Vacuum Forming

Information about our Vacuum Forming Process

What is thermoforming?

Thermoforming is the primary process of heating thermoplastic sheet to a temperature where the sheet reaches a pliable/ malleable state. Heating is normally done by convection however some thermoforming machines use quartz heaters for a greater focus of heat. Once the plastic sheet reaches elasticity the sheet is then draped or moulded over a male or female form.

What is Vacuum forming?

Vacuum forming is a secondary process after thermoforming. The air between the male/female form and the malleable sheet is purposefully removed by vacuum. This process provides greater material displacement and results in finer detail. Vacuum forming is widely used to manufacture large surface area components where low to medium volume parts are required. Vacuum forming is a competitive alternative to other processes such as injection moulding where parts are greater in plan size of 500mm x 500mm. Typical batch sizes range from low hundreds to 10,000 plus.

Typical Markets served

Renewables

How we can help:

  • Wind Turbine components.
  • Parts for plumbing systems.
  • Panels for LED lighting systems.

PSV

How we can help:

  • Interior cab trim.
  • steering column and dashboard.
  • Washroom parts.
  • Interior lighting.
  • Engine shields and battery covers.

Sewerage

How we can help:

  • Components for sewerage treatment equipment.

Medical

How we can help:

  • Medical storage applications.

Printing

How we can help:

  • Liners and Trays for storage and processing.
  • Inks and Specialist chemicals.

Water Treatment

How we can help:

  • Components for water treatment equipment.

Industrial Applications

How we can help:

  • BIBA Liners for Oil & Gas Sector.
  • Street cleaning equipment.
  • Liners for Specialty chemicals.
  • Paints.

Mass Transport

How we can help:

  • Interior and external panels.
  • boot floor panels.
  • Instrument panels.
  • Wheel arch liners.

Building Products

How we can help:

  • Tanks and Lids.
  • Vents & Closures.
  • Fenestration.

Aerospace

How we can help:

  • Seating and storage compartment components.

Lifestyle Leisure

How we can help:

  • Gymnasium equipment.
  • Drinks storage and dispensers.
  • Cosmetics Industry.
  • Gardening equipment.
  • Caravan storage lockers.

Transit Media

How we can help:

  • Packaging for Electronics.
  • Engineering.
  • Food & Beverages.
Download Vacuum Forming Data Sheet
Thick Gauge

Thick GaugeVacuum formed thick gauge components are usually made from thermoplastic sheet with a starting gauge of 1.5mm up to 10mm. Thicker grades are available but are seldom used. Vacuum forming can be used in preference of other processes such as injection moulding when low tooling cost and speed to market is essential. Part sizes vary but usually fall between a minimum plan surface area of 250mm x 250mm up to 2.5m x 4.5m (dependant on machine and sheet availability). Volumes are typically 250 – 10,000 but can increase by making use of multi impression tooling.

Vacuum forming is a single surface contact process and is ideally suited to high finished surfaces such as cosmetics point of sale.

Thin Gauge

Thin GaugeVacuum formed thin gauge parts are used for high volume components where packaging is non returnable and the OEM component is particularly price sensitive. It is used significantly in the food and medical packaging industry. Various materials such as APET, CPET, HIPS, ABS and traditional olefins are used. The versatility of Belgrade’s thermoforming machines allow optimum set up for thin or thick gauge manufacture.