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Vacuum Formed Plastics

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Vacuum forming is a process used to shape plastic material. It is a simplified form of thermoforming. In the vacuum forming process, a plastic sheet is heated to a high temperature, stretched on the surface of a mold, and pulled around the mold using vacuum suction. Read More…

Vacuum Formed Plastics Vacuum formed plastics are polymers manufactured through a number of air reduction processes in which sheets of plastic are heated until moldable and stretched in or on a mold.
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Leading Manufacturers

Greeneville, TN  |  423-638-1284

Valk’s policy is “to meet or exceed our customer’s requirements, working together as a team with honesty and integrity.” Valk’s success is due to their long standing focus on quality & customer service.

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Valk Industries, Inc. $$$

New Milford, CT  |  860-354-0885

For over 40 years, Conlet Plastics has been a leader in vacuum forming. They serve a wide variety of industries including medical, airline, automotive and signage, with high-quality products that are reasonably priced & delivered on time.

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Conlet Plastics, Inc. $$$

Lake Bluff, IL  |  847-604-5100

Since 1960, Profile Plastics Inc. has been at the forefront of thermoforming technology. Utilizing the latest software and technology, our expert staff of engineers can design custom vacuum, pressure, and twin-sheet thermoformed solutions. Over the last 60 years, we have developed a process that allows us to deliver consistent, high volume, and precise products with superior quality. Our high quality products are manufactured with great attention to detail. ISO 9001:2008 certified.

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Profile Plastics, Inc. $$$

Stirling, NJ  |  908-647-3500

Engineered Plastic Products custom forms & fabricates sheet thermoplastic materials, standard & specialized, for any number of industrial & commercial requirements. EPP has been widely recognized for outstanding manufacturing & service since 1958 for companies such as GE, NASA & AT&T. Custom fabricated parts can be as large as 72"x108" down to 2"x2" in any thickness up to 1 1/2". Post-forming includes all types of machining & assembly.

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Engineered Plastic Products, Inc. $$$

McSherrystown, PA  |  717-633-6333

Founded in 1986, SAY Plastics is a plastics processor specializing in OEM thermoforming. Our state-of the-art facility, located in South Central Pennsylvania, houses the latest manufacturing technologies. From our computer controlled forming equipment and our vacuum molding capabilities, to our brand new high speed CNC Routers, SAY Plastics has the tools for your next project. Our team will work with you every step of the way to ensure quality service every time.

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SAY Plastics, Inc. $$$

Danville, IL  |  (844)865-1669

Greenwood Plastics Industries is an industry leader has been a leader in vacuum formed plastics for many years. We believe in relationships that can produce smart productivity. You give us the idea, and we will help you choose the best materials, process and timeline to make a high quality and profitable product. We are also committed to earth friendly-green solutions. Recycling as much as possible has been a company initiative for year and we are taking big steps at reducing our carbon footprint.

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Greenwood Plastics, Inc. $$$

Coleman, MI  |  877-465-4055

Robinson Industries offers thermoformed and injection molded reusable, heavy duty plastic pallets, packaging and more. We are one of the largest suppliers of reusable pallets to many industries.

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Robinson Industries $$$
placeholder image Valk Industries, Inc. Conlet Plastics, Inc. Profile Plastics, Inc. Engineered Plastic Products, Inc. SAY Plastics, Inc. Greenwood Plastics, Inc. Robinson Industries

What is Vacuum Forming

Vacuum forming is a process used to shape plastic material. It is a simplified form of thermoforming. In the vacuum forming process, a plastic sheet is heated to a high temperature, stretched on the surface of a mold, and pulled around the mold using vacuum suction. This process is used for many applications, from small parts of devices to industrial machinery. Vacuum forming is used in automobile and medical industries, consumer goods, food packaging, and packaging and display.

