Plastic thermoforming makes precise shapes possible for manufacturing businesses. It requires specialized equipment and skill, especially if your components must meet exact specifications. At D&D Plastics, we offer plastic thermoforming in UT for many industries. Here are the frequently asked questions that arise about this process.
What is plastic thermoforming?
Plastic thermoforming creates complex shapes with different types of plastics. It works by heating a plastic sheet until it is pliable and forming it to a specific shape, usually in a mold. Once the formation is complete, a technician trims the edges to create a useful product.
The simplified version of thermoforming is vacuum forming, where the final step involves sealing the material into the mold through a vacuum. Both processes require durable plastic materials that stand up well to heat and manipulation by molds or tools.
What industries use thermoforming?
There are few industries that do not use thermoforming! Thin-gauge thermoforming is common in the medical, food and general retail industries for disposable cups, contains, lids and trays.
Thermoforming works for more permanent endeavors, too. Electric engines and computer processors benefit from thermoformed parts. In these applications, precision is key or it is unlikely that the high-tech item will function properly.
Research facilities and heavy equipment shops also use thermoforming for creating prototypes. This is often the first step in developing a better part design or fixing a machine that no longer has parts in distribution. In some cases, plastic can replace other materials to create less expensive alternatives that last as long as the original.
Does thermoforming work with other manufacturing processes?
As mentioned, thermoformed plastics receive a trim when they are out of the mold. This is due to rough edges and extra material hanging off the part which serves no purpose. The trim may happen with hand tools, but also with drills, electric saws and computerized equipment.
Most items receive further machining after thermoforming. Heavier materials may undergo CNC machining. Pressure boxes and mounting plates also perfect parts once they finish thermoforming. Very few parts avoid additional processing after thermoforming, and the products tolerate it well.
Is there a size limit on thermoforming?
Everything from small crafting supplies to airplane windscreens undergoes thermoforming. There is no limit on the size of the item when it comes to this process. With heavy-gauge plastic becoming a regular part of manufacturing, hot tubs, shower enclosures and even refrigerators involve thermoforming on small and large scales. This is a low-cost manufacturing procedure that frequently produces the best parts for the application.
What happens if the plastic does not work in the mold?
Sometimes, an operator may not heat the plastic enough, and as a result, it cools too quickly. In these cases, the defective item is flattened into a sheet again and the process starts over. Many thermoforming plants have methods for recycling plastic when there is a mistake and making it easier to make another attempt. This is an industry that prefers to reuse material rather than throw it away, unless the plastic itself is defective.
If you seek plastic thermoforming in UT, contact D&D Plastics today. Let us know the quantity and specifications, and we can provide you with an estimate!
Categorised in: Plastic Thermoforming
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