Osborne Company News and Industry Updates

The Benefits and Limitations of Injection Molding

Injection Molded PlasticThe advantages of injection molding over die cast molding have been debated since the former process was first introduced in the 1930s. There are benefits, but also limitations to the method, and that, primarily, is need-based. Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and other consumers who rely on molded parts to produce their goods, are looking for such factors as quality, durability and affordability in deciding which molded parts best suit their needs. Read more >

Top 3 Most Impact Resistant Plastics

Impact Resistant PlasticPlastics are generally tough, corrosion and chemical resistant, lightweight, easy to fabricate, and less expensive when compared to alternative materials like metal. As with any manufacturing material, there are advantages and disadvantages to the different properties each material might have. Although there are many impact resistant plastics to choose from, there are a few that excel in their respective applications. Below we discuss the potential for three of the most common impact resistant plastics. Read more >

The Difference Between Thermoplastic and Thermosetting Plastic

Though “thermoplastic” and “thermosetting plastic” sound very much alike, the difference between thermoplastics and thermoset plastics is significant. Each has very distinctive applications and properties, along with differences in how they are processed or manufactured. Understanding the difference between thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics can help both manufacturers and product designers improve upon their products.

Basic Difference Between Thermoplastic and Thermosetting Plastic

RIM Definition | difference between thermoplastic and thermoset

Thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics are both polymers but behave differently when exposed to heat. The key difference between thermoplastic and thermosetting plastics involves the fact that thermoplastics can melt under heat after curing, while thermoset plastics keep their form and remain solid under heat once cured. The low melting point of materials made from thermoplastics makes it ideal for applications that use recycled material, while products made from thermoset plastics can withstand high temperatures without losing their shape, so are inherently considered more durable.

Thermoplastics Curing Process

When heated, thermoplastics soften and eventually become fluid. Processing thermoplastics involves no chemical bonding, which allows the material to be remolded and recycled without affecting its material properties. The properties of thermoplastic resins can vary significantly, but materials made from them tend to resist shrinking, along with offering considerable elasticity and strength. Typically, thermoplastic resins are used for a wide range of applications, from industrial components in machinery to the plastic bags used in retail stores.

Advantages of thermoplastics include:

  • Adheres well to metal
  • Allows for quality aesthetic finishes
  • Capable of reshaping after curing without much effect to material properties (recyclable)
  • Chemical and detergent resistant
  • Good electrical insulation properties
  • Enhanced anti-slip properties
  • Resistant to impact
  • Offers options for both hardened crystalline and rubbery surfaces
  • Resistant to chipping
  • Resists corrosion well

Disadvantages of thermoplastics include:

  • Ability to soften when heated makes it less suitable for some applications
  • Often more expensive option than thermosetting polymers
  • Commonly used thermoplastic polymers include polyvinylchloride (vinyl or PVC), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene (PE), polycarbonate (PC) and polyethylene theraphthalate (PET).

Thermoset Curing Process

Usually produced using the Reaction Injection Molding (RIM) or Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) processes, thermoset plastic polymers combine together to form permanent chemical bonds during the curing process. This chemical reaction forms bonds between monomer chains within the material, keeping it from returning to its original liquid state when reheated. This difference between thermoplastic and thermoset plastics makes the latter better for applications where heat is a factor, such as in housings for electronics or appliances and chemical-processing equipment, as it has greater structural integrity due to its resistance to both heat and chemicals. Thermoset plastics also possess several improved mechanical properties, with products made from it better at resisting deformation and impact.

Advantages of thermosetting polymers include:

  • Allows for flexible product design
  • Can be molded with different tolerances
  • Capable of varying wall thickness to improve structural integrity
  • Components usually cost less than those fabricated from metals – especially for large equipment body panels
  • Excellent electrical insulation properties
  • Greater resistance to high temperatures
  • High dimensional stability
  • Highly resistant to corrosion
  • Low thermal conductivity
  • Lower costs for setup and tooling compared to thermoplastics
  • Offers high strength-to-weight ratio to improve product performance
  • Water-resistant
  • Wide choice for coloring and surface finishes

Thermosetting polymers disadvantages include:

  • Can neither be reshaped nor remolded
  • Not recyclable

Commonly used thermoset plastics include polyepoxides (epoxy resins), phenol-formaldehyde (PF or phenolics), polysiloxane (silicones), and polyethylene terephthalate (polyesters), polyurethanes, polydicyclopentadiene (pDCPD), and structural foams.

Aesthetic Difference Between Thermoplastic and Thermosetting

Though some may argue thermoplastics offer better aesthetics than thermosets, thermosetting polymers still offer better aesthetics than other alternatives like metals. Both RIM and RTM techniques readily accept secondary painting, but also allow in-mold painting or coating. This involves spraying coatings or gel coat directly into a mold before the thermosetting polymers are injected into it. This process bonds the paint or coating to the surface, offering better adhesion to prevent chipping, cracking or flaking even when exposed to harsh weather conditions. This makes in-mold coatings of thermosetting materials ideal for such applications as construction machinery or other material that needs to withstand extreme conditions.

Industries Using Thermoplastic and Thermosetting Polymers

With the basic differences between thermoplastic and thermosetting plastics established, let’s look at what applications each type of polymer has within various industries.

