Thermoforming is quite popular in the manufacturing industry for its simplicity and cost-effectiveness. If you are planning to consider it in the manufacturing process, you must first know about its pros and cons. You must understand whether it suits the given product or not. The thermoforming process is typically broken down into two stages, the first of which involves heating the plastic sheets and the second of which involves forming certain forms. The heating system for this procedure is comprised entirely of radiant heaters.
Thermoforming has a range of applications as it can be used with thin-gauge and thick-gauge plastic sheets. It functions very well as a cover for several types of equipment. Additionally, it is ideal for the development of medical models as well as the production of medical equipment. This method is utilised for the creation of designs with thin walls.
What Are The Advantages Of Thermoforming?
- It is an ideal choice for huge plastic projects, whereas the other plastic moulding techniques suit smaller items better.
- It suits all plastic types.
- This is a reasonably simple manufacturing process to learn. This means you can easily find skilled labour for your project. It is known for quick and affordable prototype development.
- It can be used to create high-quality products in a short time.
- Low tooling costs because only one mould-half is required in most cases.
- Vacuum Forming: A plastic sheet is heated during this process until it becomes malleable, stretched into a mould, and then given the appropriate part geometry using vacuum pressure. It is one of the most straightforward forms of thermoforming, especially when contrasted with the others. Epoxy tools and wooden patterns are also used along with temperature-controlled aluminium tools.
Moulds for both male and female bodies can be used in vacuum forming. The thermoplastic sheet is usually put on top of the mould when using male moulds. The thermoplastic sheet is put into the mould when using female moulds. When the inner plastic dimensions object is important, male moulds are employed.
When external dimensions are more crucial than internal ones, female moulds are employed. Vacuum forming is well known for its speed and cost-effectiveness.
- Pressure Forming: This process produces pieces with finely detailed textures and distinct features. Additionally, pressure forming produces plastic goods at a tenth of the price of injection moulding due to its simpler tooling and speedier production.
- A moulded plastic product’s visual and tactile appeal can be improved with pressure moulding, which also provides the added convenience of a higher profit margin than injection moulding. Pressure forming may produce plastic parts that are as tough and finely detailed as those produced by injection moulding.
- Billow Forming: This process does not involve dependency on moulds for shaping the plastic that has been heated. The machine blasts the plastic into a bubble by making use of the air jets until the desired design is achieved.
- Mechanical Forming: In this process, the mechanical force will be directly applied to a plastic sheet that is already heated for shaping it.
- Matched-Mould Forming: This process is used for manufacturing items that require a higher degree of accuracy. The plastic sheet that is heated is shaped using a female and male mould during this process. Moulds are forced together onto a plastic sheet by using a forming machine. After that, the sheet adopts the shape that was created for the two moulds.
- Twin-Sheet Forming: During this process, two layers are created and then combined to create a single item. The plastic sheets are concurrently heated, moulded, and linked to create the final product. This procedure works best when creating hollow objects or objects with two walls.
When weighing the pros and downsides of thermoforming, the fact that it is adaptable, affordable, and reasonably quick in comparison to other techniques makes it the most likely to be used as a tool in product creation. Because it is capable of larger constructs than other methods, it is often the only method that can be used in certain situations. It is one of the greatest approaches for creators to consider in product development, even though it is not a perfect answer to every manufacturing issue.