General Plastics Vacuum Forming
The main advantages of vacuum forming is the ability to provide a high quality cosmetic part while maintaining economical cost.
The vacuum forming process entails heating a sheet of extruded plastic until it reaches the proper forming temperature. Air is drawn away (negative pressure) from the mold and the heated sheet, creating a vacuum to form or stretch the material over a male or into a female aluminum, wood or epoxy mold. The mold and its formed components are then cooled to the specific set temperature of the material, and the re-introduction of air separates the piece from the mold.
The wide variety of materials that may be formed using this process allows for a wide range of specific engineering and cost-saving possibilities in the final parts. A list of advantages includes:
- low cost tooling
- tooling modifications ability
- detailed finished parts, including ribbed areas and pockets
- ideal for close tolerance work
Sheet gauges up to 0.500″ are used for everything from structural applications to aesthetic parts. The main advantages of vacuum forming is the ability to provide a high quality cosmetic part while maintaining economical cost.