50 Custom Thermoformed Pieces


A multi-division manufacturer of specialty environmental control systems held a reputation for over twenty years as makers of custom refrigeration units. One example of the manufacturers products included large floral coolers for retailers like Walmart. The owner of the cooling systems manufacturing company recognized the potential in leveraging their capabilities to serve the medical supply industry. He recognized a need for a room air conditioner that would also serve as an air filtration system for children and adults with severe respiratory issues and allergies. The cooling system manufacturer worked with a design company in Skaneateles, NY, to develop design concepts. Both the cooling system manufacturer and the design firm narrowed-in on CCMI Plastics as a reputable plastic fabrication company based in the region, to give detail-oriented attention to developing the exposed cover for the home air filtration and AC system.



The original prototypes were constructed from sheet metal, but the cooling system manufacturer knew the cover should be a type of plastic. Two main considerations for the cover were that the units were intended for residential use and filters would need to be changed often.

The cooling system manufacturer wanted to start with fifty beta units that would be sent to the University of Buffalo and Clarkson University to perform in an independent study to test efficiently and effectiveness. If the units were proven to help improve the healthy environment of homes, the cooling system manufacturer would seek out the approval from health departments in order for the systems to be categorized as legitimate medical devices. The cooling system manufacturer shared their full vision with CCMI and posed the questions ‘what can you do?’.



From the point of taking on the job, CCMI assisted with the design, vacuumed formed the main components, and performed intricate trim operations. Considering the system was intended for consumer-home use, it was important that when running, the system was relatively quietly with little to no vibration. CCMI designed and constructed the mounting lid with a mounting flange rather than adding fasters. Even for just fifty units, CCMI was able to source a custom color plastic as an economically priced stock-item. CCMI chose a matter with through color rather than color-coating, so the color wouldn’t chip. Again, CCMI avoided the cost of specialized tooling for this low volume part by fabricating and bonding simple mounting bracket. Overall, CCMI considered how the design sizing and adjustments could be made in the future without the need to create a new mold. Overall, a high-quality cover piece was made for the air filtration system that came in at a cost much lower than an injection molded solution.



After 5 months in the independent study, the system and hardware components were documented to have performed better than expected. The cooling system manufacturer now has the units in a 2nd round of testing. If needed, CCMI could form and ship 50 more system covers in two weeks after receiving the raw materials.