Thermoformed Plastics Solutions Blog

McClarin Plastics

Recent Posts

Material Makes the Difference in Thermoforming

Posted by McClarin Plastics on Sep 29, 2015 1:49:00 PM

Thousands of thermoplastic products are on the market today, making it difficult to choose a specific material for your next manufacturing project. This leads many companies to use the same option repeatedly, but they can be missing out on major benefits of other material types or putting mission-critical parts at risk of failure.

Material selection can give you the strength, flexibility, and resolution that you need to outperform your competitors. Whether you’re building aircraft windshields, food containers, or are planning to take on the iPhone, the materials you pick for your thermoforming can make or break your success.

Let’s look at some of the top materials that to consider for your next custom thermoforming and manufacturing work with us here at McClarin Plastics.


Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is one of the tougher materials available for thermoplastics manufacturing. It has a high impact resistance and can withstand exposure to a wide range of chemicals, high temperatures, and moistures.

Where you’ll find it:

Top areas you’ve come across ABS include industrial protective cases, electronics enclosures, cars and recreational vehicles, instrument panels, and even the protective cases for consumer goods.


If you need a lightweight material that can maintain its color and structure in consistent weather exposure, acrylic is a top choice. It also keeps a great look and feel under constant fluorescent lamp exposure.

Where you’ll find it:

You’ve touched and seen acrylic thermoplastics in the inside of your airplane, on medical devices, lenses, outdoor signs, and exteriors on transportation devices.


High-Density Polyethylene works great in areas where you need increased resistance. HDPE has a high strength-to-density ratio and is resistant to many solvents. It’s also approved for food contact applications.

Where you’ll find it:

HDPE likely touches many products you’ve used in your home’s kitchen. It’s commonly found in food storage, agricultural pipes, potable water storage, and things like fuel tanks and sporting goods.


Glycolized Polyethylene Terephthalate, known as PETG, provides a rigid or semi-rigid barrier that’s good at keeping moisture at bay. It’s also resistant to solvents and impacts while remaining mostly transparent.

Where you’ll find it:

PETG is a common thermoplastic that’s used in medical devices, machine guards, industrial components, hand tools, and car parts.


Nothing withstands impact quite like polycarbonate material. With high impact resistance, top clarity, and good temperature resistance, this thermoplastic can withstand a lot but is prone to scratching.

Where you’ll find it:

You may see polycarbonate in tough situations such as serving in aircraft components, car parts, construction materials, skylights, and components for appliances and electronics.

Learn More Today

If you want to obtain the best results in thermoplastics and thermoforming, it all comes down to materials. Get the right materials for any application by contacting McClarin Plastics.

Read More

Our Customers Benefit from McClarin’s Commitment to Quality

Posted by McClarin Plastics on Sep 24, 2015 3:39:48 PM

You’ve probably seen the logo for the ISO 9001 certification on our website, but might not know why that’s a great thing for you and your next manufacturing project. Let’s look deeper at the certification and why we’ve held it for more than 10 years.

Essentially, the certification means that not only has McClarin Plastics, LLC made a commitment to delivering high-quality products and unparalleled customer service, but we’ve kept that commitment.

ISO 9001 is awarded when a company operates a Quality Management System, McClarin is able to use this certification for of our manufacturing work for any contract manufactured plastic components.

At McClarin, we believe the best way to demonstrate our commitment to great service and products is through attaining certifications. Here are some of the top reasons we put our faith in the ISO certification.

International Recognition

First and foremost, the ISO 9001 is a standard used across the globe by the International Organization for Standardization. It covers a wide range of industries throughout the entire world, and we have worked hard to meet the standards.

Improved Products for You

McClarin has always had a commitment to delivering the best product we can, but the ISO 9001 certification helps us continue that promise by creating a culture that loves to improve products.

To obtain the ISO 9001 certification, we developed products that met the specified requirements and demands of our customer base.

Focusing on customer demands means we have to always look forward at what’s new and trending in the industry. When we put the ISO commitment into place, it required us to take this approach for every product and every process.

For you, that means you’re always getting goods and manufacturing processes that are the best in the business. Your business metrics become ours and give us a chance to focus on reducing waste and saving money in our process, and then pass that along to you.

Customer Service Improvements

The ISO 9001 Quality Management System requires internal auditing and process checks. We consistently check our progress against customer demands and requirements, and you’re involved in that process.

Our ISO 9001:2008 certification means that you get a commitment to quality goods from a company who is listening to you. McClarin’s representatives can support throughout each step of the custom manufacturing process, and we look forward to helping you.
Read More

The Plastics Advantage in Transportation

Posted by McClarin Plastics on Sep 10, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Heavy-duty trucks and buses are the backbone of the transportation industry. McClarin Plastics has been working with your industry and your top equipment to create custom manufactured parts that provide a wide variety of benefits.

JERRDANWith a focus on plastics and custom development, McClarin is able to consistently deliver high value-added services that provide our transportation partners with on-time delivery of high-quality components—all while helping to reduce costs.

