Do you know why Santa’s new sleigh isn’t carved from wood or machined from metal? It’s because his sleek, sturdy and weather-resistant ride is made of strong, lightweight plastic and produced with rotational molding. This plastics manufacturing process has lower tooling costs than injection molding, a method Santa briefly considered until Mrs. Claus showed him the quote for a large stainless steel mold.
What’s Wrong with Wood or Metal?
Wood and metal are traditional sleigh materials, but both have disadvantages. Wood is natural, of course, but it’s susceptible to rotting and needs periodic painting. Metal is more durable, but it’s heavier and can rust. Santa’s reindeer may be magical, but even Donner and Blitzen like a lighter load. And while lightweight, corrosion-resistant metals are available, aluminum prices recently reached record highs.
Why Not Use Injection Molding?
For something the size of Santa’s sleigh, the cost of an injection mold isn’t cheap. In fact, a stainless steel mold for a project like this could cost tens of thousands of dollars. That might be fine if Santa planned to produce tens of thousands of sleighs. He could then amortize the mold costs across all of the units, and Mrs. Claus wouldn’t ask whether his innate generosity came at the cost of common sense.
But Santa’s new sleigh is one of a kind – and it includes features where rotational molding excels.
Four Reasons Why Santa’s New Sleigh is Rotomolded
Here are four more reasons why Santa’s new ride is rotomolded.
#1 Colors and Surface Textures
Rotational molding supports a wide variety of colors and textures. That means Santa’s new sleigh can have plastics that come in red, green, silver, and gold. The front seat and storage area can have a smooth surface finish while the runners incorporate a textured surface so that Santa won’t slip and fall.
#2 Support for Challenging Shapes
Rotomolding can achieve shapes that can’t be obtained by other methods. This includes the rounded corners and curved lines that give Santa’s new sleigh its distinctive look. With rotational molding, the ideal design for any part or product is a hollow shape where the design elements blend smoothly together.
#3 Strength and Durability
Compared to other plastics manufacturing processes, rotational molding supports uniform walls without thinning in the extremities. Rotomolded products can also be filled with polyurethane foam for added strength. Polypropylene, a durable plastic, is a good sleigh material because it resists cold temperatures.
#4 Molded-In Hardware and Graphics
Finally, rotomolding supports molded-in hardware and graphics. That means the reins that run through the front of Santa’s sleigh can incorporate metal grommets or eyelets. Santa’s new ride can also use molded-in graphics for identification – just in case anyone ever confuses him with his stunt double.
Gregstrom Corporation hopes you’ve enjoyed this seasonal (and humorous) look at rotational molding. We wish you the happiest of holidays and invite you to follow the example of Jolly Old Saint Nick when it’s time for your next plastics project. To request a quote, contact us.