Thermoforming Overview

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What is Thermoforming?

At Shirley K’s, we are frequently asked what thermoforming is. In short, thermoforming is when a single sheet of plastic is heated and formed over a mould that is the shape of the desired product. Shirley K’s specializes in medium to heavy gauge thermoforming. The process can be broken down into a few simple steps. 

The Thermoforming Process:

  1.  A single sheet of plastic is clamped securely in the machine. The plastic is then heated.
  2.  The plastic is placed over a mould. Moulds can be either positive/male (where the plastic is formed over the mould) or negative/female (where the plastic is formed into the mould).
  3.  A vacuum draws the plastic into or against the mould. 
  4.  The part is cooled and removed from the mould. Depending on the material type, water may be run through the mould to assist with the forming and cooling process. 
  5.  The part is removed from the mould, trimmed as necessary, and ready for shipment.

Why choose this process over another plastic forming process?

  1.  Lower tooling cost
  2.  Fast, efficient, and low-cost prototyping
  3.  High quality, heavy duty parts
  4.  Shorter lead times
  5.  Wide range of materials and finishes available
  6. Easy customization such as hardware, labeling, and branding
  7. Resulting parts are crack resistant and durable

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