When you need plastic tubing, hollow panels over housing or enclosures for trash chutes, air ducts, and truck components, twin sheet thermoforming is often the best option for producing the durable products you need. Often used as an alternative to blow molding, to help you better understand its advantages, our North Carolina thermoforming company is taking a closer look at twin sheet thermoforming.
Understanding Twin Sheet Thermoforming
Twin sheet thermoforming is a complex method of plastic forming in which two sheets of plastic are heated to a malleable state at the same time, then they are clamped to the tooling and drawn tightly against the mold to achieve the desired shape. After the two sheets are shaped, they are carefully fused together to create a seamless unit, allowing us to easily construct double-walled pieces and panels or hollow products efficiently and precisely.
Vacuum Twin Sheet Thermoforming
Vacuum thermoforming is a method of forming in which the two sheets are clamped to the mold, then strong vacuums underneath the plastic suction out any air between the mold and the plastic. This draws it tightly to create curves and sections for cuts.
Pressure Twin Sheet Thermoforming
Pressure thermoforming is similar to vacuum molding, except in addition to the vacuum, a jet of pressurized air is blasted onto the plastic to press it more firmly against the mold. This is often used to get tighter corners and angles.
Advantages of Twin Sheet Thermoforming
Now that you have a better idea of how twin sheet thermoforming works, let’s look at why this may be the best option for your next project.
- Significantly lower tooling costs compared to injection molding;
- Greater customization, including two-color product option or varying material thickness, unlike blow molding.
- Multiple textures and hinge capabilities.
- Quick lead times due to ease of tooling fabrication as well as having one single process rather than multiple processes — vacuum forming side one, vacuum forming side two, then gluing or fusing them together.
- Easily create hollow or double-walled pieces;
- Tooling can be modified quickly and easily in order to produce different configurations of one base product.
- All types of thermoplastics can be used, including heavy ABS, PVC, and acrylic.
- Near-unlimited finishing options, including paint, stenciling, or coatings.
Common Uses for Twin Sheet Thermoforming
Twin sheet thermoforming is most often used for air ducts and trash chutes – large, hollow tubes. However, it’s also used to make the following items:
- Vending machine inserts
- Plumbing pipes
- Bed liners
- Drain pipe extenders
Twin sheet thermoforming is also ideal for any hollow or double-wall items that need small to medium product runs as this is typically the most cost effective option.
Get a Free Quote for Custom Manufactured Plastics
If you would like to discuss twin sheet thermoforming, reach out to our team today. We work with companies throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states including North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia. To learn more about our services or get a free quote, reach out to us today.