Vacuum forming (also known as Thermoforming) is an advanced process of plastic moulding that utilizes sophisticated pneumatic, hydraulic and heat control systems. This process uses extruded plastic sheets and has a secondary process of trimming, drilling, routeing and possibly assembly to get the formed sheet to arrive at the finished part. The trimmed waste can then be re-ground and recycled.
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Vacuum forming offers several processing advantages over other forming processes. Low forming pressures are used thus enabling comparatively low-cost tooling. This allows for great cost of production.
Since the process uses low pressures, the moulds can be made of inexpensive materials and mould fabrication time can be reasonably short. Prototype and low quantity requirements of large parts, as well as medium size run therefore become economical. More sophisticated machines and moulds are used for continuous automated production of high-volume items.
Vacuum forming uses extruded plastic sheet and a secondary process may be required to trim the formed sheet to arrive at the finished part.
Unlike other thermoplastic forming processes, where powder or resin are the starting point, vacuum forming uses extruded plastic sheet. With vacuum forming a secondary process may be required to trim the formed sheet to arrive at the finished part. The trimmed waste can then be re-ground and recycled.