Vacuum thermoforming is basically the process where a plastic sheet is heated to a forming temperature, which helps it to get stretched into a mold of single surface and is formed by a vacuum against the mold. This process is mainly used in order to transform plastics to a more permanent object like the protective covers.

The method

Vacuum thermoforming is used to make different product packaging and also with that it is also used for making automated teller machines, diagnostic equipment, engine covers, seat components etc. It is also used by hobbyists for making remote control cars and masks. The most suitable material that is used in the process of vacuum thermoforming is the conventional thermoplastics like the high impact polystyrene sheeting or HIPS. The material is generally molded around wood or cast or structural foam and then it can get converted into any shape. This high impact material is capable of heat retention and also its shape remains the same when warm water is applied to it. This is basically used for packaging odor and taste sensitive products. Vacuum thermoforming is very famous in classes where low-level technologies are used for molding in the easiest way.

Application

What Are the Different Kinds of Molds?

You can make innumerable patterns with the help of vacuum thermoforming.  The most inventive way in which vacuum thermoforming is used is by taking any item of smaller size and then replicating the same multiple times and then in order to create a more cohesive form vacuum for new pattern is used. The process of vacuum thermoforming helps in tying up all the individual pieces together and then making a mold which is very easy to replicate. From here you would be able to cast concrete and plaster into the forms of plastic. The different kinds of molds which are used includes

  • Cast aluminum molds which are very typical of having temperature control lines running through them. This not helps in speeding up the process of fabrication but also helps in the setting up of the heat for the formed plastic. However, the problem with this mold is that it is very costly.
  • Machined aluminum molds are basically cut outs from the solid blocks of aluminum using CNC machine with the help of CAD program. They are basically used for drawing out shallow parts from the material of thin gauge, however, the cost is again a significant factor in this case.
  • Composite mold is a low-cost alternative to the above two types of molds, and they are made basically from filled raisins which are in liquid initially but hardens with time. They are not only long lasting but also products end products which are very good in quality.

Finishing touch

After the main method of vacuum thermoforming has been executed out of a plastic sheet, a finishing touch is needed to be given to it so as to make a final product that can be used without any problems. Some of the most common finishing methods include

  • Guillotining
  • Drilling
  • Roller Cutting
  • Press Cutting
  • Cutting with CNC Machines

Advantages of Vacuum Thermoforming

  1. The main advantage of vacuum thermoforming is low costing and it saves a lot of money unlike methods such as injection molding process.
  2. It is also extremely user friendly and can adapt to customer needs easily.
  3. Its production is extremely high-speed and can, therefore; timely delivery of orders can be made.  
  4. It can be used for both small and large products.
  5. Availability of colored plastic.