Light Gauge Thermoforming
Light Gauge Thermoforming, is a manufacturing process in which plastic extruded film .007 – .080 is heated to a pliable temperature, formed to a particular shape with the use of a mold, cooled and trimmed. Producing various packaging (clamshells, blisters & tri-folds) & products (point of purchase displays, inserts & trays) used in markets such as Cosmetics, Candles, Electronics, Food, Medical, Retail and more.
The most common method of light gauge thermoforming is done in-line, utilizing various roll fed plastic materials such as PET, PVC, Polystyrene and Polyethylene offered in a range of grades general purpose, anti-static, medical, food and cosmetic and colors.
The material is then heated to the proper forming temperature and indexed to the forming station where a mold and pressure-box encapsulates the film. Vacuum is then applied to evacuate trapped air between the film and the mold. Atmospheric pressure is then applied to force the film to stretch and conform to the specific contour of the mold. Plug-assists can be utilized on deeper draw parts to deliver the needed material distribution throughout the finished part.
Once formed, a burst of air pressure is used to assist in the release of the formed part off of or out of the tooling as the mold and pressure box separates. In some instances, a mold assist stripper plate is utilized on the mold to aid in the ejection of the detailed parts or those with negative-draft and or undercut areas.
Then, light gauge film containing the formed parts indexes into the in-line trim station, where the parts are die-cut from the sheet web or indexes into a separate trim press where the formed parts are trimmed. Like Maryland Thermoform, most thermoforming companies recycle their scrap and waste plastic, either by compressing like resins into a baling machine or by feeding directly into a grinder and producing ground flake for sale to reprocessing companies or re-use in their own facility. Frequently, scrap and waste plastic from the thermoforming process is converted back into extruded sheet for forming again.Tags: Featured, Light Gauge Thermoforming, manufacturing process, plastic materials, Point of Purchase Displays, polyethylene, polystyrene