Heavy Gauge Thermoforming

Thermoformed kiosk fascia with detail

Heavy Gauge Thermoforming, Heavy Gauge Plastic Thermoforming

Productive Plastics is a leading thermoforming manufacturer specializing in heavy gauge thermoforming contract manufacturing. Productive Plastics provides custom plastic thermoforming services from prototype to production. Productive Plastics is ISO 9001:2008 certified, with many years of heavy gauge thermoforming experience and extensive technical expertise.

Typical Applications for Heavy Gauge Thermoforming

Thermoforming is the broad term for a plastic production process that heats a two-dimensional rigid thermoplastic sheet and by way of vacuum and/or pressure, forms that sheet into a three-dimensional shape. Thin gauge and heavy gauge thermoforming are the two distinct categories of plastic thermoforming. Productive Plastics’ core competency is in cut-sheet heavy gauge thermoforming with sheet materials ranging from .060 to .500 inches thick.

Typical applications and industries for heavy gauge thermoforming include:Large thermoformed kiosk fascia

  • Heavy trucks components – fender wells, front and rear bumpers and interior trim components
  • Fitness equipment – enclosures for treadmills, bikes and universal weights
  • Signage – large decorative signs for exterior use
  • Agricultural equipment – cowlings, fenders and dash components
  • Construction equipment – engine covers and cab interiors

Why Use Heavy Gauge Thermoforming?

Heavy gauge thermoforming technology is a good choice for meeting the specialized needs of plastic part(s) such as:

  • Large parts and/or permanent structural components
  • Strong parts capable of withstanding high levels of stress
  • Multiple part assemblies minimizing tooling cost over injection molding
  • Indoor and outdoor applications based upon specific material selection

Heavy Gauge Thermoforming Technology

The heavy gauge thermoforming technology involves feeding cut sheets of thermoplastic material into a machine that carries the sheets through one or more heating stations until the sheets reach the forming station for molding. Once the sheets have been molded, the completed part is emitted from the machine. At this point, secondary steps are necessary to complete the finished part through the use of routing, drilling, and secondary assembly via mechanical fasteners and adhesive or solvent bonding.

In contrast, light gauge thermoforming is used to produce blister pack plastic packaging, disposable medical device packaging, food containers, and consumer retail packaging. Productive Plastics does NOT do light gauge thermoforming.

Please Contact Productive Plastics engineering team for a more in-depth design discussion of heavy gauge thermoforming.

Productive Plastics’ Heavy Gauge Thermoforming Capabilities

A wide range of vacuum forming technical capabilities are available based on the equipment used, materials used, and desired product properties.

Productive Plastics uses state-of-the-art equipment, including the following machines:

  • 60″ x 72″ single station vacuum, pressure and twin sheet former
  • 48″ x 96″ single station vacuum, pressure and twin sheet former
  • 48″ x 72″ four station rotary vacuum, pressure and twin sheet former
  • 84″ x 108″ four station rotary vacuum, pressure and twin sheet former

Large heavy gauge thermoforming for medical enclosureAll machines are capable of pressure, vacuum and twin-sheet forming. The choice of the heavy gauge thermoforming technology in work done by Productive Plastic is always guided by the engineering and product specifications of the customer and part. Pressure forming is utilized in more than half of the thermoforming jobs.

Materials Commonly Used in Heavy Gauge Thermoforming

  • ABS – There is a broad spectrum of resins used across a number of applications and can be formulated to meet UL flammability standards.
  • PC/ABS – This alloy delivers UL approval in addition to high impact performance.
  • HDPE – This is a cost effective material for industrial applications requiring high impact strength.
  • TPO – This high impact material delivers performance in cold and high heat applications.
  • HIPS – This low cost resin is used in many POP applications requiring excellent forming characteristics.
  • PVC/Acrylic – This resin is widely used in micro-processor based equipment housings and meets most stringent UL standards for flammability. It can be made in a wide range of colors and textures.

Terminology Note

Productive Plastics and the plastics industry typically use the terms “heavy gauge thermoforming” and “heavy gauge vacuum forming” interchangeably. A common misspelling is “heavy gage thermoforming.”

Contact Productive Plastics for Heavy Gauge Thermoforming

Please Contact Productive Plastics, one of the most innovative thermoforming companies, for assistance or to get a quote for heavy gauge thermoforming.

Request a free Heavy Gauge Plastic Thermoforming Process and Design Guide from Productive Plastics.