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:
- A single sheet of plastic is clamped securely in the machine. The plastic is then heated.
- 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).
- A vacuum draws the plastic into or against the mould.
- 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.
- The part is removed from the mould, trimmed as necessary, and ready for shipment.
Why choose this process over another plastic forming process?
- Lower tooling cost
- Fast, efficient, and low-cost prototyping
- High quality, heavy duty parts
- Shorter lead times
- Wide range of materials and finishes available
- Easy customization such as hardware, labeling, and branding
- Resulting parts are crack resistant and durable