Plastic Thermoforming Service
If you need high-quality plastic parts and products for your business, you may want to consider our plastic thermoforming service. Plastic thermoforming is a process that transforms large, thick plastic sheets into custom-shaped plastic parts and products with various features and benefits. Whether you need prototype fabrication or full production runs, our plastic thermoforming service can offer you a cost-effective solution.
- customize Plastic Thermoforming for your products as your drawings
- Thermoforming with a wide range of plastic materials.
- One-stop solution, supported by Second fabrication capabilities
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Plastic Thermoforming Specifications & Capabilities
We can accurately and efficiently handle vacuum thermoforming or pressure thermoforming for your products with your required plastics. Such as thermoforming acrylic, thermoforming polycarbonate, thermoforming polypropylene, thermoforming HDPE, thermoforming PETG, PVC thermoforming, ABS thermoforming, etc.
|0.2mm to 20mm for thermoplastics||Max 3500mm*2500mm|
Plastic Thermoforming Advantages
- offers a cost-effective solution for both prototype fabrication and full production runs.
- handle larger sheet sizes than most of the regional competitors.
- match colors based on chips or samples, eliminating the need for painting.
- use various thermoplastic materials, such as ABS, acrylic/PVC, HIPS, HDPE, LDPE, PP, PETG, and polycarbonate.
- produce hollow parts with details on both sides using twin sheet forming technique.
Plastic Thermoforming Materials
Polypropylene Plastic Material
PET Plastic Material
Nylon Plastic Material
HDPE Plastic Material
ABS Plastic Material
Polycarbonate Plastic Material
PVC Plastic Material
Acrylic Plastic material
Kusla Plastic Thermoforming Services
We are a supplier that specializes in plastic thermoforming service for various industries and applications. We have the expertise, equipment, and experience to deliver high-quality plastic thermoforming projects on time and on budget. We can assist you with every step of the plastic thermoforming process, from design to tooling to assembly. We can handle any size and quantity of plastic thermoforming orders, from small batches to large-scale production.
We are committed to providing competitive pricing and excellent customer service for your plastic thermoforming needs. Contact us today for a free quote and more information about our plastic thermoforming service and the benefits of plastic thermoforming. We are eager to hear from you and work with you on your plastic thermoforming projects.
FAQs about Plastic Thermoforming
Plastic thermoforming is a process of shaping heated thermoplastic sheets over a mold to create a three-dimensional part. It is a versatile and cost-effective method for producing large and complex plastic parts for various industries and applications. There are two main types of plastic thermoforming: vacuum forming and pressure forming. Vacuum forming uses a vacuum to stretch the plastic sheet over the mold, while pressure forming adds air pressure to the non-mold side of the sheet for sharper detail. Plastic thermoforming can offer advantages over other plastic, metal, and fiber-reinforced plastic production methods, such as low tooling investment, rapid product development, lightweight material benefits, and high aesthetic quality.
The advantages of plastic thermoforming are:
- Low tooling cost relative to injection molding
- Fast product development and prototyping with less involved tools
- Adjustable thickness of the plastic to fit the application requirements
- Ability to fabricate extremely large parts with very small thickness to area ratios
- High aesthetic quality and design options with sharp detail and uniform thickness
- Lightweight material benefits and industry-compliant performance
Plastic thermoforming can offer advantages over other plastic, metal, and fiber-reinforced plastic production methods, depending on the project specifications and goals.
Plastic thermoforming is a plastic manufacturing process that applies heat and pressure to stretch a sheet of heated thermoplastic material over a mold to create a 3-dimensional shape or part. Plastic thermoforming has many advantages over other plastic production methods, such as:
- Low tooling investment
- Rapid product development
- High detail and aesthetics
- Lightweight and durable material
- Large part capability
Plastic thermoforming can be used to produce parts for a wide range of applications and industries, such as:
Plastic thermoformed enclosures can provide protection, functionality, and aesthetics for medical devices such as ventilators, dialysis machines, ultrasound machines, etc. Plastic thermoforming can also create custom trays and containers for medical instruments and supplies.
