Design Considerations for Rotomolded Products

Rotational molding, or Rotomolding, is a versatile manufacturing process used for producing hollow plastic products with a myriad of applications, from industrial tanks and automotive parts to leisure items like kayaks and coolers. This technique offers designers and engineers tremendous flexibility in shaping, size, and appearance, making it a popular choice for custom and complex designs. However, to leverage the full potential of rotomolding, certain design considerations must be taken into account to ensure product functionality, durability, and manufacturability. Here are key aspects to consider when designing rotomolded products:

1. Wall Thickness

Uniform wall thickness is paramount in rotomolded products to prevent warping and ensure structural integrity. Unlike injection molding, where thick sections cool slower and can lead to sink marks, rotomolding cools from the outside in, making uniform wall thickness a crucial consideration. Designing with consistent wall thickness promotes even cooling, reduces the risk of defects, and ensures the product’s strength and stability.

2. Draft Angles

Incorporating draft angles into the design of rotomolded parts is vital for easy demolding. A draft angle refers to the taper on the vertical walls of the mold that allows the part to be easily removed once it has cooled. Without adequate draft angles, the part may stick to the mold, causing damage during extraction and slowing down production. A general rule of thumb is to include a minimum draft angle of 1 to 3 degrees on all vertical surfaces.

3. Radii and Corners

Sharp corners should be avoided in rotomolded designs. The rotational molding process naturally creates a radius wherever two surfaces meet, making it difficult to form sharp angles. Designing with generous radii not only facilitates the molding process but also enhances the strength and durability of the product. Rounded corners distribute stress more evenly, reducing the risk of cracking and material fatigue.

4. Ribs and Gussets

To increase the stiffness and load-bearing capacity of rotomolded parts without significantly increasing wall thickness (and thus, weight and material costs), designers can incorporate ribs and gussets into their designs. These features provide additional support in critical areas, improving the structural integrity of the product. However, it’s important to ensure that ribs and gussets are properly aligned with the flow of material during the molding process for optimal strength.

5. Material Selection

The choice of material can significantly impact the performance and longevity of a rotomolded product. Polyethylene (PE) is the most commonly used material due to its excellent chemical resistance, impact strength, and versatility. However, other materials such as polypropylene (PP), nylon, and plastisols are also used based on the specific requirements of the application. Consider factors such as UV exposure, chemical resistance, heat resistance, and regulatory compliance when selecting a material.

6. Surface Finish and Textures

Rotomolding offers a wide range of surface finishes and textures, from high gloss to matte, and the ability to replicate textures like wood grain, stone, and leather. These finishes can enhance the aesthetic appeal of the product, provide additional functionality (e.g., non-slip surfaces), and hide surface imperfections. When designing, consider how the surface finish will affect the product’s appearance and performance.


Designing for rotational molding requires a thoughtful approach to material selection, wall thickness, draft angles, radii, ribs and gussets, and surface finishes. By carefully considering these elements, designers and engineers can create rotomolded products that meet the desired specifications for aesthetics, functionality, and durability. With its design flexibility and cost-effectiveness, rotomolding continues to be a preferred manufacturing process for a wide range of applications, offering endless possibilities for innovative product design.

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