Ideal for Cost-Effective, Quick-Turnaround “Utility” Parts
Vacuum forming is the most basic of the thermoforming processes, and can be ideal when you need durable plastic parts that don’t require sharp non-tool side features. Vacuum forming is frequently used for cosmetic covers that require a smooth or gloss finish, or those that do not require a precise texture. Advantages to this process include:
- Low-cost tooling
- Quick turnaround for parts
- Easy tool modification, if necessary
- Wide variety of available materials, colors, and textures
Vacuum Forming Works Best If You Need…
Recognize your needs in any of the following? This could be your solution:
Lower cost tooling and prototyping
Vacuum forming can be highly cost-effective for developing tools and prototyping parts. Also, the reasonable tooling costs allow for modifications without excessive expense.
Covers, panels, enclosures, or internal components without sharply defined edges
Parts with simpler designs are great candidates for this process.
High-gloss or clear plastic parts
Using the vacuum process is ideal for high-gloss or clear plastic parts.
Precision forming on only one side
In the vacuum forming process, only one side of the part touches the tool, making it ideal for distortion forming or clear parts.
Specific surface textures and printed features
The nature of the this process makes it effective for including printed features and creating a variety of surface textures.
Volumes in the hundreds or thousands
Simple, large cosmetic parts
Fit and function over cosmetics
Durability and industry-compliance
Understanding the Vacuum Forming Process
Vacuum forming involves heating a single sheet of extruded thermoplastic to a softening point and then applying a vacuum force (14.7 psig) to pull the sheet over a positive tool or into a negative tool.
In fact, in terms of complexity, vacuum forming is the most basic of the three thermoforming processes, which is why it can work especially well for projects where low-cost tooling, design flexibility, and/or shorter lead times are high priorities.
How Customers Benefit from 60+ Years of Vacuum Forming Experience
Although vacuum forming is considered the simplest of the thermoforming processes, Profile Plastics has the technology and the expertise to do more with it. For example, our molding techniques and sophisticated process control enable us to achieve greater part consistency.
Moreover, we use this well-established and cost-effective process to produce the kinds of highly cosmetic vacuum formed parts that others can’t.