Plastic thermoformed parts can enhance the comfort, safety, and appearance of railcar interiors. Some examples of railcar interior parts made by plastic thermoforming are trim, paneling, window masks, seating, tray tables, luggage racks, etc.
Kiosks, ATM, and POS
Plastic thermoformed fascias can create attractive and durable covers and paneling for kiosks, ATM, and POS applications. Plastic thermoforming can also incorporate features such as logos, graphics, lighting, buttons, etc.
Plastic thermoformed components can be used for food service applications such as vending machines, refrigerators, freezers, dispensers, etc. Plastic thermoforming can also create food packaging and containers that are hygienic, recyclable, and customizable.
Plastic thermoformed handling trays can provide efficient and ergonomic solutions for material handling and storage. Plastic thermoformed trays can be designed to fit specific shapes and sizes of products and can also have features such as dividers, handles, lids, etc.
Plastic thermoformed parts can create portable toilets that are easy to transport, install, clean, and maintain. Plastic thermoformed portable toilets can also have features such as ventilation systems, sinks, mirrors, etc.
Large Equipment Enclosures
Plastic thermoformed enclosures can provide protection and aesthetics for large equipment such as generators, compressors, pumps, etc. Plastic thermoformed enclosures can also have features such as doors, windows, vents, etc.
Plastic thermoforming is a process that uses heat and pressure to shape plastic sheets into various 3-dimensional forms. Plastic thermoforming can use different types of thermoplastic materials that have different properties and characteristics. Some of the most common materials used for plastic thermoforming are:
Acrylic is a clear and rigid material that has excellent optical clarity, weather resistance, and dimensional stability. It is easy to fabricate, bond, and thermoform. It is commonly used for signs, displays, skylights, lighting panels, and architectural glazing.
Polycarbonate is a clear and tough material that has high impact strength, heat resistance, and flame retardance. It is more flexible and shatter-resistant than acrylic. It is commonly used for bullet-resistant windows, safety shields, helmets, lenses, and medical devices.
PP is a popular and versatile material that has good chemical resistance, impact strength, and recyclability. It is commonly used for packaging, toys, ventilators, and other plastic items.
PS is a rigid and transparent material that has good dimensional stability, electrical insulation, and low cost. It is commonly used for food containers, cups, trays, and disposable cutlery.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
ABS is a tough and impact-resistant material that has good thermal stability, flame retardance, and color availability. It is commonly used for automotive parts, electronic housings, helmets, and toys.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETG)
PETG is a clear and durable material that has good chemical resistance, moisture barrier, and thermoformability. It is commonly used for medical devices, food packaging, signs, and displays.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
PVC is a versatile and flexible material that has good mechanical strength, flame retardance, and weather resistance. It is commonly used for pipes, cables, cards, blister packs, and clamshells.
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
HDPE is a strong and lightweight material that has good chemical resistance, impact strength, and environmental stress cracking resistance. It is commonly used for bottles, containers, tanks, and liners.
Plastic thermoforming can use various types of thermoplastic materials to create parts for many different applications and industries. If you are looking for a plastic thermoforming supplier that can provide quality products and services at competitive prices,contact us today!
Plastic thermoforming can use different types of techniques that have different advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most common types of plastic thermoforming are:
Vacuum forming uses heat and pressure to draw plastic sheets into its final configuration. First, A sheet is heated and placed over a mold, where a vacuum manipulates it into the desired shape. When the material is detached from the mold, the final result is a precise shape.
Vacuum forming is simple, fast, and cost-effective. It can produce parts with good detail and surface quality. However, it can also result in uneven thickness, webbing, and bubbles in the sheet.
Pressure forming is similar to vacuum forming but benefits from added pressure. The process also involves heating a sheet of plastic and also adds a pressure box to the non-mold side of the sheet. The pressure box creates up to 60 pounds per square inch (PSI) of air pressure, in addition to the vacuum on the mold side.
Pressure forming can produce parts with injection-molded quality but lower tooling costs. It can create sharper detail and better definition in the sheet. However, it also requires more complex equipment and higher cycle times.
