need to be as durable as high-pressure injection molding tools, saving you money.

High-Pressure Injection Molding

Injection molding requires plastic resin pellets to be melted down in the barrel of the injection molded machine. The melted resin is then forced into the mold through a high-pressure nozzle, forcing the material into all parts of the mold cavity. As the plastic cools and hardens, it retains the shape of the mold.


There are three common resins used in high-pressure injection molding: HDPE, ABS, and polypropylene. Again, each has its own advantages and is chosen based on the application of the product being produced.

HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, is a flexible and waterproof resin. It has good low-temperature resistance, chemical resistance, and corrosion resistance, and is easily processed at an affordable price.

ABS is a very durable resin with high durability. It also has high tensile strength and is very resistant to physical impacts and chemicals.

Polypropylene is a lightweight, cost-effective, rigid resin. Its chemical and heat resistance along with its high tensile strength and impact tolerance make it a great choice for a wide range of products.

High-pressure injection molding is used to create many outdoor products, including DuraTrac outdoor floors and lawn or garden carts.


Repeatability with High Detail

This manufacturing process can produce identical parts over and over. Additionally, the high-pressure forces used force the plastic against the mold walls, creating highly complex designs with intricate details.


Cycle times for injection molding are very short—sometimes only lasting a handful of seconds. It is also possible to use a multi-cavity to produce several different parts in one run, saving even more production time.

Produces Less Waste

Luckily, while the injection molding process doesn’t produce much waste, any unused or waste plastic produced can be recycled for future products.

Can be Automated

Many parts of the injection molding process are being automated, including loading and unloading, inspection and quality control, assembly, and more. Using automation and robotics during the manufacturing process helps to reduce labor costs and production time, increasing your cost savings.

Work with a Plastic Injection Molder With Large Tonnage Injection Molding and Structural Foam Molding

Working with a manufacturer who has large tonnage capabilities in both low-pressure structural foam molding and high-pressure injection molding grants you a wider range of manufacturing options so you get the best product possible.

Port Erie’s large-tonnage injection molding creates large parts with walls thinner than 0.25 inches. Our machines are capable of handling up to 1,650 tons and can create parts up to 20 pounds.

Our large tonnage structural foam molding produces parts up to 50 pounds with walls thicker than 0.25 inches. These parts are heavy but would weigh significantly more if they were solid plastic.

At Port Erie, we will assess your part and help you determine which process is best for your product’s functionality and your budget. If you need, our engineering team can get involved to help optimize your design, so it is as compatible with its manufacturing process as possible.

Port Erie Can Handle All of Your Structural Foam Needs

At Port Erie Plastics, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the highest quality plastic products possible. From engineering to injection molding or structural foam molding and value-adding secondary operations plus distribution and warehousing, we have you covered.

Contact our team today with any questions, or request a quote if you are ready to get started.