Thermoforming (Vacuum Forming)

Thermoforming (Vacuum Forming)

Thermoforming is a generic term for the process of producing plastic parts from a flat sheet of plastic under temperature and pressure.  It is also called vacuum forming in many trades.  In the highest expression of the technology, thermoforming offers close tolerances, tight specifications, and sharp detail. When combined with advanced finishing techniques, high-technology thermoforming results in products comparable to those formed by injection molding. All of us are exposed to many thermoformed plastics in our daily lives. They have replaced many parts previously manufactured from wood, paper, glass, and metal.

Thermoforming is efficient and very cost-effective for the production of many plastic parts depending on their size, shape, and quantity. Initial project costs are usually much lower, and lead times to tooling and production are generally much shorter than other processes. Modifications to design often times may be achieved. Temporary tooling offers an inexpensive short-term test for design issues and product market acceptance.

Our THERMOFORMING capabilities provide our customers the highest accuracy, process control and capacity in the region.

Plastic Designs, Inc. currently has 8 thermoforming machines.

– 3 single-stations and 3 rotary, with maximum sheet size capacity of 72″ x 72″ and 50″ depth of draw.


Thermoforming Examples

All of the parts shown here were made onsite in our factory.



How Does Thermoforming Work?

  1. A flat sheet of plastic is heated until it is soft and pliable.
  2. The sheet is lowered on to the mold.
  3. The air is vacuumed out of the voids and the sheet conforms to the mold.
  4. The mold cools the material and solidifies it.
  5. The mold is lowered from the cooled part.
  6. The excess material is trimmed using a secondary process.