Mechanical forming involves the use of a direct mechanical force to shape the preheated plastic sheet. A plug or a stamp pushes the sheet into or onto a mold to create the desired form.
Mechanical forming can produce parts with uniform thickness and complex shapes. However, it also requires more force and higher tooling costs.
Vacuum forming and pressure forming are two types of plastic thermoforming techniques that have different advantages and disadvantages. They both involve heating a plastic sheet and forming it using a mold, but they differ in how they apply pressure or vacuum to the sheet.
Vacuum forming uses a vacuum to suck the plastic sheet into or over the mold. This technique is simple, fast, and cost-effective. It can produce parts with good detail and surface quality. However, it can also result in uneven thickness, webbing, and bubbles in the sheet.
Pressure forming uses compressed air to push the plastic sheet into the mold. This technique can produce parts with injection-molded quality, sharper detail, better definition, and tighter tolerances than vacuum forming. However, it also requires more complex equipment and higher cycle times.
Vacuum forming uses negative tooling, while pressure forming uses positive tooling. This means that vacuum forming creates parts with more detail on the inside surface, while pressure forming creates parts with more detail on the outside surface.
here is a table that summarizes the differences between vacuum forming and pressure forming:
|Feature||Vacuum Forming||Pressure Forming|
|Pressure/Vacuum||Vacuum only||Vacuum and compressed air|
|Part detail||Good on inside surface||Better on outside surface|
|Part defects||Webbing, bubbles||Fewer|
There are some design considerations that need to be taken into account when designing parts for plastic thermoforming. Some of the main design considerations are:
Draw ratio is the ratio of the surface area of the part to the footprint of the part. It determines the minimum starting gauge of the plastic sheet to achieve the desired final thickness. The higher the draw ratio, the thinner the part will be.
Material thickness is the thickness of the plastic sheet before and after thermoforming. It affects the strength, stiffness, and appearance of the part. The material thickness should be chosen based on the part requirements and the draw ratio.
Draft angles are the angles between the vertical walls of the part and the mold surface. They facilitate the removal of the part from the mold and prevent sticking or tearing. The draft angles should be as large as possible, typically between 3° and 5°.
Detail is the level of complexity and definition of the part features, such as corners, edges, textures, logos, etc. It depends on the type of thermoforming technique used, such as vacuum forming or pressure forming. Pressure forming can produce more detailed and complex shapes than vacuum forming.
Undercuts are features that extend beyond the vertical walls of the part, such as snaps, hooks, ribs, etc. They increase the functionality and aesthetics of the part, but they also complicate the mold design and removal. Undercuts can be achieved by using movable mold inserts or secondary operations.
here is a table that lists the design considerations for plastic thermoforming:
|Draw ratio||The ratio of the surface area of the part to the footprint of the part||A part with a surface area of 3,744" and a footprint of 1,728" has a draw ratio of 2.17|
|Material thickness||The thickness of the plastic sheet before and after thermoforming||A part with a desired final thickness of 0.150" and a draw ratio of 2.17 requires a minimum starting gauge of 0.330"|
|Draft angles||The angles between the vertical walls of the part and the mold surface||A part with a draft angle of 5° has less risk of sticking or tearing than a part with a draft angle of 2°|
|Detail||The level of complexity and definition of the part features||A part with sharp corners, textures, and logos has more detail than a part with smooth and simple surfaces|
|Undercuts||Features that extend beyond the vertical walls of the part||A part with snaps, hooks, or ribs has undercuts that need movable mold inserts or secondary operations|
It has many advantages, such as low tooling costs, fast production times, large part capability, and design flexibility. However, it also has some challenges or limitations, such as:
Thermoforming involves trimming the excess material from the formed part, which can result in material waste and disposal costs. The trimmed material can be recycled or reused, but it may require additional processing or equipment.
Part Thickness Variation
Thermoforming involves stretching the plastic sheet over a mold, which can cause uneven thickness distribution in the part. The part may be thinner in areas with deep draws or complex shapes, and thicker in areas with less stretching. This can affect the strength, stiffness, and appearance of the part.
