Whats Happening in Market

What is thermoforming?

What are the benefits of thermoforming?

What is vacuum forming?

What is the difference between thermoforming and vacuum forming?

What type of plastics can you thermoform?

When and where does plastic forming fit?

What kind of cosmetic features can be achieved with thermoforming?

What kind of forming and trim tolerances can Fiber Pad, Inc. hold for my parts?

How thick of materials does Fiber Pad, Inc. work with?

What types of tooling are used in thermoforming?

Machined Aluminum Molds

Cast Aluminum Molds

Composite/Temporary Molds

What are male and female molds?

What other tooling is required in the thermoforming process?

What is lean manufacturing?

What is the typical lead time for a project?

What are the typical stages of a project from concept to completion?

Why should I choose Fiber Pad, Inc. for my plastic forming needs?

How do I get a free quote?

Have a question that's not listed? Contact us for the answer!

What is thermoforming?

Thermoforming is a generic term used to describe a group of processes to produce plastic parts from a flat sheet of plastic under temperature and pressure. A plastic sheet is heated to a pliable forming temperature, formed to a specific shape in a mold, and trimmed to create a usable product. The trimmed material is reground and recycled.

 

If you are unfamiliar with thermoforming you would be greatly surprised to find out how many thermoformed products you come across in daily life. Thermoforming differs from injection molding, blow molding, rotational molding, as well as other forms of processing plastics.

 

Contact us to see if your part can be thermoformed.

 

 

What are the benefits of thermoforming?

Thermoforming has several advantages over other processes. Thermoforming is efficient and very cost-effective for the production of many plastic parts depending on size, shape, and quantity. Unlike other processes, thermoforming has a much shorter lead time, initial project costs are usually much lower, there is a large freedom of design, small details can be added, pre-colored plastic is available with extensive choice of patterns, textures, and finishes, and provides an excellent part volume/quality ratio.

 

What is vacuum forming?

Vacuum forming is a process in which a thermoplastic sheet is heated to the appropriate temperature, stretched around or into a mold/pattern, and conformed to the mold by applying vacuum pressure between the mold surface and the plastic sheet. Because heating of the material to be formed is required, vacuum forming is considered a thermoforming process.

 

What is the difference between thermoforming and vacuum forming?

Vacuum forming is a type of thermoforming; both processes require heating plastic to a malleable temperature and then cooling the plastic into a new form. Vacuum forming is an additional process during thermoforming in which vacuum pressure is used to conform plastic to the mold during forming.

What type of plastics can you thermoform?

Plastics that lend themselves best to thermoforming are: acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer (ABS), high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), high density polyethylene (HDPE), high molecular weight polyethylene (HMWPE), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polymethyl methacrylate (or "acrylic") (PMMA), and polyethylene terephthalate modified with CHDM (PETG). Fiber Pad, Inc. will match custom colors and custom textures and will specify other requirements such as FDA approved medical and food material, electrostatic discharge material, and fire retardant material.

 

Ask us about our experience with various types of plastic resins.

 

 

When and where does plastic forming fit?

Large panels, housings, enclosures, and similar parts are especially well-suited to the thermoforming process. Tooling costs for these parts is considerably less than injection molding, which may have cost-prohibitive tooling costs. Parts with features mostly confined to one side of the part are best suited to thermoforming, but features on the uncontrolled side of the part may be addressed by trimming or fabrication and assembly.

 

 

What kind of cosmetic features can be achieved with thermoforming?

Sharp, crisp detail with close tolerances can be achieved. Undercuts, formed-in texture, formed-in logos, formed-in hardware, and custom colors are just a few of the many features that can be accomplished with thermoforming. This subject is covered in more detail on our design parameters page.

 

 

What kind of forming and trim tolerances can Fiber Pad, Inc. hold for my parts?

The following table lists our standard tolerances:

 

You can also download a PDF form of our Design Guide

Distance   Pressure Forming     Vacuum Forming

Less than 6"                ± .015"      ± .020"

6" to 12"  ± .020"      ± .025"

12" to 18"                    ± .025"      ± .030"

Above 18", add         ± .002" per inch        ± .002" per inch

Excludes Polyethylene

CNC Trimmed Features:

 

Machined features from a formed surface ± .030"

"Cut to cut" ± .020"

Hole Diameter ± .010" < 2"

 

How thick of materials does Fiber Pad, Inc. work with?

We typically deal with materials ranging in thickness from .015" to .500".

What types of tooling are used in thermoforming?

Three types of tooling are commonly used:

 

a) Machined Aluminum Molds

Machined aluminum molds are usually done on CNC machines from generated CAD files and can be either male or female. Typically built for shallow parts with small draw ratios they hold very close tolerances and can be mounted on temperature control bases and used with or without plug assist molds.

 

b) Cast Aluminum Molds

 

Cast aluminum molds are cast at a foundry from a pattern machined by Fiber Pad, Inc. from a composite material. The temperature controls are cast into the back and sides of the molds at the foundry. Cast aluminum molds typically are built for parts with large draw ratios and may be male or female and vacuum-form or pressure-form. Features such as texture, loose and pneumatic cores, and inserts are available.

 

c) Composite/Temporary Molds

 

For prototyping and short production runs, cost-efficient composite materials are used for mold construction. These molds produce parts that are to be evaluated for fit, form, and function and may be modified to evaluate possible design changes. These molds are for vacuum-forming only and are not temperature controlled. These molds have a limited life.

 

 
Author : Marketing Manager - Team AAR KAY
Date : 2018-11-07
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