Custom Vacuum Thermoforming
Productive Plastics is a leading provider of custom plastic vacuum forming services. Productive Plastics can provide product design, tooling design, and manufacturing engineering assistance in conjunction with vacuum forming contract manufacturing services. Productive Plastics is ISO 9001:2015 registered, with over 65 years of plastics experience and extensive technical expertise in vacuum thermoforming.
What is Vacuum Thermoforming?
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.
Why Use Vacuum Forming?
Vacuum thermoforming is versatile, cost effective, and low tooling investment manufacturing process that has numerous advantages over other plastic, metal, and FRP production methods. Below are some potential benefits to consider when evaluating vacuum forming as a solution for your plastic part:
Large Part Capability at Low Cost
Productive Plastics can thermoform parts up to 84" x 108" at a fraction of the tooling cost it would take to produce the same size part with other plastic manufacturing processes, such as injection molding.
Lightweight material benefits
Plastic thermoformed parts are up to 6 times lighter than steel, half the weight of aluminum, and 30 – 40% lighter than fiberglass counterparts.
Rugged and industry compliant material performance
One of the greatest advantages of thermoplastic is its versatility at the polymer level. Thermoplastic material formulations are available that meet even the strictest requirements in strength, durability, impact resistance, FST, and weather resistant of industries from aviation and mass transportation to medical device and industrial equipment.
Multi-part assemblies and projects
Productive Plastics utilizes advanced tooling and plastic thermoforming to produce multiple part projects with precise tolerances and attachment points for virtually zero gap assemblies.
Moderate annual volumes (250-5000)
Compared to most other manufacturing processes, plastic thermoforming has a significantly lower total part cost at low to moderate part volumes of approximately 250-5000 parts a year.
Low tooling investment
The tooling investment for plastic thermoforming can be half the cost of injection molding for a small part and up to 1/5 of the tooling investment for a large part. This is attributed to the highly engineered pressure requirements and necessary number of mold faces needed for injection molding.
Rapid product development
Production samples delivered typically within 8-10 weeks.
Design aesthetics and branding capabilities
Plastic thermoforming can produce parts with in mold complex geometry such as radii, undercuts, louvers, surface texture, and other branding. Thermoplastic can also be painted, silk screened, and capped with other materials. Integrated material color and pattern options are also available and can also alleviate the need for post production painting.