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Heavy Gauge 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 9001:2015 certified, with many years of heavy gauge thermoforming experience and extensive technical expertise across a wide variety of industries and applications.

What is Heavy Gauge Thermoforming?

Heavy gauge thermoforming (cut-sheet thermoforming) is a plastic thermoforming process category that manufactures parts and components using thermoplastic sheet materials ranging from .060 -.375″ or 1.5 – 9.5 mm thick. In contrast, thin gauge thermoforming (roll fed) processes roll fed material < .125” or < 3mm thick. (Note: Productive Plastics does NOT do thin gauge thermoforming)

Why the Difference Between Heavy and Thin Gauge Thermoforming is Important

The dimensional difference between heavy gauge thermoforming (sometimes referred to as thick gauge or sheet fed thermoforming ) and thin gauge (also referred to as roll fed) thermoforming may only start as a few tenths of an inch in part thickness, but the manufacturing techniques, machinery required, and scope of applications that the two are best suited for are quite distinct from one another.

Additionally, because the machinery required is unique for each process category, most plastic thermoforming manufacturers specialize in only one or the other. For instance, Productive Plastics is a custom heavy gauge plastic thermoforming manufacturer. So, you can save some time when searching for a processor if you know which category of thermoforming is the right solution for your application.

Typical Applications for Heavy Gauge Thermoforming

The versatility and cost effectiveness of heavy gauge pressure and vacuum thermoforming make it an ideal choice for a wide array of industry applications. Heavy gauged 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, vacuum forming 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' Heavy Gauge Thermoforming Services/Capabilities

A wide range of heavy gauge pressure & 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 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 Heavy Gauge Thermoforming

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 heavy gauge thermoforming 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.

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