Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

Custom Thermoforming

What is Custom Thermoforming and Custom Plastic Forming?

Productive Plastics’ core competency in custom thermoforming is established in its work with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) – producing custom plastic components for a myriad of industries. Custom plastic forming is a plastic thermoforming 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.

Custom plastic forming provides design flexibility to OEMs to create intricate, lightweight, durable, and cost effective enclosure designs on products that traditionally may have utilized other production processes such as injection molding, fiberglass, or metal.
  • The Vacuum Forming Process

    Custom Vacuum Forming

    Vacuum pressure used to pull thermoplastic onto the mold face
    Custom Vacuum thermoforming is a plastic thermoforming manufacturing technique within the broader term of the plastic thermoforming process. In vacuum forming a 2 dimensional thermoplastic sheet material is heated to a forming optimal temperature and then positioned over a custom mold or tool. Then, the air is evacuated between the heated sheet and mold creating a vacuum that pulls the material onto the surface of the mold to create the desired 3-dimensional part shape. Once the now molded part cools and hardens, the part is removed and further processed to specification.

  • Custom Pressure Forming

    Air pressure applied to push thermoplastic onto mold face
    Custom pressure forming is a plastic thermoforming manufacturing technique within the broader term of the plastic thermoforming process. In pressure forming a 2 dimensional thermoplastic sheet material is heated to a forming optimal temperature and then positioned over a custom mold or tool. Positive pressure is then applied above the heated sheet, pressing the material into the surface of a mold to create the desired 3-dimensional part shape.

Typical Applications for Custom Pressure & Vacuum Forming

The versatility and cost effectiveness of custom pressure and vacuum thermoforming make it an ideal choice for a wide array of industry applications. Vacuum thermoformed parts are commonly used to replace fabricated sheet metal components and also offer some unique advantages over parts constructed with FRP (fiber-reinforced plastics) and RTM (resin transfer molded) manufacturing processes. Whether your project is a new design or a process conversion from an existing one, custom thermoforming your components with Productive Plastics can be an ideal solution for countless applications and industries.

Product Development Process Summary

  • 1. Design for Thermoforming
  • 2. Thermoplastic Material Selection
  • 3. Tooling Design and Construction
  • 4. Thermoforming
  • 5. Robotic or CNC Trimming
  • 6. Attachments, Bonding, and Assembly
  • 7. Finishing, Coating, and Branding

Productive Plastics' Custom Vacuum and Pressure Forming Services/Capabilities

A wide range of custom vacuum and pressure 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 pressure and vacuum thermoforming machines:
  • 84" x 108"
    Three station rotary vacuum former
  • 48" x 72"
    single station vacuum former and pressure former
  • 48" x 72"
    single station vacuum former
  • 48" x 72"
    single station vacuum former and pressure former
  • 48" x 72"
    Three station rotary vacuum former and pressure former
  • 48" x 96"
    single station vacuum former and pressure former

Materials Commonly Used in Custom Pressure and Vacuum Forming

Thermoplastic material options are available that meet even the strictest requirements for strength, durability, impact resistance, FST, and weather resistant of industries from aviation and mass transportation to medical device and industrial equipment. Productive Plastics has decades of experience working with the top thermoplastic material suppliers, such as Kydex, Boltaron, and Spartech and will work with your team to select the specific thermoplastic material that meets the needs of your unique application. Some of the common thermoplastic materials utilized in vacuum forming are:
  • Industry Standard Compliance: - UL 94 V-0, FAR 25.853 (a) and (d), FMVSS 302, and many more
  • ABS - Broad spectrum of resins used across a number of applications. Can be formulated to meet UL flammability standards.
  • PC/ABS - Alloy delivers UL approval in addition to high impact performance.
  • HDPE - Cost effective material for industrial applications requiring high impact strength.
  • TPO - High impact material delivering performance in cold and high heat applications.
  • HIPS - Low cost resin used in many POP applications requiring excellent forming characteristics.
  • PVC/Acrylic - Widely used resin in micro-processor based equipment housings. Meets most stringent UL standards for flammability and can be made in wide range of colors and textures.
View the technical data sheets page or plastic materials page for more details on thermoplastic sheet materials, properties and suppliers used by Productive Plastics.

Looking for more technical information?

Download the Thermoforming Design Guide, Process Comparisons, Conversion Guides, and other useful thermoforming information from our technical resource library.

Contact Us

Ready to explore how Productive Plastics can add to the success of your project?