What is plastic?
Plastic is a polymer or chain of molecules with strings of carbon and other elements, made from petroleum by linking chemical
reactions. There are so many different types with varying properties. Bio-based plastics are being researched and developed,
but are not yet a feasible option in the toy business.
Thermoplastics such as Acrylic (Perspex), Acrylo-nitrile
(Nylon), Polyethylene (Polythene), Polyvinylacetate (PVA), Polystyrene (PS) and Polyvinylchloride (PVC) soften with heat and
harden when cold. They can be recycled and re-used repeatedly. We use thermoplastics in our products.
such as Bakelite, Epoxy, Melamine, Polyester and Polyurethane are cured or hardened by heat, and cannot be re-used like thermoplastics.
Some plastics are spun into fibres, made into yarns and used for weaving into textiles or made into ropes; some
can be sprayed as a coating, used as a glue, or used in paint. Plastics are used in toys because they are easy to shape and
colour, they can be made soft or hard, flexible or stiff, they are good insulators, do not rust, are lighweight, cheap and
Our products are often made from Polyethylene (PE) as it suits our products, methods and machines. We
use other plastics according to the product requirements. PE is a relatively environmentally friendly plastic. There are
different qualities, densities and types. For some purposes we can use recycled raw materials.
Additives are used
in the plastic raw material to give various properties. Different plastics can contain all sorts of additives such as plasticisers
or softeners, flexibility agents, fillers, reinforcement, pigments, flame retarders, antioxidants, blowing agents, lubricants,
heat stabilisers, UV stabilization etc. etc. We often add colouring to the plastic mass as necessary.
we are aware of the regulations in most countries, it is always prudent to specify to us any special requirements or compositions,
specific to the use of the product in your country, and whether any special testing, analysis or certification is required.
How is plastic shaped?
There are many different processing techniques commonly used in the toy and plastics industry. Most involve the use of a mould.
Our factory uses the first two moulding methods.*
*Injection moulding: Plastic beads are melted under heat
and shear energy and injected under pressure into a steel mould to give the required shape. The mould cavity is essentially
a negative of the part being produced. Our factory uses this method predominantly.
*Blow moulding: Plastic
material is forced into a closed mould and compressed air is used to blow a "bubble" inside the plastic. The plastic
swells out like a balloon until it fills the mould and the required shape is obtained. We make dolls, soft and hollow toys
using this method. (Plastic bottles can also be made this way.)
Rotational moulding: Plastic material is placed in a mould over a burner, and the mould is rotated to achieve a uniform wall
thickness. Large hollow toys, water tanks and barrels can be made this way.
Extrusion: Hot molten plastic is forced
through a nozzle to make pipes, tubes, jointing strips such as used in the building industry; and also large sheets that can
be used later in thermoforming.
Blow extrusion: This is used for making plastic bags and films. An extruded tube
with a sealed end is blown up like a balloon while still hot, stretching the plastic to make it thin.
The plastic sheet is heated to near its softening temperature, and then pressure is placed on it with a male and/or female
mould to produce a shape. This method is used to make trays, cups, masks and boards.
Vacuum forming: Sometimes
pressure and vacuum are used in the thermoforming process and maximum uniformity of thickness and strength can be obtained.
Packaging for biscuits and confectionery, cosmetics, disposable cups and containers for yoghurt can be made this way.
Slush moulding: This involves filling a hollow moulding with a solution of plastic material, heating the mould to gell
an inner layer or wall of material in the mould, and then inverting the mould to pour out the excess liquid material. After
cooling the finished part can be removed. This is used to make hollow objects.
Dipping: The mould is dipped into
a plastic solution and the coating is fused to make the item. Soft flexible toys such as balloons, handlebar grips and flexible
covers can use this technique.
Fabrication: Plastic sheets can be fabricated into tanks, acrylic signboards, and
other industrial articles, by cutting, folding or bending and glueing.
Our production process.
We assume that an entirely new product is to be created.
Of course, if you choose to use one of our existing
products the delivery will be faster.
Or you may wish to have a logo or message printed on one of our existing
items. This is also very quick, and we just need to allow for making samples and sending them to you for approval.Some of
our products have an ideal shape for block-printing (football jersey, heart, smiling face, paperclip...)
best to ask us about delivery times as our workload can vary according to the time of the year. The order quantity is also
a factor. We can usually deliver large orders in phases to suit your schedule and suitable shipping volumes. It is prudent
to allow a minimum 5 or 6 weeks for shipping each delivery from Hong Kong to your nearest port. We can also air freight the
first production batches for you if time is short.
It is important to to consider:
process: Blow moulding minimises the material quantity used, and gives a soft, flexible, light and cheap product that can
be very cute. However if it needs to be painted care needs to be taken to ensure the paint sticks. Injection moulding can
be used to give complex shapes and details, and is easier to paint and finish.
Material: What is the use of the
product? Contact with food items? Child's toy? Flexible item? Bendable item? Hard or soft plastic? Eraser? These factors will
affect the choice of the plastic type.
Size: If too large there are more material costs, more weight and volume
to transport. If the object is very small, and there is a lot of detailed painting in several colours, then finishing is difficult
and quality is difficult to maintain. Certain sizes may be dangerous for small children (swallowing). If it is a capsule item,
then its size must just fit the capsule for which it is intended.
Shape: The object must have a shape that allows
it to be removed from the mould. Usually the mould is in two half-pieces with a flat interface at the joint. Re-entrant or
undercut shapes make it difficult or impossible to remove from the mould, and two separate moulds may be needed, which will
increase the costs. Sometimes a small and acceptable change to the shape will solve such problems. If a separate piece is
nevertheless required, the piece will be glued, so agreement on the type of fixing and glue is needed. (Sometimes a flexible
plastic will allow de-moulding when it could seem very difficult.)
If the item is for a key chain then a loop
for attaching the chain and ring will be incorporated in the mould. Very often a hole will be placed in the bottom so that
a pencil topper version can use the same mould, and the volume of material is slightly reduced.
colours: If there is a predominant colour then this will be applied in the plastic mass. Glitter and other effects can also
be applied. Spray painting can be used for rainbow or other effects.
Incorporated items: Is there any small objects
to be built in, like lights with battery, metal attachments, provision for screws to fix parts?