Thermoforming

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There are many different thermoforming techniques. Castek designs and manufactures molds for each forming process with attention to detail and with many years of experience to assist with your project. 

Conventional Vacuum Form molds: In this process the plastic sheet is forced into shape by evacuating air inside the molds vacuum chamber. This process can accommodate both thick and thin gage materials. When the plastic sheet is heated and presented to the mold it is quickly vacuumed down to the mold surface and rapidly cooled to form the part shape. Depending on part complexity and gage thickness of the plastic material Castek has techniques to apply upper platen assists or a presuction box to aid in forming complex of deep draw parts.

Pressure Form molds: Pressure forming does not rely on the vacuum from the inside the molds vacuum chamber alone. A pressure forming mold is a two sided mold where positive pressure can be exerted with the lower molds negative pressure to form very detailed part shapes. This pressure forming mold technique can add additional pressure of up to 60 psi, resulting in 200% to 300% more pressure than conventional vacuum molding. 

Common Applications

Both conventional vacuum form molding and pressure forming processes are used for a wide range of industrial and commercial processes. Pressure forming can be used for a wider range of projects, due to its superior features and benefits to form more complex part geometries and is generally the choice for medical parts, thin packaging and consumer goods. 

Some examples of specific applications include:

  • Medical packaging
  • Packaging inserts
  • Clamshell packaging
  • Boards and Signs
  • Trays
  • Agricultural machinery parts
  • Lightweight wind turbine parts

Benefits of Thermoforming

  • Cost Effective: It is low-cost thanks to the low cooling cost; requiring only one half of the required mold. To cut costs, materials and tools can be optimized for more savings.
  • Fast Lead Times: the process can be done quickly in a few stages. The client is in a better position to finish the product and have it in the market on time. 
  • Variety: Can be used for a wide range of designs for prototypes and finished products.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Thermoforming has low tooling costs and allows for rapid prototyping of products. The manufacturer can customize the process to create an end-product suitable for the client’s needs.
  • Aesthetics and Designs: Not only is it suitable for forming a wide range of shapes, many different textures and colors are available. Giving the client more options to choose from.

Limitations

One of the limitations of thermoforming is that it restricts the creation of certain complex shapes. Processes that require trimming can be time consuming. 

Nonetheless it is still a viable for developing prototypes and a variety of products. You need to be clear on what your objectives for the project are.

Materials

The applications and the purpose of the project is are some of the factors that determine the materials you will use. 

Some of the materials used for this process include:

  • PET (Poly Ethylene Terephathalte): This type of plastic is easy to form, cost effective, and can be made from recycled PET bottle flakes.
  • HIPS(High Impact Polystyrene): Considered one of the most suitable materials for the thermoforming process. It maintains dimensional stability and is easy to recycle.
  • PVC: Easy to extrude and thermoform, can be made transparent and is low cost.

There are many other low-cost materials you can use. It depends on the applications. You can contact us today for more information and details about thermoforming.