Thermoforming is a great option when you need to display some custom-shaped plastics, material handling, or packaging solutions.
This method can transform plastic sheets into distinctive, substantial, three-dimensional structures that have more benefits than any other items you find in the market.
What Is Thermoforming?
The thermoforming method involves heating a plastic sheet until it becomes flexible and soft, then molding it to get the required shape. To maintain its new shape, the plastic is then cooled and hardened. You can thermoform any plastic such as polystyrene, acrylic, PTFE sheet, and polycarbonate. Nowadays, thermoforming is used for packaging small materials to make auto parts.
Types Of Thermoforming Processes
Thermoforming is a comprehensive manufacturing technique that includes all possible processes for shaping heated plastic sheets.
- Vacuum Forming: During this thermoforming process, a vacuum is used to shape the plastic sheet. A vacuum forming machine removes air from the heated plastic sheet, forcing it to take to the shape of the mold.
- Pressure Forming: This procedure also involves heating the plastic sheet and using a vacuum to remove air to press the sheet firmly against a mold. And once the air is gone, a pressing tool exerts pressure to help the formed plastic keep its final shape.
- Mechanical Forming: The heated plastic sheet is shaped using a direct mechanical force in this procedure.
- Drape Forming: As the name implies, this procedure involves draping a plastic sheet over a mandrel with special patterns. After that, the pattern is pressed onto the sheet to get the final product.
- Matched Mold Forming: The hot plastic sheet is shaped using a male and a female mold during the matched mold manufacturing process. The molds are forced together onto a plastic sheet with the help of the forming machine.
- Twin sheet forming: It is the technique of generating two layers and fusing them to create a single object. The plastic sheets are heated, molded, and linked to create the final product.
- Billow Forming: Billow forming is a thermoforming technology that can give the preferred shape to plastic without molding.
The medical, food, pharmaceutical, and automotive industries benefit significantly from thermoformed polymers. These items include formed delivery tubes, retractable coils, probe
Applications Of Thermoforming
covers, etc., used in laboratories, healthcare facilities, fluid delivery systems, etc.
Some of its applications are:
- Medical equipment covers: Thermoformed medical equipment covers make it possible to store medical tools and equipment, such as ventilators, IV pumps, and liquid oxygen system covers, in a clean condition. The covers produced using thermoformed techniques are dependable and of top quality.
- Covers for CRTS, flat TVs, etc.: Displays for retail, commercial, and medical use require covers to protect them, and thermoplastic casings are ideal for this purpose. These are typically pressure molded to include logos, sharp edges, and intricate designs.
- Automotive components: Thermoformed plastics are best used in automotive components such as panels, bumpers, floor mats, doors, and seating. The best method for producing vehicle components is vacuum forming.
- Agricultural equipment: Numerous types of agricultural equipment, panels, roofing, animal housings, internal tractor parts, and other items are also made utilizing the thermoforming technique.
- Aviation and aerospace: The most typical markets for thermoformed materials are the aviation and aerospace sectors. Some airplane parts are made of thermoformed polymers, and one of the best examples is the window shades. They are also used in seating panels, overhead luggage bins, etc.
The Difference Between Injection Molding And Thermoforming
The two primary methods for creating plastic moulds are injection molding and thermoforming. Despite having certain similarities, each technique has special qualities and advantages that make it the best choice for a given application.
Now, when it comes to thermoforming vs injection molding, there are several key differences between them. There are several critical differences between thermoforming and plastic injection molding. The production volume differs in these two methods. While thermoforming is utilized for lesser manufacturing volumes, injection molding is better suited for high and large-volume production. Injection molding often creates parts as finished pieces, whereas thermoforming requires additional finishing steps to achieve the desired outcome.
Injection molding is perfect for producing smaller, more complicated, and sophisticated pieces. For larger components with simpler designs, thermoforming is ideal. Finally, thermoforming has fewer material options than injection molding, especially with more robust materials. Injection molding can be used for a wide range of polymers.
Advantages Of Thermoforming
- You can make unique shapes with thermoforming for your store displays and marketing materials. It is one of the best ways to create eye-catching packaging and displays to help your items stand out.
- The products that are thermoformed are made to very high structural standards.
- Your products are protected from damage during transportation and handling with thermoformed packaging. You can easily transport electronics products such as television, displays, smd 2835 LED strips, and other fragile commodities without any issue.
- Regarding meeting extreme environmental conditions, PTFE film, FEP, and PFA have unmatched thermal, chemical, mechanical, and electrical properties.
Summing up, these are all the information regarding thermoforming. This molding process is one of the best, and it has applications in so many sectors. You can use thermoformed materials for storing, transporting, and other processes