Part Size and Shape Limitations
Thermoforming can produce large parts, but it also requires large sheets of plastic and large molds, which can increase the cost and complexity of the process. Thermoforming can also produce complex shapes, but it may require special techniques or secondary operations to achieve features such as undercuts, holes, threads, etc.
Thermoforming can use various types of thermoplastic materials, but not all materials are suitable for thermoforming. The material must have good formability, stability, and durability under heat and pressure. Some materials may have issues such as warping, sagging, cracking, or bubbling during thermoforming.
here is a table that lists the challenges or limitations of plastic thermoforming:
|Challenge or Limitation||Description||Example|
|Material waste||The excess material that is trimmed from the formed part and needs to be disposed or recycled||A part with a large footprint and a small surface area may have a lot of material waste|
|Part thickness variation||The uneven thickness distribution in the part due to stretching the plastic sheet over the mold||A part with a deep draw or a complex shape may have thinner areas than a part with a shallow draw or a simple shape|
|Part size and shape limitations||The cost and complexity of producing large parts or parts with complex features using thermoforming||A part that is too large for the available sheet size or mold size may need to be split into multiple parts or use a different process|
|Material selection||The suitability of different thermoplastic materials for thermoforming based on their formability, stability, and durability under heat and pressure||A material that has poor heat resistance or formability may warp, sag, crack, or bubble during thermoforming|
Here is a table that lists the differences between plastic thermoforming and other plastic manufacturing processes
|Process||Production Volume||Tooling Cost||Part Size||Part Complexity||Part Quality||Material Selection|
|Plastic Thermoforming||Low to medium||Low||Large||Simple to moderate||Good detail and surface quality; uneven thickness; webbing; bubbles||Various thermoplastics; limited by formability; stability; durability|
|Injection Molding||High||High||Small||Complex||Uniform thickness; high precision; warping; shrinkage; flash||Wide range of thermoplastics; including difficult or impossible to thermoform|
|Blow Molding||High||High||Small to medium||Moderate to complex||Uniform thickness; good surface quality; warping; shrinkage; flash||Wide range of thermoplastics; including difficult or impossible to thermoform|
plastic thermoforming can be environmentally friendly, as it has some benefits such as:
Thermoforming can use various types of thermoplastic materials, some of which are biodegradable or compostable, such as PLA, PHA, or starch-based plastics. Thermoforming can also use recycled or post-consumer plastics, such as PET, HDPE, or LDPE. Thermoforming can reduce material waste by using precise sheet sizes and efficient mold designs.
Thermoforming uses less energy than other plastic manufacturing processes, such as injection molding or blow molding, as it only heats the plastic sheet to a pliable temperature, rather than melting it to a liquid state. Thermoforming also uses less pressure than injection molding or blow molding, which reduces the energy consumption and carbon footprint of the process.
Thermoforming can produce parts that are durable and have a high degree of structural integrity, which helps to protect them and their contents from the effects of weather and other environmental factors. Thermoformed parts can last longer and require less maintenance or replacement than other plastic parts, which reduces the environmental impact of the product life cycle.
Plastic thermoforming is a process that uses heat and pressure to shape plastic sheets into various 3-dimensional forms. It is a versatile and cost-effective process that can create parts for many different applications and industries. The cost of plastic thermoforming depends on several factors, such as:
Design and Tooling
Design and tooling is the initial stage of creating the mold for the part, which can vary in complexity and size. The tooling process can take 1-6 weeks, and the costs per mold can range between hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars.
Material selection is the choice of the plastic sheet that will be heated and formed, which can vary in type, thickness, color, and quality. The material selection can affect the performance, appearance, and durability of the part. The material costs can range from $0.50 to $5.00 per pound.
Production volume is the number of parts that will be produced using the same mold, which can vary from low to medium quantities. The production volume can affect the unit cost and the amortization of the tooling cost. The production costs can range from $0.50 to $5.00 per part.
