Vacuum Forming, or Thermo Forming, is a cost saving solution that enables a company to bring a product from prototype to full production in a short amount of time. The process is not complicated and is easy to do if you have the right tools and know how. Vacuuming Forming is very common place among plastics engineering and the manufacturing industry because a variety of products can be made in several shapes and sizes.
In this example, think of forming a plastic toy train.
- To begin with a solid, usually wooden mold, called a “former” is created and is used as the template. It is made with the intent of being easily removable from the finished plastic mold.
- The former is placed in a vacuum and a plastic sheet is laid on top.
- The heater is turned on and the plastic begins to soften. It is then lowered onto the wooden mold.
- The vacuum is then turned on and the air is sucked out, thus encasing the mold with the plastic.
- The wooden train mold is removed and the plastic train mold remains.
The entire process is quick and simple and the wooden mold can be used over and over again. A well equipped manufacturing facility can produce hundreds, or even thousands, of products per day by using this method in an assembly line. If you need a prototype for a product you are thinking of bringing to market, you should be able to find a Vacuum Forming facility in a town or city near you.