Thermoforming equipment: Thermoformers

There are two basic types of thermoformers: cut sheet, and web fed.

Cut sheet thermoformers use precut sheet and operate via either “shuttle,” “rotary,” or “continuous” (straight line intermittent) motions. They are generally used to produce large, durable products such as refrigerator door and cabinet liners, computer housings, canoes, boat hulls, coolers, bathtub and shower surrounds, toys, and point of purchase displays. They work with relatively large, thick sheet that is difficult or impossible to wind due to its stiffness. Such equipment is readily capable of handling sheet thicknesses of up to 1.52 cm and draw depths up to 106.7 cm.

Web fed thermoformers may operate in a straight-line intermittent or true continuous motion. “Off-line” web fed thermoformers are fed by roll stock, and “in-line” web fed thermoformers are fed directly by an extruder. This type of equipment is typically used to produce smaller, large volume products such as food and non-food packages (cottage cheese, sour cream, and yogurt containers; produce, poultry and cookie trays; egg cartons and blister packs) and disposable dinnerware (cups, plates, and bowls). These products generally require relatively shallow draws (up to 15.2 cm), and they utilize either solid (<100 mils) or foam (<250 mils) sheet.