Finishing is the final stage of trimming, cutting, drilling, painting, printing, or labeling the part, which can vary in complexity and quality. The finishing can affect the functionality and aesthetics of the part. The finishing costs can range from $0.10 to $2.00 per part.
here is a table that lists the factors that affect the cost of plastic thermoforming:
|Design and tooling||The initial stage of creating the mold for the part, which can vary in complexity and size||A mold for a simple tray may cost $500, while a mold for a complex dashboard may cost $5,000|
|Material selection||The choice of the plastic sheet that will be heated and formed, which can vary in type, thickness, color, and quality||A sheet of clear PET may cost $1.00 per pound, while a sheet of colored ABS may cost $3.00 per pound|
|Production volume||The number of parts that will be produced using the same mold, which can vary from low to medium quantities||A production run of 100 parts may have a unit cost of $4.00, while a production run of 1000 parts may have a unit cost of $2.00|
|Finishing||The final stage of trimming, cutting, drilling, painting, printing, or labeling the part, which can vary in complexity and quality||A part that requires no finishing may have a cost of $0.10 per part, while a part that requires painting and printing may have a cost of $1.00 per part|
The time required for plastic thermoforming depends on several factors, such as:
Design and Tooling
Design and tooling is the initial stage of creating the mold for the part, which can vary in complexity and size. The tooling process can take 1-6 weeks, depending on the prototype or production tools.
Material selection is the choice of the plastic sheet that will be heated and formed, which can vary in type, thickness, color, and quality. The material selection can affect the heating time and the cooling time of the part. The heating time can range from 10 to 60 seconds, depending on the material type and thickness. The cooling time can range from 10 to 120 seconds, depending on the material type, thickness, and shape.
Production volume is the number of parts that will be produced using the same mold, which can vary from low to medium quantities. The production volume can affect the cycle time and the efficiency of the process. The cycle time can range from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, depending on the machine and mold size and the size of the parts being formed.
Finishing is the final stage of trimming, cutting, drilling, painting, printing, or labeling the part, which can vary in complexity and quality. The finishing can affect the functionality and aesthetics of the part. The finishing time can range from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on the part size and shape and the finishing method.
Choosing a plastic thermoforming manufacturer or supplier can be a challenging task, as there are many factors to consider, such as:
Quality is a critical factor in thermoforming, as it impacts the performance and durability of the final product. You should look for a manufacturer or supplier that has a proven track record of delivering high-quality thermoformed parts that meet your specifications and expectations. You should also check their quality certifications, such as ISO 9001 or AS9100, and their quality control procedures and equipment.
Experience is essential in thermoforming, as it can impact the quality, speed, and efficiency of the production process. You should look for a manufacturer or supplier that has extensive experience in thermoforming, especially in your industry or application. You should also check their portfolio of previous projects and their testimonials or references from satisfied customers.
Production capacity is the ability of a manufacturer or supplier to produce the required quantity of thermoformed parts within the desired time frame. You should look for a manufacturer or supplier that has enough production capacity to meet your demand and delivery schedule. You should also check their production equipment, such as thermoforming machines, molds, trimmers, etc., and their production processes, such as heating, forming, cooling, trimming, finishing, etc.
Customer service is the level of support and communication that a manufacturer or supplier provides to their customers before, during, and after the production process. You should look for a manufacturer or supplier that has a friendly, responsive, and professional customer service team that can answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide you with updates on your project status. You should also check their customer service policies, such as lead time, minimum order quantity, payment terms, warranty, etc.
Cost is the amount of money that you have to pay for the thermoformed parts and the associated services. You should look for a manufacturer or supplier that offers competitive and transparent pricing for their thermoformed parts and services. You should also check their cost breakdown, such as design and tooling cost, material cost, production cost, finishing cost, shipping cost, etc., and their cost-saving options, such as material selection, mold design optimization, volume discounts, etc.