Applications for Thermoplastic Polymers

Thermoplastics can be found in virtually any industry with products ranging from milk jugs to piping systems. As thermoplastics are capable of withstanding corrosive conditions, they work well as a substitute for metals, but cannot withstand high temperatures as well as thermosets.

Applications include:

  • Fabricating ropes or belts
  • Insulating electrical cabling
  • Liquid storage tanks
  • Protective covers for rigid equipment
  • Other industries utilizing thermoplastics include construction, electronics, medical and biomedical, food and beverage, chemical, automotive, plumbing, and many more.

Applications for Thermosetting Polymers

Offering an excellent combination of chemical resistance, structural robustness and thermal stability, thermosetting polymers are widely used throughout a range of industries, as they offer an economical means to meet many production specifications. They are easily formed into complex geometric shapes that fabrication of metal components cannot easily achieve, and components made via RIM and RTM techniques allow for considerable consistency in the fabrication process.

Ask an Expert About Thermoset Plastics | difference between thermoplastic and thermoset

Applications include:

  • Chlorine and other chemical generation piping, fittings, or cell covers
  • Electrical or medical equipment housings and components
  • Heavy construction or transportation equipment like doors, panels, or housings
  • Livestock feeding troughs and other agricultural products
  • Motor vehicle and tractor parts
  • Military vehicle components

Sectors that use thermosetting polymers include the adhesive and sealant, aerospace and defense, appliance and electrical, automotive, energy, and construction industries.

Contact Us

Understanding the difference between thermoplastic and thermoset plastics is essential for both manufacturers and product designers alike. To learn more about Osborne’s capabilities with thermosets and how they can offer added benefits to your products or parts currently being made of metal or thermosetting materials, please contact us today.


Learn More About These Plastic Molding Processes


Reaction Injection Molding


pDCPD Molding


Resin Transfer Molding


How the Resin Transfer Molding Process Works

In 1976, Osborne Industries, Inc., originated and initiated the closed-mold molding process that was later known in the plastics industry as resin transfer molding, or RTM. The resin transfer molding process has been in use ever since. RTM is one of the best methods for the mass production of composite parts. It is primarily used to mold components with large surface areas, complex shapes, and smooth finishes. The automotive, industrial equipment and agriculture industries have used the resin transfer molding process for decades for these reasons.

Below we discuss a more detailed step-by-step of the resin transfer molding process and its advantages.

Read more >

pDCPD Reaction Injection Molding (RIM) Provides Durability, Structural Advantages

Reaction Injection Molding pDCDP Example When we had a customer that was looking for alternatives to the sheet metal hoods on boring machines used in the construction industry, Osborne offered pDCPD reaction injection molding (RIM) as a solution to the problems they were facing. The wet conditions on many construction boring jobs led to excessive rust on the steel hoods, while the rugged environment dented and damaged the sheet metal. As opposed to steel, pDCPD offers an excellent combination of chemical and corrosion resistance, as well as outstanding impact resistance. These characteristics made the engineered thermoset polymer the perfect replacement for the sheet metal hoods. Read more >

What is pDCPD? Your Questions Answered

What is pDCPDMolded pDCPD Graph?  pDCPD is the abbreviation for polydicyclopentadiene, a thermoset polymer plastic material. Thermosets like pDCPD are distinguished from thermoplastic materials, the other main group of plastics, because, unlike thermoplastics which revert back to liquid form under excessive heat, thermosets will remain in a post-cured form.

pDCPD and other thermosets resist melting because of the process by which they’re created: two dissimilar liquids are mixed together, creating high temperatures that foster cross-linking between molecular chains. This cross-linking contributes to thermosets’ heat resistance. Read more >

Osborne Industries Launches New Responsive Website

Osborne Industries Launches New WebsiteOsborne Industries, Inc., a leader in custom liquid molding of thermosetting plastics, is proud and excited to announce the launch of their new, responsive website.

Osborne invites visitors to explore their new website that is designed to provide the ultimate user-friendly experience, with easy to use navigation and improved functionality. The company, which specializes in the custom liquid molding of thermoset plastics via Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) and Reaction Injection Molding (RIM), hopes the new site will further elevate their online presence. Read more >

Osborne Industries, Inc., Receives Award for Consistency of Resin Transfer Molded (RTM) Products

consistency award for resin transfer moldingAugust 7, 2015 – Osborne, Kansas – Osborne Industries, Inc., a custom resin transfer molding firm, was presented with a Consistency Award for reliable, dependable service by Altec Industries, headquartered in St. Joseph, Missouri. The presentation took place at Altec’s Supplier Summit on May 5, 2015, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Osborne began working with Altec Industries 30 years ago, supplying aerial lift platforms for the company’s utility vehicles. Since then, Osborne continues to supply thousands of platforms annually, molded via resin transfer molding (RTM), and adhering stringent testing protocols and product specifications for durability and reliability. Read more >

Osborne Industries, Inc. to Exhibit at Design-2-Part Show

February 24, 2015 – Osborne, Kansas – Osborne Industries, Inc., a manufacturer of custom-molded plastics via Reaction Injection Molding (RIM) and Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), has announced it will be exhibiting at the Design-2-Part manufacturing show. The show is being held at the Gaylord Texan Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas, February 25-26, 2015. Osborne Industries can be found at booth # 510. Read more >