We Know Transportation

Custom manufactured parts that will save customers money and help to consistently deliver mission-critical elements requires vast industry knowledge. McClarin Plastics has worked with industry professionals to manufacture replacements, custom equipment, and high-volume orders.

Our staff of expert technicians provides a comprehensive design service no matter how you handle transport. Thermoformed, reaction injection molded (RIM), and fiberglass-reinforced plastic components can protect your equipment.

Whether you need a new engine cover, are looking to replace your airline seating elements, or want to improve your transit rail cars, McClarin has the experience you need for a better component.

Choosing Plastic for Trucking

gilligbus_300x200-1The trucking and transportation world is continuing to turn to plastics because of the cost savings. There are many different ways plastics have proven themselves, but some of the best for your bottom line include:

  • Weight reduction. Improve your fuel economy with a lighter load. Whether the market is up or down, you’ll save on that one expense you can never escape: fuel.
  • Impact resistance. Plastics can take blows and keep going. You’ll see reductions in maintenance cost and often a cheaper cost if you need to replace parts.
  • Improved corrosion resistance. Because plastic doesn’t rust, you’re saving your trucking equipment from the most common on-the-job type of corrosion.
  • Color application savings. Remove the need to paint and repaint areas that have wear or take up a large section of your equipment. With plastics, color is integrated. Say goodbye to scratches that ruin your look.

These are just a few of the top elements that can improve your products by switching to plastics. Our experts recommend TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) that can withstand a wide range of temperatures, impacts and more.

As a partner throughout the manufacturing process, McClarin has continually added value to our customer’s equipment and improved their bottom line, and we can do the same for you. Contact us today for more information.

Read More

Topics: transportation

Testing Capabilities at McClarin Plastics

Posted by McClarin Plastics on Sep 9, 2015 2:05:00 PM

At McClarin Plastics, we go out of our way to employ a number of testing capabilities above and beyond those used by other plastics manufacturers. We use both mechanical and molecular testing on materials to determine their strengths and weaknesses before the research and development phase.

mccpOur testing process helps us minimize the amount of trial and error during development of products for our customer, so that we can bring them to market quickly and effectively. It has also allowed us to develop a database of material properties, which we use to help our customers select appropriate materials for their projects.

While our labs are not certified the tests that we conduct on our materials, comply with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) guidelines, include:

  • Flexural test — Used to determine material strength when bent
  • Tensile test — Used to determine material strength when stretched
  • Impact test — Used to determine material strength when impacted

Flexural Test

Flexural and tensile tests are the most common tests used to qualify materials for given applications.

Flexural testing provides two important values: flexural strength and flexural modulus. These values tell us the materials overall stiffness, and how much of a load it can support before bending.

Tensile Test

Tensile testing yields three important values: Modulus of elasticity, or general material toughness; elongation, or how much stretch and deformation a material can withstand; and tensile strength.

Tensile strength itself is divided into three separate measurements: Ultimate, or the absolute highest pull force a material can withstand; yield, or the pull force at which a material permanently deforms; and break, or the force at which a material breaks.

Impact Test

Impact tests are used to determine how a material reacts when impacted with various loads. This information helps us to identify materials suitable for what you need to package, and to design products to minimize points of stress concentration.

McClarin Plastics does all that we can to ensure that the materials we use and the products we design are of the highest quality possible. Visit the Mechanical & Molecular Testing Capabilities page of our website to learn about the other tests we use and how they lead to better end results for you.

Read More

Topics: McClarin Plastics

Trends in Thermoforming

Posted by McClarin Plastics on Aug 6, 2015 2:17:22 PM

Industries are in constant flux. Availability of materials, advanced production processes and automation techniques, client requirements, consumer desires, and a huge number of other factors are always changing.

If an industry or an industry sector cannot keep pace with the changing times, they will be left behind, becoming obsolete. Thermoforming and the plastics industry have been able to keep up with the current green products trends in consumer preferences — sustainability and renewable alternative materials.


Basic sustainability can be quite easy to implement in plastics thermoforming. There are two simple practices that can jump start sustainability efforts for a thermoforming manufacturer. They are lightweighting and recycling.

Lightweighting and downgauging are material reduction methods. Downgauging, sometimes called thin-walling, is when a thinner gauge of sheet or extruded plastic is used in the thermoforming process of certain products, often packaging materials.

Lightweighting is a slightly more complex process. When a product is lightweighted, it is redesigned specifically to reduce the amount of material that each piece uses. The product’s use, shape, strength, load bearing requirements, possibility of downgauging, and other factors are all reconsidered and optimized to reduce the amount of material that is required.

Another sustainability initiative popular in the thermoforming industry is simple recycling. Instead of disposing of waste scraps, they can easily be collected.

Thermoforming manufacturers can then sell the plastic scraps to a specialized recycling facility. Alternatively, they can recycle the waste material themselves. There are new recycling technologies that allow thermoformers to integrate plastic scraps directly back into their own raw material stocks, saving costs and eliminating waste.

