Vacuum Forming

Vacuum forming used to produce fork truck component

Vacuum Forming, Custom Vacuum Thermoforming

Productive Plastics is a leading provider of custom plastic vacuum forming services. Productive Plastics can provide product design and manufacturing engineering assistance in conjunction with vacuum forming contract manufacturing. Productive Plastics is ISO 9001:2015 registered, with many years of plastics experience and extensive technical expertise in vacuum thermoforming.

What is Vacuum Thermoforming?

Vacuum thermoforming is a plastic manufacturing process in which a 2 dimensional thermoplastic sheet is heated to a forming optimal temperature and, using vacuum, is formed over a mold into a 3 dimensional part. The molded part cools and hardens, then can be removed from the mold.

Request a free Heavy Gauge Plastic Thermoforming Process and Design Guide from Productive Plastics.
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Typical Applications for Vacuum Forming

Vacuum thermoformed parts are used to replace fabricated sheet metal components with complex shapes requiring excessive welding, grinding and finishing operations. Custom vacuum formed parts compete very favorably against FRP (fiber-reinforced plastics) and RTM (resin transfer molded) parts in moderate (250 – 3000) annual production volumes.

Productive Plastics currently uses vacuum forming to make plastic components such as:

Vacuum Forming Technology in Action – Video

View a 1 minute video demo of the heavy gauge vacuum thermoforming process.

Why Use Vacuum Forming?

Vacuum thermoforming has advantages over other plastic production methods.

Here are some potential benefits that would make vacuum forming a good choice for your plastic part:

  • Large parts or multi-part uses
  • Moderate annual volumes
  • Tight tooling budget
  • Rapid product development

Vacuum forming in action at Productive Plastics

Productive Plastics’ Vacuum Forming Services/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 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 Vacuum Forming

Vacuum forming used to make passenger rail car seat back

  • 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 for more details on thermoplastic sheet materials, properties and suppliers used by Productive Plastics.

Terminology Note

Productive Plastics and the plastics industry typically use the terms “vacuum forming” and “vacuum thermoforming” interchangeably. Misspellings include “vacuumforming” and “vacuumthermoforming”.

Contact Productive Plastics for Vacuum Forming Services

Please Contact Productive Plastics, one of the most innovative vacuum forming companies, for assistance or to get a quote for vacuum forming contract manufacturing services.

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