Heavy vs thin gauge plastic thermoforming – what’s the difference?
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.
Here are the essential differences between heavy and thin gauge plastic thermoforming:
|Plastic Thermoforming||Heavy Gauge||Thin Gauge|
|Manufactured Part Thickness (approximate)||.060 -.375″ 1.5 – 9.5 mm||< .125” < 3mm|
|Machinery Type||Sheet Fed||Roll Fed|
|Thermoplastic Materials Used (Most Common)||ABS|
Polypropylene (many material variants available)
|Annual Volume||Low – Mid Volume < 10,000||High Volume > 10,000|
|Typical Applications||-Medical device enclosures|
-Transportation interior parts (window masks, wall and ceiling panels, seating, luggage racks)
-Industrial equipment covers
-Electronic equipment enclosures
-Food service packaging
-Disposable cups, plates, and trays
-Small medical device packaging
Does your application favor heavy gauge thermoforming? If so, contact us or download our Heavy Gauge Plastic Thermoforming Design Guide for more detailed information on the features and benefits of plastic thermoforming and to explore how Productive Plastics can provide manufacturing solutions for your product.