Renewable Alternative Materials

Sustainability goes hand in hand with renewability. Reducing usage of raw materials and eliminating waste are important, but their impact is minimal if dedicated steps toward using alternative and renewable materials are not also taken as well.

Traditionally, plastics are made from crude oil or natural gas, non-renewable resources whose use is harmful to the environment. Bioplastics are a burgeoning new alternative. Bioplastics are created using biomass, things like vegetable fats, oils and starches, cellulose, and microorganisms.

Bioplastics sources are naturally renewable: They can even be made out of agricultural byproducts, thereby reducing waste. Their production creates no harmful substances and uses less fossil fuel than production of traditional plastics.

 Bioplastics, which are naturally well-suited to the thermoforming process, are the future of plastic.

 There are a lot of choices to make if you are considering thermoforming for your products. It can be overwhelming, but McClarin Plastics is here to help. Contact us today to discuss your design requirements and specifications, and to learn how McClarin can help you meet them.

Contact Us

Read More

Topics: thermoforming

Blackford Capital’s McClarin Plastics, LLC Appoints Jerry Armstrong as CEO

Posted by McClarin Plastics on Jul 1, 2015 10:38:00 AM


McClarin Plastics, LLC, a Hanover, Pa.-based national manufacturer and provider of composites and fiber-reinforced plastic components, announced that it has named Jerry Armstrong as President and CEO of the company.

amtech-logo   blackford-logomcclarin-plastics-logo


 Armstrong will succeed Todd Kennedy and Doug Christie, who have served as co-CEOs of the company since the recent January merger of Amtech Corporation and McClarin Plastics. Christie and Kennedy will remain actively involved in the company as senior members of the team.

Armstrong has a long track record of growth at various publically traded companies. Most notably, in 2002, Jerry joined National Seating, a soon-to-be product brand of Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. As Vice President and General Manager for National Seating, he was responsible for all aspects of the original equipment and aftermarket businesses. He was promoted to President, CVG Americas in 2004. Under his leadership, Commercial Vehicle Group grew from $250M to $916M in revenue. The company went public on August 5, 2004 and is now listed on the NASDAQ as CVGI.

Also of note, Armstrong spent a portion of his career with Arvin Meritor Inc. where he served as Vice President of Operations and Engineering for Gabriel Ride Control, Inc. He was promoted two years later to Vice President and General Manager of Gabriel Ride Control, Inc. While at Arvin Meritor, Armstrong helped grow sales by more than $400 million.

In addition to earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Arts from Berea College, Armstrong also holds a degree from the Executive Business Program at the University of Indiana Graduate School of Business.

“Jerry’s track record in the industry is outstanding and we are confident that his experience and leadership of McClarin will drive performance that will reward investors. He is a proven leader with success in acquisition integration, growth planning and implementation, reporting, private equity support, and manufacturing production, skills he has demonstrated at major publically traded companies,” said Blackford Capital’s Founder and Managing Director Martin Stein.  “Jerry is an expert in the transportation and specifically heavy truck markets, which directly overlaps both the Amtech and McClarin customer bases. Jerry is the right leader to implement our integration plan and cultivate our long-term strategic vision, which will benefit our communities, customers, employees, suppliers, investors, and other stakeholders.”

In an initial statement to employees, Armstrong stated, “The combination of Blackford and Amtech’s credibility in the industry, market and industry dynamics, and the solid foundation of these two organizations provides a unique opportunity to create a dynamic value proposition for our employees and customers. The market is trending towards consolidation and the public/private energy policy in North America is a game changer for manufacturing in our existing regions. This means more jobs and an exciting next chapter in McClarin’s history.”

About Blackford Capital 
Blackford Capital is a private equity firm based in Grand Rapids, Mich., that acquires, manages and builds middle-market manufacturing, distribution and service companies, with seven portfolio companies across the country. The firm has offices in Grand Rapids (headquarters) and Santa Monica, CA. Blackford reviewed roughly 4,000 transactions in 2014, and has closed 33 transactions in the past eight years. The firm’s investment criteria include mature, profitable businesses with revenues between $20 million and $100 million, with management teams that are either willing to remain with the company or are seeking to retire. For more information, visit

About McClarin Plastics
Founded in 1953, McClarin Plastics, LLC. is a national premier contract manufacturer of large thermoformed plastic and fiberglass reinforced plastic components including ABS, polycarbonate, PETG, Styrene, TPO and PC/ABS, polyethylene components, fiberglass, resin transfer molding (RTM), vacuum assist RTM (VARTM), large and small vacuum-form plastics capabilities, finishing, value-added assembly, and custom packaging for industrial equipment, construction, rail, transportation, agricultural and medical applications. The company also offers open, cold, or multi-cavity molding options for fiberglass reinforced plastic molding and fabrication, providing production throughout North America with international exports to Asia and Europe. In January of 2015 McClarin merged with the 28 year old Amtech Corporation forming a national composites manufacturer. For more information, visit


Contact Us

Read More

Topics: McClarin Plastics