Thermoforming Plastics: How Does it Work?

3d apparatus for thermoforming for creating dental prosthesis

Thermoforming represents one of the key processes manufacturers use when creating plastic items. Using this method, manufacturers can produce a wide range of plastic products, for a wide range of uses.

If you have an idea for a product, there’s a good chance this process can help turn your dream into a reality.

Here’s a brief overview of what thermoforming is and how the entire process works. After you’re done, you’ll know if this manufacturing method is the right option for you.

How Does the Process Work?

This manufacturing method involves heating a sheet of plastic and then layering it on top of a predesigned mold. Heating the sheet of plastic makes it soft and malleable, thus allowing it to take on the shape of the mold.

A lot of the time, the plastic will not naturally conform to the shape of the mold, even though it is ‘soft.’ Thus, thermoforming machines may use certain methods like ‘vacuum-forming’ to help shape the plastic.

Once the sheet of plastic covers the mold, it’s then allowed to cool, thereby giving it the chance to harden. It’s then lifted from the mold, and manufacturers will remove excess sections of plastic. Following this, the initial sheet of plastic will start to resemble the product that the designer set out to create.

Selecting the Right Materials

With this method, you have the option of using many different kinds of plastics.

For instance, you can choose plastic that has a particular color, or you can choose plastic that’ll be highly resistant to heat. Because of this, it’s vital that you understand the use cases for your product before you decide to create it.

If you have some doubts about which plastic you need to use, seek some advice from the company that’ll be working on your product. Their advice could allow you to save money, as you may find that low-cost plastics will be fine for your product. 

Is Thermoforming the Only Thing You Need Help With?

If you’re manufacturing a complicated product, plastic thermoforming will represent only one part of the process.

That’s because you may need to continue working on the thermoformed plastic until it looks like the end product. You may need to add certain textures or handles to the thermoformed item, for example.

If this is true for your product, find a manufacturing company that’ll provide you with a complete solution. In doing so, you’ll make your business more efficient, because you won’t have to ship your products between different manufacturers.

Ready to Start Creating?

Despite the recent backlash against plastics, it’s hard to deny the benefits of thermoforming. With the help of this method, you can easily craft complex items, that’ll be sturdy and long lasting.

That said, success with this method comes down to finding a company that understands how the process works. An experienced company will know which kind of plastic you need to use, and they’ll also know how to make the process cost-efficient.

Before you work with a company, ask them if you can see examples of past work. Though it’s impossible to predict how a project will turn out, taking this step should help you lower the odds of something going wrong.  

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