Vacuum Forming

Process of Vacuum Forming

The steps of the vacuum forming are discussed here:

  1. The first step is clamping. The plastic sheet is placed in a frame and clamped into place.
  2. After clamping, the plastic sheet is heated to make it soft and ready for the mold.
  3. The heated sheet is placed over the mold and pulled across the entire surface using a vacuum.
  4. After the plastic is placed on the mold, the plastic is cooled. A fan or mist is applied to speed up the cooling process for large pieces.
  5. When the plastic has cooled, it is released from the frame.
  6. In some processes, excess material on the sides of the sheet will need to be trimmed.

Vacuum Formed Plastic

The plastic used for vacuum forming is called “thermoplastic.” Thermoplastic can be heated and softened repeatedly and hardened when cooled. Many different types of thermoplastics are used for this process, and each has different characteristics according to its composition. But the ideal material has high impact strength, high thermal strength, is easy to form, and has a low shrinkage level after cooling. Some of these thermoplastics are hygroscopic, meaning they must be pre-dried before being introduced into ovens.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

  • ABS is an amorphous thermoplastic that is rigid, strong, and hygroscopic.
  • Because it contains rubber, it has good weather and impact resistance.
  • The shrinkage rate of this material is 0.3-0.8%.
  • It is available in black, white, gray, and other limited colors.
  • ABS is used in manufacturing vehicle parts, sanitary parts, electrical enclosures, and luggage.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

Co-polyester (PETG)

  • PETG is an amorphous thermoplastic that is easy to fabricate and optically good.
  • It is safe for food applications because it can be sterilized and is resilient to acids and oils.
  • It has good formability, and pre-drying is not necessary for this plastic.
  • Its shrinkage rate is 0.3-0.7%.
  • It is available in clear and limited colors.
  • It is suitable for medical applications and display units.

Acrylic - Perspex (PMMA)

  • Acrylic is an amorphous thermoplastic that performs well after forming and has good clarity.
  • It is hygroscopic, brittle, and damaged by high temperatures but has medium to high strength.
  • The shrinkage rate is 0.3-0.8%.
  • It is available in clear or solid colors.
  • It is well-suited for domes, ceilings, lights, sanitary ware, signboards, and light diffusers.
Acrylic - Perspex (PMMA)

Polycarbonate (PC)

  • PC is a clear, rigid, hard, and amorphous material.
  • It has good clarity and is a self-extinguisher.
  • Polycarbonate is very strong and hygroscopic.
  • It is formidable to high definition, and the shrinkage rate is 0.6-0.8%.
  • It is ideal for skylights, aircraft trims, guards, light diffusers, and signage.

Polystyrene (HIPS)

  • Polystyrene is the most commonly used material; it is easy to work on and available in many patterns.
  • It is not suitable outdoors because it has low UV resistance.
  • It forms well with high definition, and the shrinkage rate is 0.3-0.5%.
  • It is best for making disposable products, toys, models, and packaging.
Polystyrene (HIPS)

Polypropylene (PP)

  • It is a semi-crystalline material that is difficult to form, but its flexibility makes it ideal for many applications.
  • Polypropylene is not hygroscopic and has very good strength.
  • No spray works on it, and the shrinkage rate is 1.5-2.2%.
  • It is used to manufacture luggage, toys, medical equipment, and chemical tanks.
Polypropylene (PP)

Polyethylene (HDPE)

  • Polyethylene is also a semi-crystalline material with good chemical resistance.
  • It has good strength and is not hygroscopic.
  • The shrinkage rate is 2.0-3.5%.
  • It is well-suited for vehicle parts, housing, and enclosures.
Polyethylene (HDPE)

Applications of Vacuum Formed Plastics

Vacuum-formed plastics are widely used in the automotive, agriculture, transport, medical, construction, housing, packaging, and renewable energy industries. Additionally, the vacuum-forming process is used to make machinery parts for vehicles. The food industry greatly relies on hygienic packaging, so vacuum forming is a frequently used process.

Applications of Vacuum Formed Plastics

Vacuum Formed Plastics Informational Video

 

Plastic Molding Processes

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