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What is Thermoforming

Thermoforming is a generic term for the manufacturing of plastic components through the vacuum and / or pressure forming processes. A simplistic overview of the single-sheet thermoforming process consists of heating extruded plastic sheet and forming the sheet over a male mold or into a female mold. Depending on what type of mold a customer selects, the thermoforming process allows the customer the ability to receive a part with the same aesthetic properties as an injection-molded part at a fraction of the tooling expense involved in injection molding.

Some of these same principles apply to another thermoforming processes: twin sheeting. Twin-sheeting is heating two sheets of plastic and then forming and sealing the two sheets of plastic together during the forming process. In some cases, the twin-sheeting process produces parts that resemble a blow-molded part, but the twin sheeting process allows the customer to receive 1) a higher quality, more aesthetic part, 2) a two color part, if required, and 3) a part with an assembly device trapped inside as the part is being formed.

Thermoforming Technology
Vacuum FormingVacuum Forming

The most common method with the simplest mold. The sheets adhere to the mold using atmospheric pressure. Various other versions of the process are available , using pre-blowing (balloon), negative forming (plug assisted), reverse blow molding, etc.

Pressure FormingPressure Forming

A blowing bell is combined with mold, in order to increase, through the use of compressed air, the adherence of the sheet onto mold. Indispensable for tenacious materials and clearer definition on the surface of the sheet in contact with the mold.

 

Mechanical FormingMechanical Forming

Pre-cutting negative forming (plug assisted) is combined to the base mold in order to obtain areas precise details on the surface of the sheet opposite that facing mold.

Pressure Diaphragm FormingPressure Diaphragm Forming

The sheet adheres to the mold through the use of an elastic diaphragm which is compressed by a high pressure fluid. Indispensable for extremely tenacious materials.

 

Twin Sheet FormingTwin Sheet Forming

Two sheets are formed simultaneously on two opposing half-molds, then welded together under high pressure. Cavities can also be created with materials of varying color and type.

 
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