Thermoforming- The process and its benefits

Posted by Adam Martin on June 12th, 2019

Thermoforming is the process of heating a thermoplastic sheet until it reaches its softening point. The sheet is first stretched across a single-sided mold and later manipulated. After cooling, the desired shape of the sheet is attained. Vacuum-forming, mechanical forming, and pressure-forming are the most popular methods for conforming the sheet into its final shape. This process has various applications and is utilized by many companies hailing from different industries.

Stages of thermoforming

In thermoforming companies, a thermoplastic sheet goes through the following stages:

  • Designing
  • Prototype
  • Final tooling
  • Production of the sheets

Key terminologies in the process

Thermoplastics: This refers to a kind of plastic made using polymer resins which become homogenized after heating.

Vacuum forming: This is a process that involves forming a part via heating and stretching the plastic across the mold with the help of a vacuum. Usually, the mold is open and the forces involved in forming the sheet is kept below 16 psi.

Pressure forming: This process involves adding a pressure box to the tooling package by utilizing both positive air pressure and vacuum. As a result, around three to four times the forming pressure is generated.

Twin sheet forming: Two molds are involved in this process, as the name suggests, one is on the top while the other is at the bottom. Hence, two sheets of plastic are heated and formed simultaneously. This complete procedure is good for making hollow parts which require a separate upper and lower shape.

Advantages of thermoforming

Thick gauge thermoforming is favored over other forms of molding due to the given advantages:

  • It allows the manufacturer to create numerous finished parts using the same material
  • All possible design and fit issues can be detected and addressed before it is too late
  • Saves time and money
  • The process is beneficial when large parts are used

Benefits of thermoforming

The process is beneficial to both the manufacturer and the end-user. Its benefits are as follows:

  • Efficiency
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Short lead time
  • Details can be added easily
  • The freedom to design as one likes to

The applications of thick gauge thermoforming are wide, as it is used for a variety of applications. Be it retail clamshell packaging, pick and place trays, shipping trays, or packaging trays, this process is used for all these products. Global thermoforming is an organization that manufactures plastic sheets via thermoforming. To know more about them, visit their website.


Adam Martin

About the Author

Adam Martin
Joined: July 12th, 2018
Articles Posted: 25

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