Thermoforming, Deep Drawing, Vacuum Forming
Three terms – one meaning. What is meant by this is the process of forming thermoplastics. Plastic sheets are heated on both sides in the forming station up to the forming temperature, the tool moves up with the pre-blowing of the sheet and the contour is drawn through vacuum channels with negative pressure.
After cooling with a blower and temperature-controlled aluminum tool, the molded part is automatically removed and the vacuum forming machine is reloaded.
Areas Of Application For The Thermoforming Process:
Thermoforming is suitable for the production of deep-drawn parts for many industrial areas. The combination of shape, color, and function makes thermoforming processes particularly interesting for industrial designers.
Advantages Of Thermoforming In The Production Of Plastic Parts:
One of the main advantages of thermoforming, especially for small and medium-sized series, is the low tool costs. The tools used in thermoforming are only one-sided, which means that only one aluminum mold half/tool is required. Compared to other manufacturing processes, thermoforming has a whole range of other advantages.
Thermoforming Process In Steps:
Basically, the pure deep-drawing process can be divided into five simple production steps:
- Automatic loading – heating – forming – cooling – and automatic removal. Constant cycle times during production guarantee consistent quality of the components and products.
- Loading: The dust-free plastic sheets are automatically loaded into the machine.
- Heating up: The panels are heated above their respective softening point (e.g. ABS 200°C, PS 180°C, PP 220°C).
- Forming: The heated plastic plate is sucked onto the tool by means of a vacuum (negative pressure).
- Cooling: The molded parts are cooled from the outside by a blower and from the inside by the temperature-controlled aluminum tool. After the solidification temperature has been reached, the now dimensionally stable plastic parts are removed from the tool.
- Unloading: After vacuum forming, the parts are automatically unloaded from the thermoforming machine and are now ready for post-processing / further processing.