Four primary types of forming processes are used for thermoplastics.
Each process has distinct benefits depending on the size and detail of the part being formed. Thermoforming processes produce uniform and consistent parts with high finish specifications and tight tolerances, similar to what is expected from injection-molded parts. Fine details including undercuts can be achieved using the economical tooling available via thermoforming.
In the vacuum-forming process, a thermoplastic sheet is heated and pulled against a male or female mold, by pulling a vacuum between the mold and the sheet. This process allows:
Fine surface detail
In the pressure-forming process, a thermoplastic sheet is heated and pressed against the inside of a female mold. This method uses pressure from above the sheet and pulling a vacuum between the sheet and the mold. This process allows:
Membrane pressing is used to encase dimensional surfaces in thermoplastics. The thermoplastic sheet is heated and vacuum-formed over the surface. This process allows:
Forming around top and side surfaces
Sharp or round corners
Embossed brand logos
Twin Sheet Forming
The twin-sheet forming process bonds two thermoplastic sheets together to provide additional structural support and rigidity.