The quality standards for plastic thermoforming are the specifications, guidelines, and regulations that ensure the quality, safety, and performance of the thermoformed parts and products. Some of the quality standards for plastic thermoforming are:
Material standards are the standards that define the properties, characteristics, and classifications of the thermoplastic materials used for thermoforming, such as ABS, polystyrene, polycarbonate, PETG, etc. Some of the material standards are ASTM D5226-21 (Standard Practice for Dissolving Polymer Materials), ASTM D6042-09 (Standard Test Method for Determination of Phenolic Antioxidants and Erucamide Slip Additives in Polypropylene Homopolymer Formulations Using Liquid Chromatography), ASTM D5227-21 (Standard Test Method for Measurement of Hexane Extractable Content of Polyolefins), etc.
Process standards are the standards that define the methods, procedures, and equipment used for thermoforming, such as heating, forming, cooling, trimming, finishing, etc. Some of the process standards are ASTM D3834-93 (Standard Test Method for Purity of Vinyl Chloride Monomer by Gas Chromatography), ASTM D4509-96 (Standard Test Methods for Determining the 24-Hour Gas Space Acetaldehyde Content of Freshly Blown PET Bottles), ASTM D8133-21 (Standard Test Method for Determination of Low Level Phthalates in Poly (Vinyl Chloride) Plastics by Solvent Extraction—Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry), etc.
Product standards are the standards that define the requirements, specifications, and tests for the thermoformed parts and products, such as dimensions, tolerances, appearance, functionality, durability, etc. Some of the product standards are ASTM D3465-21 (Standard Guide for Purity of Monomeric Plasticizers by Gas Chromatography), ASTM D4275-17 (Standard Test Method for Determination of Butylated Hydroxy Toluene (BHT) in Polymers of Ethylene and Ethylene–Vinyl Acetate (EVA) Copolymers by Gas Chromatography), ASTM D4754-18 (Standard Test Method for Two-Sided Liquid Extraction of Plastic Materials Using FDA Migration Cell), etc.
Industry standards are the standards that define the specific requirements, regulations, and certifications for the thermoformed parts and products used in different industries or applications, such as aerospace, medical, food service, transportation, technology, etc. Some of the industry standards are ISO 9001 (Quality Management System), AS9100 (Aerospace Quality Management System), FDA Thermoforming Grade (Food Packaging Safety Standard), UL 94 V-0 (Flammability Standard for Plastics), etc.
The latest trends or innovations in plastic thermoforming are the developments, improvements, and changes that enhance the efficiency, quality, and sustainability of the thermoforming process and products. Some of the latest trends or innovations in plastic thermoforming are:
Automation is the use of machines, robots, software, or systems to perform tasks that would otherwise require human labor or intervention. Automation can improve the speed, accuracy, consistency, and safety of the thermoforming process and products. Automation can also reduce labor costs, material waste, and energy consumption. Some examples of automation in thermoforming are robotics integration, inventory control optimization, extrusion, thermoforming and assembly equipment upgrades, etc.
In-mold labeling is a technique that involves inserting a pre-printed label or graphic into the mold before forming the plastic part. In-mold labeling can enhance the appearance, functionality, and durability of the thermoformed part or product. In-mold labeling can also eliminate the need for secondary operations such as printing, painting, or labeling. Some examples of in-mold labeling in thermoforming are food packaging, medical device equipment enclosures, point of purchase displays, etc.
Lightweight packaging is a trend that involves reducing the weight and thickness of the plastic packaging without compromising its performance or quality. Lightweight packaging can reduce material consumption, transportation costs, carbon emissions, and environmental impact. Lightweight packaging can also improve customer satisfaction and convenience. Some examples of lightweight packaging in thermoforming are agricultural products packaging, pharmaceutical products packaging, consumer goods packaging, etc.
Sustainability is a trend that involves minimizing the negative environmental and social impacts of the thermoforming process and products. Sustainability can involve using biodegradable or compostable thermoplastic materials, such as PLA, PHA, or starch-based plastics; using recycled or post-consumer plastics, such as PET, HDPE, or LDPE; reducing material waste by using precise sheet sizes and efficient mold designs; reducing energy consumption by using less pressure or temperature; etc.