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Vacuum Forming

Vacuum Forming, Custom Vacuum Thermoforming

Plastech is a leading provider of custom plastics vacuum forming manufacturing services. Plastech can provide product design and manufacturing engineering assistance in conjunction with vacuum forming contract manufacturing. 

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 thermoformed parts compete very favorably against FRP (fiber-reinforced plastics) and RTM (resin transfer molded) parts in moderate (250 - 3000) annual production volumes.

Plastech currently uses vacuum forming to make plastic components such as:

  • Golf Cart Roof and Recreational Vehicle Body
  • Enclosures for medical diagnostic equipment
  • Airplane interior trim parts and seating components
  • Engine covers for construction equipment
  • Fascias for outdoor kiosks and ATM applications

Why Use Vacuum Forming?

Vacuum thermoforming has advantages over other plastic production methods.

Here are some potential advantages 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

Vacuum Forming Technology

Vacuum thermoforming is a plastic manufacturing process in which a 2 dimensional thermoplastic sheet is heated to a forming optimal temperature and, using vacuum and pressure, is formed into a 3 dimensional part.

Plastechs' Vacuum Forming Capabilities

A wide range of vacuum forming technical capabilities are available based on the equipment used, materials used, and desired product properties.

All machines a capable of vacuum forming, pressure forming and twin-sheet forming.

Materials Commonly Used in Vacuum Forming

  • 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 Corporation and the plastics industry typically use the terms "vacuum forming" and "vacuum thermoforming" interchangeably. Sometimes "vacuumforming" and "vacuumthermoforming" are also used.