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Pressure Forming

Pressure Forming

Pressure Forming, Custom Pressure Thermoforming

Plastech is a leading provider of custom plastics pressure forming manufacturing services. In conjunction with pressure forming contract manufacturing, Plastech can provide product design and manufacturing engineering assistance based on extensive technical expertise and many years of plastics experience. 

Typical Applications for Pressure Forming

Pressure thermoformed parts replace injection and structural foam molded parts in moderate volume (250 - 3000 annually) and provide a wide range of colors and textures.

Plastech currently uses pressure forming to make machine enclosures and equipment enclosures such as:

  • Medical equipment - blood analysis, nuclear imaging, x-ray diagnostic equipment
  • Industrial applications - lift trucks, scientific instrumentation, truck/bus/railcar interior trim parts
  • Retail - kiosks and point-of-purchase displays
  • Recreation equipment - snowmobiles, ATVs, jet skis

Why Use Pressure Forming?

Pressure thermoforming has advantages over other plastic production methods such as injection molding, structural foam molding, and reaction injection molding (RIM). It is also ideal for replacing sheet metal, fiberglass, and wood components. Plastech engineers and technicians excel at providing expert guidance in selecting pressure forming where appropriate, converting your current design using Solidworks 3D modeling software for use in the pressure forming process.

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

  • Delivers lower tooling cost - about 20-30% of injection molding
  • Cost effective process for annual quantities from 300 to 5000
  • Rapid prototypes can be delivered in as little as 10 working days
  • Production samples delivered in 6 to 8 weeks
  • Ideal for large parts

Pressure Forming Technology

Pressure thermoforming is a plastic manufacturing process in which compressed air is used to push the back of the plastic sheet against the mold. This produces three dimensional parts with features and aesthetics (such as detailed surface finishes and textures) that rival more expensive processes. Pressure forming can produce single wall parts (as in injection molding, structural foam or RIM) or twin wall parts bonded together (as in blow molding.) to create hollow walled parts. Very large parts and parts with excellent dimension control are also well-suited to pressure thermoforming.

Plastech Pressure Forming Capabilities

Not all pressure forming is created equal. Plastech prides itself on its pressure forming capabilities by producing pressure formed parts that rival the aesthetics of injection molding and structural foam molding. When designed properly, pressure forming delivers parts with sharp radii, undercut details delivering superior fit up to matching components and uniform wall thickness that is virtually indiscernible to more a expensive injected processes. In addition, utilizing textured tools with the addition of pressure assisted forming can eliminate the requirement of secondary paint finishes.

Plastech uses only the top equipment:

  • 60" x 72" single station twin sheet former
All machines a capable of vacuum, pressure and twin-sheet forming.

Materials Used in Pressure Thermoforming

  • 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

Terminology Note

Plastech and the plastics industry typically use the terms "pressure forming" and "pressure thermoforming" interchangeably.

Contact Plastech for Pressure Thermoforming