|The thermoforming process involves the following steps:
- Extrusion of sheet
- Place the sheet on a mould
- Draw the sheet into the shape of the mould by heat and negative force (vacuum).
Most thermoplastics are usable. Must be in sheet form.
Generally, machined aluminum is used, although poured composites and even wood can be used for short runs.
Tooling costs are generally low and piece prices are strictly dependent upon the speed of the machinery.
Examples of Application
Covers, displays, blister packaging, trays, drinking cups & food packaging.
Some of the possible advantages of thermoforming over injection molding include
- Large surface-area parts formed on inexpensive molds andmachines, due to low pressure and temperature requirements
- Easy formation of very thin-walled parts that are difficult to make by other techniques.
- Very high rates of production of thin-walled parts atrelatively low capital investment.
- Extremely adaptive to customer design needs
- Rapid prototyping development
- Material and process is optimized for cost effectiveness
- High-speed production allows for just-in-time shipments
- Flexible tooling design offers a competitive advantage
- On-the-fly product enhancements with low additional costs
- Visually pleasing appearance
- Weight savings for consumer and manufacturer
- Wider design scope
- Lower tooling costs
- No anticorrosion spray necessary
- Paintable and colored plastic availability
- Fully integrated process with limitless flexibility for small to large product designs
- High initial equipment investment
- High startup and running costs possible
- Part must be designed for effective molding
- Accurate cost prediction for molding job is difficult