Vacuum forming is often thought to be an outdated, ineffective method of plastic manufacturing, especially compared to injection molding or pressure forming. However, this is an economical, efficient method of production that is used on a wide variety of products. To help you get a better understanding of this type of thermoforming and why it may be ideal for your custom plastics, our thermoforming company in North Carolina is sharing several everyday products made from vacuum forming across all types of industries.
What Is Vacuum Forming?
Vacuum forming is a way to manufacture plastics in which large sheets of thermoplastic are heated until malleable but still solid, then fitted over a custom mold, typically made from aluminum. There are small vents in the mold, and once the plastic is stretched over the mold properly, a vacuum is turned on. The suction from the vents pulls the plastic more tightly against the mold, creating the necessary shape.
The Benefits and Concerns About Vacuum Forming
The simplicity of this manufacturing process has both advantages and concerns. The advantages of vacuum forming are that it offers a quick turnaround time, it’s efficient, can be used to make large items, and offers a low cost per unit price. On the other hand, vacuum forming is not recommended for plastics that need sharp corners, intricate or complicated detail, and angles with little to no draft.
Industries Relying on Vacuum Forming
Ideal for creating lightweight, durable plastic products and components that don’t require sharp angles or details, vacuum forming is heavily relied upon in the following industries:
You’ll probably find the automotive industry is the most reliant on vacuum forming, as it’s used to produce parts used in both consumer and commercial vehicles, trucks, and buses. Typically the following parts are created through vacuum forming:
- Trunk tubs
- Truck bed liners
- Headlight covers
Farming and agricultural vehicle and product manufacturing relies on vacuum forming to manufacture durable, weather resistant, reusable parts and components at a low price.
- Hoods and covers for tractors and ride-on equipment;
- Plastic seats on ride-on equipment;
- Large scale seed trays to start small plants prior to transfer;
- Acrylic or polycarbonate “glass” used in greenhouses
While many of the internal components of electronics are thermosets. These are plastics that change their molecular structure once heated and can’t be recycled or reused. But while the interior may not be made from thermoplastic materials, many of the exterior components on consumer electronics are manufactured via thermoforming, including television casing, computer housing, and remote control housing.
Because it’s inexpensive and efficient, manufacturers of household items turn to vacuum forming companies to keep costs low. This includes large-scale items like the trays and liners of your refrigerator and freezer, bathtubs, and shower enclosures to small items like plastic cooking utensils like your spatula or ladles. Product packaging is also often created through vacuum forming to keep costs to a minimum and avoid delays.
Call Us for a Free Quote on Custom Vacuum Formed Plastics
From car and tractor parts to product packaging and kitchen equipment, vacuum forming is a reliable, inexpensive way to get durable, long-lasting parts and products. To learn more about what method of plastics manufacturing is right for you or to get a free quote, reach out to us today at [phone] or fill out the form below to get started.